Can You Write Too Much?

It used to be my goal to write two posts a week on this blog and on my business blog. For all my other blogs, my goal was to write at least one post a week. I tried to space them out so they weren’t competing against each other when they went live, as I initially promote them all on Twitter.

Jase Curtis via Compfight

Lately I’ve been going after some of the latest recommendations that I see online, both by folks with sites ranked high and sites ranked low. One of the latest recommendations is that, instead of writing more articles, all of us should concentrate on writing one “epic” post a week, something along the lines of 5,000 to 10,000 words. Supposedly, Google likes those posts better, ranks you better, more people will see and share your stuff and you’ll be the latest golden goose to strike it rich.

Okay, I just added that last part. In any case, I’m here to debunk, or discuss, that and other things as they concern writing one’s blog because that’s what I do. 🙂

First, writing ultra long posts. I touched upon this one in my post on 6 Answers To Questions From New Bloggers where I wrote:

The people who write one really long post a week (sometimes one every 2 weeks) put a lot of time and research into it. Some folks burn out having to write what’s essentially a term paper every 2 weeks. If I had to do that I probably wouldn’t still be blogging after 17 years, which I’m up to right now.

How did you do in school when you were told to write a 10-page report on… whatever? As much as I like to write, there were times when, because of the subject, I found it difficult to do. Back in the day, we had to go to the library, look for a lot of books, bring them home and try to put things together. I had lots of encyclopedias that, it turns out, were pretty old, but they were references for some of what I wrote. And I didn’t understand a lot of it.

For most people, even if they know the material, trying to write just 500 words on a topic is going to cause a lot of consternation. My last post, which I linked to above, was just over 2,300 words.

It begs the question; do long posts really work well? Will they work for everyone? Can everyone do it? I’ll let you answer that one, but I’ll also touch upon the subject again further down.

Hand Writing

Dave King via Compfight

Second, writing multiple posts a week. In that same article I referenced earlier, the 6 answers, I said this:

A reality is the more you write, the higher your blog will rank, and there “might” more possibilities that your articles will be promoted on search engines for keywords and keyword phrases.

The more you write the more traffic you’ll get and the higher you’ll rank… but it might not bring you what you want. For those of you who know Darren Rowse, aka Problogger, that’s how he got started many years ago. He started out writing upwards of 10 posts a day; yup, sure did.

I know that because, when I was getting going on this blog, I went to check out his beginning to see what he did in the beginning. That what’s what I saw; wow! That was astounding; as prolific as I like to consider myself, there was no way I could do that on one blog though, a few years ago, I found there were times when I could write 10 articles in a day when I was getting paid for it, sometimes more.

These days, the only blogs that will survive putting out that kind of content are blogs with multiple writers like Huffington Post or Medium, which to many aren’t quite blogs but that’s what they officially are. They can get away with writing that much because they not only have multiple categories, but some big name folks writing for them.

For the rest of us… for a while I found that writing two posts a week on this blog helped its ranking stay pretty consistent over the years, a Google animal notwithstanding. I got the same results on my business blog, which was cool because it hadn’t been that popular in the longest time. Unfortunately, because I was traveling out of state a lot over the course of 18 months, my goal dropped to only having one article a week and my rankings suffered a little bit. Now I don’t guarantee I’ll write an article a week, as I have other projects I have to work on.

So yes, writing multiple times a week on a blog can definitely help… sometimes… If you’re depending on search engines to help you along the way, you’ll need to stay consistent on a particular range of topics. If you mainly write about trees, at least 75% of your articles should be on trees in some way. You can always get away with a straggler without penalty; do it too often and search engines don’t like you as much. Still, unless your blog is totally for business purposes, you’re looking to grow a loyal audience, so write as much or as little as you choose.

