How Long Does It Take You to Write a Blog Post?

Filed as Editorial, Features, Guides on July 1, 2008 6:58 pm

I’m often asked how long it takes me to write a blog post or web article. My answer is: until it’s done.

Some blog posts take only a few minutes from idea to finished product. A few minutes to edit and clean it up, making sure I’ve got all the bits and pieces in the right places before hitting the publish button.

Other blog posts were started in 1994 and I haven’t finished them yet. The ideas are good, the research is fine, but it’s just not ready for publishing. Something isn’t right. When it’s ready, I’ll publish it. Until then, if the idea isn’t out-of-date, it sits and ferments, waiting to ripen into a fine wine in the future.

Those are two dramatic extremes, but why are people asking the question?

They want to know how much time and effort goes into the work of blogging.

Do you have an answer for them?

How Long Does It Take to Think of an Idea for a Blog Post?

For many bloggers, writing the post takes the least amount of time. Finding something to write about takes much longer.

Ideas can come from anywhere or anything at any time. Many get their best ideas in the shower or bathroom, when their mind drifts off into that “space” where we just don’t spend enough time brainstorming and doing free association, finding linking around corners and under furniture in our brains where we rarely look when we’re paying attention. According to the Science News (March 22, 2008, Vol. 173, “Eureka!”), these sudden bursts of insight can come with little warning but recent research shows that they come more often when your brain is “off” – wandering around thinking little or nothing at all, and definitely not thinking about work.

According to neuroscientist Joydeep Bhattacharya of Goldsmiths, University of London, England:

“The ‘Aha!’ experience mainly occurs because you’re minimally aware of what you’re thinking as you try to solve a problem.”

The article went on to explain:

The road to “Eureka!” may start even before he mental preparation period, as a person sits quietly and does nothing at all, Kounios [of Drexel University in Philadelphia] suggests. In a recent Neuropsyhchologia, he and his coworkers report that the brains of people who later use insight to solve word problems already display “resting-sate” electrical activity associated with a broadening of attention. This activity appears in the right=brain areas that identify distant connections among words and verbal concepts.

Their study shows that the harder you work at solving a problem, the longer it takes, but once you relax and “take your mind off the subject” the answer may come in a flash of insight.

It’s the time spent waiting for insight that can make finding something to blog about a time consuming task. The most successful bloggers expose themselves to a lot of input from reading other blogs, their feeds, going to conferences, meeting other bloggers, and enjoying a healthy family, work, and social life, surrounded by stimulation which generates ideas. But the creative process requires some quiet time for the mind to roll all the thoughts together to generate the ideas for blog posts.

How long that process is depends upon the individual. Professional writers train themselves to “write on command” and be there waiting for the muse to appear. In other words: practice, practice, practice.

How Long Does It Take to Write a Blog Post?

Once the idea is hatched, how long does it take to write a blog post?

For some, it takes a few minutes to jot down the idea, concept, and spell out the whole post. For others, like me, I like to write the whole thing down in my head before my fingers hit the keyboard.

I’m constantly writing and editing in my head, working through the concept, the points I want to make, revising and sorting. Which is why so many people think it takes me so little time to write a blog post as they only see the phsycial activity not the mental processing.

Once the concept is set in the head, it flows out through the keyboard onto your computer. I use a text editor for writing and editing my blog posts, but most people just type right into their blog editor. Once the plot is written out, the editing process begins.

From comments made recently about how often most bloggers preview their post before publishing, a lot more bloggers edit their work than most people assume, taking care that the writing is good, grammar solid, and spelling the best they can. For those determined to publish their best work, understanding that their blog content is their online resume and reputation inspected by future employers, friends, and partners, it takes a lot longer to edit and prepare the post for publishing. For those who publishing only a few sentences or don’t care, it takes only a few moments.

If you follow the mythology that an unrelated or semi-related image on your blog post helps improve your blog traffic, then you now have to search for an image or two to add to your blog post.

If you podcast or do video, you have the same preparation time, creative process of creating the podcast or video, and then the editing time. This is often a much longer time process than writing a blog post. Added to the workload is show notes and/or transcript to meet web accessibility standards and laws. It’s a lot more work and a lot more time.

Is there a right or wrong amount of time to spend publishing a blog post? No. It’s just your way and methodology. Some posts take only a few minutes from conception to publish, and others take hours, days, or weeks – or maybe even more.

How long does the average blog post take you? How do you go about the process of writing and publishing your blog posts?

How Much Work Does It Take to Blog?

So when someone asks you how long it takes to blog, the real question is how much work is there to blogging. It takes time to come up with ideas, and it takes work to find those ideas and let your mind sift through them to generate publishable content. It takes time to write out a blog post, and it’s work to edit and prepare it for publishing.

For some, this isn’t work but fun. For others, it’s work – hard work. So what would be your answer?

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  1. By Tom posted on July 1, 2008 at 10:37 pm
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    To write a really popular one…about 3 minutes :)

    Actually, smiley aside, that’s the truth. I’m still relatively new at this whole blogging thing but as of right now I have 6 posts that have broken the 15,000 page view mark. Of those 6, five of them were posts where I was so annoyed by whatever I was responding to that I wrote the whole thing in a “train of thought” style.

