Monday, November 29, 2010

To Blog or Not to Blog...

That is the question. Or at least it’s one I’ve been wrestling with the last few weeks, ever since my group blog, Prairie Chicks Write Romance, disbanded. I’d enjoyed blogging with the group so much that I decided to start one of my own. And besides, blogging is a good way for a writer to promote herself, right?
I’m not entirely sure. With the Chicks, I was posting once every two weeks for the past year. Since I started my own blog, I've been sticking to a schedule of three times a week. After only a month, I’m already finding it tough to keep up the pace. Will the time and work that I put into my blogs translate into more sales, or at least traffic to my website?
It depends who you ask. I recently took a promotion class from writer Terry Kate ( who believes that a writer is better off guest blogging than trying to keep her own blog flush with fresh content. By guest blogging, a writer will often reach a different audience at every blog. That means that more people will be exposed to her work than if she stuck strictly to her own blog.  
Others have differing opinions. Penny C. Sansevieri, writer, promotion expert and editor of “The Book Marketing Expert Newsletter” says “…does blogging even matter? Yes, it does. In fact, many SEO [search engine optimization] experts cite that a blog (when used regularly) can increase website traffic by 25%.” Notice that Ms. Sansevieri says “when used regularly”. Aye, there’s the rub. You can’t blog inconsistently and expect reader to follow you, or even care what you have to say.
So how often should I post? To be honest, I started looking around the Internet for answers, hoping someone would tell me it’s okay to blog less frequently. I got mixed results.
Susan Gunelius at suggests I should decide what kind of growth I want for my blog and then post accordingly. She's even created a handy guide:
·         For maximum growth: post multiple times per day to drive the most traffic (3-5 times or more is considered best for power bloggers).
·         For steady growth: post at least once per day.
·         For slower growth: publish at least every 3 days or 2-3 times per week.
·         For very slow growth: posting less frequently than 2-3 days per week is most appropriate for bloggers who maintain blogs as a hobby with no strategic plans for growth
Terri Panjanen at Suite 101 argues that since most readers will “follow” your blog with an rss feed, frequency is not crucial:
“…readers will come to your site as soon as you do post something, even if it's not daily. Since they no longer have to actively go looking for new material, most people don't care how often you post. What matters is that you post things that they are interested in and want to know more about.”

In her article in the November/December 2010 edition of Writer’s Digest, Monica Bhide says “if you update too much or too little or on anything other than a regular schedule, people stop paying attention. Period.”
For the record, only blogs that deal with current events or celebrity news need to blog multiple times a day. My blog deals primarily with writing topics. The world of writing doesn’t generally have breaking news that I need to blog about more than once daily.
I've come to the conclusion that the frequency of blog posts is important, but probably not as important as the regularity and quality of the posts. I’ll talk more about content next time.
If you’re a blogger, how often do you post? Would you like to post more often, or do you think you’d like to cut down on your posts? Do you agree that the quality of the posts and the regularity with which you post them is more important than how often you post?


  1. The whole question of blogging can be overwhelming. There's the frequency question (which you address very well, thanks, Jana) and then there's the promotion question. Don't even get my mind whirling on the 'following' issue (I waffle between wanting to see more people 'join up' with the amount of work it takes to get out there and comment on other blogs/follow other writers - let's just say "Not enough time").

    I finally had to admit that I blog because I enjoy journal type writing. And I'm doing it for myself, first and foremost. I've went from 7 days a week to 5 and am happy with that schedule. I also found having some 'regular' days helps - like Inspiration Wednesdays, at least I know what I will be posting that day.

    Blogging is a committment, but one I think is worth the time. I'm loving your blog, Jana - I hope you keep it up.

  2. Hi Janet,
    The things I like most about blogging are connecting with people, and passing on information that is useful to them. For the past two years that useful information has been on writing, and that is what I'm most comfortable with right now. The thing I admire most about your blog is how easily you talk about different subjects, both writing and personal. Reading your blog is like having a conversation with you. I haven't eased into that comfortable conversation yet. At this point I'm still feeling my way and deciding the direction of the blog.

    I'm considering what my posting schedule should be to allow me to keep up with my writing, complete other promotion efforts and still produce an interesting blog. I'm still working on it.


