‘How often should you blog?’ can be simply answered: as often as you can with the resources you have available whilst maintaining the quality of the content. For some companies, this will be once a fortnight, for others it will be multiple times a day.
I may not be sitting here typing this post if I had a pound for every time I’d been asked this question. It’s a little bit like keeping up with the Joneses… it’s a very visible part of marketing output which makes it easy for a business to benchmark itself against its competitors. Analysing how your rivals blog isn’t a bad place to start but it’s important not to just get hung up on the numbers.
It’s not all about search engines
It’s worth stepping back for just a moment to remember why you’re bothering to blog in the first place…
The majority of your blog traffic is realistically likely to be occasional visitors.
Check Google Analytics and see how much of your blog traffic is new traffic and whether the bounce rate is higher than the rest of your site. It’s okay if it is – it simply means people came, saw and left having found what they needed, having had a good experience on your site and made a connection with your business. If you’re able to steer this group into viewing more content, via well-executed calls to action, you’re on to a winner but most will leave and that’s just fine.
There are two specific types of visitors who may spend more time on your blog than others.
The first is those who are very near to purchasing and are doing their due diligence on the business. The second is those who have signed up to receive newsletters and emails. Because they have opted in, they often have more of an inclination to click through multiple embedded links to read blog posts.
Obviously, you’ll also be hoping to attract new customers and so the blog content should reflect all the different stages of the purchasing funnel.
Sharing new blog content is also a way of enticing people from social media back to your website to tell them more and guide them to interact more deeply with your business.
And finally, another reason for blogging is because Google likes to see that a site (and therefore the business) is alive and kicking.
So if you approach blogging as fulfilling a wide variety of marketing needs, the emphasis on creating content simply for search engine purposes, and particularly as a ranking factor, matters less anyway.
Does a blog matter more than other content?
Blogs came into existence because they were and still are an easy way to update a website but Google itself isn’t insistent that a business has a blog. From a search engine point of view, if a site is updated and refreshed regularly, it really doesn’t matter what the newsy/content area is called.
It’s worth noting however that from a user’s point of view, the term ‘blog’ is now widely understood and often preferable to other descriptors.
Google’s view on blog post volume
This week, Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller commented on Twitter that Google does not count the number of blog posts on a blog as a ranking factor and added:
There are always articles doing the rounds that infer that you should work to reach a critical mass of blog posts, at which point, Google suddenly flicks a switch and hey presto, sends traffic your way.
The reality is if your posts are based on keyword research and are really relevant to your audience, you’ve simply got more content to rank for a broader range of searches. It’s not the volume of content but the depth that makes the difference.
It really is only the business’s biggest advocates, the marketing department, and your mum, who will read every single blog post you create and even they aren’t actually counting. It’s probably only you and possibly your competitors who actually have a tally chart; Google certainly doesn’t.
So don’t worry if you don’t share a blog post at set times every day of the week, as no-one will notice. If it’s just once this week but it’s a real corker, it will do so much more good.
What does good look like?
Great blog posts aren’t just about the written word, although keyword research should usually be the starting point. Making sure they are really polished can make the difference between someone sharing it on social media and perhaps, more excitingly, linking back to it in their own content. Beautiful images, third party quotes, a strong point of view, embedding a helpful infographic, will all help set your post apart from the rest. Make sure you’ve got the basics right too.
Hiring a green-behind-the ears graduate to churn out content doesn’t often work as even a first-class degree in English can’t compensate for the years of industry knowledge and expertise that is required to create great blog content in some sectors.
So, how often should you blog?
Setting a steady, realistic and achievable pace of blogging that keeps the quality high will always be preferable to frequent, thin, or poorly-researched posts. With Google disclosing it isn’t counting, that should be a weight off the shoulders of content creators, freeing them to up the quality without worrying about notching up posts.
Apologies if you’ve read this far in the hope of finding a magic number – there simply isn’t one.