Many people enter the blogosphere with hopes of making big money FAST. They’ve seen the book titles and claims online where others are making a six figure income blogging so they think, “why not me?”

Truth be told, it can be you.

All it takes is hours.

Lots of hours.

Today’s Lesson

In the book, Outliers: The Story of Success*,one of the items Malcolm Gladwell (the author) credits for the success of many, is how 10,000 hours of practice appears to be the magic number needed to reach our full potential.

Obviously the more time we spend practicing anything, we should get better at it.

So what about blogging?

Does it take 10,000 hours to become a blogging phenomenon?

To get a better perspective of what 10,000 hours looks like, let’s do some math.

If we work 40 hours a week (full-time), by year-end we will have worked 2080 hours. Thus, in approximately five years (5 x 2080 = 10,400), we hit that 10,000 hour mark.

If 10,000 hours is the secret recipe for success, the same should hold true for blogging.


Personally, I think it depends how we spend our blogging time and how we define success.

If we have a game plan, focus on providing quality content, have determination as well as a good grasp on our topic, know how to drive traffic to our site, are willing to experiment and learn from our mistakes, understand the workings of the internet and get our name “out there”, I think we can see success sooner.

Not only that, but if we’re told we won’t see success until we’ve banked 10,000 hours, we’re apt to give up before we start.

What say you?

Today’s Assignment

How long have you been blogging?

How many hours would you say you’ve blogged thus far?

Do you think a blogger can fast track their success or do you think a blogger needs to put in their time just like everyone else before they’ll be a blogging phenomenon?

Care to share?

signature for blog post

Photo Credit: Cookieater 2009

*Affiliate link

Related Posts with Thumbnails
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Look Who's Talking
  1. Hello Barbara:

    Good thoughts again. I’ve been blogging for three years now but I cannot think of the number of hours that have gone into blogging. Maybe a couple of thousand hours, perhaps. Time, content and networking helps in making one a blogging phenomenon. While some bloggers are extremely brilliant in becoming popular in a few months’ time, everyone cannot do that. Like any other writing, even blogging has its own time and effort which requires it to become a sensation.

    Joy always,
    Check out Susan Deborah’s awesome post.Stars in my bedroomMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Susan,

      That’s great to hear you have three years behind you. It’s a fun journey, isn’t it?

      You’re right. some bloggers can become popular in a shorter period of time, but like you pointed out, that’s an exception, not the norm.

  2. Jo WakeNo Gravatar says:

    I have been blogging for about 4 years and write daily (not Sundays) I have a small cadre of faithful followers, but am certainly no overnight sensation or even a very successful blogger financiall. Once upon a time I had Adsense which was beginning to pay me and then for some totally unknown reason, Blogger cancelled that and I have never managed to make money since. By the way, Blogger cancelling Adsense happened to others for completely unknown reasons too.
    Check out Jo Wake’s awesome post.WWII Planes, Domesticity, Meds.My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jo,

      Four years? That’s awesome and your tenacity to write daily is impressive.

      That’s sad you lost AdSense. With all you’re investing in your blog, that could have been a nice passive income. With you sharing recipes in each post, I think an affiliate link to cookbooks could be beneficial.

  3. Hi Barbara,

    I fully agree with the 10,000 hours, but let’s face it, if you can find someone who can teach you a real step-by-step system that functions, you could save a lot of time, be successful to a degree and learn much faster.
    Check out Mike@team building barcelona’s awesome post.Barcelona Event Organisation – Barcelona and Sitges ToursMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      That’s true. With so many bloggers learning by trial and error, having a source which teaches us step by step how to run a blog would save us tons of time. Then all we’d have to do is continually create valuable content.

  4. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    I wouldn’t advise anyone to “quit their day job” to take up blogging for money.

    And I don’t think that making money on line is something that just anyone can do if they put in the time. It takes more than just putting in the hours. A lot of hard work may be necessary, of course, but without other ingredients — writing talent, topic (or topics) that people are interested in, and, to some degree, networking, to name a few, the money isn’t going to come.

