Starting A Blog :: How Much Content Do You Need?

by derek on November 11, 2008 · 27 comments

When starting a new blog, one of the first decisions that you will have to make is how much content your blog should have before it is live for the world (theoretically) to see.
Some people will tell you that it is best to have 10-20 posts published on the first official day of your blog; others will tell you that there is nothing wrong with simply starting with post one on day one.
My preference is for the latter, as I have started all of my blogs by publishing the very first post on the very first day and never looking back.
Now, I do believe there is a distinction to be made between the act of starting your blog and promoting your blog. It is not recommended that you begin the promotion of your blog until you have established a handful of quality, often referred to as pillar content, posts. However, that does not mean you should hide your blog until that pillar content is ready.
Lets face it, in the beginning there will not exactly be a rush of traffic to your new blog whether you have one post or thirty posts. Often times there is a desire to not have your blog “live” until everything is perfect. That is an easy way to drive yourself mad and end up delaying the launch of your blog much longer than necessary.
In my opinion, your blog should be treated as a living creature that you will build and nurture over time. Now that does not mean your first few posts should not be quality posts, as you do not want to discourage any readers that may stumble across your blog. However, being live from day one allows you the opportunity to bond with your very first readers.
That is something that I have had the opportunity to do, as there are a handful of people that commented on the first few posts at this blog that are still regular visitors. As a matter of fact, I have had a chance to develop a relationship with these people far beyond simply being an anonymous reader and that is what makes all of this worth the effort.
As a reminder, I would urge you to develop more content before you begin any true promotion of your blog. Before you begin to promote your new blog, work through these 10 techniques to find blog readers and you will maximize the effectiveness of your promotion.
But don’t be afraid to open the doors with your very first post, you never know what will happen.
What do you think?
Should you not publish your site until you have a predetermined number of posts published? Or should you start your blog with the very first post?

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Gary November 11, 2008 at 10:38 pm

I would go with launching a blot with at least 5-10 quality posts, to prove to new visitors that you mean business and that you have a passion in your blog niche. If I were to stumble across a blog with one post, I would wait for a few more posts before I subscribe to the RSS feed. 😉
Garys last blog post..Ecosol Powerstick USB iPhone Charger Review

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derek November 12, 2008 at 11:34 am

That is a good point, as should someone find the blog on the first day with only the one post they may not be interested.

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Kelvin Kao November 12, 2008 at 1:23 am

I agree with what you said, that there should be at least some content before you start promoting. As for how many post you should have before it goes live… well, that doesn’t really matter. Even though these posts are public, before you go out and promote it, nobody else is going to know to look there.
Kelvin Kaos last blog post..JellyTelly Launches Beta Site

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derek November 12, 2008 at 11:36 am

Right, I guess the difference comes down to whether you want to begin promoting the blog on the first day it goes live or whether you want to be live, build it up a little bit, and then promote it.

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Jessica W November 12, 2008 at 3:33 am

Well i think that there should be at least 3-5 quality/pillar articles before one should start with blog promotion. That is because, on beginning, every visitor to the blog is very important, so you need to give to them at least something to read. If they see one post they really don’t have any reason to remember your site and bookmark it.
Jessica Ws last blog post..Why is Professional Web Design so Important

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derek November 12, 2008 at 11:37 am

We’re in agreement on what you should do before you begin to promote your blog, thanks for sharing.

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Ling@Uptake November 12, 2008 at 5:40 am

As far as authenticity is concerned, best to open the gates on Day 1 and see how it goes. Hiding it until you have enough content makes it a bit of a sham. Anyway, it hardly matters, since most blogs get very few visitors in the first month or so. I’d say that’s more than enough time to build up the content.

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derek November 12, 2008 at 11:38 am

That is the philosophy that I have used for my blogs – open the doors and start writing.

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Nicole Price November 12, 2008 at 9:05 am

I have followed the one post a day formula and have not regretted it yet.
Nicole Prices last blog post..Save Money on Medication

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derek November 12, 2008 at 11:40 am

With this blog, I too have tried to follow the one post per day (during the week, don’t really post on weekends) and it has worked well.
The frequency of posts could be another post for discussion as there are many different thoughts on what is best. IMO, the best frequency is the one that you will be able to consistently maintain.

