Publishing, Regularity And the Wine Blog Awards

If there’s one thing that can doom any magazine it’s an irregular publishing schedule. readers don’t subscribe to magazines out of pity. They subscribe to magazines for the pleasure or necessity of getting their regular dose of information of entertainment that that particular source. When the source fails to deliver, expectations are doused and, in part, the deal between the publisher and the subscribers/readers has been broken. The results are never good.

This is what was in part on my mind in constructing one of the rules that govern eligible blogs for the American Wine Blog Awards. It occurred to me that at the very least there ought to be some regularity and a certain frequency to the posts that are published at a nominated blog.

It seemed to me that one post per week was not too much to ask of a nominated blog. That meant for any blog to be nominated, they had to have published at least 52 posts in the past year. As I think about the 2009 American Wine Blog Awards, I’m very much inclined to keep this requirement in place.

But I wanted to know if anyone had any good reason to suggest this not be the case. Is one post per week too much to ask? Too much to demand to be nominated? Is consistency and a modicum of dedication irrelevant to the quality of a wine blog?

The nominations for the 2009 American Wine Blog Awards will commence early in 2009 and will cover the work done in 2008. As always, any blog anywhere in the world written in English will be eligible to be nominated in any of the categories. That won’t change.

But again, I solicit any comments on this question of posting frequency.


30 Responses

  1. Katie - October 8, 2008

    Tom, I completely agree. My new blog has only been up for a couple of months now, but I try to post at least 4 times a week. I hardly think one a week is too much to ask. Regularity is important in several aspects of our lives!!!!

  2. Lenn - October 8, 2008

    Tom: Frankly, I don’t think that one a week is enough. I think that at least 3 posts in a 7-day week should be the minimum.

  3. Taster B - October 8, 2008

    I don’t think once a week is too much to ask and I think it’s important to take it as an average over the year as you mentioned, because there can be times in the life of a long-lived blog where extenuating circumstances prohibit posting for one week. e.g. the birth of a child, a vacation to remote un-wired areas, an illness, etc.

  4. fabio - October 8, 2008

    I think is a good rule: at least one post per week. Blogs live in the blogosphere, they need to partecipate. And posting is one rule of partecipating. If a blog has no post for long time I think it should be excluded from the list.

  5. Strappo - October 8, 2008

    Tom, I agree with Lenn — 1x a week really isn’t enough. To generate on-going readership and interest, it’s important to post 3x a week at least.
    BTW, good question.

  6. Fredric Koeppel - October 8, 2008

    once a week is a bare minimum. obviously three or four is pretty standard.

  7. ryan - October 8, 2008

    At least 2-3, one is just not enough. Let’s push for higher standards.

  8. Arthur - October 8, 2008

    I would suggest that single-author blogs and those who have multiple contributors should face different criteria.
    Certainly a blog with more authors is able to deliver more frequent and robust content than a blog operated by one author.
    Should a blog with 3 or more contributors be held to the same minimum as one with a single author?

  9. KenPayton - October 8, 2008

    The purpose of the Wine Blog Awards, as I understand it, is to reward excellence. I don’t see how raising the minimum number of posts helps in that regard. Some very good blogs would not qualify under new rules: Alice Feiring, Jaime Goode, Andrew Jefford, Betrand Celce’s superb Wine Terroirs, all might be excluded under a more narrow definition. An unacceptable situation.
    The vote is already ‘gamed’ in one important respect: many folks simply vote for blogs they already know. But just as the Academy Awards or the Emmys promote the fortunes of small films and obscure cable TV shows, the idea of the Wine Blog Awards is to introduce readers to fine blogs they might not otherwise visit.
    If a separate category needs to be created honoring ‘frequency’, well, so be it. I could live with that. But to raise the minimum of 52 posts a year will serve only to exclude wine blogs which specifically focus on the research quality, rigor and topical variety of their posts. How can that possibly advance wine writing standards in the blogosphere?

  10. Jason Haas - October 8, 2008

    I agree both with the need to draw up some criteria and with the conclusion that any judgment of excellence is already likely to mark down any blog with too-infrequent posting.
    I do think it’s worth noting that different blog categories probably have different needs. As a winery blogger, our business doesn’t change enough that I think it’s necessary to post several times each week. There are weeks when I do, but others when it’s one or two.
    I wrote up some of my thoughts on what a potential winery blogger should consider (including the frequency of posts) at
    Thanks, Tom, for organizing and hosting the Wine Blog Awards!

  11. ramblin' wino - October 8, 2008

    I just started my blog, and I plan keep to my schedule of at least 3 posts a week. I think it would be impossible to keep my interset and passion alive for the blog, let alone that of my readers, if I did less then one post per week.

