How Often Should You Update Your Blog?

by Derek Halpern · 38 comments

Have you ever heard someone say this:

“If you don’t update your blog daily, there’s no reason for people to visit it.”

To that, I say “Ha!”

In reality, as a blogger who’s looking to attract their first few thousand readers, updating your blog daily is one of the worst things you can do.

I’ll explain.

You Don’t Need Content…

If you have less than 1,000 readers, you don’t need content. You need readers.

And despite what those pseudo “experts” tell you, content DOES NOT equal readers.

Look at it like this:

Yes, more content creates more opportunities to rank in search engines and to score social media traffic.

But the sad truth is that those opportunities are almost impossible to capitalize on as a new blogger.

After all, new blogs don’t have links so they don’t rank well, and new blogs don’t have readers so they have no one to share their content.

If Content Doesn’t Help, What Does?

Exposure. Lots of exposure.

When you want your first 1,000 readers, you can write your heart out on your blog and you’ll never get ‘em.

(Or, well, you might, but it will take a long time)

However, if you reallocate your time from writing for your blog to working on getting exposure, you can get 1,000 (or even 10,000) readers in no time at all.

For example, back when I launched Social Triggers, it grew into one of the leading blogs about marketing in less than a year.

Why?

Because I made sure my name popped up on every major blog about marketing that I could find.

It wasn’t about the content. It was about my name.

So, How Often Should You Update Your Blog?

In the beginning, a few times a month should suffice.

Then, with all your newly found free time, you should work on getting your name plastered all over related blogs.

How can you pull that off?

1. You can write guest posts

While I’m not a fan of guest posting, this is one of the easiest ways to get your name on a large blog. You give content, the large blog gives you exposure.

(As a matter of fact, if you’re interested in writing about blogging or Thesis, you can pitch me ideas at news (at) diythemes (dot) com).

2. You can invite people to interview you

Interviews are a great way to get exposure. As a matter of fact, I like them more than guest posts because you’re the center of attention… not your content.

(Narcissism aside, being the center of attention usually means you get more traffic).

3. You can land major press mentions

This is tough, but when done using “the drafting technique,” it’s a cinch.

(The short of it is this: Find who’s getting press in your industry, and see if you can land it too).

Be Careful: When You Update Infrequently…

The idea of updating infrequently is new to most people, which means you may do it wrong.

What should you look out for?

When you take this approach, you’ve got to make sure your blog is geared towards converting visitors into readers.

And that means one thing:

Build your email list.

If you go the “old route” of promoting social media profiles and RSS feeds, the exposure will be pointless.

You’ll get hits, but you won’t win readers because email marketing crushes social media marketing.

Luckily, when you own Thesis, building an email list is a cinch.

I wrote a simple tutorial on how to add a feature box to your Thesis design. Read that here.

If you don’t know what a feature box is, here’s the quick version:

I began promoting the feature box last year, and it took off like wildfire. Everyone started using it because, yes, it’s great at turning visitors into emails.

And if you don’t have Thesis, do yourself a favor and try it out today. (It’s risk-free. If you don’t fall in love in 30 days, you can get your money-back).

On that note, what do you think?

How often should you update your blog?

About the Author: Derek Halpern ran marketing at DIYthemes, and is the founder of Social Triggers. To get more tips on how to be confident, sign up to his list here.

If you enjoyed this article, enter your email below to get free updates!

{ 38 comments }

Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate

I like the interview idea.

Donovan Owens

Very nice post Derek. We update our blog 3 days a week.

You always have excellent information.

Megan Heaney

Great post Derek. I can vouch for the effectiveness of using the feature box to build email lists, I’ve seen it work over and over again.

Unless you’ve got a news style blog, I think posting more than once a week is too much – if I see a blogger posting almost every day, I’ve noticed I subconsciously start to value their content less.

I think it’s based on the assumption that if they are able to post that often they’re either not spending much time or effort on each post or they’re not actually ‘doing’ anything that warrants blogging about. Either way the result is that my subconscious decides the content is less valuable and I find myself skipping it.

On the other hand if there’s a great blogger that only posts a few times a month I’m definitely going to read those posts because I know they’ll be solid and I know that there won’t be another one coming along in a day or two.

Do you have a rigid posting schedule for the DIY Themes blog and Social Triggers?

TastefullyJulie

Ok, you just rocked my world. I’m going to have to re-evaluate some things.

adam mclane

The advice on this flip flops back and forth.

In this post, the motive is so clear… “get a lot of followers.” I suppose if that’s your sole goal in blogging, along with its kissing cousin of “make money while blogging” than this is decent advice.

But if you really want to become a blogger you need to fall in love with writing. There are tons of people with tons of traffic out there who have utterly crappy content.

The reality is that if you want to endure as a blogger you’ll need to do 3 things.
1. Develop some life rhythm that creates space to write.
2. Love your content – be proud of it and willing to brag about it a bit.
3. Edit your stuff – if its full of things that don’t make sense or spelling errors, you aren’t going to get very far. Most than just grammar… you need outside voices to push you to do better!

