Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Blogging Advice
Posted by: Jon Henke on Monday, July 10, 2006

Eric Kintz has an interesting essay on why posting a lot of content is less important than posting worthwhile content. This dovetails with some of what I discussed on the recent Virginia blogging conference Enhancing and Promoting Your Blog panel. Kintz' most interesting points...
#1- Traffic is generated by participating in the community; not daily posting
It seems to me that generating and adding to 'sphere wide discussion does more for credibility and traffic than does "posting a lot". If everybody and their brother is posting the same set of facts, there's probably not much need for your repetition. Unless you have done some keen insight, unique perspective or new facts...don't waste your readers time with blog clutter.
#2 – Traffic is irrelevant to your blog’s success anyway
This isn't entirely true, of course, but it's worth noting that, while traffic is nice, reaching the "influentials" — other bloggers, journalists, pundits, politicos, etc — is more important to helping shape the public discourse. The "influentials" are almost certainly more interested in the unique research and information synthesis you might do than in the aforementioned blog clutter.
#4 - Frequent posting is actually starting to have a negative impact on loyalty: [...] With too many posts, you run the risk of losing loyal readers, overwhelmed by the clutter you generate. Readers will start to tune off if your blog takes up too much of their time.
The value of a gold nugget decreases if you have to sift through mountains to get to it.

Kintz' reason #6 is that "[f]requent posting drives poor content quality", and this (almost) cannot be overemphasized. If you want to build an audience, don't just repeat the stories that have already been written. Do research. Bring something thoughtful, nuanced and unique to the table; something that's not being said anywhere else; something challenging. Otherwise, who needs you?

UPDATE: via Instapundit, I see Sista Toldjah is also offering good blogging advice, the most important of which is the suggestion that you blog for yourself about the stuff you care about...
What’s important to you is what you should focus on. A mistake some bloggers make (in my opinion) is trying to be too much like other bloggers and only blogging about what those other bloggers find important. Bottom line: be yourself. Sure, there are bloggers out there who’s styles I admire but I’d like to think I have my own style, while at the same time learning tips on how to be a better blogger by perusing other blogs. It’s also not a bad idea to find a niche and make that your predominant focus: like conservative women’s issues, or immigration, etc. Note: only do this if it’s something you enjoy! Don’t create a niche just to drive traffic to your site unless that’s what you enjoy blogging about.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
A couple of criticisms of the article:

It’s possible that this guys is overrating the impact of RSS feeds, at least at present. My own impressions from six months of tech blogging was that about one-third of that audience depended mainly on RSS feeds to find out when new material was available. I’d expect the percentage in the general political-blog-reader community to be well under that.

I’ve tried about four or five RSS aggregators, and none of them have stuck. For political blog reading, I find it’s easier and a better experience to just visit them regularly. That will hopefully change as RSS aggregation technology matures. But for today, I think a successful blogger has to assume that the majority of readers are folks who drop by the main blog page with some regularity and see if there’s anything new.

He also does not differentiate between blogs that tend to have long posts vs. those that have short posts. Glenn Reynolds posts several items a day, but you can typically see them all on a single screen because they’re all so short. That means he never suffers the problems the author refers to about too much content or poor quality content. I’d agree that blogs with long posts are subject to both problems, but the "linker vs. thinker" dichotomy is important to take into account when worrying about those problems.

He’s right in saying that more original thinking is better than repetitious "Man, are those on the other side idiots or what?" piling on. But that won’t change by just exhorting people to do better. We can’t all be Steven den Beste or Jeff Goldstein. Even the ones who potentially could often can’t do it for free. I’d say Sturgeon’s Law applies to blogging just as much as anything else, except maybe the percentage is well above 90.

 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Ditto what Billy has to say. My personal experience counteracts some of their philosophizing.

Most of my readers aren’t using RSS. Most still come in via links on a blogroll or bookmark. Daily blogging is still a good idea for that kind of readership because when they visit they see something new. When I take time off for any prolonged period, like I did for my honeymoon, my traffic takes a major hit. And while traffic isn’t everything, you can’t lose eyeballs and assume you’re only losing the eyeballs that don’t matter.

