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If you only had one hour a day to blog what would you spend it doing?

Posted By Darren Rowse 27th of July 2008 Reader Questions 123

If you only had one hour a day to blog what would you spend it doing?

A reader recently sent me a question asking how I’d approach blogging if I only had one hour a day. I can’t find the email for the life of me (if it was you please email me and I’ll give you credit) but it went something like this (paraphrased from my recollection of the question):

“I have very limited access to the internet but would like to build a successful blog. Can it be done and if so what activities should I do if I can only get online for one hour a day?”

This is a question that I thought would be a good discussion starter.

As bloggers we have many choices to make when it comes to how to spend our time. There’s obviously a need to write content – but then there are many other activities that compete for our time:

  • Social Media
  • SEO
  • Interacting with readers and moderating comments
  • Blog Design
  • Networking with other bloggers
  • Promoting our content in other places (forums, offline etc
  • Adding new features

The list could (and does) go on. I could (and sometimes do) spend anything up to 12 hours a day online blogging – so if confronted with the choice to do only 1 hour’s activities it’d be a difficult thing to work out what to cut.

So how would you fill 1 hour a day on your blogging (or how do you if this is all the time you have)? What’s most important and what activities do you ignore or put off?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. My advice for him doesn’t have to do with how to spend his online time, but with how to spend his offline time. Use print and broadcast media to develop ideas and write them up ahead of time. Don’t obsess over linking to something in every story, though quickly finding a few relevant links after the piece is written but before you hit publish shouldn’t be that hard. The big advantage this limit on online time has is that by writing the content offline, based on non-internet media and actual…thought…this blogger will have original content and not just more echoes in the echo chamber.

  2. One hour will either be spent on writing or working on furthering my marketing plan…Plain and simple!

  3. Well. First of all I would write all of my posts offline so I could just get ready to post them.

    One the first day, I’d type of 5-7 posts that I’d written and if I had any time left over, I’d moderate comments and do blog stuff.

    On day two I’d do social media, promote my blogs, promote others I liked, etc.

    On day three I’d go through my RSS looking for other ideas to link to, etc…

    On day four I’d answer email, do a little friendly networking and stuff like that.

    On day five I’d make sure everything was running smoothly with my blog…tweak anything that was needed.

    On day six I’d probably do RSS and email again.

    ON day seven I’d comment all over the blogosphere.

  4. If you settup your site with XAMPP (local install of php/apache/mysql etc). You can build your site where ever you want and upload the results later. That might be a more technical solution but if you have the time and access to a computer without internet its great. I carry around a working local copy of my blog in that way. Its also helped me on a few occasions when I accidentally deleted something I wanted back.

  5. Well, I’ve had a blog going on for a few months now (not generating any income directly) and learned a whole lot of new strategies & tactics that I need to implement, however with only an hour a day, each day would be different task.

    Content is important so I’d spend a few days on that until I have at least 10 pillar articles. That can take a week or two with only an hour a day.

    After that I’d spend an hour commenting on some peer’s blogs relating to the market that I am targeting.

  6. For me, only having an hour would mean that I could not blog at all since it takes me several hours just to write one post, but if I only had an hour for promotion then I would have to choose the one that brings the most traffic and subscribers and right now that would be relevant forum postings.

  7. Looking over Adam’s answers, I think I would definitely copy his, it is a great solution.

  8. Definitely I would try to write at least 1 post a day, updating content in any blog is very crucial. Rest of the time I would spend posting comments on related to my niche blogs and social bookmarking, social media stuff for more exposure. 1 hour can be fairly enough to do much work if you can plan it properly.

  9. I don’t think it’s POSSIBLE, to be honest.

    I notice a lot of these comments are doing everything they can to “Cheat” the idea by claiming the hour as “time online” and not “time spent actively blogging” or even “Time spent on blogging-related work” like reading various marketing materials.

    This isn’t to say there aren’t ways to speed things up (like using an RSS reader to gather all your new posts from other blogs to read for you) but an hour per day isn’t even enough to WRITE the average post.

    Yes, you can start a blog in minutes. You might even be able to write a quick post in that time. But without a hell of a strategy to make up for the time that needs to be spent marketing the blog and making it something successful, it won’t happen unless you’re Seth Godin or something (where half the job is practically done FOR you by the time you get around to that hour a day).

    But starting to blog? No way. There’s got to be more to it than that.

  10. I don’t have anything to add, just to agree that it takes more than an hour a day to build a successful blog.

    You’d certainly have to limit the number of posts per week, since you’d have to devote at least a couple of the hours to networking, commenting and responding to comments.

    Might be an interesting experiment . . .

  11. I have to agree with the above idea, I think it would be fun to see if you can create a successful blog with only one hour a day!

