Is Reading Blog Posts Worth Your Time?

Is Reading Blog Posts Worth Your Time?

Reader Comments (94)

  1. So which 3 marketing blogs do you recommend. I’m getting my startup ready for launch, and I’m sucking up market advice like a Hoover, but it’s like drinking from a firehouse given the amount of stuff out there. Who’s on your short list??? Thanks!

    “I know at least three marketing blogs that, if you were to take their entire archives, have basically given their readers an entire executable marketing plan.”

  2. I always bookmarked great articles to read them again when I need and lately I use a wave in Google Wave called “Resources”.

    In the wave I added links and notes about resources that I find useful. Each reply in the wave contains information about a different topic.

    I found that it’s a great way to keep track of useful information. All in one place.

  3. You make a great point about not following “free” advice but maybe listening a bit more closely when you pay for it.

    I can tell you, though, that not all of my clients listen to my advice and it sure isn’t free. πŸ™‚

  4. Me too on the marketing blogs. Please provide your list of three! I’ve just started reading your blog and am in the planning stage of a new project. I am the person who does copy gems from blogs into my word processor, creates a logical order of them, puts in a table of contents, then sits down early in the morning before kids wake up and figure out how to implement what I’ve learned into my daily to-do’s. Thanks for the great article.

  5. Absolutely blogs are worth reading! I learn more through reading a variety of different blogs than anything else. I believe blogs might even be the future of education!

    I want to discover new blogs, so if anyone has one, please let me know about it:

  6. As far as from my experience, I would really like to thank many bloggers. My reading on those blogs are always worth for the time to put up on it.

    I read quicksprout to learn entrepreneurship skills, it really changed me how to think like a entrepreneur in certain times.

    I read dailyblogtips to learn blogging basics.

    I read incomediary to get myself inspired.

    My reading list goes on.

    But i always put effort in my blog so that it comes worth to read.

  7. Good advice. When there’s so much easily accessible information about, we can take it for granted. We can also become overwhelmed, especially when the information conflicts. So we do nothing instead. Inertia is our greatest enemy. At the start of this year, I began unsubscribing or unfollowing newsletters and the like that I just wasn’t reading any more. I chose one or two in each category I’m concerned with (marketing, blogging, and writing) to keep up on. And it’s still more than I can put into action every day. I think by June, I’ll have to refocus yet again.

  8. Your post today reinforces a truth I was reminded of on Monday. Thank you.
    That point is that each choice you make in your ordinary, day-to-day life can lead you one step closer to your goal.
    There are no small decisions, and they all add up.

  9. Blogs like this aside, reading blog posts is mostly a waste of time. There are too many opinions out there and most of very little value. Why do I need to know my friends opinion on Avatar? Why do I need to know what they think of the new Baby Gap? We need fewer opinions, IMHO. πŸ™‚

  10. Your in-house human behavior expert here (aka: psychologist) can tell you that research shows again and again that we value information and things that cost us something. In all areas: free advice, information, food, toys, experiences,we value it all more if we pay for it.
    So,while I agree with you, James, 100% methinks most people will take this *free* advice, nod their head and go pay someone to tell them what to do. It will be the rare person that will go through the archives, take the notes and implement. But those who do are probably those successful, “lucky” ones we see, right?

  11. I’m just trying to understand the content and the core of a post, no more! Even wasting my time. But it’s worth by what we get.

  12. From my personal experience I can say that the absence of plans and strategies in the online business leads to information overload and unnecessary loss of time. Therefore, in such situations, I try to answer the question of what can I do now.
    I think about how to spend time on the internet so that I know in advance what to do, how to do it and where to do it.

  13. I think reading blogs are worth my time, but on the other hand, I rarely take action.

    I read a lot. I learn a lot. Knowledge is important, and sooner or later (probably later), I’ll be using it to create something cool πŸ™‚

  14. @ Susan: Right on the money. Remember the old line about consulting? “A consultant is someone who borrows your watch and then tells you what time it is.”

  15. *cough* Four! *cough*

    It’s early! I haven’t had my coffee!!!

    FOUR years of rather excellent posts and archives, all free for the taking, and experience from stellar business entrepreneurs like Mr. Clark, Ms. Simone and of course, yours truly *preens*

  16. James, you just kicked my ass and wiped the floor with my good intentions.

    I have actually done some of the things you suggest and saw huge benefits. And then I forgot.

    For me, hunting and gathering information without taking action on it is a sneaky manifestation of resistance, a way to delude myself into thinking I’m doing something useful without actually having to sweat it out.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  17. James is right — what are your candidates for “the big three”?

