Blogging: Quality vs. Quantity

The challenge:

Have you ever scrolled through what seemed like a million blogs before you managed to come up with one that seemed worth reading? Have your various feeds been bombarded with numerous posts so that you have wondered if you needed to “unfollow” or “unfriend” someone while the whole time being aware of an uncomfortable feeling that you might be missing out on a few good posts by removing the blogger completely from your feed?

There are bloggers who post too much. We simply don’t feel like seeing them again. And there are bloggers who post too little. They get buried  in the avalanche of the prolific post-ers.

It’s not the blogger’s fault. My limited experience with blogging has revealed an inherent contradiction embedded in the very genre of the blog .

The blogger’s dilemma:

The dilemma for us is this: A blogger needs to keep producing blog posts at periodic intervals while also maintaining quality.

  • If the quality falls below a certain level, readers will inevitably lose interest. While they may not “unfollow” the blog itself, they will simply stop clicking on the titles, put off by the mere garrulity of the blogs, full of just words and nothing much to say.
  • If the blogger decides to post infrequently aiming for high quality, s/he may soon realize that in the blogosphere, absence does not make the heart grow fonder although over-familiarity might breed contempt.
The challenges of the blog form:

Since blogging as a genre does not allow for much in-depth analysis simply because blogs need to remain fairly short, they need to be frequent enough to become  a household voice to the reader. Blogs tend to tickle the thought process of the reader periodically, leaving the rest to the imagination, sometimes pointing to longer works by the author where there is more in-depth treatment.

Besides, the content in focus in a blog is not constant. Even the super-good post gets pushed down as new posts come up because of  the chronological setup. Putting all your good ideas in a single blog might ensure that people forget about it in a week when new posts come up.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. They will  simply not hatch in a blog.

At the same time, a blog post has to be  complete, coherent and engaging in itself without depending on what came before or what will come after. Therefore, although it’s similar in some ways to serial publications, it cannot hope to succeed based on suspence value. It is a finished product unlike serialized work (unless you are specifically using the medium of the blog to serialize a longer work).

Yet, a blog is similar to serialized work in that the average quality of the posts matter more  than the sporadic excellent one. Therefore maintaining consistent quality is important. Being a quirky genius does not help much.

It is possible to produce quality material at frequent intervals but unless you have an exceptional gift, this will mean that all your other writing activities will suffer if you channel all your creative energy into the blog. For while we writers can write an enormous number of grammatically coherent sentences if we’re made to, we all have a limit to how much quality work we can produce in a day or a week. If we have chosen to become full-time bloggers it might still be possible to keep producing good work several times a day but that kind of productivity will burn anyone out soon.

Dealing with the challenge:

So how can we deal with this issue of producing blogs at regular intervals while maintaining a minimum level of quality below which we swear, at the time of starting a blog, that we will not fall?

Weekly goals help.

Weekly goals are important not only because they ensure that a certain amount of writing is produced at intervals but also, for the blog addicts, they ensure that we’re not overdoing the posts so that it’s becoming a time-suck for us and putting off our readers with too many posts. It’s a temptation, to blog too much, because it provides instant gratification unlike other forms of writing but we can temper this desire if we’re careful.

However, just coming up with a number that we can handle (say two posts a week or 5 posts a week) is not enough.

Defining our goals:

We might need to ask ourselves the following questions to define our goals a bit more clearly:

  • What kind of blogs will I publish each week? Two fun posts and one serious? One informational post and one memoir-style? This will depend on what my blog is about and who my audience is of course.
  • How many words will I devote to the blog per week so that it doesn’t become a huge drain on my other activities and yet keep me writing?
  • Will all my blogs be in-depth treatments of subject matter or will they  remain short and sweet or will I combine these types producing a certain number of longer blogs a month out of the total so that I can continue to do both yet publish frequently?
  • How much effort will I devote to my blogs per week in addition to writing them such as working on pictures and multimedia or even research? The answer would depend on what the blog means to me and what my end goal is.
  • Am I blogging to become a full-time blogger? Am I blogging to create a platform ultimately for some longer creative work? Am I blogging as a supplement to some larger, ongoing, complex project? Am I blogging to instruct or using the blog just as a journal?

I know that some of us will respond to this last question and say, “Oh, but I thought my blog was the only space where I didn’t have to think about goals or audience. I just put my thoughts in here as they come.”

I’d agree completely with this use of the blog. But I’d also suppose that such blogs would be kept completely private to maximize private expression.

The blogger as writer:

The moment we make a blog public, we admit to the desire of it being read by someone other than ourselves and then we become aware of a context (and maybe a certain amount of responsibility towards the person who is taking out time to click on our title)!

So that we *have* to worry about quality.

I think practicing writing by blogging, a goal of many bloggers who write “as it comes,” also develops our sense of looking at our world with a more critical eye.

Being simultaneously aware of more than one objective (catering to an audience, being aware of a context and having some end goals in mind in addition to the free-flow of creative spirit ) can only help, not hinder our writing process.

So what is your big challenge while blogging and how do you deal with it?

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131 thoughts on “Blogging: Quality vs. Quantity”

  1. Branding is an important part of my profession, or at least, for many in my profession… and blogging and book reviews and having a social outlet is a huge part of that. I was told that to blog, it needs to be frequent… however, I find it hard to find the time to put quality posts together, “frequently.” Generally I don’t want to post for the sake of posting… so it is difficult for me in that aspect.

