Photo Credit: srslyguys’ photos
1352937170_3239df6317.jpg
We love to blog, but as time passes, maintaining a blog gets very time consuming.

Today’s Lesson

When you first heard of a blog, you found how to get one for free, or signed up with WordPress and got a web host. You read/watched WP blogging tutorials and soon realized how much you enjoyed writing, setting aside one hour a day/week to verbalize your thoughts. A blog is such a great outlet.

In your free time you start doing more research. You decide to add an RSS feed reader, contact page, and with the addition of some SEO, you notice not only an increase in you traffic, but in the time you are spending on your blog. You’re now up to 2 hours a day.

You then read how commenting on other blogs can generate additional traffic, so you engage in that practice. Others begin to visit your blog to share their thoughts. You answer their comments, and spending three hours daily on your blog, becomes normal.

Next, you join StumbleUpon and/or Digg. These social networks can get you more traffic and increase your community of cyberspace friends. Soon, you’re spending 4 hours on your blog,…. but it’s growing.

A light bulb moment hits. “Hey, I should monetize my blog.” You sign up for AdSense, LinkShare.com, Commission Junction and/or other affiliate programs. Signing up is easy enough, but you find micromanaging the advertising streams, is taking more of your time. The five hours a day, spent on your blog, begins to cramp your style, and interferes with your home/work/social life.

You realize you are becoming addicted to blogging. You learn to prioritize and multi task, so you can dedicate more time to your blog. TV dinners and convenience foods replace the nutritious meals you once cooked. Laundry stacks up, grass doesn’t get mowed, weeds take over your once beautiful flower bed, and dust bunnies invade your home. Friends and family begin to resent your new hobby, as it now consumes your every waking moment. As they tire of competing with a computer screen, and hearing about your blogging dollars and new cyberspace friends, they begin to distance themselves from you.

“They don’t understand”, you say to yourself, and internally defend your actions by quietly muttering, “I don’t need them!”.

It has happened.

What once began as a hobby, is now the only love in your life.

Today’s Assignment

How much time do you spend on your blog(s)?

Has the time increased over time?

How do you find a balance?

Does blogging affect your relationships?

Do you care?

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. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I think I do spend more time blogging, networking and marketing than I used to.

    But, now I feel as though I’m no longer just treating it as a hobby, so I guess I’ve justified that extra time by incorporating it into my business plans.

    I suppose for me – it doesn’t interfere too much with my day. I’ve always written early in the morning, so whether it’s for a blog or not, I’ll always be writing something.

    Admittedly, I’m beginning to struggle with lack of admin support now, and there’s a few things I could outsource both in my business and my blogging. Also, I stopped having a cleaner once I moved back to working from home, as I didn’t want the intrusion in the house whilst I was working and I could really do with some help there.

    I suppose, you’ve really got to decide whether blogging is important enough to you to outsource some of the more menial tasks. And if it is, you’ve got to start making a list of those time wasters, decide whether they’re effective enough to carry on with and if so, outsource them to someone else.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Entrepreneurs Who Ignore Emails and Middleborn Children

  2. One thing I’m keeping in mind is a post Skellie wrote recently about the chrysalis and butterfly stages of a blog. In the chrysalis stage you have to do a lot of self promotion to get noticed, but in the butterfly stage your readers do your promotion for you. While most blogs never reach the butterfly stage, it’s something to look forward to because of all the time you’ll save by not having to promote your blog so much.

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..Treading Water Only Delays Drowning

  3. DebNo Gravatar says:

    I did a post on this just a couple weeks ago. I have started to find some balance. I’ve started skimming more and commenting less. I have “blog free” time that I spend with my family. I don’t want it to take over my life but complement my life. It makes me happy to write my blog and read some chosen blogs. That in turns makes me a happier person in life.

    It’s like having a job you hate. If you hate your job it seeps into your homelife. If you love your job, that also makes you happier in your homelife. I was really in a rut before I started blogging. Sure, it took over for a while, but I’m getting control over it and prioritizing what is really important to me.

    Deb’s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – All By Myself!

