The popularity of your blog depends partly on how often you post. Post too infrequently and you'll drop out of readers' minds. But how often is often enough? And can you post too often?
I found this in an old post by Jack Humphrey:
...from an authoritative study: Bloggers who post more often are more often more popular than bloggers who don't.
The top 100 blogs (by Technorati Authority) post an average of 29 posts per day. Top 101-500 blogs average 15 posts per day.
When I read this, it surprised me. 29 posts per day seemed like way too much. I've recently considered unsubscribing from a blog that was putting out more posts a day than I wanted to consume (it turns out it was just a brief burst as they transferred some material from an old blog).
It was also a tad disappointing, because I don't want to post 29 times a day!
But I thought about it some more and realized a few things.
How much is too much depends on how "heavy" your posts are.
If your posts require a lot of brainpower to consume, whether because they're long or because they're teaching complex concepts, it'll be easier to overload your audience than with lighter posts.
For example, Slashdot published 15 stories yesterday. But each one is just a snippet from another website and a brief comment, so they're pretty easy to skim. You only dive in deep when a particular article catches your interest.
Not every post has to be interesting, but you must maintain the promise of interesting things to come.
Subscribers to high volume blogs don't expect every story to captivate them. But they do expect every story to follow the blog's theme. And they do expect them be the kinds of stories that will captivate some of the target audience.
For example, if you've got a high-volume political blog, resist the temptation to post your grandma's pumpkin pie recipe. On rare occasions, you may be able to to drift off topic, as long as you can make a convincing tie-in. Otherwise, off-topic posts are noise, and readers will unsubscribe.
Also, unless your blog is focused on Mudville politics, don't post stories about the Mudville registrar of deeds unless they have wider implications that touch your audience.
Blog broadcasts for high-volume blogs
If you've configured your autoresponder to email new blog posts to your list, make sure it's not sending 29 emails a day (unless your blog publishes highly time-sensitive information that readers will want emailed to them immediately).
Instead, either set up your blog broadcast to send one or two emails a day containing all the latest posts, or don't have it email every post. You can do that by creating a special category in your blog for posts that you want emailed. Then connect your blog broadcast to the feed for that category.
In a WordPress blog, the address of a category feed will look something like http://example.com/blog/category/example-category-name/feed/.
29 a day is the average, not a rule.
I don't know what the maximum and minimum number of daily posts the top 100 blogs were putting out, but surely there were some that posted less often.
The top blogs in your niche may never be the top blogs overall.
To make the top 100, you've got to appeal to a broad audience. With a broader audience comes a broader range of stories, so it's only natural that the top blogs overall would post more frequently.
The top blog in a some niches could easily publish just a few pithy, spot-on posts a week, or even a month, and still reign supreme.
So how often should you post to your blog? I'd recommend giving your audience as much high-quality, focused content as you're willing to produce and they're willing to consume.