    That being said, most take about an hour or so when you consider all the things you mentioned (basically initial thought to finished post). Plus, unless I’m emotionally compelled to do otherwise I have a rule of waiting a couple hours before posting. That way I can do one last edit. I’ve found I miss typos even when double checking if I just wrote a post. A couple hours is enough time for it to get sufficiently fuzzy in my head so I’m actually reading and not completing the sentences in my head.

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  2. By Michael posted on July 2, 2008 at 1:23 am
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    It usually takes me 15-30 minutes to write a post, that of course depends on how long the post is but that is probably the average time.

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  3. By ian in hamburg posted on July 2, 2008 at 1:33 am
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    I ride my bike a lot – to work and back but also for exercise whenever. Often ideas pop into my head when the blood is really flowing, and I can sort of write a post in my head as I go along. When I stop for a break I’ll jot down a few notes.

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  4. By Amber in Albuquerque posted on July 2, 2008 at 7:56 am
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    Depends on the length and on my level of “inspiration” (stuff in my “occasional rant” category usually writes up pretty quickly).

    I tend to write longer than average…well, everything. I’d say about 30 minutes to an hour for an ‘average’ blog post including outlining and editing. Some take only 5 to 15 minutes, but those are usually the exception. More detailed posts (my usual blog fodder) take quite a bit longer and on some I spend an hour just tweaking the language and punctuation in the final version (I think I may have mentioned, I’m a writer who blogs, not a blogger who writes).

    I have a notebook full of great ideas. I rarely have a shortage of those, but to do the post right (links, pictures, a proper outline & editing so it doesn’t get too long & rambly) takes a long time (2 hours or more)…so I tend to only get to those in between paying writing gigs (or when the job is really, really boring and I need a distraction).

    I think blogging is great fun and allows me to be more creative than I get to be in the paying job (tech. writer), but I still consider it work. Fun work, but work.

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  5. By Eoghann Irving posted on July 2, 2008 at 8:51 am
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    I’m a firm believer that ideas are cheap. I usually scribble down a half dozen a day. The hard part is doing the research to back up the idea.

    Annoyingly some of my most popular posts are news items that took only minutes (I had a press release to work from). I can do those posts in 15 minutes tops.

    But for a quality post I think the time comes from defining your point and then presenting your argument correctly. Those ones take much longer.

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  6. By Izzysix posted on July 2, 2008 at 9:40 am
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    I think the type of blogging you do also affects the time taken to write. Some niches are going to take more time than others.

    My blog is about how ideas can be used beyond their original intent, so I may read a neat article and think about the central idea for a couple of weeks or longer before writing the blog about it. I’m always thinking about on weird idea or another. Obviously, the amount of research and linking I need to do determines the actual writing time, but I like to write it in my head, then type it out, then go back for any detail work like the links and references or stats.

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  7. By Hendry Lee posted on July 2, 2008 at 11:58 am
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    I keep ideas in a notebook, so the time to generate them is negligible.

    Some of my long post took 4-6 hours, shorter ones were about 15-30 minutes.

    I always believe passion should be part of your blog. What’s the point of blogging when you don’t enjoy it?

    It is hard, if not impossible to fake empathy. Anyone who are into this for the long haul should make blogging fun.

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  8. By Lorelle posted on July 2, 2008 at 5:04 pm
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    It’s interesting to see the wide range in times that it takes to write a blog post, from brain dump downloading in minutes to carefully thought out articles that take a great deal of time, some mental, some physical.

    And Hendry, you are so right. Without passion, your readers can tell you are “faking” it. Blogging should be fun, and for some, taking the time that you need to write the “right” blog post is fun. I love it when a blog post flows right out onto the screen in minutes. But I also love the time it takes to cultivate a concept fully over days if not weeks to just get it right.

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  9. By Charles Smith posted on July 12, 2008 at 12:55 pm
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    A) It depends on how much time I have left in the day (I have a rule of posting before midnight every weekday)

    B) Again it depends on the article itself. Some posts will take as little as 15-30 minutes while others may take hours and hours of research and writing (and testing out what I’m writing IRL).

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  10. By Hamdani Amin posted on August 4, 2008 at 8:18 pm
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    I normally take about 1 hour 45 minutes to 3 hours to write a complete post. The idea generation and research part usually take about 1 hour to 2 hours.

    But when it came to write the whole post it take about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

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  11. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on August 5, 2008 at 1:10 pm
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    @ Hamdani Amin:

    So about 2-3 hours for a single post. What is the ROI? Do you feel like you are adequately compensated, by whatever means, for those 2-3 hours?

    I’ll be writing soon about ways to speed up post content generation, and it would be interesting to hear tips on how you’ve learned to speed up the process for yourself.

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  12. By Fred posted on December 22, 2008 at 8:46 am
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    I usually take between 3 to 5 hours, but most of my writing is in-depth. I am amazed that some of you only take between 15 to 30 minutes. I’m impressed.

    Lorelle,
    I would suggest checking out http://hubpages.com/hub/ How-to-make-money-writing-online-stories-with-a-buy-local-approach Looks like a great new way to make money writing.

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  13. By Styrofoam Sheets · posted on November 3, 2010 at 6:17 pm
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    online resumes are easy to submit and they are easy to make and edit one too ,

    Reply

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