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zen habits: Ask the Readers: How many posts a day is too many?

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ask the Readers: How many posts a day is too many?

I love writing for Zen Habits. It's one of my favorite things to do. I have a million topics that I want to write about, but I find myself holding back because I'm worried about overwhelming my readers. I can easily post 5-8 times a day, but I've been trying to limit myself to 3-4 posts per day.

So I ask you, the readers, to please tell me: How many posts a day is too many?

From reading other blogs, especially those to which you subscribe, how much is too overwhelming to you? I've read that people unsubscribe because it's too hard to keep up with some blogs that post frequently throughout the day. What's your limit?

Thanks for your help, my friends!

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

i think 3-4 posts a day is good. i've been enjoying them. any more and you might lose some people -- not me, but others who can't keep up with too many posts.

Anonymous said...

Once a day is more than enough for me. Actally I'd prefer once a week. So many blogs, so little time!

Samer said...

1-2 posts a day is good, this way everyone has enough time to read them and all posts will get their "fair share" of exposure :)

Leo said...

Wow. OK, one post a day will be much harder for me. But if most people say to keep it to one or two posts a day, I will make that a goal of mine this month. I'll wait and see what others say.

kamal said...

I agree, 1 to 2 posts a day. I currently read many blogs using Google reader, so tend to skim posts when they get too much.

Your posts are high quality, and I believe if you restrict yourself to a smaller number, you'll have the time to even develop them further.

Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

1-2 a day is perfect for me also. I would love to see more in-depth posts than lots and lots of quick reads, because I have plenty to read. But I will take the time to read good content.

Don't let that discourage you from writing on all those great ideas as the mood strikes you -- you can "stockpile" some articles for the future (when you're busy, sick, on vacation, etc.....) It might be interesting to see what develops if you leave a post untouched and revisit after a week.

Thanks for asking for our feedback!

emma said...

No, don't cut back--this is one of the few blogs where I do read every post! I personally would be happy with more than 3-4 posts, but I can see how it could be hard for others.

Anneli said...

3 - 4 is perfect for me. Your posts get my own thinking started and I learn a lot. I'd rather skip out on some of the other blogs I have been reading.

Leo said...

Thank you all for the great feedback! Unfortunately, there seems to be a split so far between the 1-2 posts camp and the 3-4 posts camp. I'll wait and see if there are other votes, but what do y'all think of a compromise: 2-3 posts per day? Thanks again, everyone. I really appreciate the input, and believe me, it's very valuable to me. You guys are what keep me doing this, and I really don't want to lose a single reader or subscriber.

MJ said...

1-2 posts a day would work better for me. Fewer posts, maintain your quality.

JohnO said...

Your ideas are useful and enlightening; post any amount to satiate your need to express your ideas.

Readers can pace themselves in their reading; a true writer must write when there is inspiration.

I am comfortable with as many as possible. I can go back and read as I have time or as the topic touches a nerve.

Anonymous said...

I think 2-3 quality posts is ideal. Personally, I don't need to see a whole post on the spending challenge every day--maybe a weekly update would make more sense? But the more substantial posts--keep 'em coming!

Benno said...

I don't think you should limit the amount of posts at all... The blog is your voice and if you think you have more to say and 3-4 is not enough to say it in keep going

Anonymous said...

I only found your blog in early February, but I'd say the three to four a day is just about right. They're not long complex posts, so they're quick to read, and they always leave me wanting more. I don't check my feeds more than twice a day, and I feel no need to stay caught up on them, which seems different from most people's style.
(And about the name: it's not about zen, it's about using zen.)
Mary Anne

Lauren said...

2 a day is good. Your blog is wonderful and I don't want to skip it because I can't read all the posts.

Nathan said...

I'll agree that 1-2 a day is good. I have mixed feelings about the RSS feed that I get for you through feedburner. It has a mix of old and new articles. Since I am a relatively new subscriber, I do like to see the older posts that I have missed, but at the same time, there is no way to differentiate what is new and what is not. I don't know if there is a way to flag them as new, but just thought I would share.

Helen said...

I don't care about the number of posts per day. If you are worth reading then you are worth reading. If a post isn't worth reading then it isn't worth reading. Nothing to do with frequency though. I'm more intrigued about how your frequency of posting ties in with your values - at times I've wondered if it is out of sync with the content of your posts.

Leo said...

@Helen ... I'm not sure what you mean ... maybe you could explain a bit more?

@Nathan ... sorry about that. I think sometimes I go back to old posts to add new links, and Blogger doesn't seem to have any other options than to republish the post. That doesn't seem to be an issue for those who've already read it in their feed reader (or at least I don't see the republished posts in mine), but for new subscribers, I think they all get jumbled together. Any suggestions for how to deal with that would be appreciated.

@everybody: thanks for all the feedback!