  4. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    With you transitioning from hobby blogging and business blogging, I imagine the time you spend can become a little more intense, and requires more knowledge of SEO and other marketing techniques. It would be great if you could outsource those parts of blogging that take you away from your love of writing.

    I often wonder if it is more difficult for a woman to maintain a blog if they have a family, since a lot of women devote many hours a day on household chores, and children’s activities.

    Hi Hunter,

    I haven’t read that article, but it sounds intriguing. It’s interesting you mentioned that most blogs don’t get to the butterfly stage. Hopefully at some point we would be able to decrease some of the time we spend promoting our blogs. Is there a “wounded butterfly” stage? 🙂

    Hi Deb,

    Isn’t that amazing how, at first, a blog can consume us. There’s so much to learn.

    Blogging is such a great outlet. I imagine for you, with a husband, three children and a busy household, you began to feel you were losing your own identity. You become the Mrs. and the Mom, and “Deb” gets lost. Now your blog is “your thing”, and your loyal readers and commenters get to know you. The saying “if Mama is happy, everyone’s happy”, holds a lot of truth.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Me And The Blog – Till Death Do Us Part

  5. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    I’ve done more recently on the blog, but I’ve also had periods where I’ve let it slip.

    My role is business development, so I’m lucky that I can justify the time during the day keeping a personal and business blog.

    The internet has made the world smaller. But I also think it has a long way to go before it becomes local.

    I see Facebook and social bookmarking getting bigger. Small business social bookmarking and networking I suspect will increase.

    A high percentage of small businesses can only work in a local region, and I can see it taking a chunk of the local networking activity that goes on.

    Regardless of the online medium – blogs, social bookmarking pages, or networking sites – you don’t have to leave your desk/office to participate.

    You can’t beat meeting people face-to-face. Equally though I know an awful lot of business people who aren’t comfortable networking. Online has that safety net. You can choose who you speak to, when, and how often.

    And you can choose not to engage in shallow small talk or listen to sales pitches, eat junk etc like you do at many networking events.

    So for me, blogs and similar media are a good way of developing business.

    As the audience grows, so will the value in blogs and associated channels.

    I think there’s a learning curve to go through though. Too many small businesses try to put on a brand and formal clothing that doesn’t reflect who they are.

    People still buy people, and the style of a blog doesn’t fit.

    Solicitors, accountants and other professions often think (at least in the UK) a quite stuffy, formal image to the outside world.

    The informal language of blogging will take a bit of getting used to.

    Stumble for example has around 200 people registered from our region. The population of our county is around 1 million.

    Blogger has around 1500 blogs from people who claim to be from Liverpool (the big city in the county).

    A high percentage of blogs are personal, and fairly inactive.

    Business blogs seem thin on the ground in our area in the small busines world. I checked through 60 of our clients, all small businesses, and none have a blog.

    Our competitors don’t have them.

    I ran 1800 business contacts through stumble and other social bookmarking sites – on stumble there were 3. On Twitter which I haven’t properly set up yet, there were 2.

    Now if you compare that anecdotal (and unscientific!) research with the growth in stumble for example, you can see the pace is growing.

    I suspect small business is a year or more away from reaching a tipping point where it will take off suddenly.

    If I had the cash and it was possible, I may consider an investment in one of the big social bookmarking sites!

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Email Marketing: Don’t Spam, Know Your Audience

  6. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ian,

    That’s great that you can blog for, and at work. That certainly gives you more time to spend with family and friends.

    You are right, the internet does make the world smaller, and with social networking/bookmarking sites becoming more popular, that opens the door for others to come in and “get a piece of the action”.

    Although millions of blogs go online each month, I believe many of the authors find that a blog is too time consuming, and give up.

