The Week Streak Experiment – One Week On

So seven days ago I wrote about my plans to try publishing a new blog post every day for seven days.

Here are my thoughts one week on.

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What I liked

It was kind of exciting being a daily publisher. Plus previously I was frustrated having so many ideas for new posts (and so many queued up to publish) but only publishing every three days.

Rather than sit back, let the scheduled posts just fire out on autopilot, and write nothing all week, I still felt inspired to write and schedule more. So despite part of the point of this experiment being to “clear the decks” of scheduled posts, I still have five scheduled (plus this one) and nearly 60 in draft. This can be seen as both good and bad!

Following on from above, I found somehow I’ve been writing in a more concise and streamlined way. In the past I’ve struggled to keep posts within 1000 words. But I’ve gradually learned to focus more on one or two points, not seven. This learning appears to have been accelerated by publishing every day.

I like the challenge of the streak. For years I’ve done similar experiments, like consecutive days of yoga and walking 10,000 steps. Whilst I’ve relaxed the rules a little and missing a day isn’t a disaster, a daily goal does spur me on more than a casual “as and when” approach to publishing.

My visitor stats have been really high for the last seven days, well over double. But this also coincides with being mentioned on a blog called KosmoFoto which has referred a lot of visits my way.

What I haven’t liked 

Though the visits are up, this isn’t my main measure of how things are going with 35hunter. On a good week each visitor views three pages or more. Last week it’s been only just over two. Again this might coincide with the KosmoFoto feature. More people are coming, but not as high a proportion are staying to read more.

But my biggest yardstick are the comments here. And these have been about the same overall as previous weeks, despite far more visits. So it doesn’t seem to follow that the more people who read, the more will comment. Or maybe the posts haven’t been as interesting and worth commenting on.

I’d rather have 25 keen and active readers sharing their thoughts (virtually every post is, after all, just a diving board for your thoughts) than 25000 who read but never join the conversation.

Strangely whilst I have published eight consecutive days now, I still get a bit muddled with the publishing dates and feel I need to switch the posts around before publishing. To the point where I published a link in one post to another post I hadn’t yet published.

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So what next? 

Well, I don’t really know…

I definitely prefer publishing every day to every three days from a personal, perhaps selfish and egotistical perspective. I like to keep the ideas flowing and to keep sharing them. It’s easier to keep my scheduled posts in order when publishing more often.

I feared I might have more comments than I could manage, based on comments per post in recent month. In this week’s experiment at least it does not follow that if you post three times as much, you get three times the comments. So this concern hasn’t materialised, and I’m a bit disappointed, if not surprised that the comment ratio has fallen.

In summary, I’m leaning towards wanting to post more often than three days, but perhaps not every day.

I don’t want to overwhelm readers (especially as I talk so much about simplifying and minimising), and I can’t think of a single blog I follow where I read every single post without fail. But maybe this is ok, I just need to post when I want, and people can just dip in and out as they wish.

I want to tie this in with my Unplugged experiments too, so I’m online much less overall, but optimising my time when I am online.

Online less, but online better.

Again, working out the details of how these experiments all fit together.

I’m really keen to hear your thoughts, as always. How do you feel about a blog that posts every day? Does it make you want more, or do you give less attention to each post? Do you feel overwhelmed? 

Please let us know in the comments below (and remember to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too. If you’re interested, this is what my photography life looks like right now.

22 thoughts on “The Week Streak Experiment – One Week On”

  1. You thoughts are so interesting, as usual, Dan. I’ve not been able to keep up with you. I’m behind on a few of your posts. I’ve not yet read your replies to my comments here, or been able to get to replying to your comments on mine. Believe me, it isn’t you, it’s me. (Sounds like we are about to break up! ) I definitely give less time to blogs that post every day. I end up scanning the text and images, only stopping if something really catches my eye. I have good intentions but . . . But! This is more a reflection of my health than anything else. I will be interested to see what the able bodied bloggers have to say.

    1. Oh no Kate, the old “it’s not you it’s me line”! I’ve heard that before…

      Here’s a question – does your attention seem to be grabbed more easily by blog titles or images? Just wondering about what makes you want to read some posts and not others – here on 35hunter and wider on the internet?