    As James cleverly suggested in her bio, you can put Men with Pens on there. πŸ™‚ Plenty of strong advice on, particularly, of course, if you’re using a blog as the cornerstone of a business. If you’re a one- or two-person shop, is a great resource. Mark Silver’s gets a vote from me. And has been pouring out tons of solid advice to put into practice.

  18. James, I’m going to chime in with some of the readers here and say yep, you caught me red-handed. I spend far too much time reading and not enough time applying what I read. I am just about over it now.

    All that extra information just clutters my brain and makes me indecisive. A trimming of my RSS feed and a time limitation are definitely in order.

  19. By the way, for how to organize all that great advice from disparate sources, you can’t beat Evernote. It’s free, and lets you tag your notes so you can save web pages, emails, etc. under specific topics.

    When you need to do something related to a topic, for example write a sales letter, you bring up everything that’s tagged with “sales letter” and have an instant reference of all the sales letter advice you’ve found helpful over time.

  20. The road to hell is paved with good intentions CONCRETE πŸ™‚ Great advise James. Reading great blog posts fills my mind with lots of information and ideas, but if they are not acted on, they do not become a part of me and what I can share with the world.

  21. I really appreciate this post from the blog writers point of view. Many times I may offer some [hopefully] good advice, but I don’t always provide it in a format of an action plan.

    Of course, even when the writer does create a draft plan (which I have done in some posts), the reader still has to want to do it. One good thing to think about is where is the real line between free and $3,000 where blog readers might choose to take action?

    If I find it, I’ll let you know.

  22. Whenever someone asks me “How do I get more writing done?” I always ask how much they are writing and how much they are reading. Most often they spend too much reading ABOUT writing. I’m not immune. It is way, way too easy to tell ourselves that we’re doing “research” when we should be writing. If i followed you around for a day, I’d have a pretty good idea of what your priorities are, and whether they matched your stated goals.

  23. I’d like to add to the list. And Grant’s (the 30 day’s course is handing my blogging butt to me on a plate) And Chris Garrett’s (although it’s a paid course). In addition to Copyblogger, Sonia’s RMB and Men with Pens, I devour their advice like it’s my last meal.

  24. This post reminded me of something I’ve been thinking about lately: who benefits more, the bloggerr or the reader. Depending on the blog, I sometimes lean to the blogger. With all the opportunities having a solid blog audience can bring, it seems an individual reader benefits less relatively.

    Love to hear everyones thought.

  25. i see many people even myself take the advice as the source for writing new blog post, but never use it.

    sometime i read, more than 20-30 blog post perday that telling me to this and to do that.. but not all i take into action. for one simple reason i couldn’t do it all, seriously there is just no way.

    so what i do, i read and think this the best advice for me today? if yes, so i jot it down or bookmark it like you say, and if it not.. i ignore it and comeback later when i think i need it.

    take action of advice is good.. but don’t over do it.. it better you do a little and gain maximum benefit from it.. than you do a lot but just get some of it.

    i read copyblogger every single time when they have new blog post, that why i rarely bookmark anything on copyblogger.. because i know, when i need it i know where should i look.

    nice article and it really one of the advice that i received today that can be use straight away.

  26. I get a lot more out of books when I’m “actively” reading them – joting down notes, doing exercises. This post made me realize that I should be doing the same with blog posts. I think we often try and breeze through blog posts for tips, when we should take time to really pull good advice and use it. Thanks for the great post.

  27. Reading copyblogger is definitelly worthy my time. Right now i am starting up a new business online, and advice from here is part of my design -the business is still on the drawing board- good stuff. I am breaking ground on the programming of it this week.

    As a programmer, I lack a bit of business knowledge, so this resource is very valuable.

  28. Wow, great post. I have a similar “less knowledge more action” post in my cue.

    One of my favorite quotes could be the thesis statement for this post…”The greatest gap in life is the one between knowing and doing.” – Dick Biggs

  29. Me! Me!

    I followed the advice of Dave Navarro, Brian, Seth Godin (artists ship!) and, I guess, Elvis (a little less conversation, a little more action), and shipped my first paid e-book today (it’s a web site review checklist). I sent it to my newsletter, and it will go live on my blog in a few days. I’m doing a soft launch to make sure nothing breaks!

  30. I’m not sure it’s a fair comparison between spending an hour reading blogs and spending an hour with a consultant. It’s very rare that you find a blog post that is specific to your exact needs. More likely it is general information that is useful, but more as a concept or strategy than a tactic. I like to think that a great skill for anyone who reads lots of blogs is being able to absorb multiple streams of information and process it into an output with applicable relevance.