    Ian, it sounds like you have done a lot of research. Undoubtedly it will pay off.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Me And The Blog – Till Death Do Us Part

  7. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – that is a good point. We hear about how many billions of blogs there are on the Internet. But, I wonder if anyone has done any research on exactly how many are no longer active? I bet it’s a lot.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Entrepreneurs Who Ignore Emails and Middleborn Children

  8. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Catherine,

    I’m not certain how they could find out how many blogs are dormant, or have authors on hiatus, but I, too, am guessing the number is high.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Me And The Blog – Till Death Do Us Part

  9. […] I wrote how we often marry our blogs, by becoming consumed with […]

  10. Yes blogging takes a lot of time…so much, at times I want to pull the plug on everything. I do have a need to write and I love to read, but I’m trying to get myself on a schedule where I just don’t happen upon blogging, but when I sit down to do it so that I have more control over my time. Just sitting at the computer with no purpose is a waste of time.

    How much time do you spend on your blog(s)? 6 hours a week, maybe?

    Has the time increased over time? Yes, sometimes it’s more.

    How do you find a balance? I get upset at what I’m not doing and make a schedule I don’t stick to., I have no balance.

    Does blogging affect your relationships? A little. I could be spending more time with loved ones, but I consider my blogging time, a part of my me time. I deserve a break or some down time to do something I love.

    Do you care?

    Natural Woman’s last blog post..Bad Penny

  11. PS, do I care. Yes. I love to write, my way of expressing what I’m feeling.

    Natural Woman’s last blog post..Bad Penny

  12. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Natural Woman,

    Sometimes trying to schedule time for blogging is not the answer. Like you said, “Just sitting at the computer with no purpose is a waste of time.”…true.

    On days when I don’t feel creative (and sometimes there’s many), I don’t blog, and I don’t worry about it. However, I do use those creative times to write, and use the WP timestamp feature.

    I like how your said blogging is your “Me” time. Family members often don’t understand why we blog, but it can be very enjoyable. For me, at times it’s very relaxing.

    Thank for sharing.

    Happy Blogging

    Barbara’s last blog post..And You Say You Are Not A Gambler

  13. Hi Barbara, I never write if I don’t feel like it. Usually my posts come to me….like in a dream or something will strike me and I will just feel the need to blog about it. It is time consuming though, I used to spend much more time getting things organized and cleaned, now I still do those things, but after blogging. I would prefer to leave blogging for the last thing that I do in the evening, but then I would probably be up until the post is done. Sometimes, I hate my computer. Anywho, great posts, I love your blog!

    Natural Woman’s last blog post..Bad Penny

  14. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Natural Woman,

    Thanks for the compliment.

    Funny that you should say that about putting blogging first. I do the same thing, In fact right now I am trying to hang a new blind in my office, and had a problem, so came back to blogging. Priorities, you know. 🙂

    I’m notorious for late night blogging. When the house is quiet, I can put on my headset, listen to music and blog away. The time gets away from me though, and before I know it, it’s 2am. Good thing I work from home, and can answer the phone in my pajamas.

    Barbara’s last blog post..And You Say You Are Not A Gambler

  15. David LanoNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    You bring up some excellent points. I think one of the most important things a blog author can do, from the start, is determine what they want to accomplish with their blog. Create a strategy and set priorities accordingly.

    If one wants to create a popular blog and make money online, obviously their is a huge time commitment at stake, however if one simply wants to start conversations with others while offering advice, tips, personal experience, etc. it turns into more of a hobby.

    Obviously there are lots of different formats and each person participates in a unique way, but the important thing to remember is maintaining a certain level of commitment between priorities and goals.

    I agree with Hunter and Skellie when talking about blogs and their various stages and levels of commitment. When I first started my blog I had to invest some serious time in getting things started and creating a solid foundation to build on. I am still spending a fair amount of time getting things off the ground, but am beginning to set some things on autopilot. This last week has been crazy busy for me and because of it I haven’t been able to publish any new posts lately…however I now have a platform where I can step onto if need be.

  16. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi David,

    Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to come by and comment.

    I can empathize with you with regard to the amount of time it takes to get a blog off the ground. It’s a commitment that takes us away from other aspects in our life, and often a blog does need to be at the bottom of our list of priorities.

    All blogs do go through stages, some faster than others, but like you said, having a strategy and your priorities in order, helps to ease the transition from one stage into the next.

    I agree, David, you do have a great foundation for your blog, and with your credentials, soon you can add, “a successful blog”.

    Barbara’s last blog post..And You Say You Are Not A Gambler