Should blog posts be long or short?

One aspect about blogging that has been on my mind lately is: the frequency of posting vs. the content and length of the post.

If you’ve been following me in the past months, you’d notice that I occasionally write short posts but that more usually, I write quite long ones. Most of my posts are longer than 500. At the moment, I’m thinking: no wonder I don’t post that often.

I don’t usually go around blogs to see how long they are. I just pick one that catches my fancy and read it. I mean if I’m going to read a post then it has my entire attention. I like short and long posts and all sizes in between. But I must admit that sometimes I just can’t keep on reading because some posts are like a newsletter that go on and on and on. And some posts seem to have been cut off at a certain word count where I’m left wanting more.

A blog that got me thinking of this was ElizaGreen’s blog post How to Write a Killer Blog Post where she deals with this issue. Great post, short and to the point.  And with that in mind I’ll keep it short (for a change).

What do you think about it, are your posts long and lasting or short and sweet?

Sofia

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32 Comments to “Should blog posts be long or short?”

  1. I do movie reviews and they tend to be some where between 400-550 words, I Like to think they are short and sweet but I am really not sure. I, like you get completely deterred when I see that someone has written a short novel for a blog post so i as a reader would prefer a much snappier shorter BP. I dunno maybe its a matter of preference, I am going to see whether a survey can uncover the answer of what makes a blog readable.

  2. As a woman with Aspergers, I’ve spent much of my life studying and trying to perfect social norms. In entering the blog world, I decided “enough already,” and am letting me be me. My posts are longer than most, but I produce quality and interesting prose. And I make connections with others, am authentic, and loving in nature. To me, it is not about the length, but about the personhood of the writer. If someone comes to my blog and only reads a portion, or is made to smile by only a word, that is enough. And here, also, I ramble, as I comment. lol

  3. Hello!
    Being more of a reader rather than blogger myself, I do not really think about the length all that much. But instinctively I am more than sure that visually long post may be slightly discouraging.
    On the other hand I find that if a blog is concerned with a specific theme, e.g. photography, I do not mind longer posts because I actually want to learn something. That is a situation when you, in fact, want to invest in a bit more time spent on a given topic.
    As a blogger, I guess you should be able to decide whether your post is specific/instructive enough to make it longer an thus worth reading/provoking to read. :-)

  4. I’m a fan of short posts. Anything under 500 words is a breeze to read. When it creeps over 1000 words, it’s a longer read and I start to skim. There’s almost too much content for me. When it is 2k, that’s really hard for me to read no matter how much I enjoy the writing. Unless there is only 1 post a week. Then I will read the whole thing. I guess I am word count sensitive but I also consider posting frequency.

    • That certainly is a good balance, frequency and word count is a good way to judge a post by it’s length. I sometimes think that if i start skimming a post it perhaps means that the blog post could have been shorter. But it might also have to do with what each individual finds interesting, good observation Kourtney Heintz!

      • Sofia, there is that old adage “If I had more time, I would have written less.” I think bloggers sometimes post long posts because they don’t have the time to edit them down. Or they think they need everything there. But as a reader, I can’t read 100 blogs a day that top 1k. So I have to pick and choose which get read.And skimming becomes a necessity.

        • True, with intense blogging there is no other option than to skim a lengthy blog post, and if it is really worth while maybe leave it for another day when you might have the time to read it more detailed and carefully. Writing on Internet is in it’s early years (at least compared to writing for being pressed or published) but it’s starting to develop it’s own standard (just like the standardization of spelling when words started to get printed), though they are not yet 100% established. For example, if you have a nice quote or a link, you might post it on twitter, if it is longer you might post it on Facebook, then when it’s even longer you might blog it. Perhaps when you reach the 2000 word mark you might have to think that perhaps you’d better post on a free publishing platform or site. Perhaps blogging will branch out into long and short postings. It’s really hard to tell, but for the mean time it makes a great topic for discussion.

          • There definitely aren’t any hard and fast rules and I wouldn’t want there to be. But as a reader, I will adjust my reading. Even with books, if a writer waxes on and on about setting, I skim. It’s just not holding my interest. Whereas someone else may slow down and savor that part. Different strokes. :)

  5. For the most part they are short, not because I design it that way, but it seems that my thoughts are jumpy right now and I move from one subject to another so short ones suit.