Diem said...

I'd say that up to 5 posts a day is good enough. As long as you're asking, allow me to give you a tip. Don't overcrowd your RSS Feeds. Long Feeds aren't greeted as well as short ones. You should have your 5 new topics of the day and maybe 2 or 3 from the day before. No more. Keep it frugal! Hehe.

Also, use descriptive names for your feeds, I've noticed that I didn't click on a single 'Motivation Hack #n' feed. The title doesn't get to me and I don't want to spend time clicking on all those underdescriptive titles (specially because I'm at the office).

So there! Hope my insights come in handy! Good luck!

adora said...

1-3 is good, and they should be different topics. When you post too many, I tend to skip and only read the 1-2 that I like anyways.
Keep up the good work!

Helen said...

"A few" is good.
"Half a dozen" is too much.

Your recent pace of 3-4 per day has been OK but only because I've been able to delete one every day without reading - I am not that interested in your spending habits, sorry.

The same number of longer, more substantial posts per day would be too much.

--------
Filter. Prune ruthlessly. Every idea cannot be your best one.

Helen said...

PS: I'm not the same Helen as the other Helen!

Markus said...

3 posts would be enough! Less is more :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Leo I have got to hand it to you mate your blog is changing my life!! I love it and I really pray that you dont post only once or twice a day!! I say stick to the current or increase. I understand about blog bloat but i consider your blog to be incredibly useful and therefore I really dont care if I read 10 posts a day from you. Hopefully you will continue to post these great and life changing posts. Please increase the posts and perhaps you could split your feeds according to categories so people who dont want to be bombarded can only subscribe to their categories of choice. Ok bye for now but once again thanks for the blog. Bye

Steven Aitchison said...

Hi Leo

It's very admirable that you love writing so much and post as often. however I do believe that 3-4 times per day is too much. If you post once - twice per day I think this is more than enough, otherwise you might lose some good exposure to your articles.

Carol said...

I say 1-2 a day is good, for me. Too many and I tend to skim and not concentrate.

Enjoy your blog

Balfour said...

I love your blog - I'll read whatever you post! I have to make myself stop reading, since I'm new to your blog and am catching up on old posts.

Adrian said...

it depends :-) more than 5 long ones makes for overkill, and sometimes ignoring them to 'keep up' but more than 10 short ones?

for me, I think if it's going to take more than 15 minutes a day I might pass.

However, the real test is value, if I'm getting value from a blog then I stay around no matter how frequent or how long things are. And if frequency or length changes I'll sit things out before making a decision to unsubscribe if I'm still enjoying the writing.

If it adds to me, I stay.

thanks for adding to me

leo said...

Thanks everyone for the feedback! It looks like most people fall roughly into two categories:

1-2 posts/day: 10
3-4 posts/day: 6

Which means, at this point, that I think I will try to limit myself to two quality posts per day, with the option to write a third if I really need to. Also, as the month of February is now over, I won't be writing the short One Month Challenge posts every day (thanks for bearing with me - it was a personal challenge that I wanted to accomplish).

Thanks again, everyone, for the wonderful input!

Anonymous said...

If it's content I enjoy (such as your site), and you're posting on relatively diverse topics and actually have something to say, I will read as many posts as you want to put up. Maybe I'm the exception though!

Debbie said...

I like all your posts. I think that since you are holding yourself back you are already compromising between what you want and what you're finding that your readers want. I would conclude that yes, you should keep holding yourself back. That is all.

My own answer is that with so many posts I might lose track of some, but that's my problem not your problem. I like every kind of post that you do, including your monthly challenge ones--those gave the kind of detail that people just normally don't get.

Helen said...

"I'm more intrigued about how your frequency of posting ties in with your values - at times I've wondered if it is out of sync with the content of your posts."
What I meant was: how does your frequent posting meet your own goals?

Leo said...

Hi Helen ... excellent question. I can see how it might seem like I spend a lot of time writing these frequent posts, and that stops me from achieving my goals. However, a couple of points:

1) It doesn't take me long to write the posts. These are all topics to which I've given a lot of thought over the last couple of years (or longer in some cases) and have done a lot of research. So writing a post is basically just distilling my thoughts and experiences and what I've learned into a few clear and useful points. I can write a post in 10-20 minutes (especially as I normally write very fast). If I were to post full time, I think I could do 20-30 posts a day, but that would most definitely be overkill! And at that rate, I think I would start repeating myself too much. :)

2) I spend more time replying to emails and comments, and maintaining the site, than I do posting. This is the part that takes up a little more time than I'd planned.

3) I've been able to maintain my goals while doing the above-mentioned activities by cutting into my work time, for the most part. What does this mean for my work? Well, it means I have less time to do the same amount of work, which means I've been forced to be more productive during that short amount of time. I've still been able to get my work done, so that's not a problem.