I also know that in my own reading, I delist blogs that go inactive for weeks at a time without notice. It keeps my blogroll lean. Now if I aggregated I might not do that, but I don’t aggregate.

You can’t completely neglect metablogging which is becoming more important as the size of the blogosphere increases. Niche metabloggers are very important in pulling the diamonds from the rough. They also don’t tend to overwhelm even with high posting volume, so the more is worse paradigm doesn’t apply.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
I post a new article, usually a short one about every other or every third day. I get some traffic but I get very few comments. What I would like are more comments so I can respond, and a regular group of people who can "bat the ball around".
I blog about culture, sports, politics, and personal things, I try to mix in visuals and a sense of humor, but have not been able to break through to the next level.
In the sites where I usually post, Here, Red State, Betsy, Annika, a few others I often have people responding to what I say, So i know I cannot be too boring.
I am just not sure what I can do to get more participation.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Post something everyday, Kyle. Readership is about habit. They come looking and they’re not disappointed. So they come again. Start disappointing them with no new content and they’ll look elsewhere.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Frequent posts: the number one reason I no longer visit Huffington Post. The sheer number of posts is overwhelming. Myself, I try for one or two a day, but only if I have something to say.

RSS feeds: While I follow blogs via RSS feeds, casual readers do not. I have a lot more people who visit my blog regularly than I do people who read it thru an RSS feed.

Original postings: Here is my big beef of the blogsphere. The "me,too" posts are so boring. The blogs I read regularly - like this one - are the ones that offer real content. And it is why I am participating in Weekend without Echos I have a rule for myself: unless I have something fresh to add to the conversation, I won’t post a piece on something that is already covered elsewhere.

I will say that, like Kyle, I wish that more of my readers would make comments.



 
Written By: Vivian J. Paige
URL: http://vivianpaige.wordpress.com
I have to disagree with McQ’s advice above. In fact, he is going exactly counter to what Jon and Kintz are saying.

Regular postings are necessary to some degree, but daily postings are not - especially if you don’t really have anything to say and you end up forcing it, or giving a linkfest with "heh" at the bottom.

I don’t purport to be an expert on how to make a big, successful blog, or even on how to get good replies to articles. But I do know that I don’t give up checking a good blog if they slow down to 3 posts a week or so - after all, we’re lucky to get that out of the likes of George Will, and I haven’t yet been put off from his writing.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
A long time ago, I read an SF short story about a spaceship that crash-landed on a planet recently discovered to be populated with a sentient culture. It was about to be amalgamated into the "Planetary Federation", or whatever, but only offically and after a given date, in order that no other culture in the federation would have a head-start on productive/hegemonic intercourse.

So, the crash-landing was a policy disaster, because all these off-worlders were running around with the locals when they shouldn’t have been.

One official on this spaceship was a linguist, employed by the federation. She quickly became adept with the local language, and was taken into the courts of power, but that’s about as far as she went: strictly formal courtesies were offered as she got on with the locals, but they always kept her on a short leash.

Another person on the crashed ship was skilled in aerodynamics. And it turned out that, because of the nature of their atmosphere, the locals were pretty adept aerialists, designing and flying gliders. This off-worlder observed certain deficiencies in their thinking, however. For instance, they were still warping wings for flight control, and he was able to impart to them — a great deal by practical demonstration — the concept of proper flight controls (with moving surfaces).

The story went on. At the end, the day of Federation arrived, and a High Official had a conversation with these two crash-landers that went, in essence, like this:

"I don’t get it. She’s an accomplished linguist, able to talk a blue-streak with the locals, and they lead her around like a dog. You dropped in without any of those skills, and you’re getting along with them just great."

"Well," said the off-worlder, "I guess you just have to have something to say."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don’t worry about it. If, on any given day, I don’t have anyting to say, then I don’t bother. I don’t get some of the monster traffic that others do, but people who know my place are pretty consistent in their interest. It works for me.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Those with nothing to say also have no style, and can have none."

