How often should you blog?

This is one of the most common questions that new bloggers ponder. If you plan to write too few posts, you could find it much harder to build a loyal following. On the other hand, if you plan to write too many, you could feel overwhelmed, rushed, stressed and ultimately burn out. Where is the happy medium?

The answer is a combination of a few factors:

  • how much time you have available to create the content
  • how long it takes you to create each piece of content
  • the topic and format of your blog
  • the purpose of it
  • readers’ expectations

When you’re starting a new blog, you may be inexperienced and things take a whole lot more time to research and put together. An aggressive publishing schedule could be unrealistic.

Even for experienced bloggers, each post can take considerable time and effort. Consider all the steps involved in writing a food blog post: recipe writing, shopping, recipe testing, food styling, food photography, photo editing, and blog post writing and editing. Longform blog posts likely take a whole lot of time to brainstorm, research, write and edit.

For some blogs, readers have the expectation that content will be updated regularly. News, tech and political blogs are some examples. For others such as lifestyle blogs, weekly updates may be seen as more appropriate. Food blogs are an interesting one: we need to eat each day, and a weekly update isn’t normally seen as enough. But is it?

How often do top food bloggers post?

To investigate how often top food bloggers are posting, I took the Top 200 from the American Food Bloggers’ list* and looked at their “feed velocity” which is the average number of articles published weekly. This number is updated every few days by Feedly.

In February 2016, top food bloggers were posting a median of 3.5 blog posts per week. This dropped to 2.3 in June 2016. In that period, 36% of food bloggers had decreased their average number of posts per week, 39% had kept at about the same number and 25% had increased their posting. Anecdotally, food bloggers have been telling me their traffic declines in warmer months, so perhaps this is a seasonal effect rather than a long term trend. Since there’s less interest in food at this time of year, they’re posting less recipes.

In June 2016:

  • 25% of the top food bloggers were posting 1.2 times or less a week on average
  • 25% of the top food bloggers were posting 3.8 times or more a week on average
  • 5% of bloggers were posting more than 10 posts a week on average. In descending order: I Am Baker, Serious Eats, Skinny Ms, $5 Dinners, Six Sisters Stuff, Foodista, Lil’ Luna, Maangchi, Baking Bites and Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking.
  • 9% of bloggers were posting less than 10 posts a week on average.

How often should a new food blogger post?

There’s a temptation to keep up with the Joneses: copy the posting schedule of the very top food bloggers. There’s an important factor to keep in mind though: how many people are behind the site and working on it. Serious Eats have a team of 15 paid staff publishing their 23.3 posts per week which averages out to 1.5 posts per person (of course, that’s not how the work would be divided up, but it helps see how much time is available to do the work). Similarly, Six Sisters Stuff has 7 writers for their 12.8 posts per week, which averages out to 1.8 posts per week per person.

Taking the median number of posts per week, you’re looking at about 2-3 posts per week to stay on track the norm for top food bloggers.

Even then, you could be more lenient on yourself and consider that one post per week is not unusual with top food bloggers: 26% were posting less than once a week in February and 30% in June! Carefully tested recipes, beautifully photographed food and captivating stories once a week could be plenty to build your following of loyal readers.

This post is the first in a series of posts looking at top food bloggers.

* americanfoodbloggers.com – there is no perfect list of the Top 200 food bloggers, this list has been used as a good proxy. Data collected 02/25/2016 and 06/10/2016