This weekend, I asked this question on Facebook.
How long does it take to write a blog post?
I appreciate all the friends who took the time to answer my (unscientific) poll. I had a range of results. You can check them out by visiting the fan page of my new project with Phil Gerbyshak —12 Minute Social Media Playbook.
By far, what I found most interesting about the comments and replies to the question is the shared conclusion that it isn’t necessarily the WRITING that consumes a lot of time. Writing — many friends noted — is the easy part. It’s the editing, adding links, and choosing images that is the most tedious.
Amy wrote “adding pictures, searching for images. It takes way too long.” (Check out Amy’s blog, with carefully chosen images, here.)
However, it is obvious from the range of answers that many bloggers invest a lot of time in crafting their posts. A few people answered with “12 minutes”, but the vast majority of us spend at least 30 minutes writing a post. Several folks said it can take several days to write a blog post.
If you could write blog posts faster, would you write more often? Is writing more often a goal for you?
Have you ever procrastinated about writing a post because of your perception/belief/understanding that writing a blog post is an activity that takes too long?
What if… you set a timer for 12 minutes to see how much you can write in that amount of time?
Would that act be enough to help you overcome your resistance?
Sometimes, we just need to start. Once we start, we will find that we can accomplish a lot in 12 minutes. We may even be able to write an entire post.
Choosing a photo to go with it… well, that’s another story.
Tell me something! What keeps you from blogging more frequently? Is time a factor in your resistance to writing? Have you tried the 12 minute blog post experiment?
Here is a repeat to my 12 minute blog post challenge. Set a timer and see how much writing you can finish in 12 minutes. Post links to your 12 minute posts here.
Note: I wrote this entire post in 12 minutes. I read through for edits, took a screen shot and created an image, and added links in about 7 more minutes.
I am the founder/CEO of the Weaving Influence team, the author of Reach: Creating the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause, and the host of the Book Marketing Action Podcast. I’m a wife and mom of three kids, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, coffee, and dark chocolate.
I agree, I think editing takes up a lot of time especially for a perfectionist like myself. Some days I write and think it’s great, but the next day I hate what I wrote and change it completely. I have the mindset that the more time you spend on developing a thought the more powerful your point of view comes across with others. I’ll have to try timing myself and see if I can produce more instead of taking breaks and being distracted all the time while I’m blogging!!
I would love your thoughts on the quality of my 12 minute blog posts. Do you think they are comparable to my other posts? I have all my 12 minute posts in that category. Any posts not categorized that way are likely ones I spent much more time writing. I have been wondering if the quality of my work is suffering with this experiment. I would LOVE your input, if you have time to consider it. I’d love to hear about how your own experiment goes if you try a timer.
Thanks for taking the time to comment and read here!
I read the 12 minute blog posts and actually couldn’t tell the difference from the other posts. More stream of consciousness, but with a familiar voice. Maybe less words, but still impactful. Having shorter posts and adding that timing element add more variety which is a great thing I think!
Thanks for taking time to read over the posts and give your feedback, Jen! I value your opinion.
Hi Becky –
I’ve been thinking a lot about this question. First, the facts: I spend anywhere betewen 30 minutes to an hour or more on a blog post. But that brings me to my second comment…
There are many people, including a girlfriend of mine who operates a small consulting business, for whom blogs are a dreaded chore; one more ‘to do’ that she doesn’t want to have to spend a lot of time on, but still needs to get done. If she could figure out how to write a good one in twelve minutes, she would be estatic!
I, on the otherhand, would feel cheated. Cheated, because writing my blog affords me the opportunity to slow down, reflect, and linger with my thoughts and words. It is the creative expression of my mind, heart and soul…a joyful release from those things that are truly ‘to dos’ on my daily list.
There are times when I will stop in the middle of my day,whip out a quick post (15 minutes), and get back to the business at hand. And yes, there is satisfaction in the efficiency of it all, especially when my schedule is tight and the workload keeps coming. But invariably, my favorite times to write are those times when I can and do afford myself the luxury of time.
