Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's the frequency, Kenneth? An unrepresentative experiment in blog post frequency

(Note: if you don't like the title of this post, that's understandable. I came up with it when I woke up this morning.)

A couple of weeks ago, various Great Minds were writing about optimum blog post frequency, and it appears that there's a sweet spot for this. While the sweet spot may differ from person to person, and even for an individual person (depending upon his/her purpose), the theory is that you want to post to your blog with some frequency, but not too frequently.

My recent "workflow," incorporating both Google Reader and Blogspot, can be described as follows:

  1. Go to Google Reader to look at items.

  2. Mark some items as read without reading them.

  3. Read some items, but put them into my (private) starred collection.

  4. Read some items, just to get rid of them.

  5. Read some items, and then proceed to share them in my Google Reader Shared Items list.
Incidentally, after a day or two, I then delete these items from my Google Reader Shared Items list, simply because otherwise the list becomes unmanageable. However, you can always see all of my previously shared items via FriendFeed.

In effect, what this means is that I share a lot of things (although I usually share no more than three items at a time), but that I blog on only a very few of them.

On Tuesday, I decided that I'd shake things up a bit and put most of the things in my (private) starred list, rather than my (public) shared list, then try to blog more about the starred items.

As a result, I did blog more than usual. Much more.

Let's compare Monday and Tuesday for blogging frequency, using my fancy-dancy graph:


As you can see, I posted much more frequently on Tuesday than on Monday. But what did this do to my blog visit statistics? Well, as it turned out, I had 25% fewer visits on Tuesday than I did on Monday.

However, as I noted in my brilliant early morning title, this is an unrepresentative sample. Perhaps the stuff that I wrote on Tuesday just wasn't all that good. Or perhaps it takes time for the existence of the material to become widely known. In fact, my two most popular posts on Tuesday weren't written on Tuesday, or even in October. According to Google Analytics, my eight most popular pages yesterday were


So why did I conduct the experiment in the first place? Actually, the experiment has nothing to do with this blog, but it has to do with three other blogs that I control. These three blogs are monetized, which means that once I get the posting frequency exact, I will be able to retire and live a life of luxury in Kappel, Switzerland. (Which sounds better than saying that I will be able to retire and live a life of luxury in Baker, California.)

Without going into great detail, I chose special topics for each of the three blogs. Unfortunately, one of the blogs doesn't generate enough information for daily postings (although I try to post at least once a week). The other two blogs could benefit from more frequent postings - sometimes I skip days before posting in them. If nothing else, this experiment (on a separate blog) suggests that if I can get the blogs up to a daily posting frequency, I'm not going to gain a lot by going to a 7-per-day posting frequency.

So what's next? Barring nuclear catastrophe, I still have some starred items to share with you via the blog. And a few of these items are videos - incidentally, these are things that I was able to star in Google Reader, but I haven't been able to watch the videos yet because I was accessing Google Reader via my ancient cell phone. Once I get a chance to watch the videos, I'll share the good ones with you. Yes, it's KOET (my old video sharing blog) all over again, but what goes around comes around.

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