Writing a blog can be a real pain in the ass – there I said it. For all of my joy that I experience with writing, there are times where I just stare at the screen and try to will words to write themselves, and not surprisingly they never do. It seems only fair that if Neo can bend the spoon in The Matrix with his mind, then we should just as easily be able to will the words on-screen to write themselves. However, this is not the case (yet) and as such we still need to manually write the blogs. The short answer to how often to update your blog is – once a week to start. If you already blog once a week and knock your posts out of the park like Alex Rodriguez on performance enhancing drugs then by all means blog as much as possible while keeping your quality high. However, my guess is that if you are reading this post you do not blog that often and want to know more about why I recommend once a week. There are three main reasons why I recommend you blog once a week:
1. Quality vs. Quantity
Blogging once a week (at least to start) keeps your quality and quantity high enough for your audience to stay entertained and engaged. It is generally safe to say that any company, with the right amount of discipline and effort, can produce one quality blog per week. The best way is to be disciplined and write for one hour per day. No facebook, no inter-office Google chatting, no YouTube – just blog writing. This discipline of writing every day for an hour makes you a better writer and makes writing a habit. Blogging is like exercise in that way, at first it is painful and you hate it – but once it becomes a habit blogging becomes tolerable and eventually enjoyable.
In the quality vs. quantity argument you need to think of business blogging from the potential customers standpoint. Let’s do an imagination and visualization exercise. Imagine you are your companies ideal customer and you are researching your question on the web. You Google your question, see what looks like a great answer, and click on the link. Once on the page you discover a keyword stuffed article that is poorly written and doesn’t answer your question. Do you ever go back to that site? I would guess you would leave that site and stay away from it like Amity Island residents stayed out of the water while Jaws was swimming around. As a business owner that actually hurts your goal of getting new customers. This potential customer, who previously had never heard of you, now associates your business with garbage content, and besides Oscar the Grouch, nobody like garbage.
This dislike of garbage content continues to Google as well. The search engine actively seeks to keep out spammy and junky sites from the search engine result page. Google knows that users who search on the engine and receive spammy results may leave Google and go to the dreaded rival Bing.
2. Blogging at Least Once a Week Increases Website Traffic
Companies that blog 3 to 5 times per month (about once a week) have more than twice the traffic of those companies who don’t (source). The reason for this shocking statistic is that fresh, quality content is the currency of the internet. Users and Google both want fresh, high quality, updates as often as possible. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the user. Imagine that as a user you visit a company’s site for the first time and absolutely love it. The design is dynamic, the copy keeps you captivated, and the experience is excellent. You bookmark this page and remind yourself to go back to that page again at some point. A week later you are at a Starbucks drinking your Vanilla Latte and surfing the web and decide – I am going back to that page I bookmarked. The page still looks great. Same great copy and same great design, but there is nothing new. You say “Well, I still like this page, I will go back at some point”. Two weeks later you go back to the website and again there is nothing new. You still like the website, but why would you ever go back? You have seen it all and there is nothing new to see on the website. Going back to that page would be like watching Breaking Bad reruns when there is a whole new season of Game of Thrones on the air.
Google also has an interest with freshness that rivals on obsession. A great quote to sum up Google’s feelings on this topic come from the Google blog “Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summers day, are best when they are fresh” (source). The search engine knows that users will only continue to use Google if it constantly updates its search index to have the latest and greatest news. Google, as a company, regularly updates the methodology of how their search engine looks for and indexes content on the web. One of their larger updates was the Google Caffeine update which created a way for Google to crawl the web and look for fresher content on a massive scale. Often you will see these up to the minute results (you can tell because they have the date they were published) as in the screenshot below.
The search engine knows that fresher content is just better. Users want up to the minute results, and by creating blogs once a week, you are telling Google that you have these up to the minute results and that you have an active site.
3. You Keep Your Sanity
This reason has less to do with readers and potential customers, and more with you as a person and a business owner. I have seen too many companies get all amped up about blogging and then fail on the one yard line. Trust me, you need to pace yourself at the beginning. If you are not currently blogging and then suddenly try to do multiple posts per day you are going to burn yourself out like Norm MacDonald’s career. Think about blogging like any other activity – if you go from 0 to 100 in one day you are going to crash. A great analogy to this 0 to 100 blogging strategy is when you see people who never eat healthy, and then all of a sudden, one day they declare that they are just going to live off of nothing but celery. Their diet inevitably fails, they are miserable the whole time they do it, and they are less likely to try a diet again. You want to avoid that cycle of failure. Give yourself some time to get your blog up and running and celebrate the victories when you do. I know you have a million other tasks to do as well. Often the people who run companies are stressed to their breaking point with inventory, payments, dealing with current clients, acquiring new clients, and much more. Blogging is just a piece of what you need to do for your marketing strategy so keep your sanity, blog weekly and keep your quality high.
How often have people told you that you have to blog? What is your biggest frustration with blogging?