Top 8 Pro Blogging Time Wasters

Sometimes I wonder how I’ve managed to build some successful blogs when I spend 70% of my time, well, wasting time. Question: If I had spent all those hours building engaging content instead, how much further ahead could I be by now? In no particular order, my top 8 pro blogging time wasters:

  1. Reading blogs – Obviously it’s something we all have to do, to stay up with current news and events, get fresh ideas, challenge ourselves, etc. But it’s easy to get addicted to reading blogs; instead of spending 70% of the time reading and 30% posting, perhaps you should spend 30% of the time reading and 70% posting. You might think, “Yah, but my knowledge would suffer” – but ask yourself, out of those blogs you read, how many are posting the same thing? If you cut out half of them, would you really miss any news?
  2. Replying to comments – So some guy writes an interesting comment that begs reply. Do it: it’ll show readers you’re engaged, and build community and repeat traffic at your site. But what about those d*****bag antagonizers who make some smart aleck comment each time you post? Ignore it. Replying to it probably won’t build community, traffic, or revenue. Remember, you don’t have to reply to everyone, and you probably shouldn’t.
  3. Commenting at other blogs – Yes, this can be valuable in building your reputation and profile, especially when your blog is new. There comes a point, though, where you should consider putting your reply/rebuttal on your own site as a blog entry. This has the added bonus of being link bait (many bloggers will link to people who specifically disagree with them).
  4. Refreshing Google Adsense earning stats – Actually, this is one of the things I like about Commission Junction – they seem to update every 24 hours. So there just isn’t any motivation to login (after I do so once, during morning coffee)
  5. Checking the Sitemeter – Probably something you should do once a day. If other bloggers are linking to you, you want to know, if for no other reason than to engage in conversations at their sites to strengthen whatever relationship you have with them. But there’s no reason to refresh the stats every 30 minutes!
  6. Tweaking the CSS – I just had to get my homepage to be WAI AA compliant. It feels soooo much better now that it’s done. Will the time spent doing that give me a positive ROI? Probably not. (It probably would if I had a gigantic ecommerce site – but I don’t. I have a small static homepage, and some blogs.)
  7. Tweaking the Adsense – Hey I’m the biggest Adsense optimizer guy out there, but there comes a point where the diminishing returns are screaming at you: “Go make content!!”
  8. Reading Performancing – Just kidding. If you don’t do this every day, your blog is practically guaranteed to fail.

What sucks up your time?

17 thoughts on “Top 8 Pro Blogging Time Wasters

  1. Andy, I enjoyed your tips and have just posted my own business blogging productivity tips at my blog. I’m guilty of wasting a lot of valuable time, and your post here has inspired me to use my blogging time more wisely!

  2. How ’bout this one for another huge time-suck that is fairly ego-driven: The old ‘checking who links to me and what they had to say’

  3. If you use Firefox, then number 4 & 5 are not time wasters because you can use the extension “ReloadEvery” to refresh the page at specified intervals. It’s takes the compulsion out of it

  4. I already cut my 100+ blogs (reading) per day to about 10. But Emily said it: deciding between blog platforms has had me waste two months (deciding between WordPress or Drupal).

    One month of that 2 was wasted trying to configure Drupal. (My host provider doesn’t set up the database privileges properly.)

    Had I simply chosen WordPress a while back, I would have written an additional 180-300 posts in that time. 300!!

  5. I hear you, Emily. I spent soooo many hours playing around with the different platforms. I settled on Drupal, but often wish I had traded the research time for creating content. I don’t think you can go seriously wrong with a major platform. It’s all about content. The rest will follow, mostly.

    The main take-away seems to be focus. If your efforts produce better content, then it’s worth doing. And just about everything on the list is about balance, finding the point where more time invested in an activity isn’t gonna yield a return.

    HOWEVER, I also believe in accidents, surprises, serendipity — so we should never let go of the unjustifiable reading or break. You never know what it may lead to…just don’t spend all your time searching for that treasure.

    Good luck!

  6. I love WordPress. Yet my TypePad site ranks very well in the SERPs. Then I come across Performancing which is so feature-rich, yet runs on Drupal. I hear Drupal is fantastic but has a great learning curve.

    I spend so much time spinning my wheels on deciding what the ultimate blogging software I want to use it, and going through the various learning curves, that if I just PICKED ONE, to hell with whether it’s the best one for my needs, I’d get a whole lot more actual blogging done..

  7.,,, the wordpress support forums, the list goes on and on. There’s soooo much information to be gleaned from those (and other) forums and yet it’s so hard not to get sucked into spending half your day (or more) reading through the forums

    (I’m trying to save time in my commenting to posts per your suggestion, so I apologize that for not hyperlinking to the forums I read..)

  8. There’s an interesting post on a similar theme here

    I am covering so many different niche topics, and some that post at such high frequencies, that stuff I enjoy reading is being shunted to the sidelines. As the volume of posts increases out of some of the celebrity blogs I follow (yes, I blame that section), it becomes more difficult to stay on top of my other niches, let alone my interests.

    Something im sure many people in the seeding stages of blog networks experience…

  9. …not having an optimised blogging environment. I personally don’t use PFF as I don’t think it suits my needs, but instead I use HTML-Kit. My blog has a lot of tables, so a few months back I wrote a macro that formatted the selected lines into a single table row. However, to do a whole table I still needed to do F6, SHIFT-DOWN, SHIFT-DOWN, F6, SHIFT-DOWN, … a whole lot of times. I finally last week automated the multiple row step, which saves me only about two minutes but much frustration per blog entry, which is time well invested.

    The other side-effect is that I can submit this to the official add-in repositry for the tool, and perhaps reap some traffic benefit from that.

  10. You need the adsense extension for firefox it automatically refreshes and displays your earnings right in firefox

  11. Forumately the comment was still in the clipboard of my mobile Mobile Opera has problems exactly with posting large comments so I am getting used to back it up

  12. I believe it all boils down to ‘prioritise and focus’.

    All of there rules can be irrelevant in your specific situation. E.g. Reading blogs is extremely important for a news-like blog. Make sure you know what is your primary thing.

  13. I managed to cut my reading list to 400+ to under 150, and it was the smartest thing I ever did. There are so many good aggregator services out there now that you just dont need to be subscribed to 100 different blogs reporting the same Google story….

  14. this is one of those smart-ass comments

    Nice list. I’d add, though, that you might want to put things like tweaking the theme and redesigning the blog to a professional designer (if you’re a pro blogger, you should consider contracting one full-time). It’s not always a workable situation, but it gives you more time to check your stats

    Also, use a firefox extension or a desktop widget to keep track of all your stats. let them update themselves, all you’ll have to do is to keep checking that window every 5 minutes.

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