      It’s quite strange having a photography blog because due to the nature of it, people expect good photos (and I expect and want to share them). But then I also want to encourage thoughtful and intelligent conversation around some of the core aspects of being a photographer, a photo blogger, and indeed just a human being.

      Don’t feel any pressure to answer this, or any other posts/comments. We all have to find the level of interaction that fits our time and energy at any given time.

    2. Re your question Dan, sometimes a post title draws me in, other times the photo alone. I do appreciate titles on photos that are somewhat obscure in subject and meaning but they are not necessary. Frequently the post title also works as the photo title without further information. When it comes to reading a longer post I steer clear of technical details and look for more philosophical explorations. Then there are the blogs that delve into the story behind an older photo. I love those!

      1. Well your blog is an excellent example of the latter, it’s all about the possible stories behind “lost” (and found) photographs.

        I wrote a post a while back as a plea to those with a photography blog who read here to write more about the soulful and thoughtful side of photography, rather than add to the already oversaturated mass of photography blogs full of dry technical specs… Glad it’s something you appreciate and understand too.

  2. Dan, being really honest as I always am I find your posting every day a bit much for me. I really enjoy your posts so feel pressured to keep up and the pressure takes away the enjoyment. I will work in with whatever you decide. I wouldn’t comment on every post if it was daily. I like having a dialogue with you though so do like commenting when it isn’t so often xoxo susanJOY

    1. Susan, thank you, I always appreciate your honesty. I’m still experimenting and finding a balance, as you know I’ve been doing for many years with different blogs and communities…

  3. “I don’t want to overwhelm readers (especially as I talk so much about simplifying and minimising),…
    I just need to post when I want, and people can just dip in and out as they wish.”

    Publishing as and how you wish fulfills what you want the blog to be: that *is* simplifying and a minimization of the extraneous.

    Readers will read and comment according to their wont – your interests are the topics, and the topics are the point. People visit for Dan, and Dan’s reflections.

    Any other approach is, well, marketing, and the Internet is clogged, constipated with marketers shrieking for views, ‘likes’, and ‘follows’.

    Such venues republish old pieces, solicit ‘guest’ posts that are often ill-considered and poorly-written, flog T-shirts and what-not – in other words, are desperate for “filler”, for anything so long as they churn content.
    And generate revenue; he who has the stats plucks the advertising bucks. As Mark Knopfler would say, “Money for nothin’ and your checks for free.”

    Dan, you strike me as conducting a symposium, not as putting out a tabloid. If you feel called to post new material frequently, you fulfill your karma. If less often, ditto. Doesn’t need to be the same. It ain’t the Tube.

    And authentice, engaged readership always builds slowly.

    1. William, thank you so much for your inspiring and encouraging words. I hadn’t really thought about simplicity in that way – by being true to our own purpose and removing everything extraneous, that is a pure and simple pursuit.

      You absolutely understand what I’m trying to build with 35hunter and the surrounding community. The closest example I’ve probably seen online is around Wouter Brandsma’s blog when he was pretty prolific in posting about three or four or five years ago. He had devoted regulars who contributed as much to the conversational aspect of the posts as Wouter did.

      And yes I hope I’m getting ever further from the end of the spectrum who chase for likes and fill their blogs with second and third rate rehashes and guest “authors” who rapidly dilute the reputation the blog’s owner had built as a writer. (A particular photography blog I used to read religiously I now don’t read at all because he went down this path – nine out of 10 posts are substandard guest fodder.) And then have the audacity to ask people to donate money to support it, with claims about how much time it takes them to run the blog. One post a month? Yeh, really challenging work schedule…

      Anyway, thank you for reading, following and encouraging.

  4. It’s been interesting to follow you on this experiment because you know I post 6 days a week. I, too, have had a harder time making time to comment. But I think it’s mostly psychological. When a good blog posts less frequently I feel like I *ought* to make time to comment – but when it posts daily there’s always tomorrow’s post.

    I wonder how many people are doing that on my blog.

    1. Jim, true confessions time, I’m one of those people. Whilst your blog is undoubtably one of the most valuable photography blogs I follow, I don’t read every post. So obviously then even if I commented on every post I did read, it still wouldn’t be all of them. And I don’t do that.