I am determined to blog M-F. What I’d like to do is have a long list of topics.And photos. I’d like to just get ahead a bit,rather than be blogging the night before. I’d like to have a little margin.
The reason that you’re blogging should have an impact on how longs your posts take. If your primary purpose is to build visibility, then you want the maximum number of posts. Short length (500 words or less, 300 optimal) gets you the highest readership. If your reasons for blogging includes “spending time with my thoughts” as it is for Sharon, that may extend either your preparation or writing time. For the record, it takes me 35 minutes to write an average post on Three Star Leadership, which is the initial draft and, again on average, two revisions.
Wally, I am laughing as I read my own words that you quoted in your reply. Sounds a bit over the top, eh? 🙂 Still, you make an excellent point. I value visibility and readership, but I also value reflective thinking and the creative process, and as a result, do not impose the same time constraints on myself that I do in my day-to-day business world.
The ‘what’ you are trying to convey is an important factor as well. If the intent is to pass on information, advice or a process, then frequency, efficiency, and the ability to be concise become more important. On the other hand, if the intent is to ask others to reflect deeply on an issue, as in the case of my own blog, then too many posts potentially become overwhelming to the reader.
For me, it comes down to a few key questions: What, how, and to whom are you trying to convey information. Ask those three questions, and you’ll better be able to decided how much time you want to dedicate to your blog posts.
I have a personal blog. It basically serves as my journal. Sometimes i share funny stories, but mostly i use it to process my current life struggles and questions. And when i feel like too many posts in a row have been depressing, then i throw in some cute stories about my baby girl.
It takes me 45-60 minutes per post, and i’m very satisfied with that. Prior to starting my blog, the last time i had done any intentional writing since my freshman English class in college, and i had forgotten how much i LOVE to write. The writing process is so enjoyable to me. I love crafting a topic that has a thesis statement, a climax, and a conclusion that ties it all together. It makes me so proud of myself when i write something that either makes people cry or makes them laugh out loud. Since i don’t have any other opportunities to write, i’m willing to put in the time to do it well. But maybe if i wrote for a living, i’d be too pooped out to spend a lot of time on my personal blog.
Writing a 12 minutes blog post wouldn’t be any fun for me, because i would lose the part of the process that makes it so rewarding. As you can see, i can’t even write this comment in under 12 minutes! =]
Katheryn, thank you for taking the time to comment on this post. What you are saying makes so much sense! Many bloggers (like you and Sharon) do it for the joy of the writing and time spent is not so important. Although I enjoy writing and especially enjoy unhurried writing, it is hard for me to allow myself the luxury of time. I wonder if that is about the fact that I write for work also or if it is about something else.
I would love to get more feedback from others who consider their blogs purely personal to see what their perspective is about their blog and time. Most of the bloggers I interact with are positioning their blogs in some way for business, even if they are not business blogs.
I probably averaged 60 to 90 minutes but have probably brought it down to 30 to 60 of late. I blog on a wide range of subjects so depends quite a bit on subject matter. But yes, the photos and links usually take more time than the writing…so I’ll follow the links here about that.
I know this is from a year ago, but I just read it today. I consider my blog more “personal” than business. I write for the love of writing, and because I can’t not write. And because I have a message burning inside me that I just have to get out sometimes.
It typically takes me about 60 minutes to complete a blog post, start to finish. About 30-40 minutes of that is actual writing. As you said, the extra 20-30 minutes is spent on formatting, finding and inserting pictures, and inserting links into the text.
I’d much rather just spend the time writing – and I’d actually prefer to write longer, but 60 minutes total is a good amount for my schedule right now.
Those extra things like adding meta tag details, finding the right picture, posting your newly added post across various social networks is what doubles the blog post time for many people. We actually just ran a similar poll here: https://www.atinyrhino.com/how-long-does-it-take-you-to-write-a-blog-post-on-average/ and we’re finding that many webmasters are stating that from scratch it takes them 1-5 hours on average to write a post. Content marketing is definitely not a “quick win” 🙂