Monday, April 26, 2010

Why Develop a Blog Schedule-- And Stick To It

For the past few months, I've been trying to blog five days per week, reliably, Monday through Friday. So far, I haven't had to miss too many days, and I'm really proud of that. There are a lot of benefits to deciding on a schedule for your blog and being faithful to it. 

Readers Can Rely On You

...And that means, for those of you who care, more traffic-- and I think we all care at least a little. One of the main reasons I try to stay consistent with posting Monday through Friday is that the people who read this blog will know when it's updated, plain and simple, and be more motivated to see what's up over here. If your readers know there will be a post, they're more likely to actually check your blog (for instance, my visit numbers dip on the weekends and spike again on Monday-- people know there won't be anything here certain days). There are a lot of blogs I visit less frequently because they don't update consistently on a regular schedule-- I'm pretty busy sometimes, so if I only have time to read and comment, say, one blog, I'm going to pick one that I know I can depend on to have new content. This is especially important for those who want to eventually make money off of their blog. You want your blog to be reliable.

Real-World Practice

I like to think of it like this: in the real world-- especially if you want to be a newspaper journalist, professional blogger, or almost any other job imaginable-- you can't just decide not to provide your product. The newspaper can't skip a day because you couldn't think of anything to write, and newspapers usually have files full of "fluff" pieces just in case. I'd rather post an interesting video or a few brief thoughts than not put up anything at all, because I know someday I won't be at liberty to do that. Also, if you're interested in writing full-time, freelancing or as a staff writer, you have to get used to making deadlines. I've received this advice time and time again from journalism professors (two who were long-time newspaper columnists and one of whom is a freelance magazine writer): making deadlines is one of the most important aspects of writing professionally, and if you show you can make deadlines every time, you will get hired again and again.

Hone Your Writing

Writing often is the key to writing well. I've found that since I've started this blog, I've had an easier time organizing my thoughts into an article that flows well, probably because I do it at least a couple of times a week here (and there are often posts I'm working on that just haven't been put up yet). You also may find yourself coming up with ideas for other ventures-- like an article you could tweak and publish in the school paper or send out to a magazine. And, of course, better writing is more enjoyable writing.


Personally, I think routines make life easier. If you know something has to happen every day, you make time for it. It's no longer that extra thing you have to squeeze in, but an essential that you need to account for. I've found committing to a schedule really works for me and helps me get things done; like your typical journalist, I can't get anything done without a fast-approaching deadline.

But of Course....

Unless you're making dough off your blogging gig, I wouldn't put excessive pressure on yourself. While I think it's very important to think of the benefits of being strict with a schedule, I will be the first to admit there are more important things in life that come up. If writing a new post will put a serious strain on your school work or mean you miss something awesome, by all means take a day off.

Have you put your blog on a schedule? What do you think the benefits are?

P.S. I'm very sorry I haven't been doing a lot of blog commenting lately-- I've been really busy (finals-type stuff), but hopefully I'll be much more attentive in a couple of weeks! I'm planning on revamping my blogroll when things slow down (which is why it's much smaller now) to include new blogs I'm reading and all of yours. I try to read the blog of every person that comments here, so it'll be much easier for me to keep up if I give you a nice little link on the sidebar. And also, give me a special shout-out if I'm on your blogroll-- I want to make sure I link to you, too!


K. Davis said...

what a great post... encourages me to blog more and more!! I follow you, but perhaps I need to set up a blogroll on my blog.. hmm... things to think about! I've just started blogging last Oct. not too long ago, and I'm addicted!

Zmaga said...

This is definitely a bookmark-worthy post. I've been a bad blogger lately, I'm really trying to improve and post regularly, so thanks for the advice.

Kelly said...

To answer your I don't really post on a schedule. I have a rough idea of how often I want to post but I don't hold myself to it. Sometimes I have something to say/show and sometimes I don't.

As far as regularly scheduled posts go....I read everything in an RSS reader so personally it doesn't matter to me if I can "count" on someone posting every day. If they don't post, it doesn't come up in my reader, and I don't spend any time looking for something that's not there. Obviously there are good reasons for regular posting but I'm just saying that I think a lot of readers will cut you some slack, and I'd bet a lot of them use RSS readers too!

Vanessa said...

K.Davis: I'll be sure to add you once I revamp my blogroll-- love your site!

Zmaga: Aww, you make me blush :) Glad you liked it!

Kelly: It's funny you say that 'cause I've always thought your blog updates pretty frequently. I think one of the reasons regularity is important to me is that I don't use an RSS feed (or generally "follow" people on blogger)-- maybe I'm just behind the times. I actually use my blogroll as a list of blogs to read each day and just click through them. I also click through on the comments and in other people's blogs. I'm sure I'd be less concerned about such things if I had a little feed going.

That's something to think about for sure.

Jem said...

I try to blog pretty consitantly but sometimes reality gets in the way.

Kelly said...

Well, it updates regularly lately but for a while there I was lucky if I got to it once a week! haha

And you should totally use an RSS reader. It's so easy and I love it! I use Google reader.

Laells said...

I need to do this. Cuz my updates tend be massive. Sometimes I update lots and then it might be a week before I update lots again.

Do you have it broken down by what you blog about on certain days?

Like mondays are for this, tuesday for this and so forth?

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