4) Writing for Zen Habits has become a passion of mine. I love writing about this stuff, and I love interacting with all of you guys. So even if I were to drop one of my other goals in favor of posting to Zen Habits, I wouldn't feel remiss. Doing something you love is always a good thing in my book.

I hope this answers your question, which I really appreciate.

Anonymous said...

I really love your blog, but I'm finding it hard to keep up with it. I think 1-2 posts per day is good.

Jae Leslie said...

What johno said.

One of the cool things about writing is that it stays written. People who are following the posting live, as it happens, tend to forget this. But your November posts are just as useful to me now, just finding the site, however many zillions of nanoseconds it may be after your initial post.

One of the things I really admire is how you have the posts linked. This makes it what we used to call a hypertext, a network of pages that can be read in any direction as the reader chooses, according to need, time available, etc.

(maryread from LJ) (thanks for your feedback there, mr wizard!)

Sara said...

I say just trust yourself and be organic. I follow Seth Godin's blog and he posts anywhere from once a day to 3 times a day. A general good rule seems to be 3-4. But it really depends on the type of content. Ririan posts perhaps once a week, but it's always compelling. Indexed, on the other hand, never seems to stop, and while I can't keep up, it's kind of nice; I let it "build up" and then feast when I feel like some reading fun. On the blog I help run, we do between 3 and 4 posts daily, and I wonder the same thing. However, I'd say think long term. If you can sustain yourself at the pace you're going for the length of time you plan to blog - that's the key. Cheers from a life hack and health hack at www.marksdailyapple.com. (Oh, and I think 1-2 solid pages of copy daily is just right for you - that could be 1 or 5 posts depending on what you talk about.)

KIWIWRITER said...

Hi Leo,

I make sure that I post once a day. Sometimes I put on an extra post if I think of or run across something that's important. In my opinion, more than 2 posts is too much. All my favorite blogs usually have only 1 or 2 posts.

By the way, enjoy your blog.

Cheers, Liz

Zenith said...

Once a day with deep substance is good enough. If there is more than one, then none of them gets full deliberation. If there is only one a day, then you can think about it more.

Patrick said...

Hi Leo,

Today I stumbled into your blog and I was baffled with its contents. I've been reading Steve Pavlina for quite some time now, but he's not posting a lot anymore. I am glad you are asking this question about the numer of your posts. For me, your blog is great, but it is not the only blog. So I need to read a lot every day. For me, reading one of your articles once or twice a week would be sufficient. This way you'll make sure you can post just as frequently next year. You problably want to write more because of all your ideas, but you say it yourself in #19 top motivational hacks: HOLD BACK! :)

All the best,

Patrick

Anonymous said...

I think 3-4 is ideal, as its best for the majority, although I would in no way complain if you post 7-8 times a day lol

Yours is one of the first things I go to read in google reader, and rarely do I find the need to skip an entry as it dones't seem 'interesting'

If you post more, it just means people may have to start being selective what they read, not an issue for me though =)

Elizabeth said...

I love your blog...in fact, I have it on my Google homepage so I can check easily if there is a new post. Three or four times a day is fine with me!

All the best to you and your family.

Eric Armstrong said...

I'd say that you should aim for 2-3 (neither 1-2 or 3-4!). But seriously, I think that with your new weekly plan for the blog (If it's Tuesday This Must be Belgium, I mean, GTD Tips Day), I think you MUST write one a day on that theme, and then 1-2 others. For me, the series vary greatly in my interest about them. Some series I'm very interested in (Productivity, Motivation, etc.), while others, no so much (like the one about your month of spending). Of course, sometimes you just want to share something. The list of links, sort of a "tumble-log", those can be very helpful for those of us who are just getting into the habits/productivity/life hack game. It's a great way to x-reference the site. That's why I think 2-3 is your perfect number to aim for. Thank you for your passion for this blog.

Stefano said...

Hi Leo,
your blog is very interesting for me.
But my only concern is that your posts are *very* hard to read with attention... so please limit your daily production! Thank you for your writings.

Anonymous said...

I would say that if you limit yourself to one past a day, it would be best. Then, you have a repository of ideas to pick from when choosing topics down the line.

I know from experience that when one begins blogging, there are a thousand ideas in your head and you want to get them out ASAP. But, this may lead to the well running dry and the death of your excellent site. I've had that happen to two or three blogs of mine already.

So, I advise you to keep a journal or write many posts in succession and schedule them to post throughout the week. You'll thank yourself later.

Leo said...

Thanks for the advice, guys. I've decided to cut back to about 2 posts per day, give or take one. I do see the wisdom in holding myself back and not overwhelming some of my readers. For those who asked for more, I apologize ... but understand that many people just don't want to read that much. If you want more, email me ... I'm thinking of starting a second blog with a different focus.