It’s the blogging question that people have been asking for years. I see it on Twitter all the time. Which is better, short or long blog posts? To me, it’s not really a difficult decision to make, once you know the pros and cons to both options.
Blogging has changed a lot in the past few years, or maybe it would be more accurate to say that blog readers have changed a lot in the past few years, and as a result blogging has changed. There is a ton of really good content online. Readers have even shorter attention spans than they did a few years ago, and their expectations are high.
For example, if you make one small spelling error or use incorrect grammar, and if you get any significant traffic to that post, you will most likely hear about it in a comment. Even though readers get annoyed by our spelling and grammar mistakes, that will most likely not keep them from coming back. However, careless and clumsy writing will keep them from coming back. Ultimately, whether your post is long or short will always take a backseat to your content. If you drift away from the topic or get lazy, your readers may not forgive you.
“Your post is like a lady’s skirt. It should be short enough to keep your reader’s attention but long enough to cover the subject.” ~ modified English proverb
Many times I’ve heard professional bloggers say, “When you are finished writing your post, cut it in half.” The reason to do that is not to just make it shorter. It’s to ensure that every single sentence is high quality and makes a relevant point. It’s important to be potent. Here at Bit Rebels, we’ve always tried to write posts that our readers can read in 3-5 minutes. Of course, this one is an exception, but 95% of the posts here are short and sweet. However, over at Ink Rebels, where I also write, the posts are very long. It’s a different niche. There is a different type of reader over there.
A short post is like a snack, a long post is like a meal. We eat meals only a few times a day, but we also love to snack. There is no right or wrong. Both of these styles have a proper place in the world of blogging. That is why I think at the end of the day, it comes down to what makes you most happy as the writer. You know what they say, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” If you can find your groove and the post length that makes you happy, you can easily tweak everything else to fall into place. My hope is that after reading this, the correct choice for you becomes an easy decision!
1. Know your readers
Most importantly, know your readers. Are your readers the type of people who get a cup of coffee in the morning, sit down on the couch and settle into a long post, reading every word? Or, are your readers crazy busy movers-and-shakers who enjoy taking a five-minute break during the day to zip over to your blog for a quick read?
2. Short posts are easier and take less time to write
If you are pushed for time, and if you want to update your blog often, short posts may be a sensible option just from a logistics perspective. There is a huge difference in your daily schedule whether you are blogging for 45 minutes or three hours.
3. People tend to leave comments more often on longer posts
Case in point, we get a lot of comments here on Bit Rebels, but check out our sister site, Ink Rebels. Those are much longer posts, and one of them has 340 thoughtful comments.
4. Have several ideas about a topic? Create a series of short posts
This is a strategy that many bloggers love. It’s like creating a little mini-series. It is efficient and great for pageviews. Check out Richard’s series on how to recruit top talent through social media: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
5. Long posts are the meat and potatoes of the blogging world
Long posts give you the opportunity to go into depth and really provide some hearty, comprehensive information for your readers. They are the kinds of posts people bookmark and re-read. They are the posts that challenge the way people think, and the ones that can truly make a meaningful difference. This is not to imply you can’t make a difference in a short post, it’s just much harder to do.
6. It’s a common myth that a post has to be long to be “good“
It’s your content and your connection to your readers that is good or not good, not the length of your post. Besides, who’s to judge whether a post is long or short? 500 words is short? 1,000 words is long? There is nobody setting any rules here. It’s all determined in the eyes of your reader.
7. You have to work harder on a long post to keep it interesting
Many times long posts get boring somewhere in the middle, and we lose our readers. Remember, Internet users are very, very impatient and have short attention spans. If your post is long, keep it interesting!
8. Long posts could make you procrastinate writing more
If you typically write long posts, and you find yourself procrastinating writing them because they are so long, you might consider switching to a shorter format. If you aren’t happy writing, your readers will pick up on that. Here are some tips to help you overcome blogging procrastination.
9. Long posts leave more room to develop reader relationships
Long posts typically give you the opportunity to develop more of a relationship with your readers since they can see more of your opinions and personality. Long posts set the stage for everyone to learn and grow together.
10. If written well, short posts can deliver a quick yet powerful punch
If your post is long, readers will scan your article to decide if it’s worth reading. Short posts can deliver a quick powerful punch. If you are writing long posts, just make sure it’s worth all your effort. Are you getting a lot of comments? Are you successfully starting discussions? Is it helping you with your own personal development and growth? I prefer writing short ones. Most of my articles are less than 500 words. This one is 1,099 words.