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An Important Question to Ask Before Hitting Publish on Your Next Post

Here’s a question I’ve learned to ask on a daily basis at the completion of every post I write:

“Would this post work better if I split it into two (or more) posts?”

While the answer is usually ‘no’ for me I do semi-regularly get to the end of a blog post and realise that what I’ve actually written is probably better if it is split into parts.

For me the reasons that I split posts this way generally fall into these categories:

  • Length – some posts just contain too much information to digest in one sitting.
  • Multiple Topics – sometimes a post meanders too much across multiple topics. While they might all relate they also might require readers to make too much of a leap from one topic to another and run the risk of losing readers halfway through.
  • Theory and Practical – Sometimes I like readers to have time to digest the theory behind something before following it up with something more practical or ‘how to’ in nature.
  • Depth – occasionally I’ll get to the end of writing a post with multiple points in which I know I could have gone a lot deeper for each point. To do so would make the article too long so I make the choice to take what I’ve written for each point and expand upon them in separate posts.
  • Momentum – sometimes you write a post that you just know will connect with readers and that is actually a good enough idea to sustain interest and build momentum on your blog over a longer period of time (a prime example of this is 31 Days to Build a Better Blog which years ago started as a single post with 31 brief ideas in it).

The word of warning that I’ll give on splitting posts into parts is that you don’t want to do it for the sake of it and to cut down on your work as a blogger. While it’s a nice feeling to realise a post you’ve written can easily be split in two and that it gives you a day off writing tomorrow – if you cut posts down too much you could also end up with something that just isn’t meaty enough to really be worthwhile posting.

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. Pertinent question.

  2. Fiona Fell says:

    This idea of splitting posts is going to be something that I hold onto.

    1. To let me write meatier articles
    and
    2. To let me have some well earned days off every now and then.

  3. Articles should match the interest of visitors. We should write moderate articles. And yes, the quality of content matters. Thanks for this helpful posts.

  4. Rita says:

    This is a good reminder. I’m a journalist so I’m used to writing articles about 500 words long. Often that’s too long for a blog.

    When you have people do e-mail interviews, it’s good to tell them up to 500 words. One author who I gave that word limit to send me 2,000 words! I divided it into four posts.

    That said, I later read some author interviews that were 2,000 words. They were good and held my interest. It was fun to read what the famous authors had to say.

    So when I did an e-mail interview well-known thriller writer Joseph Finder, I didn’t give him a limit. He send me 2,000 words when he was in the middle of a book tour for his latest book. See http://blog.seattlepi.com/boomerconsumer/archives/178907.asp.

    I also got 2,000 words from thriller writer Robert Dugoni, a writer from Washington state whose books are drawing attention.

    I divided each in two parts and used the feature to only show the top half of the post.

    Rita blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide at http://boomersurvive-thriveguide.typepad.com.

  5. Yet another amazing and informative post. Thanks for sharing Darren, you have made my blog 1000 times better!

  6. I constantly find myself analyzing my post and hitting the edit post button…would probably be good if I did that before publishing huh?

  7. You know what my problem is when I split posts into multiple parts? I end up saving the “parts” as drafts and then forget to follow up. Needless to say you’re more disciplined than I am here…

  8. You could have cut down this post into two – one for question and another for the warning..

    Just kidding ;)

  9. ITrush says:

    It really depends, what really matters is.. you have to re-read your post again and again before hitting that post button.

  10. sockyee says:

    It’s best that for the same topic, the information is organized into different pages so that it won’t clutter the page. Somehow as a reader, I’m more inclined to read a short article rather than a long one but if the subject interests me to pursue further information, I don’t mind clicking on the “next link” button. It’s better to split up not in terms of seo point of view but also in readers perspective.

  11. scheng1 says:

    I prefer long post, for the sake of keyword density and keyword occurence.

  12. Too true!

    My posts can’t ever be chunked up (it’s just the way my blog subject is) it drives me crazy to read super extremely long posts on other blogs!

    Split it up and make it easier not just on yourself — but your readers!

  13. paco says:

    Hi , Darren
    Another great post in the line of Problogger
    I have discovered your blog and is a must-read-daily todo for me..hihi
    I think the reflection about cut in one or more parts a blog post is an advice to have in mind EVERY time we post
    I have noticed , that me own , abandon some posts during reading because of long of them…
    Now , i write more short posts than before , but is better your solution…it creates expecattion inthe reader , and this is good for the blog.
    regards

  14. As someone not fond of long blog posts I try to compile my subject into a short but to the point post most of the times. I encounter some blog posts like 3-4 pages long, which I never read to the end. Only the ones with great quality will keep readers on it, other than that it is better to split posts into two or more parts.

  15. I must learn how to split my posts. Sometimes I get carried away and I dish out very long posts.

  16. Great advice on contemplating about long blog posts. Sometimes splitting them up into separate post are the best things to do for the sake of your reader. You might keep their interest easier if it was in shorter sections.

  17. I’ve substantially reduced the length of my posts, but always have this nagging feeling that I could have used a few more descriptors to make it pop!

  18. Lasse says:

    Fantastic post, Darren. You truely have some good points.
    For me, however, it’s not a problem. Maybe that’s becaurse my english sucks, so I’m often having problems writing theese long posts ;)

  19. work at home says:

    I always prefer to write short post better than long post. Because people do not make interest to read long post. So I try to complete my article with short post.

  20. This is a good reminder. I’m a journalist so I’m used to writing articles about 500 words long. Often that’s too long for a blog.

    When you have people do e-mail interviews, it’s good to tell them up to 500 words. One author who I gave that word limit to send me 2,000 words! I divided it into four posts.

  21. panduantnx says:

    dept and momentum. I agree with that. You full with suprise when i read your article. :)

  22. Absolutely right – I sometimes do posts that are way too long. I think some of my personal tendency towards that stems from the fact that, in my earlier days, I was a journalist and got paid by the word. :-)

    Having said that, though – I do believe that there’s scope for providing your readers with ‘a good read’; when they visit.

  23. Sometimes we write posts that are too long for readers to read. We try to put all things in our mind into one piece of writing. I will write posts that are not too long or too short. This article is very important for me as I usually write a post that my friends say too complicated. Next time I will make my post as simple as possible.

  24. Rahul says:

    Yes, i recheck my post before publishing button.

  25. Yes I do split into two when I have 10 ideas or 10 photos. I simply divide them in two posts.By Adding Part I or post I

  26. shsahb says:

    thanx
    I’ve substantially reduced the length of my posts, but always have this nagging feeling that I could have used a few more descriptors to make it pop!

  27. sanjana says:

    A very good post.I do not split it into two,I just keep my blog simple and interesting.

  28. tips says:

    Thanks Problogger.net for these important points. This is very essential to know about the nature of a post, and then hit on the publish button.

  29. Helen says:

    Too often it happens to read posts which are too long and because of that, i lose my interest for them, and i pass to the next post/subject/category. You really have to know how to keep your readers next to you, and how to make some new ones. These advices are very good!

  30. Kelly Hall says:

    Neat idea — wish I had thought of it!

  31. Blogbooze says:

    Nice ideas!!

  32. Good Day,I came across this blog a couple of days ago and I must say that I have gained some cool points as of now.I was hopin if you could put some more info about the right way to slim down.