Why I Will Be Posting Less

You have to remain flexible with social media. What works six months ago, may not work today. What works today, may not work six months from now. I believe this principle even applies to blogging frequency.

Thumb and Index Finger Indicating Just a Little Bit - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Joe_Potato, Image #5620578

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Joe_Potato

In my book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, I said “there is a direct correlation between frequency and traffic” (see p. 99). I then suggest that the more you post, the greater your traffic.

This is especially true when you are a new or relatively new blogger. I know it was true of me, and many other bloggers would agree. It was the single biggest factor in seeing my blog traffic grow dramatically in 2010.

However, I started questioning the relevance of this principle when I read a post entitled, “How Often Should You Blog? (Hint: The Answer Might Surprise You)” by Ali Luke. She says:

Over the past couple of years, there’s been a shift in the blogging world. More and more prominent bloggers-on-blogging are moving away from daily posting—and reassuring their readers that you don’t have to post every day in order to be successful.

She then goes on to quote Darren Rowse of Problogger who says,

I once surveyed readers here on ProBlogger about the reasons they unsubscribed from RSS feeds, and the number one answer was ‘posting too much.’ Respondents expressed that they developed ‘burnout’ and would unsubscribe if a blog became too ‘noisy.’

When I read this, I was reminded of a principle I first read about in The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferris. It’s called the minimum effective dose (MED). He defines it as

…the smallest dose that will produce the desired outcome. Any thing beyond the MED is wasteful. To boil water, the MED is 212°F (100°C) at standard air pressure. Boiled is boiled. Higher temperatures will not make it ‘more boiled.’ Higher temperatures just consume more resources that could be used for something more productive. (p. 17)

When I finished Luke’s article I thought, If I could get the same traffic with half the posts, I would gain back several hours each week that could be invested in other activities. Specifically, I could:

  • Research and write higher quality posts
  • Guest post on other blogs
  • Write new e-books and books
  • Develop new courses

To be clear, posting frequently is one of the best ways for new bloggers to build traffic. But for bloggers who are a little further along, with a deeper archive of content, I don’t think it is necessarily true.

I decided to ask my readers.

On Saturday, I posted a quick survey on my blog. I said, “I am thinking about reducing the number of times I post per week, in order to free up time to work on other types of content. Currently, I post five days a week. How often would you like to see me post?” I gave five options: one, two, three, four, or five times a week.

Blogging Frequency Chart

To my surprise 81 percent of my readers voted three times a week or less. (You can see the full panel of results here.) In other words, I am apparently creating more content than the majority of my audience wants to consume.

Here were some of the reasons they gave:

  • “I love your posts, but I just don’t have the time to keep up.”
  • “I need more time between posts to process what I have read and apply it.”
  • “I think it would enable you to bump the quality of your posts even higher.”
  • “If this would give you additional time to create other kinds of content, I am all for it.”
  • “This is a case where I think less is more.”

So, based on this feedback, I am changing my blogging strategy effective immediately. Here’s my plan:

  1. Post two original blog posts per week, one on Monday and one on Friday. (I am moving my guest posts to Saturday.)
  2. Post my podcast on Wednesday, along with the “show notes,” just as I am doing now.
  3. Fill in on Tuesdays and Thursdays with mini-posts: quotes, links, videos, photos, etc. These will be short and irregular.

My plan is to give this a one-month test and see how my readers like it and also monitor how it impacts my traffic. I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually goes up. We’ll see.

Questions: Is your blogging frequency something you need to re-visit? Are you posting too much? too little? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Aj Anderson

    I think Pareto would approve.  (80/20) in more than one place here.  Good effective planning and implementation.

  • http://www.themakegoodchoicesproject.org/ Michael Hawkins

    Michael – I think your plan to cut back to three posts per week is a good one.  I love all the content you crank out.  But, like others have mentioned, it’s hard to keep up with you!

    Keep us posted on the analytics.  I really don’t think fewer posts will have a negative impact on your traffic or subscription rate.

    All the best,
    Michael
      

  • http://twitter.com/ClaraRoseChat Clara Rose

    I like it Michael, I voted for 3x per week understanding that moderation in all things applies to every area of our lives and work.  Please share your results with us as this unfolds!

  • http://trudymetzger.com/ Trudy Metzger

    You write ”
    To be clear, posting frequently is one of the best ways for new bloggers to build traffic. But for bloggers who are a little further along, with a deeper archive of content, I don’t think it is necessarily true.”  

