Staying relevant or giving up?

One of the things each blogger has to keep in mind is how to stay relevant. This is something we’ve been discussing over on Three Dollar Bill Reviews because we don’t put out a plethora of reviews each month. Some sites are megasites and can produce numerous reviews each day but other sites produce maybe one review a day or in some cases a week. TDB has several reviewers but with busy schedules the number of reviews is pretty sparse. Does that mean it’s not a viable resource? I wonder the same thing about my personal blog. I used to post every single day and now I try to post a couple times a week (at best).

So I struggle with how much content is needed to stay relevant and interesting. Do you need reviews every day and content posts as well? Is that too much, not enough, just right? It’s hard to strike a good balance and remain a resource that’s actually useful.

Not to mention those blogs and sites that seem to produce massive amounts of content are so much work that it’s a job in itself. Some of the bloggers I follow have quit their day job because they make enough money off their blogs to survive (ha how nice that would be). But the majority are doing blogs as a hobby and that can turn into a full time job if you’re not careful.

I’m always impressed with readers/reviewers/bloggers that can pump out the amount of reviews and content that keeps their sites super busy and interesting. That’s great! As a reader I like that sometimes, other times I get overwhelmed by the amount of missed posts and just give up. I’ve given up on quite a few sites because I get too far behind and can’t keep up. Since I feel the need to read in order (and everything) if someone is posting multiple times a day and I miss say a week, that site will probably be dropped because I can’t keep up and feel some kind of weird pressure that I missed something important.

So what about everyone else? What makes a site relevant as a resource and what is too much, too little, just right?

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16 thoughts on “Staying relevant or giving up?

  1. Tam says:

    Ummm. I dunno. LOL

    I can be gruelling sometimes. We do two reviews/day at BER plus the odd special fun thing like the British Fortnight (much more work than my head originally told me it would be) but lots of fun. It’s not too bad I don’t find it, but I don’t have a passel of kids and husband and a job (looking at Jenre). Also reviewing shorts we keep our reviews to 500 words or less, so 3-4 paragraphs and some shorts are only 8 pages. Some are 60, but it evens out. My own blog is every couple of days I like to post something. I find weekends don’t get much traffic but traffic is down in general. *shrug* I never check my stats much so I just keep posting.

    Because I use Google Reader, someone can not post for months and I don’t “miss” it when they come back because it pops up. For people who literally blog hop, clicking on different blogs to see if there is new content, I’m sure they just drop off the radar screen.

    You can make money on a blog but it requires a lot of work and you have to give up some autonomy sometimes. You are at the mercy of the advertisers to an extent I think, but I’m not sure. I’ve never really thought about it. It would take a LOT to get to the point I could quit my job which would probably equal putting in 50 hours a week on a blog on top of my regular job just to get to that point and I’m not that interested.

    So my answer is I don’t know. If a blog posts, even once a month, something that I enjoy reading, that is relevant to me, then I keep them on my reader. If I end up following a blog with one-sentence reviews (no names given) or only books in genres I never read, then it falls off the table. Everyone’s ideas of what is relevant to them is probably different. I like chatty posts “Here’s my dog chasing a ball” mixed in with “My review of X”, some people don’t want chatty shit and just want the content. So who knows. It’s a crap shoot in the bloggosphere.

    Wow, that was uplifting. LOL

    • Yay for crapshoots? You’re absolutely right that it’s impossible to predict how more than one person will react to any given blog. Thankfully the majority of ppl who visit book blogs tend to be somewhat similar so there is a thread of commonness but even that will vary upon personal tastes. I’ve never really cared about making money off a blog (I only mentioned that in the original post because holy shit ppl actually put that much work into their blog) but more so it’s one of those random thoughts … is the blog worthwhile anymore? That of course is only something I can answer but sometimes I wonder.

      It’s good to know that with Google reader the new posts show up even if you haven’t posted in a while and when something strikes a cord, ppl comment. That’s how I keep up with blogs (I comment when moved).

      I do think shorter reviews in general are tending to be the trend. Have you seen Goodreads lately? Good luck finding a thorough review of something of late. It seems most are quick reactions with perhaps a few 2 paragraph reviews. I think this is both a reflection of the shorter attn span but also that people aren’t spending as much time. Not a bad thing per se but definitely a change I think.

  2. If only I could quit my day job to run my blog!

    Some days I wonder why I have a blog, especially when I put so much time into a blog post and no one comments.

    With twitter and tumblr, people aren’t blogging as much.

    • Oh good luck with getting comments on reviews. That almost never happens on most blogs (I think perhaps new blogs? Not sure). I wonder if it’s that there are too many blogs, not enough commenters/readers? I do think you’re right that there is less blogging going on with the instant social media of tumblr/twitter/facebook.

      Even reviews on Goodreads are getting much shorter and it’s common to find a paragraph at most and usually just a line or two of a review and numerous back and forth comments.

  3. I don’t think there’s a set answer – but if you feel pressured to post and aren’t enjoying it, that would reflect in the posts and I don’t think they’d be as appealing to read. I follow blogs that post on all sorts of different frequencies – like Tam, I follow on Google Reader so it doesn’t matter if I don’t check up on them for a while.