    Eric Fulwiler
    Publisher Recruiter,

  31. This is good advice. I’d argue, read more books too. And put what you find there into your blog posts as well.

    I think many of us are so focused on reading blog posts as a diversion that we fail to actually institute the good stuff it conveys to us. Right now I’m putting into action the submission of one guest post a week. Not sure what the outcome will be, but it’s better than hoping for more subscribers.

  32. This is excellent advice and very timely for me. I have been blogging for almost 2 months now and I need to step it up to stay in the mix. Thanks for the volumes of great info.

  33. @Eric – My experience has been that many blogs offer some pretty precise advice. Not all, mind you, but there are some that really hone in.

    Yes, in many cases the advice can be used at large across several industries or types of businesses, but I think if it produces serious results for people, then it’s just as valuable as a private consultant who tailored advice to just one person, if results is the goal.

    Just my two cents, though! πŸ™‚

  34. I think it’s worth it if you’re interested in the blog topic. I usually only frequent blogs that write about what I’m interested in, like CopyBlogger (since I’m a writer).

  35. Spot on James. You artfully stated what many people know. Far too often we get so caught up in reading that our reading actually becomes a form of procrastination.

    I’m all for reading to learn but all the knowledge in the world means nothing if you fail to implement it. I’ve actually cut down my reading significantly so that I can instead focus on taking action.

    In my recent article:

    I talk about going beyond simply recycling ideas and instead learning to create. One of my suggestions is to take a reading fast.

    Great article James.

  36. I really wish I could put all the good advice into action but I’m so busy reading so many blogs (and subsequent comments) that I can barely do anything else. πŸ™‚

  37. Let’s see here. 43 comments before mine, and you really want to know if reading a post is worthwhile? I’ll guess many more read it… and 1% opted to comment. I’d say it worked.

  38. I read blogs to become aware and get inspiration. Then, in the moment of action I search back for what I need.

  39. Ummm wow! Ok so ‘guilty as charged’! I actually thought to myself last night that I ‘gotta stop reading and start blogging’! So thank you for putting that squarely between the eyes again for me, giving me a BIG kick in the tookis, and motivating me to actually WRITE on my blog. A million thank-yous! for the very sound ‘advice’. Now, I’m off to take action.


  40. This was super helpful; thanks. It feels like there is a constant ebb and flow of energy/dedication for me. There are seasons where I am 100% sold out, get up early in the morning to write and stay up late to read/post blogs. However, there are also seasons where life seems to get in the way and I seem to have forgotten everything I’ve learned. To sit down and write. To write well. To perfect your craft through heeding others words and putting your own to the page (screen). Thanks for the inspiration and the kick in the pants to make sure I’m actually doing what I know I should be.

  41. I read in Seth Godin’s Purple Cow that marketing is like just keep doing it over and over and over and eventually you get results. I like James’ advice..but I’ll also admit that, like some of the commenters above have mentioned, there’s so MUCH advice it’s hard to employ it all.

    *cheeky smile* Note I AM taking others’ advice and finally commenting on the blogs I read. LOL

  42. What you say is so true. I think this is partly due to information overload. As you mentioned, we read and read but don’t turn the knowledge into action steps. Thanks for this post.

  43. Great post! What are the 3 specific blogs you were thinking of when you wrote this?:

    “I know at least three marketing blogs that, if you were to take their entire archives, have basically given their readers an entire executable marketing plan.”

  44. of course read the post blog is worth my time because if i need something about online (marketing, SEO and etc) i can get it from the post. Beside that i can make a question to the author if i still not know something in the post so i can get more knowledge.

  45. Green behavior it’s not, but I need to print out, mark up, and refer often to valuable blogging advice. I’m new at being a serious blogger, so I crave guidance. I’ll use your focused action plan to improve my blog writing. In fact, “How to Write Copy for Short Attention Spans” by Sherice Jacob really spoke to me– I’ve already used it to trim this comment!

  46. Turning insight into action sometimes take a bit of work, but that’s the diff between knowing what to do, and doing what you know.

    What’s helped me is when I read something, I look for 3 take aways, or 3 actionable things I can test and put into action. As a case in point, here’s my 3 take aways:
    – am I using Jason Cohen’s 10-point checklist for my next blog post?
    – am I scheduling time for skills from posts I need to practice?
    – have I walked the archives of Men with Pens, Remarkablogger, and Copyblogger?

  47. “I know at least three marketing blogs that, if you were to take their entire archives, have basically given their readers an entire executable marketing plan. The only work is putting all that advice into the right order.”


