Can you imagine if every new episodes of your favourite program on the TV was shown haphazardly at different times during the week? Assuming you’re not recording them I imagine it would be extremely easy to miss an episode or two, and ultimately stop watching the show, either because you don’t know what’s going on or you’re fed up of trying to keep track of when it’s on.
For this reason networks broadcast the episodes at regular intervals, typically daily or weekly at the same time, it’s just a common sense method to maximise their potential audience. So why don’t people on the internet use the same method?
“But the internet’s different”… I can hear the argument now. Well yes it is, there are almost uncountable methods of keeping up with you favourite news site, blog, youtube channel etc, but it doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the approach used by the TV companies. Here’s why:
Not everyone is as organised as you
Have a think about the methods you currently use to keep up to date with the content you regular consume on the internet. Whether it be Twitter, Google Reader, Facebook, YouTube subscriptions or one of the many other methods developed to keep you up to date nothing is foolproof.
Take Twitter for example, I intentionally only follow a small subset of people so that I can ensure that I get to read everything that they’ve got to say. However, if someone is following you in order to keep up with your blog posts, but along with hundreds of others, or they simply don’t use Twitter regularly it would be extremely simple for them to miss your update. The same applies for nearly all of the methods people use.
The sad thing is that this person would probably want to read what you have to say, it’s simply that they missed the notification. They may realise this and start to manually check your website for updates, however if they’re anything like me they’ll tend to give up if the site isn’t updated frequently. The likelihood is that you can’t update your blog many times a day unless you’re doing it full time, a luxury few of us can afford, so you’ll probably lose the person as a reader, or at least miss out on much of the traffic they could have created.
You also might be surprised to hear how few people will follow you using any of these methods and simply rely on a website bookmark, or simply google what they remember about your url every so often to see what you’ve been up to. I don’t have any numbers to back this up but the majority of people I know “in the real world” don’t use any method which notifies them of an update and simply rely on checking the website periodically.
To counter this I’ve decided to try and post on this blog at regular intervals, at least to begin with once every Monday and Friday at 6PM (GMT) via scheduled posts. I see a number of advantages to using this approach, first of all regular visitors should quickly learn when to expect new posts and will hopefully start to visit when they know a new post will be up.
Secondly it sets me a goal to get a minimum of two posts written every week. It’s all too easy to spend a week modifying and playing with your latest article. Having a deadline like this will hopefully give me that push to make sure that I get the post out for you. Any additional writing I manage will be saved and set to publish for the next week, hopefully I should end with with posts scheduled for a couple of weeks in advance, taking the pressure off in those busy weeks.
Obviously I can’t tell in advance how successful this approach will be but it would certainly increase my own visits to this site if I were an outsider. I’ll check back here after a while (hello future me!) and update you on how well it’s worked.
One thing I can say however is that I have seen similar approaches working in other places, most notably on YouTube. As you may know there’s a number of people on YouTube which make videos specifically for YouTube for a living, if you’ve ever come across any of these you may have noticed that nearly all have very regimented posting schedules. This is possibly because YouTube videos are more similar to television shows but I don’t see why the technique wouldn’t translate to blogging as well… we shall
How do you keep up to date with the sites that you follow on the web, do you think regular posting would improve your experience or do you already follow a rigid posting scheme for your own site? Do let me know in the comments below.