    I assume the once-a-day rule is still ideal. At what point–either in a time frame, or number of average blog followers/visitors (daily) should a person relax on that and cut back? Currently I post daily. I’ve done that for almost 3 months, generating anywhere from 150 to over 1000 hits a day. (For several years I posted between 2 and 6 times a month generating average around 300 hits a month.) Is there a ‘magic number’, an ideal goal,  or is best to do a survey? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      If there is a magic number, I don’t know what it is. I would just pay attention to your audience and experiment. Until this week, I posted five days a week for three years.

      • http://trudymetzger.com/ Trudy Metzger

        Thank you Michael. I appreciate it. If ever I catch up to you, I’ll know it’s time. lol! 

        I always appreciate your blogs. Every author should follow you! I’ve used Writing a Winning Proposal (even though I now want to self-publish and e-publish) and found it to be an easy to use guide. Thank you for all the great stuff you put out.

  • Mary Riesberg

    This is my first time reading Michael Hyatt’s blog.  Thank you so much for sharing this article today.  I have been holding myself back from starting a blog because of the perceived time commitment to daily blogging.  This gives me reassurance and confidence to finally start my blog without the daily pressure.  I love it see the Law of Timing in action!     

  • http://www.joyceglass.org/ Joyce Glass

    Thank You Michael!  I was thinking the same thing!  Becuase of time constraints I cannot post more than once or twice a week on my blog.  I think that is enough to keep you in mind, but not overwhelm people! 

    I agree with others!  You have great content that needs time to be absorbed sometimes.  Listened to Podcast 21 last night!  Awesome content there!  Some I am doing, and some I need to do. 

    Thanks for sharing!  I have learned so much from you over the past two years.  You have given me confidence to do things well by implementing your great ideas!

    O, I am the go to Evernote & Dropbox girl now!  It is kind of funny.  My husband said I should be on the payroll for them! LoL!  I tell people all the time to come check out your Evernote post, because that is how I learned what an awesome and valuable tool it is for me!!!!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Joyce. I appreciate your support!

  • jacobsr73

    As a brand new blogger, I am on the fence about my frequency of posts. I have not experienced a lot of traffic (3 full weeks of blogging). I know In Platform, Michael encourages frequency to get more traffic, but I concerned about content first, so that I can create a buzz.

    Robert Jacobs
    http://www.robertjacobs.org

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, frequency should never exceed your ability to deliver a quality post.

  • http://annebingham.wordpress.com/ Anne Bingham

    I missed the survey, but I would have weighed in at twice a week. Much as I’ve learned from you over the years, especially about blogging, being a leader, the publishing business, blogging and twitter, I appreciate you cutting back. Lately there has been too little from Michael Hyatt the person and too much from Michael Hyatt the brand. I think you’d do well to reconsider your Twitter output as well. Try cutting back by half and see if anybody complains.

  • http://www.changevolunteers.org/ Change Volunteer

    This is a welcome move Michael. I am pretty relaxed now. I had missed out on yesterday’s post. I was thinking I wish I had more hours to read! Then I see an email with your new post! I am glad about the move. Also, reading long posts is time-consuming. Your post are engrossing however, I’d prefer shorter and crisper ones. Thanks again for understanding.

  • TroyD

    I just read that page in your book while on vacation over the weekend.  My thought as I read it was, “This can’t be true, he post too much great stuff, I can’t keep up”!  Like your previous post says, saying “yes” to one thing is saying “no” to another.  In this case I will be able to say “yes” to your blog more often.  Your podcast have always been a yes!  Thanks for what you do.

  • http://sevensentences.com/ Geoff Talbot

    Hmmm…

    What if your blog posts are very short (only seven sentences) is there still the same potential for overload? What if it is visual or video?

    How you can tell if people want you to blog less because your content is becoming stale or simply because they don’t have enough time?

    I worry about surveying readers because there is always a pretty high turn over of subscribers they come and they go. Some people are here for a short time, some for a good time and some for a long time.

    Maybe your new subscribers will desire regular updates? Has anyone done any work on offering different types of subscription services… i.e. offering subscriptions to different category feeds that may update only once or twice a week?

    Cheers

    Geoff Talbot
    sevensentences.com

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That’s a totally valid writing style, but it’s not me.

      With regard to your other questions, I think the amount of engagement I get makes me confident that the content is not stale (generally speaking). I really think it’s the frequency.
      I can over-analyze this to death if I am not careful. In the end, it’s a judgment call. If I’m wrong, I will recalibrate and do something else. No biggie.
      Thanks for your input, Geoff.

      • http://sevensentences.com/ Geoff Talbot

        I totally get it… I think in your situation it’s totally the right call! Congrats on remaining in motion and continually asking questions! It’s inspirational.