  12. Thomas Pellechia - October 8, 2008

    I don’t see why an entry minimum has any meaning to the quality of the blog.
    Being a blogger, I’d rather have something to say every month than nothing to say every day, and being a single blogger, I know that after about a year of it, it gets increasingly more difficult to sound fresh and interesting when you try to meet an arbitrary posting count goal.
    And as Ken said, and as the award nominations seem to confirm, people generally nominate and vote for the blogs they frequent, so if they aren’t frequenting a blog that posts less than once a week, they certainly aren’t going to nominate it.
    Of course, I have a self interest–I haven’t been posting once a week lately. Trying to finish a book proposal has me busy and brain dead at the end of each day…

  13. Jo Diaz - October 8, 2008

    Ah… the regulations…
    Isn’t blogging about journaling (I believe that was the original intent, but anyone can correct me if I’m wrong).
    Journaling happens when the inspiration hits, doesn’t it?

  14. Nicholas Solga - October 8, 2008

    This topic, in all seriousness is near to my heart and if you’re a regular reader of this blog you may recall why (see link below):
    Like many of you, I read a lot. Blogs, magazines, newspapers and other wine content are part of my daily regimen and often times I find it soothing to happen upon one that is less frequent but more unique in its focus or style. To draw a parallel, I love wine but I do prefer to enjoy quality bottles less often than drinking mediocre juice daily.
    However, I do agree with Tom that posting once per week (on avg. mind you) helps unlock any potential for most blogs, mine included. Potential itself refers to the existence of possibility or capability for development. But, with potential it’s important to note that things may also develop into something worse if not done correctly. Posting for the sake of frequency (or eligibility for awards) is a waste of potential. Too often I find that many a blogger survives primarily on “re-blogging”, where one simply reads and regurgitates another’s well thought posts. This too to is a waste…
    At, a concerted effort has been made to increase posts but, not at the cost of quality or unique content and I’m happy to note that one post per week (on avg.) has already been exceeded for 2008. As I see it, my potential and that of my blog is to not just to introduce and review wines but also to entertain, educate and even possibly inspire. To that end, in addition to regular in-depth reviews, I started “live-casting” or “live-posting” when applicable, where photos are posted of tastings, travel, key events and associated wine-lifestyle items as they happen – live with short descriptions. These offer “sips” of information and a view into areas of the world and wine that many find fun and entertaining. These live posts serve to keep the reader’s thirst satiated until the next in-depth post is written.
    I’m humbled by my readers and their expressions of enjoyment. In the end, it’s about being yourself, and putting quality content out there whether it’s a little or a lot.
    Nick Solga,

  15. Lyle Fass - October 8, 2008

    I agree with Thomas. It’s all about inspiration.

  16. Tim - October 8, 2008

    I would suggest a minimum requirement of 47 posts per week in order to qualify.
    There’s my two cents.

  17. Enobytes - October 8, 2008

    I agree with Mr. Pellechia – Entry minimums have no meaning compared to quality.
    I would also like to mention that some wine websites (including our own) upload a lot of good information like wine reviews, wine maps and videos, yet, we do not post this as blog material.
    For example, we separate our wine reviews from our blog because we want to make it easier for readers to find what they are looking for through a customized advanced search mechanism. On the average, we probably review a minimum of five wines a week. Unfortunately, these reviews do not show up as a blog post. Why? Because blog software has not caught up to technology – we want our users to find exactly what they are looking for through our advanced search mechanism and blogging software does not offer this functionality.
    My proposal is to go beyond the blogosphere and focus on quality content regardless of the number of posts OR technology platform. Food for thought.
    ~Pamela @ Enobytes

  18. piedmont_phil - October 9, 2008

    Quality not quantity must be the primary criteria. Reliable frequency (daily or weekly) comes a justifiable second.

  19. Mark Koppen - October 9, 2008

    I like what Jason Haas has to say above; I think the very nature of a blog is to have regular ongoing communication and compelling content. Once or twice a month is not going to cut it – I think the once a week requirement is reasonable. There’s only been a couple of times since I started our blog early this year(address at bottom)where I’ve struggled for a topic. Anyone who cannot think of something compelling to say once a week, or doesn’t have the time, probably shouldn’t be winning an award, even if the blog is very good.