  3. Blogging is time consuming. I post 3 days a week and that's plenty for me. I enjoy blogging. I really do. And I enjoy following people I know. The thing I struggle with is following other blogs and commenting in an effort to direct traffic to my blog to increase my number of subscribers. I simply do not have the time to do that and write! Some day I'll figure it all out :D

  4. Karyn, when you figure out how to do it all, will you let me in on your little secret?

    I'm in re-evaluation mode at the moment. I'm trying to figure out a schedule that will allow me to do the writing I want to do while still letting me produce a good blog. It's tough.

    Your blog looks amazing and I really enjoy your posts. You make it look so effortless, although I know how much you must put into it.

    Talk to you soon,

  5. Great blog, Jana. I love the part about how often to blog. I think it's a matter of scheduling - doing a blog could take 10 minutes if scheduled in with a structure. (Not that I'm doing that). I'm concerned about how Tweets work with this - I've been on Twitter for four years and still don't have a grasp on how to do PR with it. I've started RT'ing and now have Tweetdeck which I think works with this article in that it connects the blog also - driving people to the blog supposedly. No time isn't my problem - I love too much to do - but figuring out how to take advantage of this all is the issue. I love your mention above of how often to blog - I'm going to copy that.

  6. I blog regularly at a handful of blog sites, and from what I've noticed on the ones I work with the most, regular blogs of one to two times a week is necessary to keep people coming back for more.

    Interesting and humorous content has netted us scores upon scores of comments at Four Strong Women's blog.

  7. Hi Jane
    I love my blog. I've met so many interesting people. I think the key is being diverse in topic. Yes, we are authors, but we have other interests too. Why not blog about them? I try to post about my writing once a week, I participate in a meme on Thursday and I will post on another random topic to make 3 days a week.
    Just me two cents.

  8. Jana, I took the same workshop with Terry Kate. But after looking at my sales report I must admit that when I was blogging almost daily on my own blog I was selling many more books than when I abandoned my blog for two multiple blogs once or twice a month.Unfortunately, during the year I regularly blogged, I practically didn't write. There's so much you can do in twenty-four hours.

    The question is: which is better to sell the book you wrote or to write a new book?

  9. Great topic. I totally understand about wondering whether blogging sells books and whether it is worth the effort. When I have a limited time to write, I rather be working on a book. I finally gave in and started a blog in August. I have to say it's been fun. I write mostly about the fun and/or irritating things my kids do, so hopefully, it will be a way to remember what they did and when if it isn't good for anything else.

    Right now I'm trying to blog everyday because I have a book coming out in a couple weeks. (I do write them ahead of time whenever I can.) In January I will probably cut down to three days a week.

  10. Hi Judi,
    I knew that to keep readers coming back for more you had to blog often, but I'd never seen a little schedule like the one at before. It makes sense I think.

    I haven't gotten into Twitter yet. I know that I need to get into it and use it as a tool to advertise myself and my writing. From what I've heard and read, Twitter and Facebook work when you spend a little time on them and interact with other people. You can't just send out Tweets about things you're blogging about or constant excerpts from your next book. Trying to do a hard sell on social networking sites will get you ignored. If you engage in conversation, people are more likely to check out your profile and see what you're doing. Or at least this is what I've been told.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Hi Faith,
    A blog of one to two times a week sounds doable. It makes me feel better to know that blogs on that schedule can still attract regular readers.

    You are so right about the content attracting readers and comments. In the end, quality content will keep readers coming back for more.

    I'm definitely going to have to check out Four Strong Women's blog.

  12. Hi Adelle,
    I've blogged here on family life and stuff about work, with mixed results. Sometimes I get good feedback and sometimes not. I'm probably just not that interesting!

    But you're right. A writer can't talk about writitng all the time. I'm hoping to attract a few readers (other than fellows writers) and they want to hear about something other then the proper way to write a synopsis. So I have to be little more diverse.


  13. Mona, I hear you. Often I have to stop work on my manuscript to get a blog ready. There's only so much time, and it's tough to do everything. It's a real tough decision; do I spend all my time writing and not sell anything, or do I keep up a blog and make sales, but have nothing new to sell?

