Jake and I were shocked by the response to the latest Elle & Company newsletter.
It had been a week or two since we sent out our last newsletter because of a fast-paced move and 2 weeks without internet, and we also skipped a couple weekday blog posts in the mix, too. While I was stressed about falling out of our routine and breaking my one and a half year streak of blogging 5 days a week, I was stunned to see the impact that inconsistent blogging had on our site analytics.
So, we shared about it in Monday’s newsletter.
In case you missed it, you can sign up for the newsletter in the sidebar or at the bottom of this post, and we’ll send you the latest email right away.
The notion that fewer blog posts did not negatively impact our site traffic generated a lot of positive engagement, and it brought up a question that’s already been on the forefront of our minds: Can the Elle & Company blog survive with fewer posts? Here’s our take on it.
If you follow along with several business-focused bloggers within this industry, you’ve probably heard of the concept of slow blogging.
It originated with Todd Sieling in 2006, and he described slow blogging as “a rejection of immediacy” as well as a “rejection of Pagerank.” If you read Sieling’s manifesto, it’s more of a reaction against what blogging is today and shouldn’t be the basis for an online business.
But when people refer to slow blogging nowadays, they’re referring to creating a fewer number of high-quality blog posts rather than a greater number of low-quality posts. Quality over quantity.
And while I see the benefits of focusing on quality over quantity, especially for busy business owners and bloggers, I have chosen to take a different approach with the Elle & Company blog. Instead of making it a choice between quality and quantity, we argue: why not have both?
While we highly encourage high-quality blog posts, we’ve also seen how the high frequency of our posts has helped grow our blog and business. And we’ve also seen data that shows a direct correlation between post frequency and traffic, like this Blogging and Lead Generation report from Hubspot.
Those stats are pretty crazy, but the overall point is pretty straightforward: the more you blog, the more traffic your site will receive.
Even more, Hubspot data also shows that small companies with 1-25 employees (like Elle & Company and the majority of our audience) will see the the greatest benefit from an increase in blogging frequency (source).
I think it’s important to note that striving for an increase in blog traffic is a wise business goal. The greater your audience, the more opportunity you have to make more sales, book your services, raise your prices, and expand your reach.
Many people talk about a small tribe nowadays, and while it’s great to have a loyal group of followers, growth helps businesses survive the long haul. So with an increased frequency in blog posts, you’re increasing your chances of expanding your audience.
Another benefit of frequent blogging is the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise within your niche. While this doesn’t happen overnight, the more often you post, the more you’re able to share and the faster you’ll be able to position yourself as an expert.
This isn’t to the detriment of your post quality. Blog post quantity and quality aren’t mutually exclusive; in fact, they should go hand in hand.
But the problem with committing to both quantity and quality is that it’s hard work. Publishing high quality blog posts on a consistent basis isn’t easy, and it can be trying on your creativity and your schedule. Thomas Edison said it best when he said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
However, we’ve seen how the hard work and late nights of blogging has paid off. In 8 months, we’ve seen the Elle & Company blog grow significantly, and we attribute it to publishing posts 5 days a week and focusing on high quality content.
Because we’ve grown our audience and set expectations for them in terms of content, we’ve spent the past few months considering stepping back and posting less frequently on the Elle & Company blog.
This may seem a little contradictory to everything I’ve shared in this post already, but our frequent weekday blog posts have made this new change possible. By posting high quality blog posts 5-days a week, we were able to grow our audience fairly quickly and build trust with them. We created a great amount content that can be referred back to within our archives and on Pinterest. The benefits have been innumerable.
By focusing on 3 posts each week, our goal is to go more in-depth with our articles. It also frees us up for other projects, like guest posting, e-courses, and consultations. We also have a large project launching this summer, and our change in blog post frequency will make a lot more sense in light of it.
But even more importantly, we’ve already found that limiting our post frequency has increased the demand for new Elle & Company posts. Many of our loyal readers sent tweets and emails checking in on the days that I didn’t publish a new article, and our newsletter responders shared that they visited the blog more often during those off-days to see if a new post had been published to the site. Building anticipation is a good thing, and we look forward to seeing how it plays out in the coming months.
By posting less, our audience will have more time to read and interact with our posts, which will hopefully increase engagement too.
So the recent personal events that threw off our blog schedule were actually a blessing in disguise, because they removed my biggest fears that taking a step back in the number of weekly posts would negatively affect our business. It also provided us with a lot of supportive, positive feedback from our newsletter subscribers who have been a helpful sounding board and great encouragement.
It will be interesting to see how this change will impact our analytics and our goal toward 100k monthly unique blog visitors, and we plan to continue to share all of the behind-the-scenes details in our weekly newsletter. If you want to follow along with our journey, you can sign up for the newsletter below.
So can your site survive with fewer posts?
Yes. However, depending on your circumstances, I wouldn't recommend starting out on the slow blogging track. While it requires a lot of hard work and time, posting frequently has the potential to grow your audience quickly, establish your expertise, and build trust with your readers. It allows them to set expectations, get in the practice of returning to your site frequently, and begin looking to you for content. Providing value on a regular basis will create demand. Once you've developed loyalty and trust with your audience, then consider blogging less.
What are your thoughts on blog post frequency? What do you focus on: quantity, quality, or both?