Sharing the Results of My Not-So-Grand Experiment

Some of you may remember that a few weeks ago I announced I would stop blogging every day, and cut the frequency of my output down to something more like a couple of times a week. There were a few reasons for this, but the main one was that I just didn’t feel like I was getting any kind of personal return that justified the time I was putting into it. I’m not necessarily talking about money here (though it would not hurt my feelings at all if you were inclined to buy one of my books). But the simple truth is that blogging every day had become more of a burden than a joy. Are times you should stick with things even when you don’t enjoy them? Sure. But there are also times when you should cut your losses and think hard about why you’re voluntarily participating in something you hate.

Anyhoo, I was thinking some of you blogger geeks might like a little insight into the results of my experiment. I was going to call this “running the numbers” but I’m not actually going to give you any numbers. Unfortunately “running the vague comparative value statements” doesn’t have quite the same punch.

What happened to my traffic when I stopped writing new posts every day? So far, absolutely nothing. Actually there might have been a slight downtick, but really things have been running on a pretty even keel.

How is this possible? Well, the majority of my traffic isn’t and never has been visitors flocking to new posts. Actually, the majority of my traffic comes from people Googleing the word “clockwork” and finding this post. I have no idea how or why this happens since it’s not anywhere close to the first page on the Google results, but…whatever. It just goes to show that you never know which posts are going connect with readers. It also goes to show that SEO is a powerful force in the blogging world. You are making the most of it, right? (Hint: always use tags.)

But even putting aside the comparatively stable  number of visitors to my blog, this experiment has still been a huge success. On my side it’s freed up time for me to spend with my family and work on my other writing projects (though sometimes I still feel like I’m stuck in the mud). It’s also meant I can take more care in crafting the blog posts that I do make. Not that I was sloppy before, but I’m only one guy and writing an average of 500 words a day for public consumption on top of doing my real job and other writing projects means there’s bound to be some lag in quality somewhere.

But also, and I think more importantly, I believe the switch has been good for you the readers. If I’m updating every day, there are a lot of you who just aren’t going to be able to keep up with that volume. After all, I’m under no illusions that I’m the only blog you’re following. Scaling back the posting time means that your RSS feed or inbox isn’t getting slowly back up with posts you haven’t had the time to read. Even if all those posts were really good, basic economics teaches us that value is a function of supply and demand, which means that the more “supply” of my blog you have, the less valuable it will be to you.

So those are my thoughts. What are yours? Have you experienced anything similar with your blog? Has the change of pace in posting affected your opinion of the Unsanity Files blog? Think I’m full of hot air? I’d love to hear what you think, so drop a line or ten in the comments and share your blogging wisdom.

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14 responses to “Sharing the Results of My Not-So-Grand Experiment

  1. “the more ‘supply’ of my blog you have, the less valuable it will be to you”

    I’m glad somebody else “gets it.”

    Less is more. 🙂

    • I don’t know if I “get it” yet. But I’m always trying to learn and grow, both personally and professionally. Mistakes get a bad rap, but they’re free, and great teaching tools if you’re willing to learn.

  2. Time is a precious commodity – a limited resource, if you will. For me, I just don’t have the time to post all of the time, as much as I would enjoy doing so. I also enjoy reading all those that I follow, and I notice that I spend more time reading and commenting than I spend on my own writing. See…. time spent with others, means less time for me to produce for others. It’s my crazy rationale, at best.

    No seriously, I happen to agree with CMStewart!

    Keep up the great writing, but take the time with the family; it’s so important. They’ll also be some of your best material producers!! 🙂

  3. Well, I’m just one set of eyes that reads your blog but I have to say I’ve really enjoyed the posts I’ve read. I did not stumble upon you by googling ‘clockwork’. I think I actually saw you on Freshly Pressed and started following. Which says a lot because I don’t follow anybody (the last blog I followed quit and broke my heart).

    I understand your desire to not blog as frequently but for purely selfish reasons, I’m asking you to make sure you post a few times a week. I know I have lot’s and lot’s of old posts that I can filter backwards to read but inevitably, I’ll run out of old posts and probably be sad.

    On a side note, I hope to get up the nerve to buy your book soon. It sounds a little scary and I’m a bit of wimp. A 30 second commercial for Paranormal Activity 3 actually gave me a nightmare. On a terror scale, 1 being Disney and 10 being pee my pants scary, what would your rate it?

    • I still try to post something a couple of times a week, give or take, so you should have something to read. 🙂
      As to my book and how scary it is…that’s difficult to say. It sort of depends on your personal idea of “scary.” In a way it’s more of a literary novel than a horror novel, but there are elements of horror in there. On your scale of 1 to 10 I’d probably give it a 5 or a 6.

  4. I hope you blog frequently, I miss your take on writing. Frequently to me means 2-3 x/week. It’s also cool that you’ve spent more time with family and with other writerly pursuits … so as someone who loves your work and wants to see more of it, it may pay off in the end, lol.
    Chris–if the book you’re referring to is The Mulch Pile, I don’t’ think you’ll be scared of it–there’s no gore, it’s more of an intensity that drives you to keep reading. But A Prairie Home Apocalypse: What The Dog Saw is scary, and definitely has some moments of horror. So I’d recommend The Mulch Pile to you. =)

    • I will still talk about writing from time to time. But I want to have some appeal for people who aren’t writers too. I’m trying to find a balance that works for me and my readers.

  5. This post makes so much sense to the lazy in me for which I say thank you. I am amazed at the energy levels of some bloggers – every day there is something from them. How they do this is beyond me, why they do this is even further beyond me, as are the ever more frequent posts which dribble by my wayside . . .

  6. I recently cut back my blog posting days. I was just getting to overwhelmed and not having enough time to write my MIP. Plus, I wasn’t able to keep up with all the blogs I wanted to read. So far, it’s worked out well for me. Having one less day I post means I have more time for MIP and more time to read. And it does help when other blogs post a little less frequently too. 😀

  7. I never thought about supply and demand in terms of posting but you are so right. I want subscribers to be excited to open my emails, not become blind to them.

  8. Well, as much as I enjoy the posts on blogs I follow, I have to admit that when they get too frequent, I simply don’t have the time to read them all, fall behind, and feel bad about not being able to catch up with stuff I enjoy and am interested in reading. There’s just no way to keep up though…kids, business, my own blog, my book, and so many other things…well, you know how it is in every life, we’re all busy and trying to make time to share and pay attention, and sometimes there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. I wouldn’t ever suggest to anyone to write less, but I think that maybe publishing less frequently (yet regularly) works out best for writer and followers as you suggest.

  9. A Man’s Gotta Do…
    I love your blog, but I agree with all your reasons for cutting back. Priorities and substance.

  10. I really just started the writing blog so I have to set up a schedule myself on days to do it.

    I really don’t mind if the blogs I read go to a 2-3x/week entry. That’s always comfortable for reading and then no one feels like they are getting spammed by the blogger in question. I do like quality over quantity.

  11. I’ve wondered how you keep up with working full-time, caring for a house and a relationship, and writing as many posts as you did. I was a little in awe of the quality of what you were posting and how often. Ha! You are human! 😉

    Personally, when I started reading, I was afraid that one of my favorite blogger was going to throw in the keyboard. I’m glad to see that you will still be around.

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