Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Discussion - Length of Blog Posts

Another blogger contacted me this weekend about post length and what is too long. That got me to thinking, so I decided to open it up to everyone here for discussion.

I think a lot depends on a blogger’s style, format, and topics. That said, anything over 1000 words is generally too long in my opinion. Some bloggers have a small group of friends they visit and have time to read longer posts, interviews, and writing excerpts. Most of us follow a larger circle of blogs though, and we don’t have time to read really long posts. It’s a shame, because I follow a couple excellent writers and rarely get to read their posts due to the consistent long length.

On my own blog, I try not to go over 1000 words, and usually my posts are in the 300 - 600 range. During the A to Z April Blog Challenge, they were under 200. I know a couple bloggers who masterfully hit 500 or less every time. (And I know them because I have time to read them!)

But that is just my opinion! What is yours on the subject of blog post length?

29 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Writing poetry it all depends on the length of the poem though mine is never too long. I don't mind reading what people has written hhowever long or short it is.

Have a good day,
Yvonne.

Trisha said...

Trying to read like...100 blog posts a day...I much prefer them to all be short ;) I will very, very rarely read a long post. If I even bother with it, I'll only skim it. Mostly I won't even do that.

Francine Howarth said...

All depends on subject matter!

If it's interesting I'll read it no matter the word length.

Mine today about just having signed a publishing deal is short, but it's linked to another shorty re a Kindle novella for sale !!! ;)

best
F

Matthew MacNish said...

Here's the thing: Blogging isn't ONLY about making the maximum number of connection in the minimum amount of time. Sure that IS part of it, but every once in a while quality has to take precedence over quantity.

I think the key when it comes to the length of blog posts is to offer up some variety for your readers. Most of your posts should be short, and some should be VERY short, but every once in a while it's okay to wax poetic on something that you're passionate about, or if you're featuring a great guest or something.

Some of my most successful posts have been my longest.

Jan Morrison said...

I like them short and I like them to be congruent - not jumping all over the place but focussed on one topic. Having said that, I have blogger pals that go on and on BUT I love them and so it is no problem. There are a few that I really like but their posts are simply too complex for me to graze so I don't end up responding as often as I would like.

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

I'll read short stories to 1500 - 2k words, but I prefer blog posts to be up to 800 words. I agree with Matthew about variety, but long posts will have to be interesting and well written to hold my attention.

Jemi Fraser said...

I tend to keep mine pretty short too - although I don't generally do a word count check. I tend to go with my gut on most things :)

I know I have stopped visiting a few blogs as often because the posts are consistently so long. It just takes too much time.

Greg Christopher said...

I think it ultimately comes down to whether or not you have something of heavy import to say.

I am an RPG writer, I deal with game theory issues, industry talk, content, and several other potential angles. Sometimes I just have a short comment on something, sometimes I have a really long complicated argument about something.

You cannot make a case for certain positions without a lot of support text, especially on a controversial issue. So you have to cover your ass with lots of support work.

The most viewed posts on my blog are the really really long drawn out arguments. So I don't hesitate to throw my hat in the ring if I think I can make a compelling case.

Greg Christopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Sia McKye~ said...

I promote authors and their books. I want readers to get to know a bit about the author's personality--the person behind the book. I also do the occasional interview and have subject experts pop by with publishing and craft articles. So some subjects can’t be 250 words or less.

However, some of my blogs have been getting a bit lengthier than I want. I've adjusted my maximum word count in my blog guidelines for those authors and guests. Diane made a great point to me about keeping the whole blog at 1000k. This includes my intro, author's article, cover blurb, and bio.

There are different types of blogs with different goals and themes.

I agree with Matthew. Blogging is not just about a maximum amount of connections or having your whole circle of connections dash through and slap their name at the end of your article. “…quality has to take precedence over quantity.” Especially with my type of blog.

Like everyone else, I have a huge blog roll of friends I try to read. I don’t get to all of them every post, but I do try to get to them all at least once or twice a week.

Jessica Bell said...

I try to keep mine to about 500 words or less. I sometimes allow myself time to read a really long post if it REALLY interests me, but most of the time I prefer the shortish one. Time is just not on our side! :-/

Clarissa Draper said...