    I’ve been trying to monetize my webpages, and, later, blogs, for at least 14 years. While I’ve had some success in the last few years, it’s nowhere near enough to live off of.
    Check out Mike Goad’s awesome post.Have you ever seen a wild ass?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      FOURTEEN YEARS? Wow! That’s impressive.

      I’m happy you brought that up about not everyone being able to make money with a blog. You’re right. It takes more than just cranking out blog posts to get to that point.

      That said, I’m sure there are many bloggers who blog just to blog and making money is the last thing on their mind.

  5. sanjayNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve been blogging 3 months now, a little traffic and readers but the thing that I loved about this is the learning experience that you’ll have. Learning about hosting, SEO and networking are the things money can’t buy. Hope I can gain a little money though ๐Ÿ˜›
    Check out sanjay’s awesome post.How to Prevent a Web Project NightmareMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Sanjay,

      Isn’t blogging the greatest? Even though there’s a lot to learn, my advice is to enjoy the process, the journey.

      Keep blogging on….:)

  6. Hi Barbara – We’ve been at this for three years, and we are still in the stage of knowing that we don’t know – slightly better than not knowing that we don’t know! We have learned to cast a skeptical eye on income claims until we further investigate the source.

    It’s important to remember that there are ways to leverage indirect income from your blogging efforts, too. Many of the bloggers who regularly disclose their income earn from consulting or client work. Along with readership and engagement, passive forms of income take longer to build.

    Also consider the present business conditions, especially when you are starting out. Newer bloggers should bear in mind that achieving success in a much less crowded field, as some of the widely-respected and prominent celebrity or guru bloggers have, is a totally different process than starting out today. Don’t let this be an excuse for poor performance; instead, let it be a starting point for realistic expectations.
    Check out Betsy Wuebker’s awesome post.Reclaiming Love in Your BusinessMy Profile

    • Betsy, I’ve been reading you for a while here on Barbara’s terrific Blog for bloggers. I want to acknowledge your professional acumen and good common sense. You’ve been consistently helpful and wise with your business sense.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Betsy,

      You said that so well. And it’s so true. Blogging today is not what it was five to ten years ago.

      I love your advice, “Donโ€™t let this be an excuse for poor performance; instead, let it be a starting point for realistic expectations.”.

  7. maddieNo Gravatar says:

    The main thing you’ve taught me is that we need to be patient. I’ve only been blogging part-time for three months.

    I think that fundamentals of writing and providing good content is important to becoming a phenomenon.

    I can look back at my first few posts and see a big difference in my writing style. I think all this practice and a lot of learning about grammar makes a difference.

    I think you are right in that some people can become a blogging phenomenon sooner than 5 years. I think they work really hard at it. But, no matter how much effort we can put into driving traffic to our sites, if the content isn’t there or it’s hard to read, people won’t come back. (I learned that from you.)

    While I’m working on the fundamentals, I’m not aggressively trying to drive traffic to my site. I’m practicing and learning. In the beginning, I wanted to have lots of people find me. I’ve since learned that I wasn’t ready.
    Check out maddie’s awesome post.i wish it were teddy bears and not blankiesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Maddie,

      Thank you for your kind words, It warms my heart knowing what I share here has been beneficial. ๐Ÿ™‚

      You’ve raised a good point. Even though we think we want lots of traffic in the beginning, we may not be ready for it. With traffic comes more responsibility as well as an expectation of value based posts. If we disappoint our readers from the get-go, chances are they won’t return.

      Baby steps…

  8. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I don’t think the 10,000 hour applies to bloggers at all. I think that rule applies to writing great posts, but blogging isn’t all about the writing.

    Blogging is about connecting with people and some of the best writers in the world have a hard time doing that. There are people who just naturally can talk and make friends with everyone. I have never been one of those types of people. My brother is though. I bet if he blogged, he would be able to attract a great audience because of that quality.

    I took me 5 years before I felt that I truly knew what I was doing in the classroom. So I believe in the 10,000 hour rule, at least when it comes to teaching. That being said, I’m coming up on my 5th year of blogging and it doesn’t feel the same.

    I don’t think bloggers need to log a large number of hours to become successful. They just need a passion, dedication, and connection to their audience (which of course is easier said than done)
    Check out Chase March’s awesome post.Know Your History: A Spotlight on Queen LatifahMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chase,

      You’re right. Blogging is a lot more than just writing, so like you said, even if we’re fabulous writers, that doesn’t mean we’re successful (however we define success) at blogging.