You know what else beats that 75%? Writing long articles (told you I’d come back to this)! These days, you get less help from adding tags and categories than you do writing a comprehensive article that touches on particular themes that people might be searching for. For years I used a plugin called All In One SEO because it allowed me to write a meta description that would be shown on search engines… but now those same search engines (Google for sure) ignore what you “think” you’re writing about and often shows part of your content that you didn’t think was all that important when you wrote it, but suddenly lots of people are looking for answers you’ve inadvertently given them.

Third, let’s look at the main question: can you write too much? Without thinking, the easy answer is “no”. However, with thinking and contemplation, the answer changes, though maybe not for the reason you think it will.

5/365

J.B. Hill via Compfight

As I stated above, the more you write the more traffic you’ll get and the higher your site will be ranked. Search engines love content, lots of content and ever changing content; that’s not new.

What also isn’t new is that, overwhelmingly, no one is mentally ready to keep up with it all. You might have all the ideas in the world to write on multiple topics and be able to come up with something new 5 times a day. Heck, to tell you the truth, one of those things I used to do is sit down on a Sunday and write 8 to 10 posts in a day so that, if I wasn’t in the mood to write something specific on a certain day I didn’t have to.

The problem? If some people can burn out after writing 3 or 4 blogs posts in a lifetime, imagine what happens to those of us who are writing so much that it feels like it’s consuming our life.

Over my 17 years of blogging I’ve contemplated quitting a few times. Luckily it’s probably less that 5, but I’ve thought about it. It can get really tiring, especially if you’re not making a lot of money (or any at all), or don’t have tons of traffic or comments, and you’re not generating any business from all the work you’re doing.

Burnout is tough to deal with. Burnout is why I don’t have a newsletter anymore. I wrote one for 9 years, the other for 10 years, and I couldn’t take it any longer. The thing about the newsletters is that I almost never got any feedback. If I wasn’t getting any feedback on my blogs… well, at least on 3 of them, I might have given up the ghost, said it wasn’t worth it, and moved on with life.

This one is as much a life lesson as it is a writing lesson. We all have to determine what we’re getting out of writing our blogs, or anything else we write. If we’re doing it for our livelihood and it’s not too oppressive, then it’s all good. If writing is a chore and you’re making money, well, it might not be the best job but you’re working for yourself and that’s never bad.

What’s your goal? That’s a question I have to answer at least once every couple of months with my blogs. What am I trying to achieve? How close am I to achieving it? Should I change something, and if so what and how?

If I just wanted traffic and nothing else, I can do that; I’ve done it so I know what’s needed. Targeted traffic… that’s a little harder.

I think this is enough for you to contemplate. I’ll leave you to consider the questions I’ve asked above, the information I wrote before that, and what I added afterwards. What are you hoping to do with your blog, and is it giving you want you need for now.

Yeah, I assigned homework! At least I’m not asking for a 10-page paper, which is about 2,500 words; ugh! 😉
 

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18 thoughts on “Can You Write Too Much?”

  1. I think your posts should be as long as the topic demands they be.

    Readers can tell when you’re not serious, or when you’re just “phoning it in.” I’ve had a lot of compliments on mine, this week, so the effort to commit to better writing on my blog – whether I’ve stated it overtly or not – has been noticed and is paying dividends. Traffic has increased 10x over that of last weekend. 🙂

    Post several times a week. I don’t think there’s a magic number, but not posting one week, then posting five times the next, isn’t as good as 2-3 times a week at regular intervals. It’s okay when someone’s subscribed by email; they only have to come visit the blog when there’s fresh content and they know it. But for newcomers who may not have committed to subscribing yet, a week can make it look like “dead blog.”
    Holly Jahangiri recently posted..Lean Back and ListenMy Profile

    1. Good stuff Holly. You know I subscribe to the belief that a blog post is done when it’s done. Except for the one time a few years ago I never head into writing anything expecting it to be long; sometimes it just turns out that way. That’s because my other belief is that when people start writing something and then leave a lot of things unsaid it takes away from the reader experience. When it’s a post that’s supposed to be teaching me something… that irks me to no end.

