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Frequent Short Posts – A Secret of A-List Bloggers Success

Tristan Louis at TNL.net does an interesting post today which analyses 5 top blogs (Boing Boing, InstaPundit, Daily Kos, Gizmodo and Engadget) and how frequent and long their posts are.

‘The data became clearer. On that particular day, the top five bloggers created an average of 30 entries, with each entry being under 150 words.’

It’s a very interesting post and one that backs up a lot of the theory that I’ve argued here over the past 6 months. Frequent short sharp posts work on a number of levels:

  • Highly Targeted Content – A post of 150 or so words is likely to be pretty targeted on one particular topic. Search Engines love this – they know what it is about and will rank it higher on this.
  • Search Engines like shorter posts. I personally think 150 might be 100 or so words short of what is ideal for SE’s but the research shows that shorter posts tend to be dealt with better than longer ones by Google.
  • Readers like bite sized content - Research shows that readers scan content and that they rarely read things word for word. They also have notoriously short attention spans online. 150 words is easily digestible.
  • High quantities of posts = more entry points to your blog - write one long 4500 word post each day and you create 1 new page on your blog. This is one possible new entry point on your site each day that will be indexed by Search Engines, appearing in RSS feeds etc. Create 30 posts and you can see you increase the chances of your blog being found exponentially. Multiply this 30 daily posts by 365 days in a year and you start the see the potential of such a strategy.

Having argued for short frequent posts I want to stress that there will always be a place for longer less frequent posts on blogs. in fact I personally prefer to read this species of blog and will probably continue to do so. The beauty of blogging is that there is enough room for many styles of blogging and that if you’re considering adding an income stream to your blog that it is not only the short post blogs that are earning good money (at least I hope not – this post is already up to 393 words).

I’ll finish this post by repeating my advice from earlier posts. If you’re a long post type writer – perhaps consider breaking your post down into bite sized pieces and posting them over a few days as a series. Not only will you bring your readers back for more over time – but you might actually tap into some of what these top blogs have discovered – the power of the short frequent post.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. SmartMoney says:

    Honestly, when I start writing I’m always trying to keep it short, I have a long winded brain I guess.

    Good post. I like both styles, but the web is bite-sized I guess [byte-sized :) ]

  2. Andy says:

    Not too short though, for AdSense purposes at least?

  3. colbert says:

    yep..as always…good wise words from darren

  4. PC says:

    “Multiply this 30 daily posts by 365 days in a year” is a good strategy.

  5. Darren, your arguments are very solid, but it doesn’t sit quite right for me. Ultimately, I guess it depends on the purpose of your site. To be fair, your site is about helping bloggers make money, and you advice makes perfect sense in that context.

    I’m a long poster (as this long comment will no doubt verify). For a time I experimented with trying to cut my posts down or split them up, but I found that a) my ideas didn’t seem to fit in short posts, and b) I couldn’t use long run-on sentences like this one ;)

    I suppose it comes down to what you’re writing about. Concepts take more words to describe than things (that whole picture being worth all the words stuff). “Concept” sites will never be quick in-and out sites like boing boing or engadget. Then again, they’ll never earn as much either.

  6. I do find it amusing that when you ask most bloggers, the “conventional” wisdom is always not to post too much, yet when you actually look at the most popular sites, it seems that more frequent posting is better.

    I think there’s a real disparity between the “blogger ideal” and the reality both in terms of how to blog and also how often to blog.

    By guess would be that the shortness of the posts is a by-product of the quantity. Even a fast typer can only write so much text in one day after all.

  7. Darren Rowse says:

    I agree Peter – I think the longer post definitely has its place – and can be completely legitimate as a complete strategy on some blogs. On others a mix of long and short can work well too (as I try for here at ProBlogger).

    I agree – it comes down to a blogger’s purpose of the blog they’re writing on.

  8. Jeff says:

    A lot of entries per day does seem like a good strategy for quickly increasing the possibility of a blog’s exposure. However, in my own use of an RSS feeder I find myself sighing whenever I see a blog has 30 new entries everday. Indeed, I find myself just barely scanning the headlines of those blogs, whereas I read more attentively the blogs that only have a few postings per day. Peter & Darren both have a good approach to their blogs, which somehow get my attention. Ultimately, quality content (short or long) is what keeps readers interested.

  9. My buddy over at http://www.davidgelles.com is a better writer and blogs essays, articles, and reviews, and everybody hates his blog because there is too much too much. People would prefer to read my bite-sized little pithy takes on his reviews. I am triage, I am the walrus. Coo coo cachu.

  10. David says:

    I try to keep most of my blog posts short and concentrated, but it is sometimes difficult because I find myself just writing generally about my life, about my day… I think 30 posts a day is wild though. Currently I think I am averaging 3…maybe… Maybe I just lead too busy a life to do 30 a day…or maybe I don’t have enough to say…I guess that is why I am not an A, B or C list blogger yet. :)

  11. TDavid says:

    Ahh, the age old: quantity vs. quality. Different strokes for different folks. Cliches aside, the truth of the matter is somebody with a lot of content could spread that around to multiple niche-focused blogs and probably be better off than trying to jam 30 new blog entries every day down subscriber’s RSS tailpipes.

    I rarely read Boing Boing, Fark, Metafilter, Slashdot, etc not because the content isn’t good, but because the flow is too heavy.

    I have my own system for reading 350 or so sources a day (many of which filter the above sources for me) several times a day that maximizes my time spent scanning/reading for good, interesting blog content.

  12. MoneyEnergy says:

    Fascinating. Even in a given blog, though, the subject will determine whether you need a longer or a shorter post. I’m an academic, and am experienced with different kinds of writing based on topics. I use a mix of short, medium and long posts in my blog based upon what the post needs.

    I do like the suggestion that a new blogger should start out a bit slower – post a bit less than where you think you’ll end up at.

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