      I found that fascinating how you felt the 10000 hour rule applied to you as a teacher. I’m curious to know if others feel the same in their professions.

      Your comment reminds me of how I’m seeing more employment ads where one of the qualifications is “a minimum of five years” experience in the given field.

  9. BenjaminNo Gravatar says:

    I think a great factor is the creativity and the choosen topic or style!

    If you provide something unique itยดs surely possible to become successful fast, even without much knowlege about all the techy stuff!
    Check out Benjamin’s awesome post.Google Plus One WordPress PluginsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Benjamin,

      I’m glad you brought that up. If we’re blogging in an uncrowded niche AND we know our topic well, we could see success much faster.

  10. I love blogging, but I am not geared to earn money from it.

    Considering the law of diminishing returns, I cannot see the time spent and the corresponding earnings becoming a worthwhile relationship for me in blogging. In my homework and research about blogging for $$$, I concluded (perhaps naively) that the people making money with their blogs are the ones who are charging newbies for advice on blogging.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Amy,

      I’m seeing that, too – where some of those who are making money, are targeting the new blogger, often making it sound like what they’re sharing (for a price, of course) cannot be found online. (which isn’t true)

  11. No, building a blog or being a phenomenon takes much less time…but wait! to know how to build the blog or how to market it properly, you got to obey the rule. the learning curve!
    Check out Ron’s SEO Copywriting Tips’s awesome post.Do Long or Short Headlines Work Better?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ron,

      Oh yes, we need to market our blogs and ourselves. That, in itself, can be time consuming.

  12. PeterNo Gravatar says:

    In my opinion those 10`000 hours are not always necessary! This argument would be true only is we would born all the same, with the same skills and character but as we know each baby is different and so are we ๐Ÿ™‚ But the thought that you need to work A LOT to achieve something is nothing but true ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, great article!

    • JasonNo Gravatar says:

      I must agree with peter, while the 10,000 hours milestone is something to look for in everything we would like to become experts in, I don’t think blogging need such amount of hours…

      I liked the article, Barbara, it’s a good one ๐Ÿ™‚
      Check out Jason’s awesome oil change couponsMy Profile

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Thank you Jason,

        Like you, I believe we can become an “expert” in less than 10, 000 hours and any additional time we invest will make us all the more better.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Peter,

      Thank goodness we’re all unique, hey? I agree. each of us will proceed at a different pace, but no one will be exempt from putting in their time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Wise EarsNo Gravatar says:

    Another great post and good idea sharing and I think blogging is harder than it looks after 3.5 years at it…but I still love to do it…I think my Wise Ears services will produce more income…

    Persistence and effort are vital points of reference for any endeavor
    Check out Wise Ears’s awesome post.Husband HearingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Patricia,

      It’s great to see you going strong after three and a half years. And look at you now, you have a new endeavor, which I’ve no doubt you’ll be successful at. 8)

      Keep on, keeping on.

  14. JohnNo Gravatar says:

    like Susan said above, it takes time and effort to have a successful blog. not only it takes writing skills, marketing and technical aspect really call for a different set of skills.

    fortunately, I live in the Bay Area where the bloggers have Meetup groups. it’s always nice to meet other bloggers and share the information that can cut down and hours needed to have a successful blog.

    personally, I studies about the backend (technical and marketing) due to my work at an internet company. my wife started a blog and I’ve been helping her over the last month or so get our site up:

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi John,

      I love the idea of having meet-up groups with other bloggers. Like you said, it cuts the learning curve down, especially if we can talk to others who have ‘been there, done that’.

      How fortunate your wife is to have you helping her with her blog. I know when I calculate how much time I’ve been blogging, I know I’ve spent a lot more time on the back end of my blog than I have writing.

  15. “Do you think a blogger can fast track their success?” – I think it can happen, but so rarely that no one should actually plan for it.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      I’m with you. Fast success doesn’t happen too often.

      That said, how ready would a new(er) blogger be if success knocked on their door quickly?