    • Blogging is a bit like stream of consciousness, short bursts of ideas you post, and depending on the frequency they are either long or short. Personal taste does play a big role, I think :-) So, short and sweet for you.

  6. Thanks for linking to my post on ‘How to Write a Killer Blog.’
    Post lengths are definitely a hot topic. Although my own poll results indicated that people preferred posts to be about 500 words long, the comments indicated that there was room for the occasional long post. I guess it depends on what you are talking about and how relevant it is to your readers. For me, I would prefer to write a short/medium post on something and if readers wanted more, I could follow up with a longer post next time.
    Some people have the time to write 3k plus words for a post. I don’t but if I had to write that much per week, as well as my novel writing, I’m pretty sure I would no longer enjoy blogging:)

    • Hi Eliza Green,
      I really liked your post on blog length, it got me thinking about the subject, particularly because you had something really original to tell, mainly, if you are trying to get a point across it’s better that it be short.
      And that short is also reader friendly!
      Thanks for coming round to have a look-see :-)

  7. Good question!

    Whenever I get a lengthy e-mail from someone I have to think about the words attributed to men like: Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, Voltaire, Winston Churchill, Marcel Proust, Rudyard Kipling, Blaise Pascal, or Pliny the Younger (whomever he may be), where the phrase is something along the lines:

    “I am sorry to have written such a long letter but I did not have time to write a short one.”

    When someone is truly proficient in a subject or thinks about a problem long enough then they can usually write it down in clear and simple terms. I think one of the criteria of a successful blog is that it should be interactive and being concise allows readers to get the point fast, leaving them with enough time to respond.

    • Cool quote! Nadinesnijder, your comments are always so insightful and well thought :-) Being interactive sometimes has nothing to do with how many words are on paper but how well you transmit an idea, I’m 100% with you on that one.

  8. Short without being superficial, otherwise even if its interesting there is tendance to skim or stop reading. Pictures definitely and not too long paragraphs. If posts are always long and not broken up with pictures, I don’t know that I would continue to follow, there are some like this and one I can think of that is always interesting, but too long, so now I only read it once a week and do skim more; I like to read a wide variety of blogs and comment and so a long post equates to someone taking up more than their fair share of my time.

    • Interesting, I hadn’t thought of it as taking up the fair share of time. Especially if you post really long posts every day. It’s nice to change perspectives once in a while :-)

  9. I tend to prefer long posts to short ones, if the subject is something I’m interested in. I generally don’t write much over 400 or 500 words, but I’ve read posts as long as 3,000 words. Very short ones usually strike me as superficial.

  10. Hi Sofia, first of all I’d like to say that I always enjoy your posts–I think you ask good and relevant questions. In answer to this one…

    I try to keep my posts to 500 words, although they will occasionally range up to 600. If I have more say, I find another venue. Why? Because I think people who read blogs want a quick bite. Big blocks of words will either scare readers away, or invite skimming. I reckon anyone who is reading my blog probably has fifty or more other blogs they follow, and I want to have it be easy and engaging enough for them to stick around for the punch line. I also am finding that adding related photos is helpful in engaging the reader and making your blog attractive.

    • I enjoy your posts too Naomi, that’s was a really nice complement :-D. Most, definitely, images and pictures help a whole bunch, especially by taking the focus away from the fact that there is in fact a long chunk of text in between the awesome photos :-p, (like mskatykins below was also saying). Also to be able to blog you need an audience and for that you need to get noticed and for that you need to comment and follow and like other bloggers. And the more you follow the more you have to read, so short is more convenient for attracting a larger audience. But sometimes it’s great to let go and write a 2 or 3000 wrd piece and still get comments on it!

  11. Sometimes mine are long; sometimes they’re short. I try to keep them at a few paragraphs, but it depends upon what I’m talking about.

    • For me it also depends on the mood I wake up on that day. Sometimes I’m in the mood for writing whole essays,a and others I can’t seem to get one quote or link squeezed out of the muse.
      Thnx for stopping by to comment :-)

  12. This is a really interesting question. It annoys me that I struggle to be concise. Therefore, I often have quite lengthy posts. Having said that, I try and break mine up by including pics or links to videos/other blogs so I don’t know how that affects the length to my readers psychologically, you know? My blog lengths vary, but like you I don’t judge others’ by how lengthy their writing is, just whether or not I’m interested in it! :)

    • You are right, by inserting pictures you can make an otherwise yawn inducing chunk of text into something more fun to read. Cheers :-)

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