  20. winehiker - October 9, 2008

    Tom, while I would love to be superhuman enough to have the time and inspiration to post every day, and while I realize that a blog’s stats improve with regular posting, I would post frequently not to achieve award, but to instead achieve my own sense of reward as reflected in the growth of my audience and, ultimately, customers for my tour business. Add to those the personal satisfaction that comes of writing efforts well spent.
    For me, it is neither realistic nor practical to expect adherence to a certain minimum quantity of posts given my inherent predisposition toward the above aspects, my predisposition toward delivering quality writing, and my schedule. I just don’t feel good about tossing off a post just to satisfy a quantitative criteria. I’d rather let inspiration strike and carry that inspiration forward to my readers when possible.
    To date this year, I have published 52 posts. That being said, I don’t expect a Wine Blog Award and I don’t publish a magazine. I publish a blog, which I consider to be a journal that is personal to me and, with luck and a certain level of assiduity, personally engaging to others. I just can’t imagine my blog’s readership – or anyone’s – having the same expectation set as a magazine’s. If that were the case, I would fail to comply on general principle. I suppose I’m just ornery that way.
    Finally, I could choose to drink more wine at less value, or less wine at greater value. In my life, it’s quality over quantity, every time.

  21. Steve Heimoff - October 9, 2008

    Tom, I think it’s completely reasonable what you propose. Coming up with something to blog about is not always easy, as you know. Sometimes, you have to really put time into research and thinking. The best blogs are those whose authors work hard to make them good, and which consistently entertain, educate and surprise on a regular basis.

  22. John Witherspoon - October 9, 2008

    one post per week is not at all unreasonable a request for people nominated for an award. I would think that most bloggers nominated well exceed that requirement. Especially anybody that has read your blog, on tips for better blogging and posting regularity to attract readers.

  23. Jeff Hogg - October 9, 2008

    Quantity is no indicator of quality. Two of my very favorite blogs post erratically and both are well-versed in their subject.
    Oenologic is one favorite and the other is Avinash Kaushik’s blog on web analytics. When these authors post it is like a surprise present.
    I say remove the minimum.

  24. Jeff Carroll - October 9, 2008

    Tom, we’ve been a finalist for the blog awards the last two years, I believe under the “Wine Business” blog category last year. Under the proposed rules, we would not qualify for the awards this year. Our posts are driven by inspiration, news, and events relating to wine compliance, so occasionally we go more than a week without a post. On average, we post a few per week.
    I personally think a requirement for post frequency is somewhat arbitrary. However, a minimum number of posts per year to me is reasonable.

  25. Brian - October 9, 2008

    Jeff, it’s interesting that you say you won’t qualify because the criteria Tom is proposing is basically the same that it was last year, which was to produce at least 52 posts in a year. With this said, it doesn’t sound like you qualified for last year’s nomination?

  26. Marco Montez - October 9, 2008

    My bloglines account indicates that I’m subscribed to 90 blogs. Thankfully, most of them only post once a week… if they all posted 3 times a week, I honestly could not read them. I just cannot sit in front of my computer and just read blogs all week for a living. I guess if they all posted 3-5 times per week I would have to reduce the number of blogs that I subscribe to. But to the question… once per week on average is an acceptable requirement.

  27. 1WineDude - October 12, 2008

    I’d rather read a great blog that posts once per month than an “okay” blog that posts once a week (or once a day, for that matter).
    But then, we’re not talking about an award for blogs that I like, are we…

  28. Jim Preston - October 15, 2008

    I want max info for min reading time. I want quality not quantity. Blogging should have nothing to do with filling time with more noise and filling inboxes.
    By measuring quantity you are focused on inputs. Readers only care about the value of outputs to them. If you can’t measure that then don’t measure anything.
    – jim

  29. Alder Yarrow - October 18, 2008

    Here are my thoughts, though late to the party:
    Would we call something a newspaper if it came out only once every six months?
    Is it really a magazine if it arrives but once a year?
    Every publishing outlet comes with a certain set of built in expectations from the audience about how frequently we might expect to see new content.
    Blogs are certainly unique in that they don’t come with the expectation of strict regularity. But they do exist within a tradition of frequent publishing.
    For anyone who thinks that a requirement for publishing at least once per week is onerous, I offer this: every one of the top 500 blogs in the world publish multiple times per day, seven days per week. Without exception.
    THAT is the standard for a top blog. Period. There isn’t a single wine blog in the world that can meet that standard, but it’s ridiculous to think that any wine blog that wants to be considered among the top could possibly post less than once per week.

  30. Patrick - October 27, 2008

    Reading through the comments, I must admit, it gives a wonderful view of the different expectations. If someone now starts to fill in additional posts, just for the sake of continuity, what will he fill it with?
    There are so many blogs out there, just publishing press releases. Wow sounds like a Newspaper… but what will happen to that personal touch? Or will they start to write posts more and more off topic?

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