10 Feb What Happens When You Cut Back on Blogging
Four months ago, I got insanely busy. New clients and projects began flooding in, which – not gonna lie – is a very good problem to have. At the time, I decided to cut back on blogging so I could focus a little more on client work.
I wasn’t entirely sure that it would hurt my business – not by much anyway. I’ve been blogging for a long time, and I have more than 300 blog posts published on my website – not to mention all the guest and bylined blog posts I’ve written for other sites.
My friend Nicole at SocialLight did an SEO audit, and lo and behold, I have a decent domain authority.
Still, I decided to dig into the data to see what, if anything, happened.
This is what I found.
What happens when you cut back on blogging
Because content marketing is very interconnected, I knew I had to look at more than just website traffic. Did my email newsletter open and click rates take a hit? And what happened over at LinkedIn, the social media platform with the most engagement (for me)?
Let’s start with:
I meandered over to Google Analytics and looked at the last six months of website traffic. This gave me an overview of the two months when I was blogging every week versus the past four months when I was only blogging twice a month.
Traffic is definitely down but not by a ton.
It showed a steady increase for August and September, followed by a slow decrease into December. From December to January, it went back up. Huh.
So then I looked at where my website visitors are coming from. Is it email or social? Nope. It’s organic search by a huge margin. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t show me (or anyone) what terms people use to find my website.
But the pages with the most traffic help fill in the blanks: it’s blog posts. Not necessarily new ones either. Older ones also generate quite a bit of traffic.
I’ve written enough high-quality blog posts that people want to read and have enough domain authority that my blog continues to do quite a bit of work on its own, even without constantly being fed and watered. It’s kinda nice to know that all that work is paying dividends.
If you have fewer blog posts – let’s say less than 50 – and your blog posts don’t get a ton of traffic, don’t cut back on blogging! If you can, increase frequency. And keep at it. Marketing is a long game.
Email open and click-through rates
I am extremely careful about asking people for their time, especially when it comes to reading an email. If I send an email, it better be valuable.
For that reason, I have only ever sent one email per month to my list, and even before I cut back on blogging. Each email only contains four things and takes about 30 seconds to read:
- Brief introduction and invitation to “read more” for two blog posts
- Brief description of a “5 Things” YouTube video from the series I create with my friend Nicole
- A meme, typically about wine or parenting, that made me laugh out loud
When I was blogging every week, I chose my favorite two posts from the previous month to share. Now that I only write two posts each month, they both get included in the newsletter.
So, has cutting back on blogging harmed my open or click rates?
Not at all. My December newsletter had the second highest open rate of the year (38.3%). To give you some context, the highest was in August (43.8%) and the lowest was in May (22.7%).
Because I write the email subject line based on a blog post from that month, here are those winning and losing blog posts:
- August: This is the content people will pay for
- December: Use this schedule to keep your marketing updated
- May: How to track email marketing success beyond open and click rates
I have to say, I am surprised the May newsletter was such a bomb. I really like that blog post!
As long as you have high quality content to share on a regular basis, frequency doesn’t matter. Consistency, along with great email subject lines, matter.
LinkedIn is notoriously bad at providing metrics. You can only see data per post, nothing in aggregate or over a long period. There are many things that puzzle me about LinkedIn (like why they encourage you to create and actively maintain a company page but then hide it from news feeds), but this is the biggest puzzle of all.
I scrolled (and scrolled) back through time, and once again I found that the quantity of blog posts I write and share doesn’t affect engagement on LinkedIn. It’s all about quality.
I publish each blog post as an article on LinkedIn. Then I share that article as a post. (The posts about the article get way more visibility than the article itself, which means they also get more engagement.) The reason I do this is because LinkedIn, like other social sites, doesn’t want you to leave and go elsewhere.
Google Analytics provided me with a different view. Over the past six months, website visitors from LinkedIn follow a pattern. There are usually two major spikes of engagement interspersed with lower spikes every month. Then I looked at the numbers. A big spike only equals a handful of people leaving LinkedIn to visit my website.
But that’s not terrible, and I’m not bummed I don’t get more visitors from LinkedIn. Like I said above, LinkedIn doesn’t encourage users to bounce. The fact that some do means I’m doing something right. And that something is: sharing quality content.
Quality trumps quantity, just like it does with email.
So what can you learn from my experience?
If, like me, blogging is the cornerstone of your marketing, pour your efforts into it. Write high-quality, valuable stuff that your audience will devour. Be consistent, and blog at least once a month (though more is better).
As long as you are thoughtful about your email and social media marketing, you shouldn’t get dinged.
If you’d like to improve your blogging, check out our Small Business Guide to Blogging. It’s filled with valuable, doable tips for busy small business owners. Download it here.