    For my personal blog, meh. I post when I have something I want to post. Period. 🙂

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  2. I have a little blurb on the upper left corner of my blog’s main page which states that I blog “weekly-ish”. Perhaps this it too infrequent, but it’s a comfortable pace for me because of my work and family responsibilities. What this means, however, is that I am committed to writing a halfway decent post weekly. If I have something extra to say, I’ll post more often.

    I certainly can’t keep up with hundreds of blogs whose authors post daily, and would rather give my readers the best of myself less often than bombard them with tidbits, or half thoughts, just because it might improve my stats. I’m okay with the idea that this approach may be to my detriment. I respect my readers’ time, and can only hope that they recognize this and stick around.

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  3. I do think there is a risk of over-thinking the whole thing. I post when I feel like posting, I post for me not for anyone else (no doubt that I love when people read what I write, when they like what I write) and if I put myself on any kind of schedule when it comes to blogging it just stops. I do have a feeling that if I put myself on any kind of schedule when it come to writing in general I hit a full stop.

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  4. well done. thinking. drat.

    my biggest challenge is a schedule. i usually write when i want. but i’ve started some things, like my “Tuesday Morning Press” which I enjoy and I guess readers do; and then I’m on another site and I love to host/guest blog. Thinking. drat.

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  5. My biggest challenge is scheduling. Like you say, I don’t want to post too much or too little.
    When I first started my blog it was intended as a journal through a personal life experience, but as I got into it I realised two things
    a) this journey I’m on will not provide sufficient material for me to keep things original and regular
    b) I could use my blog as a creative outlet.
    I follow many blogs and I only follow ones which I think I will enjoy reading on a regular basis. I’m also know the style of the blogger – some are humourous, some more serious, some write about a specific subject. I also know that some bloggers write longer and some write shorter posts. Therefore when I get a notification of a new post and who wrote that post I immediately know what type of reading I’m in for and will schedule my reading time accordingly. If I know it’s going to be short and funny I might read straight away, if I know that a certain blogger makes me think, I’ll read it when I have time to absorb etc etc.
    Therefore I think it is important to develop a style and stick to it. Sure you may deviate from your style occasionally, if you have something to share, but in general your readers should know what to expect from you. I think that way you will avoid being “unfollowed”.

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  6. I totally agree with you, bottledworder! Whatever the topic it is, that must keep a better QUALITY rather than QUANTITY aspects while updating or revealing in front of the blog sphere. Myself seriously lacks the quality of GRAMMATICAL ERRORS in my posts I guess and seriously working on it for a prominent CHANGE at least in the near future. A well profound post. Keep up the work. Have a good time ahead. Cheers.\m/ 🙂

    Rahul

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    1. This post doesn’t just ‘speak’ to me – it SINGS! Good grief how true. I want to read and be read. I want to love and be loved. I seek ‘like’ to beget ‘like’. And so it goes…

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  7. Thank you for a very good post! My ultimate blogging challenge is to find time for it. Writers block is never a problem, but to get scheduled time with a baby and a pre-schooler around is. I love to write, I love my blog and I have high ambitions for it, but to write a quality post you need time alone in peace and quiet. 🙂 I keep telling myself I don’t have to post so often (right now about 4 times a week) but I’m afraid not to keep my readers if I post just once a week. I have a plan though: post less often but engage more with my readers on Facebook, Twitter and on their own blogs. Building relationships can never be wrong, don’t you think?

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  8. Thanks for “finding” and liking my post “The Vectors”. I really don’t know how you found it! I don’t have any “feeds”. What is a feed anyway? I know the meaning, but it seems it’s used in blogging to refer to something specific.

    I just write what flows from my heart, and modulated a little by my mind. And that’s it.

    I like your post. You need to look hard for quality, not only in blogging, but everywhere, in every discipline. The last mile of the success mountain is almost empty! I’ve heard that from Brian Tracey.

    All the best,

    The Soaring Eagle

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  9. I’ve got to agree. Some people are just eager to blog but I’m really more about quality. In my heart I’d love to write for a career but I’d rather hone this skill on the side than struggle with it as a job. Just started a new collab blog on here, some unlikely topics being thrown on one blog, just to see where this could go.

    I’ve been blogging for more than a year and my main blog has really brought me some happiness and new friends. I find too many people leaving (follow me back) comments but unless it’s content that I’d find interesting or worth my time, applicable to me, no need to follow for a follow. I want content in my stream that I’d read.

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  10. I’m new to blogging and I feel like writing every second of the day however I do have common sense and can see the consequences of that. Quality will wear of as quantity increases. Quality over quantity any day.

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  11. My challenge is to avoid feeling pressure to post – that’s when it becomes less enjoyable, and that’s one of the reasons I recently jettisoned my old blog and started fresh. My aim is to post quality material, and to keep it short (< 500 words). I'll write when I have things to say.

    It's important for me to have a bit of a plan (not a blueprint, but a general direction), and also a place to incubate ideas that pop into my head. I use Scrivener, but you could use Evernote, a word processor, or even have draft posts that you're developing. Whenever I get an idea, I just throw it into my "idea basket" in Scriv.

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  12. My biggest challenge is schedule. I often struggle to keep up with my blogging schedule of once every two days, because ideas don’t seem to come fast enough. For that I’ve created a list of possible topics that I refer to every time I’m stuck for words. It has proven helpful thus far, though I won’t deny that i tend to slack sometimes.

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