More posts = more attention?

Information Overload Common sense would seem to tell me that the more I post the more readers I will have and the more I’ll be able to attract.

This may be true from a search engine perspective as the more material you have the more likely it is that somebody will click on something but what about retaining the attention of you subscribers.

Do more posts mean that they’ll visit more often or that they’re more likely to click through from their RSS reader and comments

No!

Actually, too many post can have a detrimental effect on you subscriber base leading them to loose interest in your blog and ultimately unsubscribe.

I’ve been looking at my reading trends in Google Reader for the past 30 days and noticed that in general the more items were posted by a particular site the less likely it was that I would read them.

Here’s the stats for the top 40 most prolific posting sites that I’m subscribed to as well as the percentage of posts I actually read:

RSS Feed Items/Day %Read
TechAddress 88.7 5%
Robert’s shared items in Google Reader 52.1 5%
Buzztracker.com – Technology 51.6 30%
digg / Technology 39.1 24%
The Register 28.8 21%
Techmeme 21.7 60%
Slashdot 20.2 60%
Lifehacker 14.2 57%
Dvorak Uncensored 12.2 36%
digg / Science 11.4 14%
Techdirt. 8.5 60%
TechCrunch 8.2 49%
Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim – Internet Marketing Blog & Consultant 6.7 80%
zedomax.com 6.3 53%
GigaOM 6.2 78%
Search Engine Watch Blog 5.9 84%
Scobleizer Microsoft Geek Blogger 4.9 78%
Technically Speaking 4.4 78%
bit-tech.net news Feed 4.3 23%
Chris Pirillo 3.8 33%
The Doc Searls Weblog 3.7 91%
John Chow dot Com 3.5 62%
Profy.Com 3.4 79%
Digital Inspiration 3.3 78%
InsideMicrosoft 3.3 84%
Web Strategy by Jeremiah 2.8 73%
Google Blogoscoped 2.8 93%
we make money not art 2.8 59%
BuzzMachine 2.6 86%
Google Blog Search: link:https://pauloflaherty.com/ 2.5 62%
Google Operating System 2.4 68%
Weblog Tools Collection 2.3 84%
All about Microsoft 21. 83%
VTOR – Virtual TO Reality 2.1 81%
Shoemoney – Skills to pay the bills 2.1 76%
Tech-Recipes.com 2.1 68%
eHub 2.1 65%
SEO Book.com 2.0 75%
Baron VC 2.0 81%
Hack the Planet 1.9 79%

These percentages are obviously swayed by the fact that I will like some authors more than others and therefore read more of their posts. The same applies to news sources.

My own personal bias’s aside it remains fairly obvious that once you start to get above 9 or 10 posts a day I tend to switch off and not read your feed.

Some of this could be due to duplication as the high output sites listed here tend to be aggregated news sources and there is a high chance of duplicate posts which I tend not to read. 

I find it rather interesting that I read only 5% of what Scoble posts to his link blog but 78% of what he actually blogs himself.

If you think that implies that I’m more interested in Scoble for his editorial commentary than anything else, you would be correct and the same can be said for many blogs that I read.

A quick look (no maths just intuition) shows that the sites posting up to 4 posts a manage to get me to read between 70 and 85% of their stuff, while those posting above 10 see a sharp decline.

2 to 4 posts a day seems to be the sweet spot for keeping my attention.

I wonder how my stats stack up against other Google Reader users?

Oh, here’s a little something for anybody who may be suffering from information overload 😉

6 thoughts on “More posts = more attention?”

  1. It is definitely a useful metric to see how much you are reading certain feeds. Your 2-4 sweet spot fits what I’ve suggested to others to strive for (75 posts a month minimum to be in growth mode, but no more than 150/month because that leads to saturation and reader burn out mode)

    And good to see you reading VTOR, Paul, hope you’ve enjoyed it 🙂

    Just curious, are you still reading MakeYouGoHmm? The reason I ask isn’t out of vanity, but because there was some trouble with one of the RSS feeds in some RSS readers which would have knocked the stats out but that blog has averages 3+ posts a day (75 last month exactly) over almost 4 years now. If you are then I wonder if the RSS problems didn’t make it show up in your Google Reader (?). I don’t use Google Reader that often so I’m going to have to check it out.

    Problem should be fixed now though.

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  2. TD, I most definitely still have MakeYouGoHmm? on my reading list 😉 I wouldn’t be without it! 🙂

    It is very strange that it hasn’t appeared on my Google Reader Trends for the top 40 most prolific posters of the past 30 days.

    I’ll have to look in to that!

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  3. Thanks Paul, I have been playing around with the new Google Reader with offline functionality. I like the keyboard functions to cycle through posts. I’ve been getting some offline sync errors like you mentioned in another post. My current RSS reading solution kind of falls apart (some go into my Pocket PC) when I go into offline mode, so I might switch to Google Reader for a little while and see how that works out.

    I like the trends thing though, again, that’s handy info for managing the feed reading.

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  4. It brings a happy, little tear to my eye to see our tech-recipes site listed. Thanks for the honor.

    Considering that our articles are all-over-the-place in interests, I’m impressed with the >60% read rate.

    I also completely agree with your theory. There are several blogs that I never end up reading because the traffic is too high. I keep up for a while… but before long I am way behind and I just end up marking the whole feed read.

    There is definitely a sweet spot.

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  5. Actually, you can see my readers doing the same thing, If I hit above 7 entries, my readership drops way off, if I stick at 4 or 5, I hit a sweet spot, where I get good traffic coming in from interested people. If you want the stats, give me a shout, I’ll share.

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