How Frequently Should You Update Your Blog?

Notebook

There is a section in Stephen King’s book  On Writing about how writers need to kill their darlings. The gist of it is that editing and rewriting provide an opportunity to tighten up our work.

It is an idea that has value and merit not to mention real life applications to writers/bloggers like you and I. It is also something that I tend to ignore the same way that I ignore people who say there are limits on how frequently you should update your blog.

Those people are often the same people who provide you with a long list of rules for blogging and call themselves Social Media Gurus and experts. Excuse me if that sounded like I was sneering at them. On second thought, don’t excuse me. I don’t cotton to those who call themselves gurus.

Maybe it is because I think that it is among the 12 most irritating words in social media or maybe it is because some guy in a parking lot told me that I am a white man in dire need of a blow job. In case you are wondering I told him that it is never cool to try and insult someone with old movie lines- you almost never can be as cool as the actor who said it in the movie.

The reason it was cool in the movie is because movies are scripted and all the actors follow the script. The only thing more offensive would be for someone to steal your line and try to use it on you. Note to self, videotape encounter with the time traveler.

Does Cursing Belong In Blogging

Now that I have shared the advice of guy in the parking lot I probably should send you over to see what Marcus had to say about whether cursing belongs in blogging.  My own two cents:

When I curse in the post there is a rhyme and reason for it. It is done because it is supposed to add flavor to the soup, but like any spice it should be used sparingly.

My actual comment was longer but since my dear friend Stephen is the published author of many books and I am not I’ll use his advice and slaughter my little darlings. Oops, I think that comment negated my attempt to slaughter my little darlings. No worries, let’s move on,

It would be dishonest of me to claim that I never think about how often I post because I do. The pace I keep up ensures that many readers are unable to keep up with me. Sometimes I wonder if I shoot myself in the foot by doing that. But inevitably I come back to blogging at whatever pace matches my passion.

Writing is the fuel that feeds the fire in my belly. I just love this stuff. A day without writing is unusual. Even if I don’t put pen to paper I am usually composing and constructing stories in my head.

What Happens to Content That Isn’t Commented Upon

Somewhere in the rubble is a post in which I referred to posts without comments as “orphans.” It is sort of a sad thought- a post without comments. If words had feelings you would wonder if they would be hurt by those people who had nothing to say about them.

Sometimes I run those old posts again. If it is a strong post that merits seeing the light of day I will probably recycle it in one way or another.

Occasionally I will link to them in one of my other blogs and see if I can drive traffic to them that way. You might be surprised at how effective that can be. While there may be some overlap between the two of them there are many readers who aren’t aware of the other so it makes sense to give them a push.

It is not a perfect way to try and get more visitors for your blog but it helps. Incidentally, there is one rule of blogging etiquette that I will pass along. No one is obligated to post your trackbacks or publicly acknowledge that you linked to their post. It is ok to let someone know that you linked to them, but it is not cool to try and shame them into acknowledging you.

An Old Favorite

Someone has spent copious amounts of time reading an old post I wrote called Give Me An Example of A Rant. It is rather opportune because the person who set me off visited here today. So for old times sake let me share an excerpt from that:

If you pulled that hot poker out of your oversized ass and dropped the remote control from that fat cheeto covered paw of yours you might actually have a chance of making a point.

But that is about as likely as your ignoring the siren song of stale store bought donuts you left on the kitchen counter you pathetic maggot.

I guess when you father crapped you out he managed to rid himself of some genetic waste.

Go rub some salt up your ass and suck on a rock. And for what it is worth it is considered bad form to rely on Google for insults you silly bastard.

As they say, eat shit and live. And to all my other fans, go fuck yourselves with the nearest kitchen utensil you can find. You are in dire need of a serious orgasm.

Hugs and kisses from someone who doesn’t understand satire.

-Jack

It is almost time for me to stop writing so that I can return to working on the design here. I don’t like the home page and am considering building some kind of landing page instead. Do you have any thoughts in the matter?

Ok, kid it is time to go but before we do let me share the song that has been playing the last three minutes:

Don’t know you, but sometimes I miss The Sopranos. Every time I hear the opening to this song I see Tony driving out of the Lincoln Tunnel and onto the New Jersey turnpike.

As always, your comments are welcome.

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24 Comments

  1. Al Spaulding October 20, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    I have experimented with writing 5 times a week but I find that it kind of forces my writing and doesn’t flow out of me So i have bumped it down to 3-4 times a week.I just go with the flow.

    ~AL

    • Jack October 20, 2011 at 11:28 pm

      I am a big fan of going with the flow. Unless you are in a position where you need to be able to write regardless of the circumstances it makes sense to me to ease off a bit when you don’t feel it.

  2. AstroGremlin October 18, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    When I first began, I had one post. It’s still there. It feels good to look back and have a collection. The reason not to update too often is to have blogs with photos that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to send a friend.

  3. Gini Dietrich October 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    It’s looking nice around here! I hope you’re having fun doing it.

    Whenever I’m asked (quite often) how often someone should blog, I recommend consistency vs. a certain number of days. If you decide you want to test it out, make the commitment to blog by a certain time on the same day of each week.

    That allows you to begin to build readers and subscribers because people know what to expect. You can always add on from there.

    • Jack October 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm

      Hello Gini,

      Thank you. It has been fun…most of the time. Won’t say that it hasn’t been frustrating because it has, but most of it has been ok.