    • Pretty sure I agree with you here Vered. Planning for it is a mistake… I think that sorta thing will set you up for disappointment and failure.

      Work hard, work smart, and keep your eye on your goals. And if it happens by some miracle over-night, great! But don’t bet on it.

      As a mentor of mine used to say: “The recipe for success is –

      1.) Clear Goals
      2.) Hard Work
      3.) Unwavering Focus

      Do each of those things on a daily basis and you’re good to go!”
      Check out Ricardo Bueno’s awesome post.The Problem With Too Many OptionsMy Profile

  16. I have blogged for 2 months, and probably on average spend an hour a day – so 60 hours so far (I try to post daily, comments and feedback are welcome).

    I have read the book by Gladwell too. I think the orginal research on the 10,000 hours was about becoming an expert, which is a little bit different than becoming a phenomenon.

    One hit wonders abound in music, and for that brief period of time they are a phenomenon, but they might not be experts. Conversely, some experts might not be phenomena either.

    So, can we strike blogging nirvana prior to putting in our 10,000 hours? Yes, or maybe, or possibly, using the advice in the blog and comments.

    Will we be a blogging experts? Maybe.

    No matter our “expertness” level at the time of nirvana, will we be more expert 10,000 hours later? Yes.
    Check out David K Waltz’s awesome post.Collection Effectiveness Index โ€“ A Good Measure?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi David,

      You took my attempt at a catchy blog title quite seriously. ๐Ÿ™‚

      However in doing so, you raised an excellent point. It’s one thing to be an expert in our field, but it’s another to be a “one hit wonder” or a blogger only known for a specific post/ebook/ or ____fill in the blank___.

      I agree. 10,000 hours should equate to some level of expertness.

  17. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb! My kids think it’s phenomenal enough their mom is a blogger so in my world I’m already a sensation! haha! I guess if I live long enough the rest of the world will discover me – or perhaps I’d need another whole life time?

    I’ve been blogging for three years, consistently and will spend entire days putting blogs on automatic pilot to publish weekly when I’m doing other research and working with clients. I used to spend days on end reading other blogs and commenting but I just don’t have the time any more. Plus many of the bloggers I read aren’t blogging any more.

    I guess if it is a career yes you would need all that investment in practice. 10,000 hours is the benchmark? Whoa. If so I won’t be a pro til 2070 or something. You are one already ๐Ÿ™‚
    Check out suzen’s awesome post.FAT AND YOUR BRAINMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your sweet words Suzen, however I’ve a ways to go yet before I turn pro. ๐Ÿ™‚

      What you said about how you used to spend your blogging time versus how you spend your time now, reminds me of how the blogging process can change (for some of us). Personally I think it’ part of that learning curve and finding out what works for us (even though others may (try to) tell us “how to blog successfully”).

  18. Wow! That’s a lot of hours haha.

    I think that you can reach some level of success much, much sooner and that alone should be enough to motivate you into reaching that true potential you talk about.

    I think one thing is for sure, you need to be motivated to do whatever it takes to be successful, if that’s 10,000 hours or 100,000 hours it shouldn’t matter because your only focus should be to keep going until you achieve your goals.

    I’ll let you know in five years ๐Ÿ™‚
    Check out Chad | Internet Marketing Training’s awesome post.How To Blog EffectivelyMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chad,

      Yes. It is a lot of hours, but like you said, if we’re doing something we’re passionate about, we’ll be motivated to carry on.

      Let’s hope both you and I are here in five years. We’ll compare notes of our journey. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    Even if 10,000 is the magic number for hitting the top, thereโ€™s still a fun climb to look forward to. You donโ€™t go from 0 to 10K overnight. I think the more important number is the one that gets the ball rolling. Is it 100, 1000? At which point do you notice traffic and start getting a bit of an audience? Once that happens then each day/week is a rewarding push forward. The hardest moments are those first ones when your site sits there all lonely waiting for someone to say hello or your analytics to show that a visitor stumbled in.
    Check out Chris’s awesome post.The bedroom dashMy Profile

    • I like your thinking Chris! To me, this says, “remember to reward yourself for those little victories.” Things like your first comment, your first email subscriber, your first milestone (100 blog posts).