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Nick@romandock dot com November 13, 2008 at 8:39 pm

I agree, which is why I am considering changing my target post frequency :S
Nicks last blog post..The Part 15 Message On Your Electronics

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Andrea November 13, 2008 at 8:44 pm

but didnt you just do a post about frequency? *rimshot* :p

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Khaled November 12, 2008 at 10:10 am

Would it make a difference if the site was already live and a blog was being added? Id assume it wouldn’t then matter how many posts were on the blog, because its just an extension of your site and not a completely new domain.

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derek November 12, 2008 at 11:42 am

That is good question and one that I had not really considered. It is an extension of your main site, which might make me want it to be more impressive from day one.
I’m interested to hear what others have to say about that.

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Discount Cigars November 12, 2008 at 11:31 am

The more content the better. That’s the general rule of thumb. Why have a blog if you’re not going to continue to update it with new content? That’s the point of a blog. It’s supposed to have new updated at least once a day.
I agree that letting google find it ASAP is the best policy. There’s no harm in getting indexed before you have a ton of content. Plus, google learns that your site is constantly updated faster.

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derek November 12, 2008 at 11:49 am

I did not mean to imply that you would not update the blog regularly. The question was more around whether you should “go live” with the first post or queue up a handful of posts to be published on the first day.
You do make a good point though about the benefits of regular updates with regard to the search engines. Thanks for sharing.

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Todd November 12, 2008 at 4:37 pm

I think that going live with the first post is a good idea, but not to promote it until you have at least ten posts published.
Todds last blog post..Elections are over

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Andrea November 13, 2008 at 9:45 am

I (as you know, since you are the one who helped me started) started with opening the doors when i published my first post. I personally think that is the way to go. worked out well for me.
I am actually working on a second blog but I will reveal that when the time is right. I guess I want to make sure i have enoughs posts to capture my audiences attention 😀

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Tracy - Hair Tools November 13, 2008 at 12:25 pm

I have to admit I have always started a blog with one post for day one. I just assumed it would be cheating to have more content. I never really thought too much about it.
Tracy – Hair Toolss last blog post..Farouk CHI PRO Hair Dryer

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Nick@romandock dot com November 13, 2008 at 8:38 pm

I am also of the thought that there is no harm letting it get indexed and visitors start coming as soon as the first post is published.
Although, it might not be a bad idea to add content at a quicker rate than your plan on settling into until you have several posts…it’s all a matter of opinion and the goals you have for teh site I guess.
Nicks last blog post..The Part 15 Message On Your Electronics

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Bedroom Furnishings November 14, 2008 at 6:29 am

How much time does it take, as when I get spare time I think its a good idea but then life goes manic again so I dont think I could keep it up?

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derek November 14, 2008 at 10:25 am

It really depends – there are successful blogs that update multiple times per day, once per day, or even once per week. IMO, a big part of the frequency is being able to set (and then meet) the expectations of your readers.

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olly@ Best Laptop Deals November 14, 2008 at 7:50 am

I like to also think of it as a living being. Nothing starts with loads of content – that does not look natural and spammy.
Start off slowly and build your content. At the same time your traffic will build.
I also would not start hugely promoting a blog with no content – after all you want to give the visitors something to read, and you want them to come back for more.

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derek November 14, 2008 at 10:27 am

Right, one needs to make the distinction between starting a blog and promoting a blog. The last thing you want to do is spend a considerable amount of time and money promoting a blog with only one or two posts, as new visitors will not have enough to keep bringing them back.

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Steve@Free iPods November 18, 2008 at 6:29 pm

What is also crucial is to make sure that you manage your online reputation from day one. It may not seem important when you are first starting off but you leave a trail wherever you go, which may be a problem if and when you make it big.

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derek November 18, 2008 at 7:47 pm

That is very important – trying to be something that you are not will almost always come back to bite you. In particular, people in the blogosphere seem to have an uncanny ability at determining the people that are not genuine.

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Neil@Free PS3 November 25, 2008 at 9:44 am

I have been making about 3 posts a day as well as pulling content from otehr blogs and linking to them. This seems ok for now but I can’t believe the sheer amount of work required to keep it up and running

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