  48. This couldn’t be more right and I’m as guilty of this as the next blogger out there. I read something on a blog about learning how to quit bitching about things for 31 days or something like that and it really made me think, which I then decided to actually do and then write a blog post about my experience.

    That’s one of the benefits of taking action… You can then blog (referring back to where you got the idea) about your experience and see what others have to say about it.

    Great post!

  49. James:

    It’s a pleasure to read about the ideas you share. Thanks, as always, and please continue to add value to our lives.

    However, with due respect, I beg to differ on one point.
    You have introduced your argument as an all-or-nothing proposition, which is too black or white for me. It is too simplistic, although your point is well-taken.

    Life is not so black or white; it is like the colors of a rainbow. We also have to consider shades, hues and colors. In that sense, life is complex, complicated and even artistic. Let me explain what I mean by that, please.

    Yes, it can be useful to implement ideas you read about in blogs. That has the potential to make you more productive and help you reach your goals or objectives. You can end up becoming rich and famous if you develop knowledge into skills and transfer those skills to the job market.

    However, ideas are useful in and of themselves, don’t you think? I read blogs just to satisfy my curiosity, not necessarily to implement ideas. Sometimes, I just want to make sure I am on the right track, and being open to ideas from other people helps to validate my position. You should pursue ideas just for the sake of pursuing ideas, not necessarily because you are trying to “achieve” something. That reflects a materialistic mind-set.

    Also, when you are open to a variety of ideas, let those ideas incubate for a while. Taking action always may not be necessary at all. Just let your subconscious mind take over and see what you can come up with in unexpected moments. By expecting immediate results–and salivating over instant gratification–we sometimes do a grave injustice to the power of serendipity or chance encounters. Just go with the flow. See what happens…

    Again, this is not a one-size-fits-all approach; nor does it work in all situations and circumstances all the time, but it can work wonders. Some of our greatest discoveries and inventions have been a result of coincidences and “luck.”

    Would Ted Turner have become a wealthy and successful entrepreneur had he not had the misfortune of being kicked out of Brown for a nightly romp with a chambermaid in his dorm room? Ted was disciplined for this indecent proposal and the rest, as they say, is history.

  50. I love research, discovery, exploration….a few months ago I set about to more methodically discover the real value for me (my business, my life) in the web and social media. I was like Alice falling into Wonderland… I was awestruck, overwhelmed, one path led to an even more fascinating path and I did not want to leave. I did not want to go to work…I wanted to keep exploring and absorbing from one brilliant person or site after another. I had more ideas after one week than I could keep track of, much less hold in my head. A professor of mine in B-school once told me that most people are totally satisfied to daydream about starting their own business, writing a great book, etc….they don’t need to actually do it to enjoy a sense of accomplishment…they just love to envision it, plan it, tell familty and friends about it….always finding a reason not to do it. The web provides us with every bit of information we need to be commercially successful…but it also makes it more possible than ever to feel a sense of accomplishment or influence, when we write (blog, tweet, post, comment) or build a website….even if we are the only ones who read it. It can make you the ultimate day dream believer.

  51. That’s a wicked (quality) post … I’ve been guilty of this all the time. Especially after buying a book, thinking what a great idea that was, doing it and forgetting it.

    I like the idea of reading a book until you find something useful .. putting the book down and not going any further until you’ve made that useful bit of information a daily habit.


  52. Yes, information over-load from reading too many blogs and not keeping track of the really good ideas. Guilty! Yikes…in my own defense, as far as new habits, I am on day 3 of drinking 33oz of water before I touch a cup of coffee. That’s to help with my hydration. This week, I’m commenting on blog posts first thing (whilst drinking my water) before I get lost on other projects. I agree that it’s important to choose your new tactic and have a plan for implementing it. Otherwise, I end up frustrated with too many directions to go in at once. I have a nice stack of little slips of papers with good ideas written on them. But, I only implement one at a time. Some I like and then I movve on to something more effective. Some I continue. Water, I’ll probably hang on to that. Works nicely with my blog commenting. By the time both are finished, I’m ready for coffee.

  53. Great post Chartrand. Print it twice in case I lose one.

    I totally agree that the secret of success with anything is action.

    It wouldn’t matter even if someone laid down a million dollar blueprint for you if you didn’t put it into use.


  54. Reading blog posts is an excellent exercise in improving your writing, your blog and your online interaction with others.

    I love reading as much as I possibly can. It give me a feel for what the “pulse” of the blogosphere is.