      Done right, a blogger can use each of those “victories” to really start to build some momentum. Next thing you know, you’re growing and growing!
      Check out Ricardo Bueno’s awesome post.The Problem With Too Many OptionsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chris,

      Iโ€™m with you. It is about the climb. Like you mentioned, those early days are the hardest, but once we get that first comment, or our traffic starts growing, those little things motivate us to proceed forward. Before we know it the years tick by and weโ€™re soon telling other new bloggers, โ€œI remember that, too. Hang in there. โ€ ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. ShailjaNo Gravatar says:

    I can not calculate exact hours per week as it depends on the subject that I am going to write but I am agreed that it takes lots of time especially for freshers. But it is only practice that lead them to success which is although time consuming yet fruitful.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Shalija,

      Yes, it does take time, but like you said, with practice, success will follow.

  21. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I love what everyone says .. and Betsy in particular.

    Blogging can be for a variety of reasons .. if you’re known locally you can expand into blogging and add your service as an adjunct to your blog;

    if you have a book, you need to write another few!, and keep marketing .. blogging, social media and once again your local area: build that relationship.

    Blogs are web-logs .. so they’re records … but if you want to monetise the blog … you need something a customer wants regularly: an info product, a service applicable to many, etc etc .. by adding an email newsletter subscription list = start your list …

    If you’re not in a specific arena .. then you need a niche to specialise in … but I don’t think it can be purely done via a blog straight off … your second go perhaps if you have the energy!

    Blogging does take time, building up relationships etc etc ..

    and as Betsy says”Many of the bloggers who regularly disclose their income earn from consulting or client work. Along with readership and engagement, passive forms of income take longer to build.”

    So I’m sure armed with knowledge it can be done – but then we’ve put in the 10,000 or whatever hours before that .. or we’re sitting with a product or service that’s already successful and we just broaden the appeal.

    If we’re starting .. I think a service, or product, tied in to one’s locality makes sense – where people know and respect you .. then broaden out … the blog works with it.

    I started 2.5 years ago .. and have put many hours in .. and have a regular number of commenters .. and have built many relationships around the blogging world .. which is just wonderful.

    They are a supportive crew – many are here! You’ve always been an excellent cheerleader for us all ..

    Cheers Hilary
    Check out Hilary’s awesome post.Letโ€™s Talk Turkey …My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Hilary,

      You’re right. No matter what we do with our blogs, or where they take us, it all takes time. Look at you, two and a half years later and you’ve not only gotten your name out there, but have amassed a great following. When the time comes you decide to build a service or product, your groundwork will have been done.

      Great job, Hilary!

      • HilaryNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Barbara .. thanks – I want to do more locally with the people within Eastbourne, and East Sussex and then spread the word out .. as it’s a two way process too – we need the real people connection, as well as the internet presence. More and more people seem to be going this route .. if we’re not star starters and our passion relates to the real world/high street, which it almost certainly will. Cheers – lots of good comments and replies here ..Hilary

        • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

          Hi Hilary,

          I love your idea of taking what you learned online, off.

          It’s kind of ironic. We first share what we learned offline in our blogs, and now we’re switching gears and doing the opposite. Who knew?

          • HilaryNo Gravatar says:

            Hi Barbara .. if you’re an author – you’ll want people to read your book .. promote locally (either via print or ereader) .. and build your base for your next book – as well as on the blog for authors around the world to buy.

            Interesting aspect – the care staff at the Home know I’ve been blogging but haven’t shown much interest .. suddenly they are – so it’s an area of the internet, that they’re looking at in a different light. Helps that they like my eclectic posts! Educating others to get online …

            Cheers – Hilary

            • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

              That is interesting Hilary how those at the Home are suddenly more interested in your online activities. You’d make a fantastic mentor for any of them who choose to start blogging. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Normally i used to spend only my week ends in blogging. But its not so much effective. I totally agree with your 10,000 hours of work to reach out full essential. Waiting for the following days….

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Family Meal Planner,

      Have patience, your time will come. Even if we only blog a couple of hours a week, that time adds up fast. Enjoy the journey.

  23. Hmm… This is a tricky one because there’s a lot to consider. You could but in a whole bunch of hours, but are you doing all of the right things? You could be “doing it wrong.” Then again, what defines doing things right or wrong?

