How Often Should You Blog? Understanding the Variables That Impact Frequency
The most common question I hear about blogging is this: “How often should I update my blog?” The answer, as with many marketing queries, is often unsatisfactory: “It depends.” Multiple factors influence exactly how frequently you should blog for your company, and some are outside of your control.
Depending on the circumstances, your website (and your overall business) could perform well with two blogs a month, but you might also need two blogs a week. It all depends on the variables.
Variables That Determine How Often You Should Blog
Here are some questions that go into figuring out how often you should blog:
1. What are your goals?
At its core, a blog offers you two immediate benefits, one tangible and one intangible: increased site traffic and perceived authority.
The traffic side is well-documented. Tech Client data shows you have a 434% greater chance of ranking high in search results if your site features a blog, and HubSpot says companies that blog at a ferocious pace (at least 16 a month) see 3.5 times more traffic and 4.5 times more leads than companies that publish up to four blogs a month.
HubSpot hits it right on the head: extra traffic can generate additional leads which can turn into greater revenue for your business.
On the image side, your blog can make you look like a genuine thought leader in your field, helping you to stand out from the rest of the companies and professionals in your industry. Through blogging, you can display yourself as a subject matter expert. As consumers find your blog and get familiar with you and your brand, they’ll look to you for industry guidance and grow more likely to do business with you in the future (if not now!).
Besides traffic and positioning yourself as a subject matter expert, you may have a few other blogging goals, including:
Provide a resource for customers and potential clients
Blogging frequency can assist in all of this, but you should consider this: If you’re just starting off, it’ll take time to build up a library that makes you look like a subject matter expert, spurs organic traffic, or provides a sizable knowledge bank for visitors.
That problem leads us to our next question:
2. How quickly do you want results?
If your aim is to quickly increase your site traffic over the next 60 days and beyond, you may need a variety of well-written, thoroughly-research, and target keyword-rich blog posts as quickly as possible. You should also note: There are other SEO factors that play into how well your content ranks, so addressing those issues could be just as important as the content you begin to write.
The number of blogs you need in this scenario has its own variables. A few to think about:
How competitive is your market?
What’s the search volume for your target keywords?
How deep into the sales funnel is your target audience?
If your goal is to simply establish yourself as a subject matter expert over the course of the year, you could likely get away with only a handful of blogs a month—anywhere from one to four a month, depending on how aggressive you’d like to be.
That level of aggression is often determined by another factor, however:
3. What is your budget?
Your budget changes depending on your execution, but you still need a budget. If you hire a writer to execute on your behalf, that requires a financial budget. If you plan to write and publish them on your own, that requires a budget of time (and your time is worth money, so that factors in as well!).
Although you may have the extra time necessary to write a few thousand words every month, you may not see the ROI you would with a seasoned professional if you aren’t familiar with SEO best practices.
Remember: Your investment (whether financial or time) increases with every extra blog. At the top of this blog, we mentioned how writing 16 blogs a month can significantly increase your traffic, but writing 16 quality blogs is a major lift—and it needs to be properly executed to see the full value.
4. What’s your competition doing?
In Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses, Joe Pulizzi explains how, during the Great Recession, a gentleman who owned a pool company saw his business on the verge of going under. One day, he sat down and started writing about pools. Everything he knew about pools, he wrote in the company blog: How to measure the chemicals in your pool. How to properly add chlorine. The different types of pool covers available.
Blogging saved his company. Over time, the website drew in more and more traffic, which sparked more and more sales, which eventually led to the best-case scenario for a company in his industry: He was booked months and months and months in advance.
I mention this because part of this business owner’s success was thanks to the level of competition at the time he started blogging: There was low competition in his region, so his website stood out in the search results for local homeowners in search of a pool.
If your competition is blogging aggressively, you should be even more aggressive.
Fine-Tuning Your Blogging Cadence
Thinking hard about the questions above is a good start, and it will give you a good indication of what you should do and help you piece together your publishing schedule.
Now, what you should do and what you can do aren’t always the same thing, given budgets, workload, and your own general capacity.
As you think about what you and your team are actually capable of, here are some questions that will help you fine-tune your blog strategy:
What are your target keywords? Once you understand what you’re competing for on the SERP (search engine results page), you have a good idea of how Google is ranking competing content. Take a look through those top posts. How long are they? How many images, videos, and infographics are they using? How is the content divided on the page? This will help you shape your content and answer the next question:
How long should each post be? In many industries, the top-ranking articles seem to be getting longer and longer every day. Many articles in the top spot or featured snippet at 1,000+ words long. Again, the competition will help determine how long your work should run. Here’s a real-world example: When I launched my music blog, Monster Riff, I started off by checking out the type of content my biggest competitors created and the top results for many of my target keywords. From there, I determined that most of the content I was competing against ran 750-1,000 words per page, so I made a decision to aim for at least 1,000-1,200 on each post. This (and many other strategies) have helped: Many of Monster Riff’s posts appear in the featured snippet or front page for their target keyword.
What’s your actual bandwidth? This connects back to our budget question. If you can’t manage the blog with your current daily responsibilities, can you hand it off to a team member who understands blogging? If you can’t hand it off to a team member, can you outsource it to a writer or agency who can manage your blog on your behalf?
In many of the conversations I’ve had with business owners, their eyes widen when they realize how much work actually goes into blogging. If you’re feeling similarly overwhelmed, that’s OK. The most important thing at this point is to connect with someone who can guide you along the right path.