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Robin Winslow
Robin Winslow

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Publish early, publish often

Originally published on my blog.

This may fly in the face of conventional wisdom.

What bloggers will tell you

In the last few days I've watched about 20 video tutorials on blogging and read similar nubmer of articles.

One very common refrain from these blogging experts is:

just start writing!

This is great advice. My blog has languished too long because I procrastinate horribly, doing research, tweaking my wording, improving my website styling etc. "Just start writing" is clearly the solution to all my problems, if I can do it.

But there's another frequent piece of advice that seems to contradict this:

quality is king!

Time was, they say, that you could just write down your stream of consciousness and have a successful blog. No longer. Nowadays, there are so many quality content producers that you need to stand out.

So far, so reasonable.

But then they go on to say that to stay ahead in this cuthroat world of blogging, you need to only publish quality content.

This is the worst thing for me to hear.

Until yesterday, I'd not published anything for 21 months! The reason? I expect perfection from myself, and nothing less will do. I'm so intimidated by the enormity of the amazing ground-breaking article I'm about to write any second now that I just procrastinate starting forever.

Why web devs "release early"

In my world of web development, we have a saying:

Release early, release often

We release our products as early as we possibly can - while they only do the bare minimum and sometimes while they still have bugs. Then we make improvements fast.

This is for two reasons:

  1. Because it's easy for new products to get caught up in a cycle of endless tweaking and never get released, and
  2. Once it's out in the world, you can start to see how much people actually like it. You have much more knowledge

Why couldn't the same theory apply to blogging?

Are bloggers really brand building?

One reason to be careful about "releasing early" is the potential for reputational damage. If you're well known, releasing a sub-par product could tarnish your reputation.

So, if a blogger like myself was trying to build a reputation, and their success depended on this reputation, then you would want to be very careful about publishing sub-par content.

However, my experiene of blogging so far is that basically none of my readers know who I am. They find my posts through Google (other search engines are available), read that post, and bugger off. I suspect this is how most blogs are consumed.

Even if people find my articles through, say, my Twitter feed (where hopefully they at least vaguely know who I am), they're still only going to click on the articles that look good to them.

If I'm right about this, it really doesn't matter how much crap content you produce, as long as you produce some good content. And if you've written a bad article that no-one visits, you can always improve it later to make it a good one.

My plan to publish early

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm currently trying to revive my blog. I'm going to do this by setting the bar for publishing content very low for myself, and hoping to publish daily. At least for a while.

I'm not going to spend a long time on editing, or let myself expect too much of my posts. I'm just going to do what I can.

This is my second post in 2 days. So far so good, I guess.

Let's see how it goes from here.

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