    I guess my point is (as you noted), start with some goals (be as specific as you possibly can). Then, practice. Change this up. Learn what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly. If you’re not changing and making adjustments, you’re not growing.

    And ultimately, write helpful content that your audience is going to respond to (whoever that audience may be). It won’t be a large audience at first, but the more helpful you are, the bigger that audience will grow over time.
    Check out Ricardo Bueno’s awesome post.The Problem With Too Many OptionsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ricardo,

      I like your idea of changing things up. When we first start blogging we’re uncertain what’s going to work, for us. By experimenting we not only get more practice, but soon find out that magic formula (for us).

      Yes. Providing helpful content for our readers is a must. We want them coming back for more. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. It’s so true that it takes a ton of hours to become a blogging success. I’ve been working on my sites for years, and have had some pretty good success, but there are a lot of ups and downs.

    My dad has been trying for about two years to get started, but he is so picky about his content that I don’t think he has put up a single page. I keep explaining that what he has is good enough but he never posts. One of these days I’ll get him to understand that until he takes that chance, he won’t even start to learn what works.
    Check out Stephanie – Home with the Kids’s awesome post.Be Careful When Taking Online Business Tips From Your CatMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      You’re right. We will have our ups and downs, but that’s also how we learn.

      I’ll bet your Dad isn’t the only one who hesitates to post something, thinking it needs to be perfect. Your advice to him is spot on. We have to start somewhere.

  25. Blogging ability also depends on whether the author has a knack for writing interesting posts or not. This is something that few bloggers mention, because they stick to quantifiable factors like how much time a person takes to write a post or keywords. Some bloggers simply have personality, and an ability to convey that personality in their posts, which sets them apart from everyone else.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi MicroSourcing,

      That’s true. If our posts aren’t interesting, readers won’t stick around. Fortunately blogging is a great way to hone our writing skills, so with practice we should get better.

      I agree, some bloggers can convey their personality via their blog posts, whereas for others, it’s a learning process.

  26. MiaNo Gravatar says:

    Experience makes us better, and by experience I mean experiencing different situations. This can be gained with time (more or less), depending on each of us.

    So, I don’t think that a certain no of hours mean a vast experience, but they can definitely help ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mia,

      Yes. Experience whether in blogging or in life, should make us better at what we’re doing. That is, if we’re paying attention and learning from our mistakes as well as our victories.

  27. LorelleNo Gravatar says:

    Wow! Some fascinating answers.

    First, blogging is still in its infancy. As an industry, it is still evolving and changing, so it’s hard to say if what we do makes us an expert or not when the environment is shifting around us.

    Over the years teaching and talking about blogging, I’ve found a clear cycle. The first 18 months of blogging creates a ton of experts who finally realize that they don’t know what they are doing or that they aren’t doing it right. The next six months, give or take, they waffle and experiment, thinking the “next thing” will be the right thing instead of really trusting their instincts. At about 24-36 months, a long gap, they figure it out and go back to their roots, understanding that the passion and enthusiasm they started with is often more right than it was wrong. They return with renewed passion and focus, better than ever before – if – and I mean if they continued with the entire process and didn’t give up before they “got” it.

    You are one of those living examples, my friend. You just keep getting better, but the ebbs and flows of the process make you step back and reassess and come out stronger and more focused. Thanks for being such a brilliant example.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Lorelle. I learned from the best. (You). ๐Ÿ™‚

      I appreciate you sharing the observations you’ve made. I know you’ve been blogging now for over a decade and have seen your share of bloggers come and go. It’s interesting how we have a tendency to fall into a cycle, only to return to our original passion.

      I especially remember that “six month period” where I was waffling and questioning, “what now?” With four and a half years behind me, I feel I’m starting to “hit the mark”.

