While a quick look online can tell you how many blog posts you should have, how often you should be publishing and how to write a compelling blog post, finding helpful information on how long it takes to write high-quality blog content is another matter altogther.
Well, I’m going to answer that question today and, spoiler alert, it can take a long time!
So, how long does it take to write a blog post?
The average blog post takes slightly longer than 4 hours to write, according to research from Orbit Media. The research also found that, on average, blogs were around 1,400 words long.
Furthermore, research from Backlinko has found that blog posts in Google top 10 results had an average length of 1,447 words.
However, the reality is that the amount of time that beginners and the inexperienced spend on the writing process is longer than that taken by professional blog writers.
John McDougall of Authority Marketing asked 16 expert bloggers how long it takes them to write a blog post, and a common response was that they’ve gotten faster with more experience.
Prolific blogger Neil Patel has noted that he used to spend four to five hours to write a blog post, but after seven years of blogging, he cut that time down to under two hours to write a 1,000-2,000 word post.
Kevin Lee of Buffer used to spend 8-12 hours per post but has cut that time down significantly. He told John McDougall that it took him an average of 2 hours and 58 minutes to write a blog post.
Belle Beth Cooper of Buffer also reduced the amount of time it takes her to write blog posts over the years.
It used to take her one to two days to write a blog post for the Buffer blog, but she cut her writing time down to 4 hours per post.
This suggests that it takes professional writers around three hours to complete an average blog post.
The bottom-line is that it takes longer than most people think to write a great blog post, and quality matters a lot in content marketing.
Key Factors That Affect Blog Post Writing Time
There are a variety of factors that directly affect how long it takes for a blog post to go from concept to published. In general, the blog writer is responsible for all or most of these factors. Many individual factors decide whether the writer will spend more time writing or not.
Various factors can affect the time bloggers take to write and I’ve listed a few of these below.
1. Blog Length
The time it takes to create content depends heavily on the blog post’s expected length. Writing a blog of more than 2,000 words should, all things be equal, take more time than writing a blog with fewer than 800 words.
The blog post’s length also changes the writing dynamic. Research time increases and structural complexities crop up when a writer aims longer than average articles.
In-depth research lays the foundation for crisp, engaging and rich content. Even when a project’s word count is low, quality content will always demand the writer spend more time on hunting for new concepts.
Research involves exploring reliable sources — websites, news channels, research reports, books, etc. — and studying competitors’ websites to gain a better idea of the market.
Keyword research can also affect how long a writer spends on a topic. Keyword research will lead the writer to focus more on substructures in order to add in the required terms naturally.
3. Scope of Coverage
Sketching out the blog post’s content is another key factor that can affect how much time a freelance writer takes to generate content.
After understanding the target audience’s interests, bloggers then need to decide whether they want to dive deeply into a single aspect of topic or whether a broader approach is more appropriate.
As the density and diversity of sub-topics expands, the time spent on writing will also naturally increase.
A blog post is only likely to engage readers if it contains meaningful content.
Even when a blogger focuses on weaving strings of more complex ideas into a blog post, authenticity cannot be compromised. Therefore, the decision to present complex thoughts will lead to more time being spent on content production.
An article’s complexity can be measured by weighing up how challenging its ideas are and how well these have been woven into a central narrative.
5. Media Creation
In addition to the narrative, readers’ attention can be captured with the graphs, images and videos.
Media creation is an important feature of blog writing and also requires time. Writers have to hunt for things like social media posts, statistics, videos to embed and even the right font!
Bloggers are not just writers but also their own marketing teams and each of the five above factors will affect how the time spent writing articles.
If you’re thinking about writing your own blog posts, make sure you have the time to do them well. If you plan on hiring someone to help you, make sure the fee you pay matches the time it will take to create the post and the quality of the content.
Our Guide to Blog Writing
Here’s our guide on how to approach the blog creation process, whether you’re flying solo or not. This should hopefully help you not only generate great content, but should also cut back on the amount of time and money needed to do so.
1. Come Up With a Good Blog Post Topic
What are you going to write about? If you don’t already have a blog editorial calendar developed, then I highly recommend that you create one now.
It will cut down the amount of time you spend brainstorming blog post topic ideas every time you sit down to write.
