Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Blog for a Reason

In the comments section, Shua raises a great point about the idea of posting at certain high traffic times.

It seems a bit too calculating to craft my blogging habits around other people's schedules. Am I off base on that?

I think that's a very worthwhile question. To be clear, I'm not suggesting that you write during specific times, only that you take the time of day into account when you publish what you've written (something TypePad makes ridiculously easy to do).

The real question for me is, What is the purpose of your blog? There are nearly as many answers to this question as there are blogs, including the perfectly legitimate, "Purpose? I don't need no stinkin' purpose!"

I love blogs because they can be tailored to each person so easily. Many people write for pure pleasure, or as a journal or series of notes for themselves. Others write to keep in touch with family or to increase communication within a team and better manage projects.

Building a Better Blog was written for people who hope to raise the profile of their blog, for whatever reason (business, career, writing opportunities, networking, community building). These are people who want to grow their traffic and get their writing and opinions in front of more people. People who want to make their site and feed as friendly to readers as possible, because they specifically have decided that they want more readers. Many, many people have never given a second thought to their traffic or number of readers, and that's wonderful, because their site is meeting their own needs, and that is the primary goal.

In cases where someone is seeking to grow his or her site, I think any reasonable steps toward that end would be worth considering. Here's a simple example of how timing matters. If I write a riveting, in-depth review of a recent Apple software release (something I am unlikely to do, unfortunately) and publish it late in the evening, Macsurfer will likely pick it up and display it on the site. Soon after, hundreds of people will be reading my words. However, Macsurfer is dedicated to showing that day's articles and no more, so the next morning my link will be gone. If I delay publishing it until tomorrow, thousands more people will see that same post. If that traffic matters to me, I would be foolish not to take it into account.

Why do governments and companies release bad news late on Friday afternoons? To get as little attention as possible. Why do politicians speak to campaign supporters immediately after 11:00 p.m.  Eastern? To get the coveted lead on the evening news.

Take the time to think about why you blog. Make a list of 5 goals for your blog over the next year. If one of those goals is "Increase traffic" or "Get more readers", by all means, experiment. Try some of these suggestions and the many other great ideas out there. Some will work for you and others will not. The wonderful thing about blogging is that only one person gets to decide what's best for your site. . . you!