How Much of a Time Commitment Does Blogging Success Require?

Posted on June 26, 2006

A new study on blogging (PDF) by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes at the Center for Marketing Research at UMASS found that running a successful blog takes time. The study includes data compiled from interviews with 74 successful bloggers.

The study did find that one of the "truths of blogging" is that blogging takes time and commitment. However, one part of the study suggests that blogging takes hardly any time at all. 65% of responders said the amount of time they spend each day on their blog is less than an hour a day.

Blogging Time Graph

If you dig deeper in the study another question asks what is the biggest downside of blogging. Guess what the biggest downside of blogging is? Answer: "It takes a lot of time."

Downsides of Blogging

An hour a day is not much time. Most people would consider becoming a success in something by spending less than an hour a day working on it as remarkable. So why did many bloggers in the study say they generally spend less than an hour or day on their blog and yet list loss of time as their biggest complaint? Some of the 65% that spend less than an hour a day on their blog must have been the same people that listed "loss of time" as the biggest blogging downside.
Initially many of the bloggers in this study did not anticipate the time their blog would take. A good blog is one where posts are fresh and new posts are frequent. Researching interesting new things to share with your audience takes time. One blogger noted, "The worst blogs are those that are updated infrequently." He cautions others with, "Be prepared to spend more time than you think."
Yet over 65% spend less than one hour a day on their blog? Do these bloggers truly regret the loss of that hour? Maybe the bloggers that said they spend less than an hour per day on their blog were just trying to give the illusion that what they do is effortless. The bottom line: Ignore the tempting idea that you can have a profitable and/or popular blog by spending less than an hour a day on it. If you are spending less than hour a day on your blog then expect someone else to eventually out blog you.

Update: Joe Wilkert explains how just an hour a day of blogging can really add up over a week. Wilkert's blog was one of the 74 blogs that were part of the survey in question. He says he selected the "less than an hour" option in the survey. But he also admits that he sometimes works on his blog on the weekends. And he also may be a really fast typist.

Joe Wilkert is the book publisher for the Trade and Professional Divison of Wiley; he published Robert Scoble's Naked Conversations, a book about blogging. As a book publisher, he brings considerable expertise and knowledge about the book publishing industry to his blog. The expertise factor is an important consideration in blogging. Experts who bring a great deal of knowledge to the blogging table may require less time to maintain their blogs and keep them interesting.

But the rules for beginning bloggers are quite different. Newbies will have to work overtime, both to acquire knowledge about the industry they are covering and to grow a blog readership.