Something most “experts” will tell you is death to any blog.
I stopped posting. For 2 ½ weeks. Not a peep.
Without explanation. Without notice. I just plain vanished.
A few reasons…
I’m often asked how many times a day or week a blogger should post to maximize growth, influence and impact. I have friends who post two or three times a month and experience extraordinary growth and sharing.
For some time, I’ve posted anywhere from two to seven times a week. And I wanted to see what would happen if I radically cut back on my posting frequency.
I wanted to see:
- What would happen to my traffic
- What would happen to my subscription rate
- Whether anyone would notice, and if they did…
- Whether anyone would care
So, here’s what happened. Over 2 ½ postless, totally AWOL weeks…
My traffic – Traffic to the blog dropped about 25%, but my deep history of links, SEO and ongoing social discovery kept a nice flow of organic traffic rolling in. This is the benefit of having a substantial number of evergreen posts built up over a period of years, especially authoritative ones with strong search-rankings.
My subscription rate and total new subscribers/day – Net new subscribers/day stayed steady. You read that right. There was a very slight decrease in gross new subscribers, but also a decrease in unsubscribes, likely because the same emails that deliver posts also serve as prompts to unsubscribe. So, no new emails, meant no new prompts to split. At the same time, new organic visitors continued to subscribe, so my inflow of subscribers kept on keeping on, while my unsubscribes dropped to zero.
Did anyone notice? This is harder to measure. Plenty of people may have noticed, but not said anything. Over this window, while people can message me through email, twitter, Facebook, google+ and comments on the blog, only a single person reached out to me to say he noticed I hadn’t posted. Not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing right now.
Did anyone care? That one person expressed concern for me, shared that he loved my work and that it was doing good things in the world and that my tribe really appreciated me and was here for me. His message was deeply heartening. What wasn’t as heartening was that his was the only message from a tribe of tens of thousands of regulars.
My big, fat take-aways…
If you’ve been in the tribe for a while, you’ve likely noticed a bit of an evolution in what I write about on the blog and beyond.
I’m shifting gears professionally. As I emerge from my book launch bubble, I’m beginning to focus intensely on where I’ve succeed and failed in 2011 and what I want to build in 2012 and beyond. While I’ve accomplished some great things this year, I know I’ve also dropped a lot of balls and not come close to what I’m capable of creating in the world.
As a writer, it’s becoming clear that posting one to five times a week is unsustainable. I can do it, but I can’t do it and also create content, experiences and value that inform, illuminate and impact on the level I aspire to. It’s simply a matter of personal bandwidth.
I don’t write to be prolific, I write to make a difference.
And I cannot do that on the level I know I’m capable of when I’m churning out content at concert pitch. I’d rather go narrow and deep a few times a month than go shallow and wide a few times a week. I’m not knocking anyone who chooses the latter, we all have our own internal barometers, aspirations and metrics. It’s just that on a personal fulfillment level, the latter isn’t working for me any more.
The fact that over three weeks there was a near total lack of response to my disappearance also tells me a lot. It was a bit of a wake-up call to me and a validation of my hunch that I need to re-think the perceived value of what I’m building here, how I’m building it and where I want it to go from this moment forward.
You will see some substantial changes over the next few months, all in the name of finding a more sustainable, sweeter spot between:
- My ability and desire to do what I’m here to do,
- My desire to provide a more clearly differentiated experience, and
- My deep Jones to better serve your needs and interests
I’ll create appetizers here and there, but my focus will be on main courses, served up hot two or three times a month. I may also introduce a new video Q&A segment as a way to more directly respond to the many questions that come to me.
Curious, what about you?
Did you notice I’d disappeared? Did it matter?
If you did the same, would it matter to your community?
Are you working in the sweet spot between your authentic genius zone and the deeper needs of your community?
How do you know?
And, last thing, for my first Q&A segment, what can I answer for you?
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