(George Bernard Shaw)
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I have to disagree with McQ’s advice above. In fact, he is going exactly counter to what Jon and Kintz are saying.
And we’ve about doubled our readership in a year. QED
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Oh, the correlation = causation point. Well, like I said, I still read George Will.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
So they just show up because there is nothing else to do or read?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Not at all, McQ. I check your site daily because there is frequently a really good (or at least interesting) point being made by one of you.

But if you guys posted less frequently, I would still visit regularly. Maybe not daily, but regularly. And your points would still be made and appreciated.

It is definitely the quality of your site that makes me reference it in the first place - not the quantity. Obviously quantity plays some role - if you had the greatest insights in the blogosphere and you only posted once a year, that would be a sucky website. But I really think it’s a secondary consideration.

I don’t mean to butt heads with you on this, but Jon’s post and the article it referenced suggested that quantity should be of secondary importance. I agree. I don’t think your readership doubled primarily because of daily postings... I’ve seen sites that are updated daily but never have anything to say. Maybe I’m wrong... but if you and Jon are each attributing the quality of QandO to different things, it might be a little early to bust out a "QED" on me.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Plus, if you read point #1 that Kintz makes, he specifically notes that there is a difference between top bloggers and newer ones. If Kyle is trying to drive up readership on his blog, he probably doesn’t want the same tactics that you, Jon, and Dale follow. As Kintz says in point #10,
If you want to be a top 50 Technorati blogger, you will most probably still need to post several times a day. But for the rest of us, we should think seriously about the added value of frequent blogging.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
1st I’m pretty good at computers (degreed many years ago) but I have no idea what RSS is. BUT if it is something that alerts me to "new" posts with pop ups or some such nonsense I didn’t want it.

2nd I agree with quality over quantity so that a meaningful discussion has a chance to occur. Something on the order of 5 to 10 (max) a day.
 
Written By: DCB
URL: http://
Plus, if you read point #1 that Kintz makes, he specifically notes that there is a difference between top bloggers and newer ones. If Kyle is trying to drive up readership on his blog, he probably doesn’t want the same tactics that you, Jon, and Dale follow. As Kintz says in point #10,
My advice is more to a new blogger than a top one as requested (by Kyle).

You can’t get people into the habit of reading your blog if you post sporadically. You build readership, it’s doesn’t just show up one day.

For a new blogger the best way to build readership is to post consistently and regularly. Obviously it has to have some interest, but frequency does have benefit, especially to someone trying to win readers.

And I’d add that Jon and Kintz are offering their opinions, and I’m offering mine.
If you want to be a top 50 Technorati blogger, you will most probably still need to post several times a day. But for the rest of us, we should think seriously about the added value of frequent blogging.
Well I don’t think we’ll ever be a top 50 Technorati blogger, but we did break 1,000 today for the first time I can remember (943).

Not bad.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
It’s possible that this guys is overrating the impact of RSS feeds, at least at present.
Yeah, I’ve never really thought much of RSS. Useful for some, I’m sure, but not really a part of my diet. And I’m not at all sure how it should figure into blog traffic considerations. I’m not sure posting frequency really affects that, either.
Daily blogging is still a good idea for that kind of readership because when they visit they see something new. When I take time off for any prolonged period, like I did for my honeymoon, my traffic takes a major hit.
Oh, reasonably frequent posting IS important. When I refer to "clutter", it’s the stuff that doesn’t really add new information. If I can see it on Instapundit or in the Washington Post, then you probably don’t need to repeat it on your blog. If you can’t add something substantive to what I can see in typical Drudge/Atrios/Instapundit/Google News rounds, then you probably don’t need to blog the thing in the first place. (naturally, the rules are different for aggregators like Instapundit)
What I would like are more comments so I can respond, and a regular group of people who can "bat the ball around".
If you want commenters and increased traffic, you have to earn them. Research. Say something unique and then let people know about it. Find an unfilled niche. Blog about stuff at which you’re an expert — or become expert about what you’re blogging. Even if it’s just "expert enough for a substantive post".