    • Wow, Lorelle – that is a fascinating observation! And your timeline fits my experience to a “T”! Your point about stepping back, reassessing and coming out stronger and more focused is great advice, too. Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Check out Betsy Wuebker’s awesome post.Reclaiming Love in Your BusinessMy Profile

  28. It’s definitely possible for some lucky individuals to rapidly rise to popularity at blinding speeds, but these people are few and far between; it’s much more often a combination of things that create success, especially long-lasting success. One of the main factors is often time: if you continue to do what you do well, you can gain credibility over time, for instance.
    Check out freddy k’s awesome post.How to Engage your Audience through Social MediaMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Freddy,

      Yes. Those who rise to the top quickly are the exception.

      Time is beneficial. Not only can we make adjustments to our schedules/priorities as we become more popular, but we’re also gaining expertise.

  29. I’ve been blogging now for a least 18 months or so and I’m truly not an Expert. Yet, I must agree with Lorelle that during the first part of those months I had no idea as to what I was doing. It was all a learning experience. However, as time went on I begin to get better at it and decided to start making some money with my blogs.

    This lead me to learn more about domains, hosting, SEO, back linking etc. Now that I’ve put in the time and effort to start monetizing my blogs I’m finally seeing the results I most definitely need. I surmise it really doesn’t matter how many hours you put in to make it all work, you just have to be serious about making it all happen.
    Check out Danny Calloway’s awesome post.How To Make Money from Mobile MarketingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Danny,

      You hit the nail on the head. It is about being serious about what we want from our blog(s) and then making the time to learn as much as we can about the given topic. It’s one thing to hear how others did it, but until we learn how to do it for ourselves, we’re treading water.

  30. Rob BenwellNo Gravatar says:

    I was under the impression that blogging already is a โ€œmassโ€ phenomenon. Itโ€™s true, only a hand full really ever become very popular, but for every popular blog there must be tens of thousands of less popular ones. Wouldnโ€™t this constitute massive?

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Rob,

      Yes. The number of blogs out there is massive so it’s just a matter of doing something out of the ordinary to make ours stand out.

  31. StocksicityNo Gravatar says:

    I used to maintain a personal blog years ago but after getting busy with college and work, the blog died off. Trying to start up something new and so far, I have maybe 15 hours working on the actual blog, and about 10 hours of it are on posts.

    If I kept my original blog, I probably would have been in for almost 6 years now.
    Check out Stocksicity’s awesome post.Online Stock BrokersMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Stocksicity,

      I’m fascinated by the fact you blogged, let it die off and are not back at it. It’s almost like it gets in our blood.

  32. VartiNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t think everyone can become a good blogger. You need some skills that can’t be just obtained by training..
    Check out Varti’s awesome post.Vฤrti un vฤrtiล†iMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Varti,

      I’m with you. Not everyone will be a good blogger, but all in all, I think it’s worth giving it a try.

  33. BODHost LtdNo Gravatar says:

    Since last one year I am maintaining knowledge base of my company & recently started internal blog to provide recent updates about the latest technology innovations in the hosting industry to our existing customer. Each day I write two post within 2 to 3 hours (depending on the topic).

    As you asked:
    โ€œDo you think a blogger can fast track their success or do you think a blogger needs to put in their time just like everyone else before theyโ€™ll be a blogging phenomenon?โ€

    Do you mean speed up? If so then I think blogging is pretty stuck with one format. IMO, blogger should offer and provide something different that no one else does (what that is who knows!) but blogger need to think about that.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi BODHost,

      I agree. If we can provide something different than other bloggers in our niche, we more apt to catch the attention of more readers. Like you said, “what that is, who knows”, but it could be fun trying to figure it out.

  34. “Personally, I think it depends how we spend our blogging time and how we define success.”…I agree with you on that as what you might consider blogging success, someone else sees as not good enough. We all have our own judging metrics.
    Hmm, I’ve been blogging less than 2 years on a number of blogs and sites. As far as how many hours I’ve logged in, I definitely know it is not anywhere near the amount I should be committing to blogging.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mari,

      Yes. What we think is “success” can be totally different than someone else. Plus, chances are, after we reach our goal(s), we’re likely to set new, higher ones.

  35. eqaNo Gravatar says:

    What really makes it hard for blogging is that when you start, you don’t earn anything until some time. Not like a real job, on your first day you can already expect a paycheck in 2 weeks. That’s why most people become impatient when it comes to blogging.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ega,

      You’re right. Blogging usually doesn’t provide any sort of measurable income for some time. I think that’s why so many bloggers get discouraged. They may have read they can make tons of money with a blog, only to find out years of time is need to reach that level.

