If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that when it comes to blogging and to blogging books I’ve been repeating the same advice for a long time: Blog often and consistently if you want to get any traction in the search engine results pages. I still believe that is the best way to gain traction on the Internet Highway.
But there’s a time to press the gas pedal gas and produce more content quickly and a time to put your foot on the brakes and focus your attention on other necessary tasks.
For me, the time has come to put on the brakes.
I am not going to stop blogging or blogging books! I am going to cut back on how often I blog. Instead of producing two posts per week for this site, I will now just produce one—on Tuesday.
Why I Decided to Put My Foot on the Brake
Deciding to blog less has not been an easy decision for me. In fact, I struggled for almost a year to decide.
Cutting back goes against what I teach and know works. Plus, I am still trying to reach my goals on all of my blogs when it comes to readership and subscriber lists.
Simply put, I have felt afraid to blog less—especially when I don’t feel I’m as successful as a blogger as I’d like to be.
When a coach of mine pointed out how often I complain about not having time to do other things because “I blog too much,” I realized something had to give. I couldn’t see any other place to cut back.
Unlike most authors, I have four blogs, not one. I blog consistently and frequently on three of them. I increased my posting frequency on the blog at ninaamir.com back in January to twice per week. Some of you might remember back in the early days (2010) when I posted to this site three to four days per week! I’ve been posting twice a week since about 2011. On writenonfictionnow.com, I posted five times a week for a year. Then I posted three times a week for some years. I have been posting twice a week for about a year. I hardly ever post to (mysoncandance.com) because I simply don’t have time. But on the blogs where I have a “schedule,” I never miss a post.
With my current posting schedule, on a normal week I write six or seven blog posts, not counting guest posts. I had a standing guest-posting position at The Book Designer as well, but I have just given that up as well. Prior to that, I also wrote once per month for Thefutureofink.com.
I often get asked how much time I spend writing. I usually respond, “I write at least a blog post per day, which means I write for at least an hour per day. If I am working on a book (rather than blogging a book), I write for another hour or two per day.” I am not always working on a book, but I always blog.
Fitting in writing a book—or doing anything else—around my blogging commitments can be tough. And going on vacation or away to speak at an event means writing double the number of posts prior to leaving. Then I can schedule the ones that need to publish while I’m out of town, so everything appears “normal” on the site when I’m out of the office. You see no break in the publishing of posts.
As you can imagine, this type of regimen can get quite grueling at times—even if you love what you do (which I do)! Not only that, it leaves little time for “other” work.
For example, my posts need to be promoted. I do that now, but only for about a day.
And the other aspects of my business need to attention and promotion. I have to admit, I could have done a better job of that over the last few years.
That’s another reason for putting on the brakes. I need to focus more time and energy on my business—writing books, speaking, and coaching as well as marketing the numerous products I have created (and possibly even creating a few new ones).
I simply must free up more time if I am to grow my business and fulfill my purpose: to help people make a positive and meaningful difference in the world with their words, find their passion and purpose, live inspired lives, and fulfill their potential.
When to Put on the Brakes
At this point in this post, I must admit that I am teaching what I most need to learn. I am not good at setting boundaries, saying no, or quitting things that don’t work well anymore (if they ever did). I am not a quitter, but sometimes the best way to move forward and succeed is to stop and let something (or more than one thing) go. That means setting boundaries—healthy ones.
Since I wouldn’t (yet) call boundary-setting my area of expertise, I’ll keep my advice to blogging. You should put on the brakes—cut back on the frequency of your posts or stop worrying as much about blogging consistency—when:
- You are no longer writing quality posts.
- You feel burned out or uninspired for more than a few months and can find no way back to the passion or purpose you felt about your subject.
- You don’t see your efforts achieving the results you desire, and, after serious and careful evaluation, you decide those efforts are not going to achieve the desired results.
- You could put your efforts to use better elsewhere.
- You’ve accomplished your goal.
- You’ve worked long and hard and feel it’s time to put your time, energy and focus on something else.
- You are spread too thin to do a good job.
I want to qualify the list above by reminding you that it takes a long time to build a successful blog. It’s rare for one to grow virally overnight. Most successful bloggers will tell you it took them years to achieve the traffic and engagement they desired. I’ve been blogging since 2006. (Or was it 2005?) I still wish my blogs had more traffic, more followers, and more engagement.
Blogging is hard work. Don’t put on the brakes just because it’s difficult, and you’re tired this week or don’t want to make time. And don’t decide your blog isn’t successful and it’s time to quit if you haven’t done the hard work—all the things I’ve discussed here, such as promoting each post well and blogging often and consistently for a decent period (six to twelve months minimum).
Also, please, don’t decide to put the brakes on your blogging because you just want to write. (That is not what I am doing.) Don’t use that excuse; it won’t get you far. You must have an author platform if you want to get published traditionally or if you want to self-publish successfully. Blogging forms the foundation of your platform-building activities. And blogging a book can help you build a platform fast.
When to Press the Gas Pedal
That brings us back to when not to hit the brakes. This advice I can offer more easily and with a greater degree of expertise. Press the gas pedal and speed ahead—publish posts more consistently or with a higher frequency—when:
- You have just begun to blog a book.
- You first set up your site and start blogging.
- You launch a new book or product (although I prefer to see one set schedule all the time for a blog).
- Things are going well, which could mean posting on the same frequency, but doing everything better.
- You have a goal you want to accomplish, such as gaining more subscribers or finishing your blogged book.
- You need to build author platform.
- Traffic is building or engagement with your blogged book is growing.
Until you achieve the type of traffic or engagement you want, or until you complete your blogged book or build your email list or platform, put your foot firmly on the gas pedal. Maybe you don’t need to move faster, but you do need to keep moving forward.
Your Feedback…and the Future
While making the decision to post less often, I took into consideration the feedback I received from the survey I posted on this site a few months ago.
Those results showed me that 50 percent of you read Writenonfictionnow.com in addition to this blog. A few of you even read the blog at Ninaamir.com. (If you are in the first group, you read a similar post on that site yesterday…)
Of the number of respondents who competed the survey, 25 percent did not care if I reduced my posts to once per week; 41.67 percent said they wanted me to continue posting twice per week; and 33.33 percent wanted me to reduce the number of published posts to one per week. When I combined the “don’t cares” with the “blog less often” responses (58.33 percent), the decision, the decision swayed toward blogging less often. However, it was a close call, and many of you strongly voiced a desire for me to continue posting on the current schedule.
As I post this, I still feel some trepidation—especially since so many of you enjoy the more-frequent posts, but this feeling is coupled with a good bit of excitement and a sense of freedom. I now get to focus on some other areas of my business and to consider new projects—like a podcast, which would appear on the blog like a post!
I’ll be paying close attention to see how things go… If I don’t like the results of my decision to cut back on my post frequency, you might find me posting twice per week again at some time in the future!
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