    I like a mix of posts – preferable involving some humour. Reviews are useful, but I mainly comment on opinion pieces. Clearly I’m an opinionated so and so 😉

    • Thanks! Your comment was pretty helpful. I didn’t actually think about it that way (in that any ambivalence would come through in the post itself). If so, that’s just counter productive on a couple of levels. It does also show that it’s smarter to post only when you have something to actually say, which takes the pressure off.

      Then again I could just be lazy so I need justification hehe. But that works!

  4. HJ says:

    I follow your blog through LiveJournal Friends, so I’ll see whatever you post even though it isn’t daily. I prefer it if you blog only when you have a specific review that you want to write, as that gives the impression that you are a “real” reader rather than a professional or semi-professional reviewer. The relative rarity of your reviews seems to make them more genuine, somehow.

    Your blog avoids the feeling that one gets with some sites that the reviews are being churned out regardless of whether the book caught the interest of the reviewer (either positively or negatively).

    So, in summary, I think you have the balance just right as it is and that you shouldn’t feel pressurisd into changing anything.

    • Thank you! I can’t tell you how much your comment means. I used to feel the pressure to publish so many reviews to keep readers interested but then I realized I was doing a disservice and have been much more choosy about the books I actually review. So it’s incredibly helpful to know that others find the reviews worthwhile and aren’t put off by fewer reviews put out.

      I’m definitely not a professional review site so thank you : ).

  5. Like Chris and others, I like a balance. TBH I can’t keep up with a huge amount of daily posting, either as a poster or a reader. There are too many other things in life LOL. Plus it means I really look forward to activity on a blog I like.

    And I think if someone feels pressured by quantity over quality (that’s not you, Tam! *g*) I think that shows through.

    Or is that all a justification for the fact I don’t blog to any kind of a routine myself?! LOL

    • LOL well I’m with you!! I can’t keep up with daily posting blogs anymore so I’m particularly grateful that other blogs I follow feel the same way. Maybe it’s a justification but hey, we’re the only ones that matter right?

      I think you made a great point about quality vs. quantity posts. As long as the posts are worthwhile, it doesn’t matter how often (or not) they occur.

  6. I’d be lucky to post once a week on my blog, so I can’t complain if other blogs post around the same! 🙂 I subscribe to your blog Kassa, so I know when there’s a new post so any frequency you are comfortable with is fine with me.

    • Thanks! I appreciate the feedback and I can understand the once a week posting. I used to post every single day but now a couple times a week is as good as I do. It’s good to know other blogs I follow are similar 😀

  7. Hi Kassa,

    I’m a few days late and a couple of dollars short aren’t I? I missed this entry when you initially posted! And this is endemic of your entry theme – as a reader/reviewer I can’t keep up with the plethora of bloggers’ posts (readers and authors), book reviewers, new releases, etc. Add to this the current demands of my day job – an etremely high stress and demanding environment – and a pesky little thing called real life, and lately there is little physical and mental energy left over to churn out reviews on a regular basis, whether for my own blog or TDB Reviews. Establishing a (relatively) regular reading/reviewing schedule has been a particular challenge for me over the past year or so because of my current work situation.

    Like you, I marvel at authors who are able to hold down a day job and churn out books on a regular basis, blog, etc. Equally, I’m in awe of reviewers that can do the same with reviews. Although I’m a speedy reader, writing a review that I’m satisfied enough with to post (regardless of whether I like the book or not) usually takes me on average at least one week (and sometimes longer). This has always been my pace. So even in a perfect situation (free of work and life demands) my personal pace is such that I would be posting at best one review per week or more realistically bi-monthly. This is a pace that I’m normally quite comfortable with. However, lately even this has eluded me because of my crazy work/life schedule.

    My personal situation aside, as a reader, I prefer quality over quantity. Sure, there are plenty of sites that churn out an assembly-line production of reviews, but are they quality reviews? Often, the answer is no. I prefer the review sites and individual reviewers that I follow to post a couple a quality reviews every month, rather than poorly written ones every day or even every week.

    Ultimately though I think you have to set a pace that you’re comfortable with and that fits into your real life activities and not feel guilty or put too much pressure on yourself if your regular pace varies sometimes because of other circumstance. And I completely agree with Josephine Myles’ comment that if there is too much pressure to post or it’s becoming a burden, rather than something you enjoy doing, then it definitely reflects the posts.

    Indi…

    P.S. I’m LOL because the only reason I was able to catch this post and comment is because I’m at home today sick with the stomach flu.

    • Haha I know the feeling! I can only catch up on all my commenting because I haven’t been sleeping lately so I have all this time! Now when I get back on track I probably won’t be able to comment on blogs again for months. That’s the way it goes.

      I totally sympathize with you about the stress of life and work. It’s not always easy to juggle all the demands and still feel like you’re not being lost in the shuffle. Authors fret if they haven’t published within the last 3 months and that’s a fully written, edited, and produced book. Bloggers? They freak if they go a day without posting.

      I’m in a heavy posting schedule now because of GRL but that’ll fade and I’ll go back to a few reviews and maybe a post here and there. I don’t need to overwhelm readers and eventually I decided I was ok being a resource more than anything. You think of a book you want to read and oh yea, what’s the review on it? You can look it up. I never really intended to have a hip/happening/super busy blog so I’m ok that only a few readers follow me regularly.

      I hope your life lightens up soon and you get better!! The flu is no fun treat and you can’t even enjoy good smut then. Take care of you and rest up (catch up on blogs lol) and any good reading!

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