  • Katie

    This is very exciting news to me, personally, because I feel I’ll better be able to keep up with your posts. I am not able to read a daily blog from all of the encouraging writers (such as yourself) that I would like to, and I think posting less will be much more powerful! One of those ‘less is more’ cases, I suppose. Looking forward to it!

  • Ed Wise

    Great thought.  I believe that 3 times a weeks works well for you and most others.  I believe the same thing applies to twitter & other forms of social media once you’ve built your audience.  It’s hard to keep up with it and most of it appears to be repeated items so it becomes meaningless and I tend to ignore it.  Great stand!

  • http://www.inhisseason.com/ Teresita Glasgow

    I need to post more frequently.

  • http://twitter.com/Eva_Smith Eva Smith™

    Love your blog!  I may not swing by the blog and comment often but definitely look forward to my morning reading with your great leadership tips and insight. It has been a great way for me to start the day. 

  • Ken Shaddox

    Just want to say thank you for your regular post. I read you daily and find great help and insights from your content. I certainly understand the wisdom in posting 3 times a week.  I’ve never met you in person but you are serving as a mentor in my life and ministry. May the Lord continue to bless and use you in many circles to make lasting differences in the lives of people and organizations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sunliz7037 Liz Kyrk Corson

    I think this is a GREAT idea!  I think the increased number of bloggers out there is another reason for this.  It’s hard to keep up with all the great bloggers that I follow!

  • http://twitter.com/joewickman Joe Wickman

    What a great problem to solve! I am still at the infant stage, and carving out time to post consistently is a stretch. I look forward to building up to the point where I can choose to optimize as you are. For now, I’ll look forward to applying enough heat to bring that water to a rolling boil.

  • Brent

    I have never felt any pressure to keep up, so post all you want. I always pick and choose with any blog I visit. If fewer posts increases your quality of life, the quality of the articles, etc. then I say “go for it.” 

    What prompted me to add a comment is just how impressed I am with your flexibility and drive to continue growing!

    I, for one, really appreciate (and need) the kind of clear focus that you model, whether it’s throttling back on the frequency of your posts or the many other ways you tell us about your willingness to do anything to grow (you really took ballroom dancing lessons?? ;-) 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. Yes, I really did take ballroom dancing lessons. But I am SOOOOO out of practice. I need a refresher.

  • Bill Kraski

    I usually post three times a week.  I deal in spiritual/Biblical topics.  I sometimes post less often if a subject requires more prayer, meditation and study.  For example, a lot went into a series I did on our relationship with God as shown in the events of “Holy Week”.  So much that what started as an intended three part series became nine parts.  And each section was like peeling layers off an onion — always more underneath — taking a week each to put together.

    Besides the blog, I help out at our church with counseling, jail ministry, new visitor contact, etc.  And I’m job hunting.  Which leads me toward thinking of temporarily cutting my new posts to twice a week, and making guest posts a regular weekly thing. Also having my twitter, Facebook, and G+ streams highlight older posts as the “fourth post” for the week.

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  • http://justtryingtobeablessing.com/ Lori Kempton

    I love the fact that as accomplished as you are, you are still listening to your audience!  It is especially impressive that not only are you listening, but reacting as well!  Way to go, Michael.  You are truly a great leader!

  • http://twitter.com/WitnessPath Todd Marsha

    Kinda ironic this post – since I’m a new blogger. I recently went through a period where the ideas weren’t coming so I simply couldn’t write my traditional 4-5 posts per week. 

    Just last night, after a wonderful evening of formation at my weekly Christ Renews His Parish meeting, several ideas came to me that can easily spawn multiple new posts. The next thought I had was, “Now do I really want to machine-gun post these day after day?”

    No – I’d rather post a few that can be done quickly then take my time to develop some others.  So for now, it’s still a minimum of 4 posts a week to build my content but I’ll be slowing down soon.

    Thanks for the inspiration Michael!

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  • http://twitter.com/WealthyFamilies Hilary Martin, CFP®

    I blog for my business, and I’m just really proud that I’ve kept it up at one post/week all year! 

  • http://lifelessonshopefaithlove.blogspot.com/ Vanessa Tachenko

    Perfect timing! I was about to unsubscribe because of too many posts. I’m sure God will continue to bless you! 

  • Kelly @ No Sugar Sweet Life

    So interesting!  I currently post 5 days a week (every weekday), but would love to post a bit less to have more time for other content development as you mentioned. I just put the question/survey out to my Blog Facebook Page…we’ll see what they say!

  • http://asmithblog.com/ asmithblog

    I too am interested to see what this move does to your traffic. I made the move to 3 times from 5 last year because I became a dad. Takes some adjustment and I’d say that’s pretty important. :) Can’t wait to see what you do with all that extra time. I get tons out of your blog every time Mike. Thank you. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. I am eager to see what happens too. Someone warned me that I might see an initial fall off but to hang in there.