  36. Barbara,

    Thanks for all your great ideas and information! I have been a blogger for several years, however have in the last few months, followed my heart and created my new blog at

    As a stay-at-home mom and wife, I am hoping ot rekindle that passion and pride that homemakers used to delight in. In sharing my day to day life and recipes, I hope to inspire atleast one other.

    By no means do I think I can become an overnight success, and I am so enjoying the process that blogging is, and every triumph and road bump along the way.

    Take Care,
    Check out Brittany Smith’s awesome post.Cheating on ChoresMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Brittany,

      That’s SO important that you follow your heart and blog about your passion. By doing that, the blogging journey will be a lot more enjoyable and the bumps in the road will be a lot more tolerable.

      Happy Blogging!

  37. I’ve been a blogger for about 5 years now and have spent countless hours developing my sites. It’s been very hard work and you sometimes get complacent. I’ve been there and have struggled to rebuild the sites I was once so proud of.

    Now I’m back, more focused and have accepted this is indeed HARD work, rewarding, but still hard work.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective!
    Check out Barry Wheeler’s awesome post.The Secret of Successful Blog CommentingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Barry,

      Thank you for sharing from your experience. Anyone reading your comment can see it’s doable, but like you said, it is hard work. I agree, blogging can be very rewarding provided we’re willing to put in the time.

  38. I’ve been considering blogging. I want to create a funny, entertaining blog, though. I worry that if I begin blogging I will run out of things to say and readership will drop. How do you stay fresh?

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi What is..

      That’s one thing to consider – if we start a blog will we have enough material to sustain it? Unfortunately some topics are only good for a post or two. Tough decision, indeed.

      That said, you won’t know unless you try. Let me know how it goes.

  39. I completely agree with you, it is not a overnight success. You must have a gameplan not only of what to post, but how will you market the blog as well. If you do a little every day it will lead to big success.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi At Home Brewing,

      Yes. Blogging does take planning and patience. Although we may not become an overnight sensation, the chance to succeed can be great.

  40. In the blogging world, you may have started out strong, with unquestionable zeal for solving problems, but as time goes by, you start fading away. Youโ€™re not alone, even married couples experience this too.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Press Release,

      Good point. Blogging can be much like real life. Our interest in blogging can begin to wane as time goes by.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Commenting Know HowMy Profile

  41. IanNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve been told that successful bloggers can make their living doing nothing else but blogging and there seems to be some evidence of this. I guess you need two things to be successful at blogging. Firstly, you need to be able to write informative and interesting blogs. Secondly, you need lots of people to read your blog regularly. I suppose you could be good at the first and still not be very successful as you don’t have enough people reading your words. That means you have to gradually build up your readership, which you can’t do ‘overnight’. Like all things, it takes work I guess.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ian,

      I agree. It does take time to build up a blog readership, as well as the ability to make money online. And even then, it’s necessary to consistently produce more great material and not let what you’ve built fade away.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Baby StepsMy Profile

  42. AlfredoNo Gravatar says:

    “Does it take 10,000 hours to become a blogging phenomenon?” It depends… even working in full time we never get sucess if we donยดt write good and original content. We need to respect the good seo rules and keeping in mind that we need to write for the readers and not for search engines.
    Check out Alfredo’s awesome post.Microsoft apresenta Windows 8My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Alfredo,

      That’s true. It’s our readers whom we need to write for even though SEO is important. It’s a fine line we walk, but with time and practice, hopefully we’ll see a payoff of some sort in the end.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.How to Build a Blog CommunityMy Profile

  43. Barbara, I do not have a blog but I write on squidoo, hubpages, and also static websites. I have probably worked a quarter of that time over the last year, and feel that if I put 40 hours a week into it, I could be successful within a year. I read Outliers as well and do agree with Malcolm that it takes that long to truly become an expert in the field.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Monkey Joes,

      Yes. It does take time to become an expert. Although some of those whom we admire make it look so easy, if we saw what happened behind the scenes we’d probably find that they, too put in their time.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Commenting Know HowMy Profile