If you have been following this series of posts, you already have 1) listed 3 bullet points that define your ideal blog, 2) you have looked toward your current favorite blogs to see the characteristics that you are drawn to and 3) you’ve begun to develop the overall vision of your blog. With these general ideas in mind, now it is time to create more specific goals.
Your goals should come directly out of, and support, your vision. You need to consider such things as blogging platform, blog design, blog content, frequency of posting, links to include, etc. If you are using your blog as a personal journal (which 11% of surveyed bloggers are) and you are not concerned about increasing your readership, then you need only consider your own personal preferences here. But if your goals include connecting with a community (42%), getting your name out there (16%), and/or showcasing your art (15%), considering the preferences of potential readers is key.
Generating goals is easier to do with a set of guidelines. To that end, I have developed a framework that I call the 10 Cs of Blogging. Today’s post introduces you to the first 2 Cs: Consistency and Continuity.
Consistency: It is important for readers to know what they will find when they visit your blog. We all carry with us expectations of our activities, including surfing. Meet the expectations of your readers and they will keep coming back. Think about why you return to your favorite restaurant or store. You know what you will find there. You don’t go back to the Italian restaurant and expect to see Chinese on the menu. The same applies to blogs. Consistency leads to familiarity. Familiarity is comforting and who doesn’t want to feel that? So once you create the vision for your blog, do your best to stick to it.
An example of a blog that gets an A+ for consistency is Robyn Gordon’s Art Propelled. When I visit, I know that I am going to see one of three things: Robyn’s own amazing wood totem carvings, a uniquely themed post that highlights art from other artists, or a travelogue about her native country South Africa. Occasionally she also includes something completely different, which keeps things interesting. Her consistency is one of the reasons why her most recent post generated more than 45 comments.
Continuity: The beauty of blogs is that they are open 24/7. But if you do not add new content regularly, you might as well put up an out-of-business sign. You need to post continuously on your blog to build readership. Most blog owners are aware of this given that 30% of surveyed bloggers feel pressure to post frequently to appeal to readers and an additional 42% are concerned that their readers would like more frequent posts.
The question is, how many posts are ‘just right?’ According to the survey, 70% of bloggers post two or fewer times per week. Just 16% publish four or more weekly posts. Is that enough for the average reader? When I asked, “What do you think is the ideal number of posts for a blogger to publish each week?” the three most popular responses were 3 times (31%), 2 times (21%), and 4 times weekly (17%). So 3 weekly posts are optimal, something only 30% of the bloggers surveyed do.
Time for some action. Review and refine your blog bullet points. Commit your vision statement to paper. Start your written list of goals with a pledge to create consistency in the nature of your postings and continuity by stating the number of weekly postings you will aim for.
Next month: Content and Community.
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