If you're like me (and I know you are) we read a lot of posts everyday. If they're all over 1000 words, we have no choice but to skim and I hate skimming blogs. Keep it short, people!

notesfromnadir said...

I agree that the 300-600 word range is the easiest to write & read. Beyond that it usually is time consuming.

Shari said...

I appreciate a shorter length, too, so I can read them. If they get too long I have to skim through them and possibly miss out on something good.

VR Barkowski said...

For the most part, I try to keep my posts short. I shoot for <500 words, preferably around 300. That said, if I'm writing an important post about something I feel passionate about, then length isn't a concern. I just realized I echoed Matthew.

Yeah, what he said. :)

Karen Walker said...

I'm with you on this one, Diane. I don't read lengthy blog posts, no matter how well-written or interesting they may be. I just don't have the time. Sigh!
Karen

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Wow, I sparked quite a discussion here! Some of you like lengthy quality, some short quantity. Of course, there's noting wrong with having both.

Greg, what you do requires more detail, and the audience to whom you write needs that.

Clarissa, I'm the same way - I can read really fast and skim, but I'd rather not.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I always aim for short posts, but I'm often a man of few words. Okay, maybe just less words. I also appreciate shorter posts for this reason - I have a lot of blogger buddies I like to visit every day. These people are awesome and I like to check in on them often. I feel bad when I don't have the time! Shorter posts mean I can visit all of my friends.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I think I'm nearly always at 700. But as a blog reader, I love posts that are 500--600 words. How-to posts I'll tolerate at up to 1400 words, if they're well-done, though.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I prefer reading short blogs. I picked up this as earlier advice from you and some other wise bloggers.

anthony stemke said...

I personally think bloggers should write at whatever length suits what they are trying to convey, and if people want to skim it or skip it let them.
I don't believe it should be a contest to read X number of blogs daily.
The only reason I do not complete reading a blog is if it doesn't interest me.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Alex, you do a great job of that.

Elizabeth, yours never seem that long - sign of a great writer!

Anthony, sometimes longer posts are necessary. But often I see posts that are really long, very intricate and researched - with almost no comments. Too long perhaps? Seems a shame to go to all that effort to write something almost no one will read.

LynNerd said...

Almost two months into blogging now, I realize my earlier posts were way too long and should have been broken up into multiple posts. I like to read posts of different lengths, depending on the subject matter, but for the most part, the short ones are much easier to keep up with. I agree with Matthew's comment. Very good points.

Stephen Tremp said...

I keep mine capped at 600 words. I sometimes forget to tell guest bloggers that and have to edit them down to size. I think about 400-500 words is the right size for a post.

Jules said...

Short is nice but some of us hillbillies want to say what we mean. 500 to 600 words, sounds right to me. But don't count on me following any rules. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Tony Eldridge said...

What a great question-- one I struggle with all the time. Generally, I like shorter post.

When I do longer posts, I like to bullet them and bold the headings to make it easier for skimmers to get what they're looking for.

Tutorial type posts tend to be longer, because people can bookmark them and use them when needed. When you're trying to learn something new, you don't want the author to skim or skip steps just to save space. Nothing's worse than starting a tutorial and not being able to complete it because the tutorial isn't complete.

That's my two-cents :)

M Pax said...

Most of my posts are shorter, but it varies depending on the topic. On some, I've gone longer. As Matt says, some variety is OK.

Tamara Narayan said...

500 words sounds good to me, but I only follow a small number of bloggers. I think content is key. If the subject matter is about a book I want to read or writing tips or publishing tips, then I'll read longer pieces. For something purely for entertainment, I would guess less is more. If I see a long blog that is a short story or first chapter, I may not have the time and energy to devote to it. Quick and easy seems to be the way for blogs these days.

Susanne Drazic said...

I do prefer the shorter blog posts. I can read more in the time I've allotted for reading blogs. I try to keep mine on the shorter side, but I'm sure I don't always succeed. I've never done a word count on my blog posts, but I will try to check that in the future. For Christmas in July, most of my posts are a lot longer than I usually post.

Thanks to everyone who shared their comments. It gives me some ideas of what to work towards as far as word counts.