    What are people talking about? What are they interested in? How can I use what I’m reading and learning to help improve my blog and it’s readership?

    Great article James…as usual πŸ™‚

  55. @ Susan. I agree with what you said. Blogs are great but sometimes it’s easier to be spoonfed. There is just too much information and not enough time.

  56. The point of this post is to get into action, which is always good advice.

    And it also encourages people to apply what they learn, which is also good advice.

    But I find that often when I’m not implementing or getting into action, it’s because I haven’t properly digested the info and made it mine.

    I learned about this by observing my kids when they homeschooled.

    Often they went through a period of inactivity (sometimes looking like sheer laziness). It was nerve wracking allowing them to do nothing–no action or implementation.

    Then magically, on their own schedule, they would suddenly burst forth and get busy, often jumping miles ahead of where they were when they started the sloth period.

    I have no explanation of this. How did inactivity equal synthesis? I don’t know.

    But after observing them, I see this trend in myself. I have been very inactive, and giving myself a heck of a time about it.

    Now suddenly, I am very active and I’m implementing a lot of what I learned during the last months. I needed time to take it all in and make it mine I guess.

    I will continue to read blogs even if I don’t implement. When I read too much, I go on a blog diet. But this is the natural way of things for me.

    Thank you,


  57. Rock on! I am glad you said it like it is. Far too often people take “free advice” and don’t apply it simply because they have not made an out of pocket investment in it.

    Investing one’s time to read blogs is certainly an investment in $$ and should be taken seriously. The posts here at CopyBlogger certainly could be sold for thousands so applying every tidbit with a simple plan certainly will pay dividends.

  58. I agree with Harsh Agrawal and Julia Rymut but how do you get people to return the favor. I am new to this put in order for me or other people like me to feel like we are talking to real people we need someone to comment on our pages if even once. They could say it’s some sh@it that’s O.K. Will, you people are experts so I will try to be patient until you feel I am worthy. Any way great Blogs.

  59. I’m doing my best to take action. But when you look at it, I still tend to get lost in my to-do-list. This post shouldn’t just be a bookmark, it should be printed out and pinned on the wall for the reality check. Great map to get out of the chaos of things and stick to better plans.


  60. I am currently taking your advice and going through all those blog posts I’ve book marked, making notes on the ones I want to come back to and the points I want to remember.

  61. James Chartrand commented!!!!!!!James Chartrand commented!!!!!!!!!!!!James Chartrand commented!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!$$$!!!!!!!!, I LOVE YOU MAN!!!…Hey, I will be doing something excellent soon with my website that I think will be the world first poverty stock market, and you are the inspiration. What you have been saying on your blog I have been emailing it to Nigeria (THE POOR SIDE!!), and we are making a blueprint of the website now, so if you are a member of my facebook fan (it is on the left side of my website) I will let you know the updates. Again THANKS!!YOU MADE MY YEAR. YOUR BIGGEST FAN?@!!$$@

  62. I read and implement, I have this character flaw , I do not care if I look like a fool. ( crazy) but it helps move me forward. If you do not implement good ideals what is the point!

  63. Hmm, I agree that most advice I read online comes into one ear and out the other. Also it would be hard to trace any specific action I take in my personal or professional life to a specific blog post.

    But why would I want to do the tracing? I mean most of us here have spent 4 years at a university. Did you learn anything? Obviously (if you paid attention). Is it helping you today? For me that’s also a yes. Sure the signal to noise ratio can be low depending on what you studied and what you do today, but these things do inform “generally”, not “specifically”. Same with blogs.

    I do internalize a lot of advice even if I don’t bookmark it or write it down somewhere. And for things that contain true actionable advice, I bookmark it and go back to it later. And I do learn a lot in the process.

  64. OMG! This is the most mind-blowing useful post I have read in my 1 year of blogging! (Yes you can preen all you want!) I am so the person who reads a post with great tips and say ‘cool, that’s helpful i’ll use that SOME TIME (in the unknown future)’ and promptly forget about it. Most useful advice: reference the tips you find against every article you post. I WILL DO THAT from now on. You rock! Sincerely…

  65. Good post. Of course reading blogs is very usefull. You can learn a lot. Especially about niche subjects. But to ask this in an blogpost? Don’t think the answers will be fair πŸ˜‰

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  67. 1st- I recall the great Harvard bar scene in “Good Will Hunting” and I do believe a large % of the information people pay for can be found for free if you just look around for it.

    2nd- Taking some action on a new idea is vital because you draw out consequences which affirm or deny the original propositions and invite further implications to your existing body of knowledge.

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