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Do Shorter Posts = Better Posts?

Steve at Micro Persuasion asks his readers whether Shorter Posts = Better Posts?

‘Would you rather have fewer posts with more depth or frequent short posts with high value information? It’s hard to combine them (and maintain a life).’

My answer is that it depends upon a number of factors including the authors available time, the topic, the established pattern of blogging (more on this in a future post) and the voice that the author writes in (ie Steve’s blog is predominantly a link blog and doesn’t get into tips, theory etc which can take longer posts).

What do you think? Head over to Steve’s and let him know.

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. I think a post can be of any length as long as it is of quality and holds the readers attention. However, for many of my blogs where I print articles of relevance I will be adding a read more feature and then the occassional glancer can read a paragraph and then decide for themselves whether or not they want to read more.

  2. AJ says:

    I definitely ask myself this question from time to time. My general answer has been to mix it up – intersperse shorter, less demanding blurbs with the “Posts of Substance” I really prefer. As well, I’m starting to play with my code at Blogger, to see if I can implement expandable posts. A “read more…” option might keep the page cleaner and let the uninterested scroll on by.

  3. Redd says:

    I guess I am going to answer this question with another question. Annoying isn’t it? As I get more and more hooked blogging I don’t know if I should be reading an article or book and then offering my opinion. Do my readers care what I believe, or how I interpret the subject? I just don’t want to alienate any readers that may have come to my site as a resource that offers info they can’t find for themselves.

    I have noticed, the highest surfed blogs are those that have a witty one liner or smartass comment. My favorite, and inspiration, Blogberity. It is like a well written sit-com you have to pay attention to the relationships between the obscure. Though as I am witing this comment, maybe it is more determined by the subject?

    AAArrgh head is spinin, but I will be checking back often on this subject.

  4. Martin Ralya says:

    When I started my blog, I opted for longer, less frequent posts with plenty of meat to them. I’ve also been angling for plenty of conversation in the comments, and leaving a post at the top for a couple of days seems to help with that. This month I’m trying a different approach: interspersing those longer posts with smaller ones (like AJ said). (The smaller posts are part of a project inspired by Darren’s “31 Days” project, which I loved.)

    I’m hoping that a month of daily posts will attract more readers, since people will have a reason to visit daily instead of just checking in every couple of days. I’m also waiting to see if I like this approach so much that I’ll make time to post daily after this month is over. ;)

  5. Too long and I start to lose interest. Too short and it can be kind of disappointing. I like to read posts that are a few paragraphs, maybe a screenful or two of content.

  6. Curt says:

    I prefer conciseness. Say it well, and say it quickly. With so many blogs to read, I shy away from the long articles. In attracting readers, I don’t want them to skip over something because of its length. Short, pity, and pungent, that’s my perferred post.

  7. Cary says:

    I would say it really depends on the audience and the subject matter…if your audience is mostly other bloggers then it would seem like short to medium length posts might keep your readers happy…it’s what bloggers are used to.

    But if you are reaching for a wider audience (beyond bloggers,) the subject matter should really dictate the length – in the end, you have to give your readers what they want…

  8. I respect conciseness, but my posts seem to write themselves once I begin the process of putting them down in words.

    My usual daily post seems to run about 500 words, with a few excursions to longer essays. I find I can shorten the post by removing all explanatory remarks and that produces tighter messages that can be consumed on the run by busy readers.

    The other factor that is important is to follow the rules for constructing a newspaper article. Deliver the key points up front and expand upon them in subsequent sections.

    I feel a proper length for a post lets the reader feel that their reading time is well-spent. That is a matter of properly matching the length to the content.

  9. Um, I reckon a bit of both. Different strokes for different folks. I recently posted along the same lines, but made it a quality vs. quantity argument and labelled it linking vs. thinking (http://www.tomorrowconnecting.biz/2005/09/quality-vs-quantity-2/). Shorter posts typically dominate link-oriented blogs. Steve’s Micro Persuasion, used as your example, Darren, is 90% links and 10% opinion, whereas your blog tends to be an 80/20 split the other way. There is room for both on my blogroll :)

    I would venture to suggest that you have to spend a great deal more time on each post, whereas Steve will work harder to be at the cutting edge of blogging developments – the originator of the buzz, so to speak.

    At least that’s how I understand it. I’ve found posting daily del.icio.us links to my WordPress blog a big help – they enable me to alert readers to interesting sites without having to dedicate an entire post, an give me the time to commit to more intricate, “thinking”-oriented posts.

    Hope that makes sense!

  10. Michael says:

    “Do Shorter Posts = Better Posts?”

    Mark Twain once wrote:

    “I apologize for such a long letter, I didn’t have time to write a short one.”

    What a wonderful insight into the power of focused works.

  11. Toby says:

    Keep in mind the goals and objectives of the blog. If your intentions are to position the author as a thought leader all short posts may not do it.

  12. Ella says:

    I have issues with posting frequently because I am a perfectionist.

    A) I’m a skilled writer who must make things not only correct, but strive to meet certain criteria goals. (Do I want the pun factor? How much personal voice / personality language? Intelligent wording / poetry? A lesson learned?) I’ve been writing school essays for so many years; I’m stuck to “reaching for significance.” I had very good grade school English courses, and I was lucky to head to a college with the darn best. Now I find using my “impressive” writing style for my non-writing courses’ laid-back assignments. I outdid the job in my presentation, today (AND wrote a page longer than required), and weaved an inspirational story, this evening.

    Okay … that strayed into bragging, perhaps, but I was just saying — that blogging is writing to me. That’s why I do it. (That’s why I feel that I should be ten times more successful than I am.)

    I’ve always created my projects to come off professionally. Which brings me to B.

    B) I use images in posts and align them along side text. But I need – them – to – look – just – right. I’m a damned perfectionist sicko.

    I also read, re-read, spell check, re-read, go through my mental lists. Blah blah.

    Anyway, it takes me perhaps up to four hours to even four weeks to write some entries. (I did really well today, though, spewing out 4 in a few hours! All new, originally thought up today topics, too.)

    Then there is the fact of my full attendance of school. And then… my stupid problem of starting a network. I’m dealing. I’m getting help.

    But I am becoming addicted to this blogging.

  13. Ella says:

    Oh, and I tend to get wordy.

  14. Dale Estes says:

    Yes as long as they have enough content.

  15. Fly Girl says:

    My ideal reading length is no more that 500 words, and even better if the posts are a variety of lengths.

    I’d rather see more frequently posts, even if they are short. It helps me to keep you in the forefront of my find.

    When posts are much longer than 500 words, I tend to tune out. Or, I save them to read later, and then never get around to it. If I subscribe to a site that has posts that are consistently longer than 500 words, I wind up unsubscribing.

  16. Short response. Sometimes.

Trackbacks

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    Do shorter posts = better posts? Add your comment

    Steve Rubel asked whether shorter blog posts make for better blog posts and now Darren Rowse has followed with the same question. Leave your comments and let me know. Would you rather have fewer posts with more depth or frequent…