    My quest is to figure out a happy medium where I'm able to do both reasonably well.

    I'm glad you could join me today.

  14. Hi Joselyn,
    The great thing about kids is that they are an endless supply of funny/irritating things! And your blog will make a great archive of their lives for you and them when they're older.

    I try to write posts in advance as much as possible, (in fact, that's my preference) but I'm having a hard time keeping up right now. In the near future I will have to decide what sort of schedule I want to keep.

    Good luck with your new book.

  15. Audience is really important - getting them to come in the first place, and that's pretty slow. I stopped blogging on my own this year and started two new multiple-author sites that are growing pretty fast. I agree that drawing from multiple sites is good.

  16. Hi Jana,
    This is a topic with no clear-cut answer. I was at the Romance panel with editors, agents and writers where this topic was discussed. One agent felt blogging was vitally important. However, Julia Quinn said she thought it was a waste of time, and if she was going to write 500-1000 words a day, it would be on her current WIP. She facebooks every day, and finds this to all she can keep up with right now.

    I've decided to spend the time I used to spend blogging on working on my current WIP. I'm less stressed, more organized and far more productive. For now, it's working. Perhaps when I have a product to actually promote, I might blog more frequently. But until then, blogging once a week is all I'm able to do.

  17. As far as I'm concerned, the only purpose for blogging is to sell books. I blog on my personal blog once a week. I also belong to multiple group blogs. Each post I write takes HOURS, hours I could spend writing another book. I promo my expensive posts and people come and read but are they buying? The answer is no. I'm with Joanne. Spend your time writing a new book.

  18. I treat my writing like a muscle. If I want to keep my writing muscle in shape, I have to exercise it. Blogging does just that and is one of the best representations of literary connection I think we have at this moment in time. Writing is about connecting with readers for me as well as creativity. Blogs connect if you promote them. What I find to be the bigger question is gathering followers. Wordpress doesn't have the same system as Blogspot. I prefer Wordpress for alot of reasons. Any ideas out there on cultivating followers other than frequency of posting?
    Liz Arnold
    "Stories you will love."
    The Wild Rose Press

  19. Dana - this is a question that is so important for people like me with a new book out that needs promotion. I started with Tweets and FB and lots of "hey! new great review", all me-me-me. At first I received lots of congrats, but as time went on I received fewer and there was no doubt that people were "sick to death about hearing about me and my bloody book". I posted a poll on my blog and the general opinion is that people like to read blogs that discuss writing, the road to publishing. One commenter said she found that asking a question generated a good discussion. I have no idea how my book is selling (only the publisher knows that at this time) so I don't know what's working, but I do know I'll blog less about myself and my book (but keep the ad there in the right hand bar - LOL - AND the reviews) and blot about writing stuff. If that's what they want - that's what they'll get.
    I agree, while you're blogging, tweeting and God knows what else, you could be on your next WIP. But I want to sell my book!

  20. Hi Janet. I prefer to guest blog but I do keep a blog and try to post every one to two weeks, something of interest. I'm afraid people who follow the blog would get tired of me if I blogged constantly--I kind of already do that on Facebook! For the other blogs that I am subscribed to that I hear from in my emails, I usually find I take the time to read from the ones that post about once a month. I'm sure your new blog will do just fine!

  21. Hi Jana

    Your post is very timely for me, thank you!

    I'm a newbie author, and as such have been pondering the idea of a having a blog or not. My main concern is Time. I'm a slow writer and fear I may not write enough on my current WIP to have another published if I do set up a blog. My other (very real!) concern is no-one will visit me or find anything I have to say interesting. I do love visiting other's blogs though and love supporting my fellow TWRP authors, especially the other newbies.

    I loved reading all the comments above and may well venture into blog-land yet!

    LaVerne Clark

  22. I started posting every day, but it takes too much time away from writing. I have a lot of guests this time of year. After the holidays, I will only post three times a week unless a guest wants another day. If I don't finish my book, what's the point in posting to build my name?

  23. I work full time, try to write, keep up on the latest news. Blogging sometimes falls way down on the list. I know I should do more, but it is really hard to keep up with everything.