Remember, the blogosphere is a free market. You have to earn their eyeballs by giving them more value than they can get elsewhere.
Frequent posts: the number one reason I no longer visit Huffington Post. The sheer number of posts is overwhelming.
Exactly. If they posted one or two well-written important pieces, I’d probably read it. But people telling us ’what they think’ about stories we’ve already seen? I can read that anywhere.
unless I have something fresh to add to the conversation, I won’t post a piece on something that is already covered elsewhere.
THAT is an excellent rule. If all bloggers followed it, the blogosphere would be far better.
Regular postings are necessary to some degree, but daily postings are not - especially if you don’t really have anything to say and you end up forcing it, or giving a linkfest with "heh" at the bottom.
I absolutely agree. I think a lot of good bloggers probably do have something worthwhile to say every day. But I doubt many of them have 5-6 worthwhile things to say every day. The problem, I think, is that a lot of people think they have more to say than they really do.
I don’t worry about it. If, on any given day, I don’t have anyting to say, then I don’t bother. I don’t get some of the monster traffic that others do, but people who know my place are pretty consistent in their interest. It works for me.
I agree. You’re a good example of a blogger who has found his niche, and who will be read for what he has to say, rather than how often he says it. Nobody goes to your blog to hear a run down of the top stories of the day; they go to hear what Billy Beck is thinking about. You’ve achieved that precisely because you occupy a niche and fill it with stuff about which you care and have thought a great deal.
And we’ve about doubled our readership in a year. QED
I don’t think that’s the case. Also, being indexed by Google News, we may not be an ideal example.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
I don’t think that’s the case. Also, being indexed by Google News, we may not be an ideal example.
A) first you have to write something to be picked up by Google News and

B) people who come for the news have to come back for something else or you only get spikes. We’ve got a pretty consistent 3,000 to 3,500 number every day (but weekends). And that is a number that has grown from about a 1,500 average about a year ago when we were also indexed by Google News.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
A) first you have to write something to be picked up by Google News
Yes, in our case. Not for most bloggers. The fact that we are indexed by Google News means that our traffic patterns are not ideal comparisons.
B) people who come for the news have to come back for something else or you only get spikes.

No, we get consistent GN traffic every day. We get spikes now and then, but GN consistently adds quite a lot to our every day traffic.
We’ve got a pretty consistent 3,000 to 3,500 number every day (but weekends). And that is a number that has grown from about a 1,500 average about a year ago when we were also indexed by Google News.
That is simply false. After the 2004 election (when we were averaging about 4000 a day) we settled down to about 3,000 daily visits (per sitemeter). It’s gone up slightly since then — May was an outlier strong month — but it’s generally been between 3-4k a day since early 2005.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
That is simply false. After the 2004 election (when we were averaging about 4000 a day) we settled down to about 3,000 daily visits (per sitemeter). It’s gone up slightly since then — May was an outlier strong month — but it’s generally been between 3-4k a day since early 2005.
Actually we settled down to about 2,000 a day and we’ve built it up since then. And at one point in there we were averaging about 1,500 a day for a few months.
No, we get consistent GN traffic every day. We get spikes now and then, but GN consistently adds quite a lot to our every day traffic.
No we get consistent Google searches every day. We get a few Google News spikes.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Well, this discussion seems to involve mostly the professionals in the blogging world. But for what this layperson’s perspective is worth, this what motivates me to read and participate in blogs:

1. A daily supply of solid content, preferably linking to (or least referencing) other sources.

2. A thorough and civil discussion, which means allowing enough time for the discussion to mature.

3. Most of all, confidence that the blogger(s) maintain those qualities that distinguish the internet: independence and integrity. In a word, credibility.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Actually we settled down to about 2,000 a day and we’ve built it up since then. And at one point in there we were averaging about 1,500 a day for a few months.
We were at 2000 a day very briefly after the ’04 election, but it’s been 3000 a day consistently for well over a year. I’m not sure what else to tell you. Look at the data for the past year. Per sitemeter — which, if not perfect, is at least consistent — July ’05 is not half what we’re getting today and, though we had a brief decline immediately following the ’04 election, it was brief and we were back up close to 3000 in early ’05. We have not doubled our readership in a year. I’ve been watching sitemeter every day, and outside of the occassional spike, it’s been pretty consistent.
No we get consistent Google searches every day. We get a few Google News spikes.
I’m not sure you understand how the GN thing works. We do get consistent GN traffic, because everything we write is indexed by GN. We also get Google traffic, but I guarantee we have at the very least hundreds of GN hits every single day. We sometimes get spikes because, due to whatever algorithm GN uses, our stories sometimes get more prominent placement.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Apparently we follow this differently.