    I would definitely spend the time writing and scheduling posts, then one day a week would be devoted to research, and another to responding to comments. I think it’d be all about time management.

  12. I would try to write the content while I had some spare offline time, so I could quickly type it up, then spend the 1 hour a day SEO’ing, link building and networking.

  13. It’s important to stay organized. Schedule your week and plan what you are going to write ahead of time.

    Once you figured out what you are going to write, you don’t have to write it on-line or on the computer. You can write it down on with pen and paper and then when you have the time to actually post it, you can post what you have already written so much faster. If you knock that post out in under an hour you can begin writing up your next post and schedule it to publish the next day (this works in wordpress, but I don’t know about other blogging platforms).

    If you stay ahead of yourself using scheduled posts, that will leave extra time to work on SEO, Social Networking, Etc.

    With limited access to the internet, the only way to make the best use of your time is to write and plan as much offline as possible.

  14. If the “one hour” included time in which I had to write posts as well, then I think I’d probably spend five days a week writing posts and use leftover time to moderate comments and do some commenting of my own. Weekends would be for all the other stuff, including updates, features, etc.

  15. If I had only one hour a day, I would just do the same as I do now, try and fit it all in, all at the same time!

    Or at the very least split my time equally to at least four tasks which would be 15 minutes long each, although I would have to plan this out beforehand to make sure I effectively managed these strict time deadlines.

    Mind you, I have found that if you plan and keep to your own time limited deadlines, that you are more productive in whatever you do and focused too, especially in writing more content.

  16. I have often wondered how much you can do in an hour. I think bloggers have the possibility to do plenty in just a short space of time.

    I think I would spend 15 min reading RSS feeds. 30 minutes writing blog posts. Then another 15 minutes commenting on other blogs.

    I think this is an achievable goal. Not only do I believe it is achievable but I am going to make this a challenge for myself!

    Starting as of today, using my new blog ( I will dedicate a maximum of one hour on my blog each day. Using some rules which I have outlined for myself on my blog.

    I think this is a great challenge. I hope I can make something out of this challenge for everyone else to use as an example.

  17. One hour per day might actually make for better blogging! Remember what Tim Ferris taught us about Pareto’s and Parkinson’s laws:
    1) Pareto: you get 80% of your results from 20% of your activities
    2) Parkinson: a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion.

    Ferris recommends that we:
    1) limit tasks to the important to shorten work time (Pareto), and
    2) shorten work time to limit tasks to the important (Parkinson).

    All that to say that one hour bloggers might be better bloggers!

    Oh yea, do yourself a favor and read Tim Ferris’s book, The Four Hour Work Week.

  18. Wow what a great question and made me look at how I am organizing my time and I loved the suggestions many are activities I just learned here and now! Thank you. I write all my posts off line now, and have a web person to moderate and put them on my website. I give her free reign as to the design of the site and make suggestions on the phone. So I would spend most of my time online checking out other blogs and learning blogging and working on the business end, which really only turns out to be about 90 minutes per day- I don’t even dare to answer the phone during that online time. Time is a precious commodity but if one has a plan one can design their time use to a maximum of productivity and results.

  19. First, since it’s such a limited time, I’d set up a decent process that allowed me to compress as much activity into my online time as possible.

    1) I’d write all content and do all my planning offline. Since I use Live Writer, I’d use that and upload when I went online.

    2) I’d download all my email. (I’m assuming it’s my Internet access that’s limitied.)
    — I’d set up the blog to email all comments to me so I didnt have to keep checking the blog
    — I’d subscribe to other blogs in my niche using email. Or perhaps find a RSS reader that stored posts offline.
    — Organise my email folders to effectively categorise content using filters.

    3) I’d write email responses and responses to comments offline. When I got online, I’d upload email replies and quickly paste the comment responses into the appropriate blog posts.

    4) I’d moderate spam at this point.

    It shouldn’t take too much more than ten or fifteen minutes online to do this, depending on the number of comment responses. At this point, it’s probably time to network, visit blogs, make changes to the theme (also worked out offline), and do any social networking.

    I think that’s it. ;-)

    Thank goodness I’m not restricted to just an hour everyday!

  20. One hour is not that less a time. In fact, it’s a lot. I myself don’t spend more than an hour on my blog; but it’s a different question that I’m not the only blogger in it.

    For single author blogs, I would say, one hour is a little less.

  21. I’d spend more time with my readers. After all, readers are what make my content matter. Without them, I wouldn’t be much of anything…. Sure I’d focus on my content and posting regularly, but trying to find what keeps them coming back is important to me as well.

  22. Only one hour? I’d probably use it to procrastinate.

  23. One hour a day? Gosh, that would sure be a challenge!

    If I only had 1 hour a day to spend on blogging, I would stick to 1 blog and post to it every second day (or 3 times a week depending on whether you want to stick to set posting days each week). Then focus on responding to comments and commenting on other blogs with the rest of my time.

    You’d have to be very realistic of your own expectations of what can be achieved with only 1 hour a day. In terms of building readership and so on.

  24. With computer access but limited internet access I would do all the writing offline and save it to a USB drive. When internet access is possible then load everything to your blog. Then spend the rest of the time doing the other blog related things like research and social networking.
    You could use things like Portable Apps to handle your email and have that all ready to check and upload also.
    If the computer access is also limited, well do what you can. You would then be spending nearly all that time blogging. Being a serious blogger without a computer is a bit like being a taxi driver that needs to rent a car to work.

  25. Very easy! Write content!

  26. Simple.

    I’d spend 10 minutes going thru my feeds and commenting where appropriate.

    I’d then spend 10 minutes going thru my feeds again and social networking the good stuff I uncover.

    Then I’d spend 10 minutes on my own blog maintenance.

    Then I’d spend what’s left over writing.

    A little bit…every day…makes a difference.

    Data points, Barbara

  27. I have a regular job, wife and 2 children. I am struggling to build my blog. I am waiting for the solutions offered here so that I can manage my time well.

    My plan would be to post content twice a week and remaining days in researching content, social networking, etc.

  28. If I only had an hour, I would spend it on getting relevant links back to my blog.Commenting on other blogs would be the easiest way I think.

  29. In that ‘one hour’, I would definitely work on building more quality contents. Because I think content is king. Ofcourse other activities in Darren’s list is also very important. But it can be done when we get more time other day or probably at weekends!

  30. One hour? then I’ll use it for writing, bookmarking and commenting then I’ll do it real fast.. LOL.

  31. You wouldn’t post every day. You would post once or twice a week and focus on making the content really good.

    Some of my favourite blogs have posting frequencies of once a week. I think you can build a strong audience by posting less frequently.

    By contrast, blogs with a more frequent post pattern such as this one, often end up with a lot of the posts in my feed getting deleted without being read. People are busy.

    You can also consider doing more series, where you write a long post in parts and then post a different part every day.

    My priorities for an hour a day would be:

    Every day – Reading in your field and bookmarking, so you have links and ideas for posts.
    – Replying to comments, deleting spam etc.

    1-2 times a week – Mapping out posts.
    – Writing posts.
    – Promotion eg. entering blog carnivals, commenting on other blogs, using social media (which you should do as you read the blogs, except it’s not necessary to comment on everything you read unless you really have something to say).

    You can use twitterfeed to automatically tweet when you have a new entry – but you will need to make other use of Twitter in order to win any followers.

  32. Folks, I think it’s one hour a day to blog, not one hour a day online.

    I don’t know about the OP but I have internet access 24/7. My problem is limited time.

    I think the hour a day includes writing the content, which means you simply wouldn’t post daily.

  33. Sometimes I only have one hour (or less) per day to blog. So I would spend half an hour creating a really top quality post each day and then I would spend the other half an hour commenting on other posts and networking with other bloggers to offer guest posts to drive more traffic to your site.
    Then I would spend sundays working on the layout of your blog including RSS subscriptions, advertising etc.
    I would also start a weekly newsletter and spend a full hour on saturday writing for that and managing that (because that is the best way to make money online)

  34. If I only had one hour for my blog. I will write new post and submit to social bookmarking.

  35. Only 1 hour? That’s tough…I’d split my normal activities into 1 hour a day for a week.

    Mon – write a decent article
    Tues – go all over social networks promoting the article
    Wed – read and comment all over a bunch of related blogs
    Thurs – check web stats for gains from Tues and Wed
    Fri – depending on results from Thurs, do more social networking
    Sat – brainstorm for article for next week
    Sun – answer comments on my blog and forum

    Rinse, repeat


  36. One hour?! You’re gonna kill me then. I am making a single post for about 3 hours. But this is an interesting question as if there will be a scheduled power failure as it usually happen here in my place.

    Anyway, assuming that I have prepared a post in a scratch paper the next i do is to promote it in every way I can. Forum posting is my strategy lately as it is effective for me. I am an active member of around 5 forums and I visit them daily, and it takes me an hour to do so.

    I am not a SEO guru but I try to apply the keyword density principle in every post.

    The remaining time (if there will be) will be spend replying to comments as well as leaving comments like this one.

    Improving the design of my blog and adding more features on it is the least important thing that I do, and I believe more on quality content.

    See Seth Godin’s blog and you will find simplicity. Wonder why it is very popular?

  37. Nice question.

    I have a 7 day schedule I “try” to follow. Its printed out and taped to the wall over my desk.

    Each day, I have several things I try to accomplish – Posting, commenting on other blog posts, Twittering and so on. I don’t try to do everything everyday. The trick here is to be disciplined. My weekends seem to be filled with tweaking my blog, looking at WP plugins that can improve my site, etc.

    Also, try to do things offline if you can. That may give you more than the hour you are limiting yourself to wiorking on your blog.

    Most important, STICK WITH IT!

    Monday: Post article(s), comment on other posts
    Day 2: Post article(s),

  38. You’d be amazed how much you could get done in an hour, but on the other hand, you’d be amazed at how fast an hour goes by on the Internet. What I would do is write blog posts ahead of time so that would save you time there, but I would have a list beside me (which I do myself) of places I have to send promo off to for it. Cut and paste, cut and paste. I’d aim for those places that have higher readership of course since time is limited and I would also add tags quickly. But here’s something interesting. I had a client email me just yesterday about a company who will set up your blog and maintain it for you since you’re “too busy” to do it yourself or for other reasons. I’m not sure if they write content for you (I’m waiting on my clients’ followup email), but has anyone heard of this and is the money spent worth it?

  39. I actually fall into quite often. Right now my current schedule allows me to concentrate on post writing early on weekends (for maybe 2 hours on a Saturday). That gets me set up for the week. The rest of the week I use my 45-60 minutes writing comments or reading my favorite blogs for ideas and inspirations.


  40. If I only had one hour a day to work on my blog (and many days this is true!) I would just focus on writing. After all, without good content none of the other blog tasks would matter much.

  41. Try as hard as you can not to change themes so often (or ever!). This way, we can grow the blog more in terms of contents and “marketing”

  42. If I had one hour to blog I would write quality content and thumb it up on Stumbleupon when I’m finished writing.

    At the stage my blog is at, I need to build an archive of content to get the search engines loving me and people coming back.

    Since the blos is so new, content is my number 1 priority right now.


    Brad Spencer

  43. Good comments, all. I learned a lot just reading through!

    To maximize the time ONline, I’d be focussing on the time I spent OFFline:

    1. Enough sleep to think brightly
    2. Connecting with the outside world so I had ‘good stuff’ to write good content
    3. Exercise! It fuels my brain cells.
    4. Good food, ditto
    5. Meditation. Some of my best ideas come out of that big black hole, the unconscious.


  44. Time are very important for me…

    At that time i’m still a zero knowledge about blogging or anything about internet…

    I didn’t have so much time, about 3 hours a day….

    What important most is what you do with the time…

    For me:-

    I learn to make an online store in just 3 hour

    I learn about ftp in 3 hours

    And many things in just 3 hours and manage to master it…

    Now i have more time but what thing i do or learn??? I still don’t know….

    Sometimes, do not have much time are so helpful, because we will focus on the things that we are doing…

  45. I would spend 30 minutes writing an article to make sure you get one out a day. Otherwise, the other 30 minutes I would spend trying to network with others.I say this because networking has been proven to drive the most traffic to your website. so use myspace, Facebook, twitter, digg, stumble upon, and most of all comment on other blogs that are in your same niche. And if you do not know how to type fast I would recommend taking some typing lessons so that all of this can be done a lot quicker.

  46. Success and time. Funny these should both be linked so closely in this post as they are both relative.

    I have about one hour a day to work on my blog and I find that it is successful. Of course my definition of success may very well be different than your definition. As a creative outlet and a place to express myself my blog has been a success. Publishing a weekly blog was my goal, coming up with new content that is thoughtful is what I was going for and I did that. My blog is also helping me develop my personal writing style so that is a success as well.

    I didn’t plan on making any money and I’m not but I’m also not getting great readership numbers either. I am working on that slowly but that’s OK, I’m patient.

  47. I’ve been wondering about this exact question recently! I’ve been having some wrist problems, forcing me to limit my time on the computer.

    My focus is all on content first, and everything else later. I’d probably spend just a few minutes replying to comments/emails, and the rest of the hour working on high quality content.

  48. There’s lots a person can do offline in preparation for using that precious one hour online. You can jump on the web for five minutes and, using copy and paste, paste all comments into a Word doc (or whatever app you use).

    While offline you can then write responses to comments, write your content, do website maintenance. When everything’s ready you get back online, upload it, then spend the rest of your time reading other blogs or visiting the social networking sites.

    Having a backlog of content is also helpful. I make notes constantly as ideas come to me. I am just starting the process of having a website. By the time we go live I’ll have a good sized list.

  49. All of the content creation could be done offline so it takes 5 minutes to download a new post everyday. So that would leave a little less than 15 minutes each for commenting on other blogs, Social network sites and Forums. But wow, what about all that “other” time tweaking your adsense, Chitka, etc. Tough but doable.

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