      As for the once a week thing… I like to think that most people who read blogs are “professional blog readers”, which means they understand that some folks might only write once a week. Everyone else is a “hobbyist blog reader”, and those folks might think a blog is dead, but they’re usually not the ones coming back anyway, even if you wrote something every day. I think we both get a lot of those folks; at least I know I do.

  2. Well, count me among the burned. Before I switched to 100% fiction, I tried to blog about whatever came to mind. It turns out that half of that stuff was only interesting to me. The other half was like those old school essays.

    It got really old, especially when the spammers overran my comment moderation queue. (Zombies!)

    The rules are different for fiction, I think. Write the story until it’s done. Or make a serial. Eh, whatever. LOL

    Cheers,

    Mitch
    Mitchell Allen recently posted..Anubis and ArtemisMy Profile

    1. Most of your articles worked best on that site, the name of which I can’t ever remember so I’m just gonna say Writing Up and hope I’m close. You mainly wrote stories and I think you had a loyal audience there. I’m not sure how one might promote those types of stories via a blog, but I can understand why you decided to back off of that a bit. As you can see (well, that you know), I don’t have that issue with spammers anymore. If I get 3 a week these days I’m slightly irked, but it’s way better than the amount I was getting previously.

  3. Hey Mitch

    The thought is to welcome readers and let them know that we are just as ordinary as any other person.

    “A reality is the more you write, the higher your blog will rank, and there “might” more possibilities that your articles will be promoted on search engines for keywords and keyword phrases.”

    Thanks for the wonderful line. I have also got some idea and hopefully I will use on my website.

    Thanks
    Aadiv
    Aadiv S recently posted..10 Best AI Content Writing Tools & Software of 2022 –  Make Writing to EasierMy Profile

    1. Thanks Aadiv; I hope it works out for you as well as it has for me. I didn’t add that there’s always a possibility that you’ll find another way to repurpose your content by putting some of it in a book later down the line, which is what I did with content from my business blog.

  4. Hi Mitch,

    I liked this comment:” We all have to determine what we’re getting out of writing our blogs, or anything else we write.”

    And also, I was surprised when I scrolled down, that this was originally written in 2015 (I think that’s right). Maybe another good blog post would be about updating and/or rewriting original blog posts?

    Thanks for the great article!

    1. Hi Carol,

      Glad you liked that line. I obviously believe that, based on how much I’ve written and how I’ve written. I tend to believe that anyone in business should consider writing a blog, even if they don’t write articles as long as mine (which still isn’t close to what Neil Patel does; I feel like a slacker lol). Even if search engines don’t move people to the top just because they’ve put out a new article doesn’t mean that something they write might capture the conscience of the audience they’re trying to reach.

      As for an article on repurposing… you mean like this one? https://www.imjustsharing.com/repurposing-content-from-other-blogs-youre-shutting-down/

      Or this one? https://www.imjustsharing.com/24-ways-to-repurpose-your-content/

      Or even this one? https://www.imjustsharing.com/repurposing-your-own-blog-content-good-thing-or-bad/

      And an article like this one, where I addressed the issue in the first paragraph (and it’s long… very long…)? https://www.imjustsharing.com/55-tips-and-ideas-about-blogging/

      So… I’ve covered the topic multiple times since 2012, and come upon a way I like doing them. If any of the repurposed content either got few comments, or everyone who commented is no longer online, I wouldn’t announce it as a repurposed post… and no one would know or be upset. But being conscientious of those who’ve commented who are still live online, I don’t want to take their link away, especially if their comments were proper.

  5. Hi Mitch,

    Two things jump out at me.

    Eighteen years of blogging in multiple places and at times pumping out multiple posts per blog, per day might have caught up to me as I don’t pump out the content the way I used to.

    Some of it is because my time is more limited and some of it is because I don’t get the same traction/response as I once did.

    When I felt a little writer’s fatigue the community used to give me a lift that I could use to get over the hump.

    The second thing that jumps out at me now is I did get complaints from a few people who said they disliked not being able to keep up.