I do it by time. In the past, speaking of about a year or so ago (give or take a few months) we used to reach 1,000 on Site Meter at about 2 to 3 pm.

That meant we’d pull in about 2,000 - 2500 that day.

Now we hit 1,000 at, well today for instance, 9:30 am. That’s not all "Google News" or Google searches.

Now I figure that if we’re not at 2,000 at about noon, we’re having a slow day.

Another thing to be figured into those monthly totals are the spikes, some of which go as high as 10,000. I’m not talking about those as a part of what I see as a pretty consistent daily number (they mostly level out the weekends where we draw about 2,000). Yes I know Site Meter averages. And yes I know those spikes are part of that average. But I monitor this stuff daily because I enjoy it and it interests me. And I’m interested to see what drives the traffic.

Obviously being indexed on Google helps. But without content it means zip. We’ve built a nice readership here because of content. And I contend it is because of daily content. Certainly Google helps, but the daily consistency of the average tells me it is driven more by those who come to read the blog because they expect to see daily content and we reward that expectation. I also think we’ve not rewarded that expectation on weekends and that is why our numbers are consistenly lower on Saturday and Sunday (as opposed to other blogs I monitor on those days who offer consistent daily content and pretty much maintain their numbers). As David S says:
1. A daily supply of solid content, preferably linking to (or least referencing) other sources.
I see no reason why that wouldn’t be the same for a new blogger trying to build readership.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I do it by time. In the past, speaking of about a year or so ago (give or take a few months) we used to reach 1,000 on Site Meter at about 2 to 3 pm.
Yes, I’ve seen that, too. But I’m telling you that we’ve been hovering between 2500 and 4000 (the average moves, depending largely on spikes from Google News and other blogs) since the 2004 election. But — and this is important — the lower end of that range was only a very brief period immediately after the ’04 election when everybody took a big hit. And at that time, we weren’t indexed by GN. Being indexed by GN has, in all likelihood, stopped a mild decline in traffic for us. Other than a very brief decline to around 2500/day, we’ve been very consistently at about 3000 for almost 18 months. In the past couple months, we’ve climbed to around 3500/day with a moderate degree of consistency.
Obviously being indexed on Google helps. But without content it means zip
And my argument is that it can also mean just about zip with content if the content is posted for Google News traffic. Posting just to have content that google news picks up can crowd out the stuff that devoted blog readers look for. A blog can easily become what amounts to a wire service, just passing along stories rather than providing unique insight, original research or something of specific value to blog readers.
I also think we’ve not rewarded that expectation on weekends and that is why our numbers are consistenly lower on Saturday and Sunday
I believe the weekend drop-off in traffic is quite uniform across the blogosphere. Instapundit posts regularly on weekends, but his drops off at about the same 30-40% rate that most others do. Same for Daily Kos, though they churn out lots of weekend content, too.

Most readers check blogs from work. Less people at work and/or in front of a computer, less readership. Google News traffic may take a hit with less content, but one really insightful post is better to building long-term traffic — especially among the important readers — than are 10 "here’s stuff" posts.
I see no reason why that wouldn’t be the same for a new blogger trying to build readership.
I generally agree that a new blogger probably has to turn out daily content to get readers, provided they can churn out good daily content. They almost certainly don’t need to post a lot of daily content just to get stuff up there, though. Speaking for myself, I don’t check new blogs because of how much they post. Lots of posting tends to turn me off, because the useful stuff gets crowded out by the clutter.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider