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

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.

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Comments

  1. I find myself in the same position and have a variety of tricks I use to better utilize my time. The first thing I do every morning is to plan out my day. With a set schedule, it is easier to stay focused and organized. I also utilize other free time by writing a pen and paper rough draft of my post while on breaks at my job or while waiting in a doctor’s office, etc. I don’t always get a full post written, but can get a good start on one. Keeping a backlog, as suggested by others, is a very good idea to – just make sure the information you post is still accurate and up to date. Also, think about dedicating each day to a different objective or two. For example, on Monday make a post and comment on other blogs, on Tuesday do some social marketing in message boards and reply to comments on your blog, etc. The truth is though, there is no set method and different things are gonna work for different people.

  2. jaime says:

    I’d spend it all 3 days on 3 great, comprehensive, well-written, interesting posts. Then 2 days on promoting, commenting, and optimizing the blog. If my hour per day includes the weekend, I would take those two weekend days and get started on my next posts for the upcoming week so I can spend more time networking and marketing.

    Sorry I missed your twitter networking post!
    http://www.twitter.com/desigmilk

  3. jaime says:
  4. Parth says:

    I was recently met with the same problem. I have since decided to write enough content in advance for 30 days or so, then spend the rest of the month working on promotion and networking tasks. I think this is the most efficient way of getting your work done and saving time.

  5. Paul says:

    My blogging time probably does average out to about 1 hour per day (excluding time spent reading other websites).

    I just try to split my time most effectively, say 50% writing, and 10% each on social, comments, design, features, and theme development (ie making themes, not tweaking my own).

    Makes for relatively slow throughput and limited attention for each thing, but I just try to keep the quality up.

  6. abdul says:

    I will write content.. Nothing more than that..

  7. Tom Laine says:

    Hi guys,

    I thought this would actually be a simple thing to answer (and do), but according to many previous comments apparently not… First of all, you don’t need to be online when you write your blog, plan your marketing activities, prepare emails/newsletters etc., analyze your statistics and so on. One day (1.) you use the hour to publish and adjust, maybe some social networking. Next day (2.) checking/answering comments/questions, one day (3.) to check and download statistics for later analysis, one day (4.) to read related articles and comment on other blogs – download/print for later reading, one day (5.) for research and analytics + maybe adjusting ads and stuff, and this would still leave you 2 days per week for any other activity or more of these before. You could either publish more often than the once a week considered here, you could divide these into half an hour parts and do 2 things in one day – publishing 2-3 times a week maybe… If you are only 1 hour per day online, that should leave you plenty of time to do offline work – writing, planning, analysing, offline marketing, writing emails/responses/comments/newsletters, and so on. Just stay in focus and plan well, it’s very do-able. Being online all the time is highly over appreciated!

    Regards,

    Tom Laine

  8. Andy Merrett says:

    Interesting question. I actually see two questions here, depending on how it’s interpreted.

    Firstly, I read “what activities should I do if I can only get online for one hour a day?”

    If I could only access the Internet for an hour each day, but had more time to dedicate to other tasks, then I would make sure that I’d only do tasks that required a Net connection to complete.

    * Spend around half to three-quarters of the time researching stories that require online information. Push as much information to offline storage as possible (email, offline RSS reader, etc.) for later perusal.

    * Spend the rest of the time commenting (but remember you could write the comment offline and then copy and paste it once a connection is available), networking on one or maybe two social network sites, briefly checking stats and doing optimisation, and so on.

    DO NOT spend that time writing articles, composing email replies / approaches, etc. This can be done offline and recalled quickly once a Net connection is established.

    Then it’s up to you to take the time away from the Net to write articles, spend time crafting emails and comments. Makes it easier if you still have a computer which can later be connected to the Net, or at least save content on a memory stick to then be taken to a Net-connected PC.

    HOWEVER

    If you only have one hour per day to spend on all aspects of blogging, I’d say it’d be very difficult. Perhaps don’t look to publish an article every day, but maybe every third day, but make it a good one! You can still carry round a notepad or a dictaphone when away from the computer to capture ideas as they come, for later expansion into posts.

    Though linking and commenting is important, I’d suggest spending less time (maybe just 5%) doing that, while you’re building your “pillar” content.

    Don’t get bogged down in statistics checking, and if you get stuck on one article, save it as a draft rather than wasting your valuable time staring at the screen, and move on to something else.

    Try to find a niche where you can do significant research offline as well as online, so you don’t have to be tied to RSS feeds and other web sites.

  9. I already sort of work my various ventures with a similar time slot in mind for each day.

    To juggle day job and blogs and other online publishing, I have started designating Monday for this blog, Tuesday for that one…. and another day for site development (my blogs are pretty new) and another day for checking out others’ blogs and for Digging, etc.

    The content I often line up ahead of time. When it’s Monday blog time, I post a few items, scheduled to spread through the week. Same with the other days and blogs/sites.

    Adam

  10. Sara says:

    Bloggers blog. I would (and do) blog. Or, I churn out several posts at one time and schedule them to be posted at later dates and therefore freeing myself on the other days to do the other activities to get my blog visited. Like, for example, commenting on other blogs:0)

  11. abroadabroad says:

    MARKET…MARKET…MARKET. New book out and distributor with his finger in his nose and his mind in Arkansas! Anyone got good tips on marketing on the web?

  12. No matter what, at least 20-30 minutes of that time has to be spent on actual blogging. Content is absolutely key. The fest of the time would be spent alternately on other activities: promoting, moderating, commenting, etc. I mean, I can promote until I’m blue in the face, but if I don’t have the content to back it up, there is no incentive for readers to return to my blog.

  13. Infonote says:

    If you get comments, the most important thing is to respond to existing clients.

    If you are completely new then 45 minutes on content and 15 mins submitting to directories and social sites.

  14. Moise levi says:

    Writing for investors makes you focus on certain stocks.
    Having one hour would make me focus on the most active stocks (one to three max)

    The rest of the time is spent analysing the markets.

  15. Nicholas says:

    Content is for me, but after going thru the comments here, it’s seems like interacting by comments is very important.

  16. Mark MacLeod says:

    I can relate to this, as I have even less than one hour/ day. As CFO of a high growth startup, I do post almost daily. I focus on content. Great content will stand out and be noticed. I don’t do SEO or anything explicit to drive traffic. I do interact with readers and comment on related blogs regularly. I’m in this for the long haul and committing both to blogging and to startups (the focus of my blog).

  17. Cenay Nailor says:

    Great question, and for those of us still *working full time* a necessary one. Here’s how I blog part-time and still work full-time. It’s all about time management.

    I spend about 1 hour per day on Saturday’s and Sunday’s writing content. I try to write three or four posts each day, and schedule them to *go live* once each day. Since I have more than 1 hour I *can* spend on these two days, I do anything left over from the previous week as well.

    I spend Monday tweaking the blog – what you are calling Blog Design. I find that I don’t get as many visitors on Monday, so it’s a good day to make changes that might *mess up my blog*.

    I spend Tuesday on my SEO. This includes inbound links and on page factors. I research plugins that help, update my SEO (All in one SEO pack) titles and descriptions and adding keywords I didn’t think of when I made the posts.

    I spend Wednesday commenting on other people’s blogs, responding to my commenter’s (woefully few but I am adding new features to encourage this, like removing the nofollow, allowing commenter’s to follow via email, etc).

    I spend Thursday and Friday with various other tasks like posting on social media like Facebook or MySpace, adding new features (plugins) and networking with other bloggers. I also try to spend a little time in forums adding content and posts, and each one has a link back to one of my blogs.

    It’s a great topic and I personally thank you for sparking the conversation.

    Cenay’

  18. Stormy says:

    I’d outsource a lot! Obviously some things like commenting and writing should be done by you. But things like blog design, SEO, comment moderation, guest posting, etc can all be delegated to someone else.

  19. gout says:

    good idea, everiday I always spend about 3 hours online, not enough for me….in 3 hours I only create little money…most of my time using to give comment and tag socialnetworks…I need evaluation my activity

  20. Jesse Hines says:

    Great question–one hour a day to blog. Period.

    As paul said, “One hour per day might actually make for better blogging!”

    If we really took Tim Ferriss’ ideas on the Pareto Principle and Parkinson’s Law to heart and truly implemented them, we would only spend the time we had on what most impacted our blogging success.

    To me, that’s:

    1. Writing valuable, original, entertaining, informative, and provocative content. If this is the only thing you have time for, do this.

    2. Respond to comments on your own blog. After writing quality content, interact with your readers so you truly have a conversation.

    3. Read a few blogs in your genre (or anywhere actually) and comment regularly to get some name recognition by participating in the discussion.

    Writing posts, moderating comments, and commenting on fellow blogs are far more valuable than any social media stuff or SEO or forum or offline promotion.

    I’m thinking about adopting this approach–I have only one hour per day to conduct any blogging activities. This will necessarily sharpen my focus and force me to concentrate on truly high-impact aspects of blogging.

    Seriously. I think I’m going to do this.

  21. Nicole says:

    I’d spent 30 minutes on a new post, 15 minutes promoting older posts and the remaining 15 minutes commenting on selected blogs in and out of the same niche.

  22. Nicole says:

    oops. I meant. “Spend”. My apologies for the typo Darren.

  23. I would spend it working on content and links. These are the lifeblood of any site in my opinion.