    What I sometimes wonder about is the premise that good quality content would keep people coming back. The answer today, though I may change my mind is quality is important but not what makes or breaks us.

    There is so much out there now that even if we are awesome we’re not going to retain some people for more than a look here and there.
    Josh recently posted..A Kingdom By The SeaMy Profile

    1. Hey Josh! Truthfully, if I didn’t have anything else to worry about I could still be writing a blog post a day. Not all of them would be of the long variety, and there’s no guarantee that I’d actually be saying anything pertinent to anyone but myself, but that’s how it felt in the early days of this blog. Back then, you could get away with writing one or two paragraphs, add a link to a video and Google would love you for producing new content. Man, the amount of comments some of those used to get; wow…

      In a weird way, I still write something almost every day, but it’s spread into many different areas instead of just one blog.

  6. Unless your writing is impacting your physical, mental, or emotional well-being, then no, I do not think you can write “too much”. In fact, daily, consistent writing is something almost every writer strives to do.

    1. I certainly fall into that category. Even on a day like today where I had lots of things going on, I wrote about 1,000 words, which I’d consider a low number for me. 🙂

  7. Your article should never be written for the sake of length. I have seen so many articles with repetitive information. and i usually get bored by the time reach the mid of the article.

    1. I’ve seen lots of those articles over the last 10 years that I’ve made fun of some of them because they irritated me greatly. A long article needs to have breaks or numbers so one as the writer can remember what to focus on and where.

  8. Does “creative writing” mean to write too much and not enough?
    Have you ever read a book, only then to read on to the next page wondering why are they trying to get this word/phrase across or why do they not mention that character’s name when talking about them? Or why are you being so brief when you are covering that topic/experience? Why don’t people talk more about what is really happening in their lives instead of just being quick to say something (like how good or bad)? Is there some limit though? Do you have all these books and can’t write just about certain topics because it would make your stories “too messy”, as some folks say?
    The answer is yes. It does! Well not at all for your blog or website anyway. But for the writing of non-fiction or for fiction writing. There is the possibility to work your creativity through so many different angles just a little bit at a time while also not coming out with stuff you cannot think or feel to be able to put out (unless it fits within that category, because let’s face it. We could all probably name at least 3 examples). While one will end up reading far…
    Erik Johansen – ShunRio recently posted..How to walk confidentlyMy Profile

    1. Whew, this is a tough read to comment back on; let’s see…

      “Does “creative writing” mean to write too much and not enough?”

      Nope; creative writing doesn’t have a correlation with length or depth whatsoever.

      “Have you ever read a book, only then to read on to the next page wondering why are they trying to get this word/phrase across or why do they not mention that character’s name when talking about them? Or why are you being so brief when you are covering that topic/experience?”

      Answering the first part, only when I tried reading The Power Of Now, though there were no characters in it, only what I consider to be horrible writing. Answering the second, I can’t say I’ve seen that happen often in books, but definitely see it in a lot of blog posts.

      “Why don’t people talk more about what is really happening in their lives instead of just being quick to say something (like how good or bad)? Is there some limit though?”

      Not everyone is prepared to put their lives out in the open like that; it takes courage as much as it takes discretion, depending on what each person does for a living, where they live, etc. As for limits, the only limits are what people decide they don’t wish to share with others. As much as I share with readers of my blogs, I’m certainly not sharing everything; never going to do that.

      “There is the possibility to work your creativity through so many different angles just a little bit at a time while also not coming out with stuff you cannot think or feel to be able to put out (unless it fits within that category, because let’s face it. We could all probably name at least 3 examples). While one will end up reading far…”

      Looks like you might have run out of energy Erik, or possibly didn’t copy everything you wrote elsewhere that you meant to copy here. I’ll admit not being totally sure where you were going with this part, but my interpretation is to “kind of” agree that in many instances people will start writing something and then leave it hanging out there without completing the thought or enhancing the idea a bit more, possibly worrying that they’ve already said too much. Real creativity when it comes to writing isn’t easy, which explains why so many blogs die every year.

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