  • http://twitter.com/CampClem Gina Cleminson

    Do you have any thoughts on how to determine when to cut back? I am a reasonably new blogger (started late January this year), and post 5 days/wk, M-F. Some days are very brief–a few words, a thought, an image–and others are much more involved (like a full-on craft tutorial). I see 5000+ views a day, and I thoroughly enjoy blogging (so the pace does not feel strenuous… yet), but I do wonder if I should offer three [possibly better, more fleshed out?] posts MWF rather than five posts M-F. Any magic formula on this?

    I do not visit your blog daily, but when I do, I generally scroll down to see if anything piques my interest in the last few posts… I wonder if my readers view my site in a comparable way, since my posts’ content and focus vary: scrolling the top few / most recent posts to see if there’s anything there for them? So in my case, the five posts might be the most effective… Would love to know the community’s thoughts.
    g i n a

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I would ask your community. I wrote five days a week for more than three years. I think the issue is really the size of your archive. (I have 1,200 posts so far.)
      I don’t think there is a formula. It all depends on how interesting your posts are and what your community wants.
      Thanks.

      • http://twitter.com/CampClem Gina Cleminson

         Thank you for taking the time to offer feedback!

  • Bobbie Cole

    Timothy Ferris has a great philosophy I think. Through the Platform Launch Team, I was able to see him interviewed (thank you, Michael) and he very much goes his own way and doesn’t just accept received wisdom. I am so new to social media and have been on a crash, catch-up course for which I’m very grateful to you, Michael Hyatt.. But I also want to keep in mind Timothy’s ‘I do what works for me and only if I like to do it’ philosophy. Life is too short to make square pegs in round holes of ourselves.

    And, for the record, less posting works for me or I get swamped and read none.

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com/ Chris Jeub

    Tread carefully; this would be a radical change to how you’ve trained 1/4 million subscribers. Judging from the comments, it looks like most agree with you. Allow me to disagree. Stick with your daily posts. Two reasons:

    1. Daily keeps readers on their toes. I admit, I read you 1-2 times per week, but I always am conscious that I’m missing most posts. You don’t even know it, Michael, but you tease me every morning to take a few minutes to read your post. Most days I’m too busy and I turn you down, but it’s that daily reminder that keeps me plugged into your platform.

    2. Daily keeps you on your toes. I’d hate to see you pull back on the great content you provide. PLATFORM was a great book that close readers know was a conglomeration of a couple years of daily blogging. Really, do you think you could pull that off if you let up on the daily discipline?

    Here are some alternative ideas: Increase guest posts, shorten or segment your content, have a “republish day” once a week, feature a video once a week, excerpt from your book once a week. Come up with creative solutions to free up your time, but still provide that 5am email every morning.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Chris. I appreciate your input.

      By the way, I am not letting up on the creative output. It’s just not all going to the blog. I am writing as much as ever.

  • http://dannymullen.net/ Danny

    I like this idea very much.   I switched to your Saturday email months ago because daily was too much.  I will most likely stay on the Saturday Summary email for various reasons, but it will be less data to have to review at once. 

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  • Sue Ryan

    I find great value from everything you have been producing.  You are truly transformational.  That being said, the comment about time to process really resonates with me.  You provide so much of value it really is better to absorb it and internalize it and change my habit.  Thanks for your transparency.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Sue. I appreciate that.

  • Timothy Lynn Burchfield

    Less is more.  Make me look forward to your thoughts.

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  • Cathee3137

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I don’t want to miss anything you post, Michael, but I can’t keep up with the volume. This is great news!!!

  • jimjessbaker

    awesome, i think 3 is a great number! thanks for your blog!  

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  • Dale Lavely

    I want to start reading your blog and the new plan sounds great.

  • http://twitter.com/swmaynes Scott Maynes

    Okay, now I am ready to subscribe Michael.  There is so much good
    content out there that I am compelled to discriminate between good, better, best. 
    For me, less is more.   Since this entry is 2 months old, I will have to catch up to see how your experiment went.  I hope I find it went well.

  • http://rise365.com/ Michael Good

    Michael, 
    So it’s been a few months now, how has it impacted your traffic? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      There was an initial fall off (about 10%), but after about two weeks, it picked right back up. It has no negative impact on my traffic. Thanks.

      • http://rise365.com/ Michael Good

        Good to know. I too will be reducing my posting frequency. My wife and I both write and presently we’re posting seven days a week. It’s actually been one full year of not missing a day. Now, we’re looking to go down to 2 or 3 days a week.

  • urunmania

    thank you for posting

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