      This is what I’m working through myself with 35hunter, and weighing up how I am myself as a reader and writer.

      As a reader, a post every three days, maybe every two days is the optimum, providing the content of every post is consistently great (not the kind of blogs that have flimsy filler guest posts etc).

      As a writer, I’ve really enjoyed posting every day! So it’s finding the sweet spot.

      Always very keen to hear your thoughts, with your extensive and ongoing experience.

  5. Hi Dan
    First time commenter, I do enjoy reading your posts, whether it’s everyday or every couple of days. I find your posts interesting and thought provoking.
    However, I follow blogs on an RSS reader and it doesn’t make it easy to comment on posts, that’s on me .

    Anyways, just wanted to let you know and say hello.

    1. David, welcome, and thanks for your kind words.

      What happens with the RSS reader, you have to click through to the post itself to then leave a comment?

      I used to use Google Reader years ago but these days I follow blogs via WordPress and email. Actually I can’t think of any blogs I follow regularly that aren’t on WordPress, so it kind of covers all bases with the WordPress Reader.

  6. Hi Dan, interesting stuff as usual, from the beginning I was one who wasn’t that pleased that you were going to trial this daily posting for a weekas I now realise I don’t like change…but on reflection it’s actually been for me, quite a revelation….I have enjoyed “switching on” to the” Dan channel”…. it’s been fun… it’s also been different, how I’d feel about it being regular… may be a different answer… who knows….but here’s the rub….. I’m the viewer…. not the author…. like a novel…. it’s there to be read and if people read at a different pace then that ok…. but the author just writes the novel….and leaves it to the readers to decide how fast they read the novel…..sometimes they even put down the novel and come back to it later, but most folk pick up from where they left off…. so nothing lost there then….hint hint….
    I am “now” thinking …. it’s your blog Dan, how often you post is up to you…asking the reader/viewer is all very well and good and even noble, and rest assured I’m not saying this nastily…..
    It’s been a nice ridethis week Dan, where you take us from here is up to you….you pick the scenery … you are driving the bus ….we’re the passengers …. and I for sure will be tuning in to the “Dan channel”on my smartphone …..
    Hope these frank and honest thoughts help
    BR…Lynd

    1. Lynd, as always your thoughts are very useful to me, thank you for sharing and being honest.

      Yes I think you’re on to something with the “channel” idea, posting daily did feel like running a tv channel or publishing a daily newspaper – and people are free to tune in as and when they wish.

      Your novel analogy is very helpful too, and ties in very well with William’s words about how publishing the way I want without anything extraneous IS a simple, minimal approach.

      Although a blog is “supposed” to be something regularly updated and all about the latest post, I very much think of it like writing an ongoing body of work too. The larger and deeper that body is, the more likely you are to attract people.

      Plus if I look at my stats for this year, week by week, virtually every week only between two and four of the top nine posts have been posts written within that week. In other words, every week, between five and seven out of nine posts being read most are more than a week old – people aren’t just reading the latest post(s) all the time. This reassures me that this is indeed a body of work – an ever unfolding novel that people can and do dip into in their own time and way.

      I’ll continue to experiment, but I’m thinking one post every other day for the next week or two. Something I really don’t want is to publish just for the sake of meeting some schedule, and then end up churning out filler fodder. Which in brutal honesty I feel is what some other blogs do.

      Thanks for being on the bus Lynd!

  7. It was nice to hear from you each day! Always a good read and interresting stuff.
    Don’t worry about the fact that more visits did not result in more comments. Most of the people who came from Kosmofoto won’t comment, just look at first. If they decide to linger they’ll eventually start commenting.
    Anyways, you seem to write more than you can post… no problem for me, just keep up with daily stuff until you catch up!

    1. Thanks for your support Frank! I was slightly relieved that I wasn’t inundated with comments – this was the reason I’d previously decided to settling on posting roughly once every three days, so in between I had enough time to give the comments the attention and responses they deserved.

      I expect the Kosmofoto influx will be expecting a film photography, which is now realistically a past chapter for me. I replied on the blog but haven’t received any response from the author – nor have any of the other commenters. A fatal flaw for me, if people take the time to read and comment, at least say something back.

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