Sunday, January 12, 2014

Too Consistent?

I came across this article from fellow writer/blogger Kevin Hanrahan, and it made me wonder on some stuff.  Kevin says that, in contravention to my own belief, too much consistency in writing a blog can be a bad thing.  His basic position is that people get oversaturated if a blogger posts too often because not everything can be a great read.

It's never been a secret that I'm a huge believer in consistently updating your blog.  I've always taken the position that readers will quickly abandon you if your schedule is erratic.  However, Kevin brings up a few good points, the biggest of which is that too many blogs seem to be going through the motions for the sake of posting something.

Now I'll admit that not every post of mine has been a home run.  There have been times that I've been tired and staring at a blank computer screen at 11:30 at night thinking, Just put something up there and move on!  Yes, I've succumbed on occasion, but that's rare, and I think that any blogger who does so on a regular basis runs the risk of alienating his or her base just as much, if not more, than an inconsistent poster.

Readers will tolerate many things, but regular garbage content isn't one of them.  If you can't put up something readable, maybe it's for the best to take a break.  Readers will tolerate a couple of posts that don't measure up, but after a while, they'll write you off as another crank in a world filled with them.  When folks go to your blog, it's because they want to read content that they either can't find elsewhere or couldn't do themselves(without a lot more effort).  Time is limited, so the good stuff gets prioritized and the bad gets ignored(much like the books we write).

However, one area where I take issue with the notion is when a posting schedule becomes erratic.  It's one thing to take time off and come back better than ever.  It's quite another to take two weeks off, then come back for a week, then take off a month, then try to come back again.  Doing so makes your schedule far too unpredictable for the reader, and he or she will eventually get annoyed enough to move on to someone else.

I think that if you're going to take time off and/or can't post regularly, announce it.  Give the reader some predictability so they know when to check back in.  Blog readers are like comic strip readers in that way - they'll handle it once, maybe twice, but too much will cause desertion.  There are simply too many blogs out there that will give them what they want for them to bother with yours.

Don't continually post trash, but if you stop, or, worse, are unpredictable in when you post, you risk losing the audience it took time to build.  Rebuilding your credibility will take more time that you could spend better adding to your reading base instead of trying to salvage it.

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