Derek Halpern

There are also tons of blogs out there with GREAT content that have no readers.

Tim Frisch

Derek, I like your post. How often to blog always seems to be a question my clients have to me. These are really useful answers, I’ll make sure to send them to this post.

Dev

Hi Derek,

Nice post, as always. I think it really does depend on the age of the blog. I update my most of the blogs 5 times a week and it works really well.

I’m already using Thesis for most of my blogs and setting up aweber form is one of the first things I do after installing WordPress.

Thanks for sharing, Derek. Hope you had a great weekend.

-Dev

daphne

You make some interesting points here. I’ve been trying to balance adding content with exposure and this was a good reminder. I found Ben Hunt’s book Content! very interesting in terms of his idea of funneling traffic to your site through your content, so I have been focusing on that as well as SEO.

Any thoughts on how to get guest posting gigs? As someone who is just getting started, I am not necessarily an authority so it’s not like anyone wants my guest post!

PCTechBytes

We update several times a week only if we have something important to say. Some weeks it might be seven times, some weeks it might be three.

Teo Coach

I forgot to tell you about … ( as you mentioned if anyone intend writing about blogging or Thesis…) I intend my blog to monetize by affiliate marketing selling products writing reviews. I already started writing Reviews just a couple of days ago. I will write a a Review on Thesis Theme to get affiliate buyers. It will be in spanish but I can translate it to you and then you post it if you like it… What do you think? My point of view will be really neutral …

As I told you before… Your interlinking kills me dead!! hah. I will have to read the Drafting technique.

Uff now that you mention it, Next week Im going to a radio to have an interview on my activity. Hope it converts lots of visits and some sells. The guys at the radio shoot a video and also give you the mp3…Uff what an experience…

Stay well
T

Rebecca Olkowski

Hi Derek,
You always make so much sense. The idea of getting exposure as opposed to writing aimless content is so true. Quality is much more effective than quantity. I also agree with your idea that it is important to focus on email rather than plastering your blog sidebar with social media icons, ads, RSS, etc. Thanks so much for always setting me straight.
Rebecca

Danny Cruz

Can I say something Derek? I miss the old HTML emails. :( Yes, the one’s that used to look just like these blog pages. Oh well, I guess you can’t please everyone. Anyway… Great post. I making big changes in the next 2 months – Guest posting will be one of them. I’ve done it in the past, just not frequently enough.

Sean Davis

What effect do you think posting infrequently has on potential readers? Will they even care how often you post if you don’t have dates in your byline and on the comments?

For a couple of weeks now, I have been considering removing the dates and I wonder if it’s a good idea or not. It seems to me like the only real reason to show the dates on a blog whose content isn’t really time-dependent is to show people how often you post.

Is that even necessary?

zimbrul

I think the best is to write 2 times a week some good articles. Blog Tyrant, one of my favourite bloggers write probably 5 articles a month but they get quite an attention as the guy write well and gives good advice.

Alissa

Hi Sean, just looked back and found this comment-
I’ve been toying with the idea of removing dates as well, but I don’t think I will. For my type of blog at least (parenting), I think the dates do help my readers get oriented and I think without dates they might feel less able to connect with me. I also find that they don’t turn readers off. My second most popular post right now is a year old- it’s been getting fresh comments and shares since it has now been spreading around on Pinterest.
I may at some point think about moving the date or making it even less noticeable, but I don’t know that it needs to be a high priority.

Sean Davis

Thanks for the comment, Alissa! There sure are arguments for both sides, making it really hard to decide. I’ll have to continue to give it some thought.

Michael

Well-timed article for me. I just set up several new blogs, and had the awful pressure of wanting to keep them updated daily (in addition to all the other prep work) to show readers they are “alive.”

I’m also interested to see what the consensus is regarding removing dates from bylines…

Jeff B.

I would like to second Michael’s question about dates in bylines as well as dates in the comments section. The dates in some cases add to the relevancy of the article and also indicates how fresh and relevant the blog is, unless there is a lot of evergreen subject matter. The post title and first several lines help me decide whether I continue on with the rest of the article.

Alissa

Ha! Thank you, this is what I needed to read this morning. I think this applies to those of us who have readers too, because sometimes you’ve just GOT to focus on other aspects of your blog or it will start falling apart. I’ve been doing really well with getting email sign ups, but have had to slow WAY down on posting. I guess I appreciate the little boost of confidence.

Timo Kiander

This is great advice!

In fact, I changed my posting schedule to be every second week (twice per week).

This gives me more time to:

- Study new material
- Create case studies
- Create better interviews
- Experiment and test tools and techniques related to my topic
- Engage with my list

Also, with the addition of playing a very passive role on social media from now on, I’m really looking forward to create new things (and not just post after post).

Cheers,
Timo

Usman Latif

This is great. I especially like the idea of not running after the content as most people do and preach. Exposure is the key if you have a few good articles written.

