How long does blogging take?

I did a presentation on blogging to a group of lovely ladies at Networking Women Witney today. It went really well and there were some interesting questions asked – for example, how long does blogging take, and how long should posts be?

So how long does blogging take? That’s one of those “piece of string” questions – because it really can take as long as you want it to take. Some people actually blog full time – they have monetised blogs and the only way they make any money is by blogging, and promoting their blog. They could easily spend several hours a day blogging.

However, for most of us, blogging is just one of many marketing tools we use. I always recommend people try to blog once a week whenever possible – more is better, of course, but one blog post a week will do the job well enough. If you’re clever, you’ll have your blog’s RSS feed linked up to a service like Twitterfeed so your social media network is automatically informed of new posts. That just leaves the actual writing and uploading of your blog post, which shouldn’t take you much more than an hour or two. (If it’s taking you more than two hours, or you can’t find the time to blog, you might be better off using an outsourced blogger.)

Which brings us on to the second question – how long should blog posts be? I try to go for about  300-500 words and I would recommend you don’t write much more than that, especially when you start blogging. We internet users have very short attention spans. If someone visits your blog for the first time and is faced with huge 1000 words+ essays, unless you grab their attention very quickly they’re not going to bother reading. Much better to keep your posts short and sweet. You can get plenty of useful information across in 300 words and if they like what you say they’re likely to come back for more. Once you’ve built up a regular audience you can start writing longer posts – but I’d still recommend you keep them below 600 words. Alternatively, put longer articles in a separate section on your website and write a short summary for your blog, with a link to the relevant article. By keeping an eye on your analytics (You do have some analytics software on your blog, don’t you?!) you’ll be able to see how many people click through to the longer article, and then you can decide whether or not it’s worth posting.

So there you go. Blogging can take as little or as much time as you want – but it should only take you an hour a week to make it effective. And blog posts can be as long or as short as you want – but often, less is more.

As for this post, it comes in at 505 words and took me about 20 minutes to write and post. Twenty minutes well spent, I think!

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