Your Blog, Your Way: Post 3

Tips on blogging by Seth Apter

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.

 

Seth Apter is a regular contributor to CreateMixedMedia.com and the voice behind, The Altered Page.


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10 Responses to Your Blog, Your Way: Post 3

  1. CarolineA says:

    I know, as a reader of blogs, that I would love to have more than 3 posts a week from my favourite bloggers, but as someone with several different art/craft interests, I also know that serious artisans and crafts-people are giving up social media because it interferes with what they really want to do. The pressure to be out there is taking over and destroying their creative lives.
    My grandmother used to tell me “empty vessels make most noise”. I suspect it applies to many frequent bloggers who are driven to blog regularly to keep their followers rather than because they have anything worthwhile to say. My favourite bloggers are skilled artists and craftspeople, well respected in their chosen fields, who have a long and hardworking background, and are happy to share their knowledge, even if its as little as once a month. What they have to say is well worth waiting for.
    Someone who blogs three days or more a week is, except for a few very notable exceptions, generally recycling something just learned from someone else, or else promoting their Etsy shop and/or their latest book; these things become a great turn off. For me, and eventually most people, I suspect, the quantity of regular blog entries does not make up for a lack of quality content.

  2. Seth says:

    Hi CarolinA. Thanks for commenting and joining the conversation. I totally agree with that quality trumps quantity when it comes to blog posts — and with many other things as well! I think this is an important and very relevant issue that many, if not most, bloggers face. I will be talking a lot more about this in a later post on CMM when I discuss yet another ‘C’ — Content.

  3. Seth, thank you for the terrific series of posts! I can’t wait to learn the next 8 C’s.
    It’s also very interesting to hear the results of your surveys.

    Your post made me realize that I lack consistency. I’m sort of a digital casserole! This needs work…
    Thank you for sharing your expertise.

    Best wishes from germany, tj

  4. Seth says:

    Hey tj. Thanks for following along and leaving the comment. There will be more Cs and a lot more survey results to come. Had to smile at your description of a digital casserole! I think that happens to all of us bloggers at one time or another. Seth

  5. Marit says:

    I was going to give my opinion on the 3 times blogging, but CarolineA did it already for me… I’m soooo with her on this issue! I blog 2 times a week myself, and I always include pictures. But not always of my art. Making art takes a lot of thought and time and ‘waiting’ and coming back to it etc. and I won’t make ‘something’ just so I can show it on my blog… instead, there’s always a story to tell (I recently started to publish my haiku’s with a photo besides the artwork) I’m keen on making a nice blogpost twice a week and make sure my readers have something fun to see and read. I spend a lot of time ‘composing’ the blogposts (I’m Dutch, so writing in English takes even more time) and I only occasionally write 3 posts a week..

  6. cathiec says:

    It’s easy to focus on the artistic and leave the business side for later.
    How much, how often, what to post. The business of art is what I really need to work on.

    Thak you, for this information. I look forward to more posts.
    Warm regards,

  7. Seth says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Marit. I am personally in agreement that what is most important for bloggers is that the posts they put up are filled with quality content – whether that be text, images, or a combination. The 3-posts-a-week suggestion is based on ‘what the people want’ but I think most would agree that posting something that is filler and just created to meet a quota is not a good idea and one that would most likely lead to fewer rather than more readers over the long haul.

  8. Seth says:

    So glad you commented cathiec. You bring up a great point. So many artists and bloggers are more adept at the ‘art’ side in comparison with the ‘business’ side of things. And with blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Etsy, and all the other online ‘business’ that is now a part of being an artist…this whole issue is fast becoming more prominent. I do hope that you will be able to glean some helpful info about this from my posts.

  9. Joyelle says:

    Thanks for this series! I feel like I stumbled into blogging, and am now in a phase of refining and focusing on what I want to express and accomplish with this blog. It’s great to have a framework to evaluate it from to help me with this process.

  10. Seth says:

    It is all in the timing Joyelle and it seems like this series is coming at the right time for you. Thank you so very much for taking the time to read through the posts. I hope they help!

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