How about a post on Maintaining a Blogging Calendar or how do you maintain a calendar for your blog? I’ve been researching and expecting expert advice on it.

Thanks

Tim Anderson

Practical and useful advice. My question is, how to align ourselves to become somebody that will get someone interested to interview us?

From my experience, they at least to be an author. Or probably someone to get the results. What if we are still new in this field? How to we get that kind of exposure.

Thank your for taking your time to read and reply this comment.

Rina Hattingh

Hi Derek
I’m on a very steep learning curve with my first website and blog. Two months ago I didn’t really know what a blog is.
At this stage I think I’ll update when there is something worthwhile to add.

Thanks, I learn from your experience

nancy ross vecchione

I update frequently but I think it’s the nature of my blog (I write wedding blogs) Since many of these consist not so much of writing but of finding info and sharing it with brides and mob’s to help them plan weddings it’s a little different than some blogs. I think how often you post depends on the type of blog you write. Some blogs require long background research or time consuming writing. Mine consist more of things like ’10 Ways To Use Mason Jars for you DIY Wedding.’ My lifestyle blog I also write about four times a week because it’s picked up by the daily paper’s RSS feed, some of those readers have moved over to reading my wedding blogs as well. JMHO. But will take your info under advisement.

jezza101

It’s the age old question isn’t it – post more or promote more? Which is “better”.

You need a bit of both of course. You can’t promote an empty site which is of no interest, and there is no point crafting dozens of great posts if no one sees them.

I’m not sure it is a lot of use saying one or the other is more important, it is easy to put forward great arguments in favour of both activities. I would suggest people think on their feet and constantly be on the look out for good PR whilst working away on content.

That said, promotion is the only one of the two that can happen “naturally”. I didn’t do any promotion of my biggest site (around 100k hits a month). Google picked it up, people liked it and linked to it. Within one week of putting up the first all important posts I was getting 1000s of hits per day.

Perhaps I got lucky? But one thing’s for sure, people will promote my site for me through natural sharing, but no one is going to build it for me ;) !

Barbara | Creative Culinary

I love to read comments from others who blog about topics of interest and are ‘writers’ and it confirms how I feel about my blog and my skillset. People insist I’m a writer but I’ll tell you…I still feel like I blog because I am a cook and I want to share the foods I love; if I have to write along with that so be it but it’s not where I find my most joy.

That being said, I work hard to get two posts done per week, understanding that each post I do requires planning, shopping, cooking, photography and writing. I started doing 3 a week and was quickly headed towards burnout; this is a part time role, I have a full time business to run too!

However, whether food and recipes or straight editorial, I always choose quality of content. I would rather see less articles with character than many just to fill an agenda of one per day and quite frankly, if I got an article a day delivered from any of the blogs I follow…I would mostly likely unsubscribe. Just too much from one person when I want to keep up on many blogs. Just my two cents.

Lindsay

Invaluable advice Derek, thank you so much! Just yesterday I noticed my next to paralyzing fear of having to come up with so much (free!) content. This has allayed my terror and I feel much more focused today.

Will be scouring your other content now;)

Lindsay

Jose Tinto

But when I have started I got the same advice that to update the blog everyday. It sure helps if you are looking only for search engine visitors. In these days I update my content once in a week.

Rob, A Kiwi in Chile

This is something we were just discussing today about the frequency of posts on our new blogs. We decided to go twice or three times a week to get some content out there and to avoid it looking like tumbleweeds are blowing through it.
For one of our oldest blogs, I just update it whenever I have something to say.
As for whether to put the dates or not, that is a tough one. Personally I go for keeping them there for now.

Rachel

I love thesis, and I love reading your posts. Great points and suggestions, Thanks!

The Nerdy Nurse

I think new bloggers need to be updating a little more often than a few times a month. A few times a week sounds more accurate. You need to be pinging those search engines with your content and building content. When readers find you you want them to have something to read, don’t you?

Robnonstop

Thank you Derek, but do you send out an email for every blog post or just collect the addresses for when you have a product, or do it like YouTube and bundle links to several blog posts into one email?

Jeff the Entrepreneur

Hi Derek,

Nice article. Well said.
Writing great contents and expecting readers to find you is like building a baseball field in the middle of the corn field and expecting players to find it.

Yup I agree. Content is the king but marketing is the queen.
We need both!

Benaiah Marshall

Derek,

Nice article. I agree with you 100%. I do think that content is key, but having content just to have content has the possibility of alienating your readers.

Quality over Quantity any day, is my opinion.

Jonny Rowntree

I second that opinion Benaiah. If your content isn’t credible or readable, you’re just wasting the time the person on the other side has.

David

Good work Derek, I especially like the idea of being interviewed. That’s a good one.

Jonny Rowntree

Great post Derek. I post twice on a weekly basis – Saturdays and Wednesdays work well for me as it always gives me a new target to reach each week.

I’ve never thought about the interview idea before but I’ll be sure to try and get some attention!