When I first started writing here at Becoming Minimalist, I posted something everyday. Maybe it was because I was so excited that I couldn’t help it. But more likely, it was because some of the blogs that I enjoyed reading followed that format. And I assumed it was the best formula for success. The thinking was simple: The more you write, the more others will read.
But over the evolution of this blog, I have changed my mind on post frequency a couple of times. Three years ago, I was posting everyday… One year ago, I was posting 3 articles/week… Today, I typically post 1-2 articles/week. As this blog has grown, the posting frequency has actually decreased.
Looking back, I can pinpoint a number of reasons why I made this intentional change to post less frequently:
1. Blogging is not my life. I still work a full-time job. I intentionally raise my two young children and work hard at being an unselfish husband. I seek faith, friendship, and family more than anything else in life and I value each of them far more than this blog. Posting less frequently has allowed me the opportunity to keep those things at the center of my life – even as this blog has grown considerably larger over the past year.
2. Results in better articles. In my humble opinion, as my posting frequency has decreased, the quality of writing has increased. I have been able to put more thought into preparation, more brainpower into writing, and more effort into editing. Posting everyday simply did not allow me the creative space necessary to produce quality content.
3. Writing can be mentally draining. I love writing. And I have learned to love it even more the past few years of blogging here at Becoming Minimalist. But it is mentally and emotionally draining. Good writing includes your heart, soul, and mind. It calls you to bare yourself for all to see. And emotional fatigue can be just as real as physical fatigue.
4. Pushes me to write something worth reading each time. As my posting frequency has declined, the pressure to write something worth reading has increased. If the next thing I post is going to represent my blog for the next 4-5 days, I want to make sure it makes a good first impression. I have found this pressure to be helpful, healthy, and life-giving. It encourages quality content.
5. Allows time for social networks to promote the work. Even in our fast-moving society, it still takes some time for influential online users to find and promote quality content. A less frequent post-schedule allows more opportunity for others to find my work, appreciate it, and promote it.
6. Nobody reads my blog everyday anyway. Well, maybe some of you check everyday… but most blog readers politely stop by when life allows, when a friend recommends, or when a search engine directs. This was an important lesson for me to learn. If readers aren’t stopping by everyday… but I’m still posting everyday… I’m writing a lot of stuff that isn’t even getting read. Not only did this understanding allow me the freedom to post less, it required me to post less (for both my sake and the readers’ sake).
7. Creates space to promote my work elsewhere. Posting less frequently on Becoming Minimalist has allowed me greater opportunity to write guest posts on other sites, respond to interview requests, and interact with other bloggers on their projects. Posting less frequently has granted me the mental and physical capacity to engage in these win-win scenarios all over the Internet.
8. Find other avenues to engage readers. Because I spend less time creating new content for this blog, I have been able to find more time to engage readers on other platforms. The Becoming Minimalist Facebook Page publishes quotes of inspiration and encouragement on a daily basis. My Twitter feed shares personal insights about my life to followers. And I use Tumblr to recommend quality articles that I find during research. Each of these platforms grants opportunity to inspire new audiences to live more by owning less.
9. Allows more time for idea generation. One of the most frequent questions I get asked about blogging relates to idea generation. It usually sounds something like this, “How do you keep coming up with ideas to write about?” The simple answer is that when you start living your life with an eye for writing, you’ll start finding ideas all around you. A more detailed response includes the fact that a simple notebook is also helpful. And the slower you work through your list of ideas, the more ideas you’ll always have in front of you.
10. Greater flexibility with important posts. I flourish within schedules. As a result, I have an ideal posting schedule that motivates me. And while I only publish articles that serve a purpose, sometimes I write a post that I feel is particularly important and carries a timely message. In those cases when I feel the writing is particularly important (or seems to strike a chord with readers), I like to let it live a little bit longer on the front page while the next post may get pushed back 2-3 days. When I lived by a strict everyday-posting schedule (or even a 3 posts/week schedule), I never gave myself that freedom.
11. Encourages e-mail subscriptions. Since making the decision to post less frequently, there has been a dramatic increase in email subscribers who receive the newest Becoming Minimalist articles in their inbox. Making every article worth reading has encouraged this response. And so has the fact that e-mail inboxes are not bombarded with new notifications everyday… cause I mean really, who wants to sign-up for that?
12. Helps me appreciate slow days on the blog. The temptation to check blog stats and comments can be very strong… especially on days when new posts are published. Every writer wants to see how their work is being received. As a result, I ask many questions on days when posts are published: “Is anyone commenting? Are comments positive or negative? Are people sharing it with their friends through social networking sites? Are a lot of people clicking around on the post?” Over the years, I have learned to appreciate the blessing of a slow-day on this blog. There is less temptation to check stats… and more opportunity to pursue the life right in front of me.
13. Allows life to get in the way. Over the past few months, I have been reminded how busy life can get. We are currently in the process of moving from Vermont to Arizona as I start a new job next month. We are working to make the transition smooth for our young children. We are saying good-bye to good friends. We are making preparations for a new life in a new part of the country. And maintaining a posting schedule of 1-2 times/week has allowed me the flexibility to successfully navigate both.
Interestingly enough, the readership of Becoming Minimalist has never been larger or more engaged. In fact, within the past 18 months, this blog has grown from relative obscurity to 400,000 page views/month and almost 10,000 committed subscribers. And most of this growth didn’t even start until I stopped posting everyday (somewhere around April, 2010).
Just to be clear, there have been some important fundamental changes to this blog in addition to just changing the posting frequency. And I’m not naive enough to think that just writing less translates into more readers. But, I do believe that writing/posting less frequently has been an important factor in this blog’s growth. If nothing else, it has created the necessary space in my life to accommodate its success. And I’d recommend the approach to almost everyone.