You know there is no definitive answer, right?
It varies from person to person and from topic to topic. Sometimes it’s possible to write one in just a few minutes. Other times it takes several hours, days or even weeks.
And it doesn’t matter if you’ve been blogging for years.
There are a lot of factors at play:
- Research (or not)
- Post-type – news, experience, opinion, how-to, guide, review, list, round-up
- Finding/creating and uploading images
- Word count
- Typing speed
According to Wikipedia the average typist has a words-per-minute count of 19 for composition and 33 for transcription. An average professional typist reaches 50 to 70 WPM.
Pop over here to test yours, then come right back.
Here’s the result from one of my tests (I tried it several times, my lowest score was 33 WPM).
If you’re an average typist putting together a news/opinion/experience piece, and your typical WPM count is 25, it takes 4 minutes to write 100 words, 20 minutes to write 500 words and 40 minutes to write 1000 words.
This is assuming your thoughts flow in a continuous stream and you don’t stop writing.
It often doesn’t work that way.
We might look out the window for inspiration, or get stuck on a word or two. We might think too long about the interpretation of a sentence or word (hint – just get it out there; change it at the editing stage).
Then there’s Facebook, social media, the phone, kids, colleagues…
You know what I mean?
If you are putting together product/service review, a detailed how-to guide or a post that requires a lot of research, your typical WPM goes out the window due to everything else you need to do.
A round-up piece will likely take many hours, and perhaps days to compose. Especially if you’re contacting experts for their opinion or you’re sending out short interviews.
Let’s look at some of the typical post-types people write for their blog and see what goes into them.
You spot breaking news on a subject your niche cares about, so you whip out your laptop and set about writing a post. They’re usually quite easy to write, and depending how in-depth you go, shouldn’t take too long.
Shall we say 10-20 minutes from start to hitting publish?
You can usually get an image or two from the original source.
If you have a strong opinion about the breaking news, you might like to spend more time writing the piece and adding your take to what’s happening.
Opinion and experience
I find these types of post are very easy to write. The only limitation here is your typing speed. If you are blessed with fast fingers you could have a 500 word piece written in 10 minutes or less.
Don’t edit as you write. Get the post onto the screen, take a break then come back and edit. Better yet, leave the editing until you’ve refreshed your mind, maybe even slept.
A fresh mind will spot omissions and improvements more easily.
How-tos and tutorials
Over the years I’ve written more tutorials and how-tos than I can shake a stick at. And, if I’m totally honest with you, I’ve grown to hate writing them (with a passion).
The reasons are simple:
- They can take ages to write
- They need a lot of screenshots (one for each step)
- They must be very detailed and not miss a single step of the process (otherwise they’d be useless)
Do I still write how-tos and tutorials? Of course I do. They’re gold for teaching people how to do stuff, just a pain in the ass to compose.
How long should you spend writing one? It depends on the task you’re describing. If it’s very complicated, with many steps requiring a screenshot for each stage, a decent tutorial can easily take a few hours of your time.
Set your tutorials apart by providing solutions to errors. How many times have you reached the end of a tutorial to find whatever it promised hasn’t worked? Sending people back to Google to repeat their search is a bad mark against your page. It tells Google your page didn’t answer the searcher’s query.
Guides cover all sorts of topics and could be lumped into the ‘how-tos and tutorials’ category, but I’ve given them their own as, unlike the other two, a guide doesn’t promise to provide a solution or teach you something. Instead, it says, “I’ll tell you about this subject, but you might have to dig deeper to find the information you really want”.
Which is fine, and expected if you’re researching travel destinations or reading smartphone reviews.
A guide is another post that could take hours to write. It depends upon your experience, how much you want to cover and the images you have to hand.
If you’re a travel blogger just back from a week in Paris with a ton of photos at your fingertips, you could probably write a decent guide within an hour or two.
A review post on the other hand takes quite a lot of time to put together, especially if you are promoting the product or service as an affiliate – you want to make sure your post is engaging enough to encourage sales, so your choice of words matters.
The biggest problem with review posts is getting people to believe you. It’s less of a problem if you have an engaged audience who trust your opinion.
A good review post goes into great detail and should answer most, if not all, questions a prospective buyer might ask. Creating a post like this could take hours or even days, but in the long run, it could be worth a lot of money if readers become buyers.
If you can, a video of you testing the product/service, upload it to YouTube (don’t forget to place the affiliate link in the description) and embed it into your post.
Another type of post that takes a long time to put together. Get it right though, and your list post could go viral and send traffic for a very long time.
You’ve seen the type of post I mean, 10 best this or 24 amazing picture of that. They work in just about any niche and are highly sharable; hence their popularity.
Some sites exist on lists alone.
The last type of post I want to mention is the round-up. Typically, you ask X amount of people their opinion on a subject your readers care about and post their answers in the form of a blog.
It’s not the kind of post you create in a day, but they have enormous potential to bring in readers and get social shares as almost everyone you feature will share it through their social media profiles.
The people to ask are the big-wigs, the people with authority, opinions and expertise. You want to tap into their world and get them to do some marketing for you.
They’re very common around the web, and I’m sure you’ve seen them before.
When it comes down to it, you should spend as much time as necessary on every blog post you publish. If it takes just a few minutes, great, move onto the next item in your to-do list. If it takes weeks, so be it, work on it, get it right and get it published.