      I agree with you about consistency and the need to meet expectations.

  4. Amy October 18, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I came here because you commented on Chloe’s blog. I had read that upcycling/recycling blog post once upon a time. I don’t remember where I saw it linked. I am never sure what to do about “orphans” but I did go through just last week and deleted 15-20 posts that seemed irrelevant now.

    My most clicked-upon post ever was when I posted the birth video of my now-nearly-8-year old. Oh my goodness, I had something like 6 gigs of traffic in just a few days. My host wasn’t happy. I *still* get hits from people clicking on old links to find that video.

    So if I was really just after traffic, I suppose I could put that baby back up.

    • Jack October 18, 2011 at 5:40 pm

      I rarely delete old posts although I sometimes think that it is a mistake. I suppose that I keep them because they help to chronicle the progression of my skills and there are a few memories that are worth saving.

      That baby video sounds like quite the traffic generator. Were you nervous or concerned about sharing that?

  5. Playstead October 18, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Lurkers are the bread and butter of anyone’s audience. And you never know who they’re sending posts to. The silent majority.

  6. DorkDad October 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    I TOTALLY hear you about the comment-less orphan posts. I usually get more than a few hits on my new posts just from the Facebook link I put up, but rarely any comments – and almost none from people besides friends and family. Granted, I’ve only been at it for four months, but you get into blogging to CONNECT with people outside your sphere of influence. It’s easy to get down on blogging when that doesn’t happen.

    • Jack October 17, 2011 at 11:55 pm

      Four months is a very short time. It takes a while for most bloggers to find their voice, hit their stride and build a community.

      Keep pushing and good things will happen.

  7. Jeane October 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I think on occasion we could all use a bit of an edit but it sure can feel like losing a leg at times. I am in complete agreement with you–I can’t stand guru in social media terms. Every time I hear someone say that I picture a dude in sandals praying in the corner. Not that there is anything wrong with that I just don’t want their advice on blogging or social media.
    I don’t mind lurkers and often lurked myself. Sometimes it is just enjoyable to read and not have to comment.

    • Jack October 17, 2011 at 11:52 pm

      I definitely don’t mind lurkers at all. I am just very curious and wonder what they like or don’t like etc.

      You made me laugh with you description of gurus.

  8. LyzzyBee_Libro October 17, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Interesting post. I update my blog a few times a week, but with different themes (2 specifically language-orientated, one business interview and one longer opinion piece on business or writing a week, plus the odd cafe review). I ran a survey for my readers a while back and found they were happy with this amount of content from me per week, probably because it’s varied.

    I recycle old posts too. I don’t particularly re-use them as such; I don’t repost, but what I do is draw attention to them again, maybe link to them … and there they are.

    I do have a few orphans, though …

    • TheJackB October 17, 2011 at 3:00 pm

      @LyzzyBee_Libro If you are happy with your schedule/system and feel like it helps you to meet your goals than you are absolutely doing the right thing, or so I would argue.

      I am a fan of recycling old posts. New readers show up all the time so there is always going to be an audience that hasn’t seen them before.

      • Liz Broomfield October 17, 2011 at 10:43 pm

        Exactly – and my readers have told me they like it that way, too.

        And indeed, also some of mine are useful at particular times of year, e.g. essay tips for new students and the dissertation tips for later in their study career.

  9. StartYourNovel October 17, 2011 at 6:18 am

    I miss The Sopranos, but every show exhausts itself eventually. The series finale, which some have called ‘a non-ending,’ is brilliant. Because you’ll never know what happens when Meadow joins her family at the diner.

    I call that “respecting the viewer’s imagination.” Something that George Lucas used to appreciate before he turned Darth Vader into a fascist whiner.

    How often should you update your blog? As often as you want. But that leads me to the question on Dino Dogan’s post today, ‘Can you bring the thunder every time’?

    I think that bringing the thunder is what really matters.

    • Jack October 17, 2011 at 8:05 am

      John, I think that we’ll agree that the best writing is that which stimulates the readers/viewers imagination.

      If we do a proper job of “setting the table” they’ll fill in all of the blanks and come away feeling like they had an outstanding experience.

      It is important to make the the effort to bring the thunder every time, but there is also room, reason and place for practicing our skills.

      Sometimes you don’t recognize or realize that you have brought the thunder.

  10. BruceSallan October 17, 2011 at 5:46 am

    I miss Tony, too!

  11. Lori October 17, 2011 at 4:40 am

    Hi jack,

    “Slaughter the little darlings” – LOL I’m with Stephen. Why squander and randomly scatter the precious words? I enjoy a succinct article which makes the point with few words.

    🙂

    Lori

  12. AlanKercinik October 17, 2011 at 3:57 am

    I feel like your advice is right. Post whenever you feel like you have the time and something you want to say.

    Orphans, as you call them, are only a worry if your goal is to be the Oprah of blogging. (A worthy goal, to be sure.) But you’d be surprised how many lurkers are out there who read and never comment. If you had something to say, posted and got no visible reaction, it doesn’t matter. You put it out there.

    • Jack October 17, 2011 at 7:38 am

      I never forget about the lurkers. I find them to be among the most interesting people online. I wonder who they are, why they read what they read and why they don’t comment.

      There is no obligation to do so, but when you see them in the stats day after day you start to wonder.

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