It’s hard to pin down what the first thing we look for in a site when evaluating it for inclusion into the Network, but one of the top traits has to be consistency of writing. Consistency can mean a couple of things, but the two big ones for me are:
- Writing patterns
- Writing quality
We have all been there before with our blogs. Those streaks of time where we tell ourselves we are going to pump out great content day after day without fail and after day three we seem to lapse and a week or two goes by with nothing. Maybe we convince ourselves to try again or maybe we just give up. In any case, how often do you go through these streaks? If it’s on a couple of occassions you are definitely losing the consistency of your blog that your readers may be looking for. Whether we like it or not our readers come to expect content at certain intervals based on previous patterns.
Posting daily over a 3 month span will lead them to believe you will always post daily. Posting a couple times a month means a couple times a month. How consistent can you remain? A big issue I have is that it seems a ton of people that submit have a great amount of content and then for the previous 30-45 days there isn’t anything to show on the site. We aren’t going to troll through your archives to see what you have written if the homepage’s latest entry is from January.
Find your pattern and try your best to stick with it. Your readers will thank you.
The best example that I can think of to signify my viewpoint on consistency of writing quality is John Gruber. When he writes a lengthy entry he always makes sure its top notch. It’s that little bit of extra effort that takes a good entry to a great one, but so many people seem to avoid that effort. How often do you produce good-to-great writing on your site?
One entry linked by Digg or Slashdot means nothing to us. How many entries actually bring readers back to your site is what is important. Are you content with writing one good thing and then posting blurbs for the next two months?
Now I understand producing something grand takes time and energy and not all of us are up to the task of doing it on a frequent basis, but that doesn’t mean each entry you produce can’t be at least good. Think of the sites you read and why you keep going back. If you were reading your site would you go back to it?
Overall be consistent with your site. We all experience downtime and many of our members have had stretches of time where their offline lives take precedence (as they should) and we talk about it. Your blog shouldn’t be your life, but if you are going to put one out there for the public to see why not try to be consistent with it?