Moreover, it can help in determining whether you’ll focus on individual blog posts or a series of articles exploring a theme. This is important for the next step.
2. Determine How Well the Writer Knows the Topic
If the person writing your typical blog post isn’t already an expert with authority on the topic, then it will take him or her longer to write it.
Always factor in the experience level of the writer in terms of the post topic and blog writing in general, because both affect how long it takes to write a blog post.
Ensure your writer has written a few posts for you before assigning them more challenging work.
3. Research the Topic
No matter how well a writer knows a topic, there’s always research time involved before they actually start writing the blog itself.
Whether an expert on the topic searches for competitors’ posts to ensure the post they write is better or the expert looks for current statistics to include in the post, the truth is quality content is seldom written without some type of research.
For beginner bloggers or topic novices, the research time could be hours.
4. Strategize SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is important to every website, and for some, it’s a top priority.
Every individual blog post should be written with SEO in mind, so time is needed to research and select keywords, links, image Alt-Tags, and formatting tactics to ensure Google includes the post in relevant search results.
5. Outline and Write the Post
With all of the prewriting work done, it’s time to outline a structure for your post based on blogging best practices. That means you need to break down the topic into sections and subsections that you can format with H2 and H3 headings. This will decrease the time you take to write a blog.
You need to plan to start your post strong and be concise using short sentences and paragraphs so it’s easy for mobile audiences to read your posts.
Expert bloggers take care of all of this for you in content creation, but if you’re writing your own blog posts, you’ll need to handle all of these elements as you write your blog content.
6. Write the Headline
With the post written, it’s time to write the headline, which is critical to increasing traffic to your post. It’s not unusual for bloggers to go through 10 or 20 headlines before they settle on a final version, and large blogs with big budgets invest in and test dozens of headlines for each post before narrowing them down to the best one.
Don’t underestimate how long it takes to create a great headline.
7. Add Links to Internal and External Resources
For SEO purposes and to provide a great user experience, it’s important to include links to helpful resources in your blog posts.
This includes both links to other content on your own website and links to other websites.
For example, if you mention a research report in your blog post, link to it within the post so people can read more about the study if they’d like to.
If you mention a topic you’ve covered in depth in a previous blog post, link to it.
8. Find, Design and Add Images
Images have become more important in recent years as the web becomes more visual and people actively look for visual content.
Therefore, take the time to find high-quality images that you’re legally allowed to use on your blog or website.
If you’re designing images, make sure they fit your brand image and are consistent with your brand identity in terms of style and colors.
In addition, don’t forget SEO when it comes to images. Add keyword-rich image file names, descriptions, and Alt-Tags to boost search traffic to your posts.
9. Format the Post and Add Tags and Categories
With all of the parts and pieces in place, it’s time to format your post based on blogging best practices.
This includes making sure you use H2 and H3 headings, use bullets and numbered lists, use short paragraphs, and confirm that the post looks good when you preview it.
If your post isn’t aesthetically pleasing on desktop and mobile devices, few people will read it.
10. Proofread the Post
Finally, give your post a final proofread and make sure there are no grammatical or spelling mistakes. We’re all human, so if you don’t have an editor working for you, errors will slip by sometimes. Don’t worry about it. Instead, apologize and fix the error.
Once your post looks great and includes no errors, go ahead and hit the Publish button!
Key Takeaways About Blog Writing
It’s easy to assume that writing a 1,000-word blog post takes less than an hour, but the reality is quite different.
Even the best bloggers writing about topics they know well can take three-four hours to put together great blog posts.
That’s because blog writing isn’t easy — at least not when it’s done well, and publishing well-written, high-quality blog posts is essential to businesses that rely on content to build their brands and increase sales.
Don’t settle for anything less than the best.
Hopefully this article has provided some useful tips on how long it takes to write a blog post as well as the steps you can follow to systematically approach each piece.
Good planning is half the battle, as they say!
Some writers will spend more time focusing on research than actual writing, whereas other bloggers will create content after just an hour of research.
Blog writing is no cakewalk and requires hours of dedication. But the more blog posts you write, the more you’ll figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Use this experience to hone your writing and research skills. Planning may be half the battle, but it’s still only half!