Close
Close

Why Your Next Post Should Be a Short One

This guest post is by Martyn of Two Hour Blogger.

  1. It does not take long to write.
  2. It does not take long to read.
  3. It forces you to write efficiently.
  4. It increases the number of comments.
  5. It makes you stand out.
  6. It gets spread a lot.
  7. It builds your audience.

Get more from Martyn at Two Hour Blogger.

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. Chris Kahler says:

    Very interesting… I have a problem with writing too much in my blog posts at times, but I’ve been seeing a lot of advice on this matter which agrees with what you’re saying here.

    I’m big on being more effective, and shorter posts do that. This is really creative, I enjoyed it thoroughly!

    -Chris

    • Joe Burnett says:

      Your comment was longer than the post itself :)

      • Martyn says:

        Haha that’s the point, Joe.

        Short blog posts start interesting discussions, and they get lots of comments.

        See? It’s working. :D

      • Chris Kahler says:

        That is actually what I’m starting to see as a better model!

        Being able to draw such in depth comments is a pretty valuable skill, especially when you can write short & effective content such as this blog post. You can take Stephen Guise as as a great example of this also.

        This post is a rare kind. It’s one of those pieces of advise you’d want to save for future inspiration… I’ve actually handwritten it on a little notepad just to keep as a reminder. I’m very much pro art, and I’m seeing a lot of creativity hovering around the same groups of people…

        Treating blogging as an art form really helps with quality, and I’d consider this one artistic lol

  2. Concise message conveyed loud and clear. Very creative!

    I do try to pare down my posts for any unnecessary words, sentences, or thoughts. This often leads to ideas splitting; I find I have written two posts instead of one.

    Thanks!

    • Graham Lutz says:

      Me too! I’m always getting to the end of a post and realizing I’ve written 1400 words…then I decide to creak it up into three or four posts.

  3. Tom says:

    werd.

  4. I have to admit that was not at all what I was expecting when I followed the @problogger Twitter link.

    Certainly effective – you got a couple free backlinks and at least 1 subscriber to your blog!

    – Jim

  5. Anna says:

    I wrote one today that was 1000 words … I could certainly benefit from some shorter posts! I tend to ramble when I get worked up about something though.

  6. Marc says:

    Pertinent & Erudite.

  7. Well played!

    This post reminds me of Copyblogger’s “10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer”.

    Both posts are classics, in my book.

  8. Tom says:

    Isn’t there a rule posts should be more than 300 words or something like that? That’s what I’ve read anyway.

    • Martyn says:

      No there isn’t Tom. On the guidelines at here at Problogger, it reads:

      Your post should be as long as you need it to be in order to convey your message.

      We publish posts that vary greatly in length. Anything goes—length isn’t a factor, but quality is. Stick with your own style and voice, and choose a length that sits well with you.

      I’m pushing things to the edge here a bit, but it’s okay to blog whatever length you wish. ;)

      • Joseph says:

        This is a great example of why there shouldn’t be rules about length. Sometimes long makes sense, and sometimes super short makes sense. You just have to know how to use both.

        • Martyn says:

          “You just have to know how to use both.” That’s an important point, Joseph. People need to take the short post ideology with a grain of salt.

          (And thanks for the compliment below!)

  9. Christi says:

    Excellent advice. I was working on a post just this morning and realized it was just going on and on and on. I reminded myself to keep it short and sweet.

  10. Travis says:

    Interesting. This makes sense, but sometimes from an SEO perspective your posts should be a little longer, at least 300 words. But this is a great strategy for increasing conversation.

  11. Tom, I thought posts were supposed to be a certain length as well. Read in in a book about blogging somewhere. Something about Google thinking short posts don’t have content and are spam

    • Martyn says:

      Funny you mention that, Ellen.

      Google actually awards short posts. The three components of solid SEO are:

      1. Keywords
      2. Solid Content
      3. Incoming links

      This tiny post meets the first two, and the third will definitely happen in the coming weeks. (I wouldn’t be saying this if I hadn’t experienced it before).

      Make sense? :)

  12. Ok, so I see the answer was posted while I was asking question. Length doesn’t matter. Thanks for the clarification. My posts are way too long. Writing one right now in fact that is already 1200 words. OMG! But next one will be short- I promise. Thanks

  13. Mandy says:

    Was that it?

    Short and sweet!

    I like it!!!

  14. Joseph says:

    Well done on this post, Martyn, well done.

    p.s. I love how easy it was to read this post. :)

  15. With regard to length being anything you want, I have to disagree a bit. One deciding factor is what your audience wants and will read, not necessarily always what you feel like saying. Clearly, people’s attention spans are getting shorter, so long posts, which in my opinion are around 600-700+ words should probably be used sparingly in many cases.

    For example, if you write to a small biz audience or moms with small kids who are very busy already, the likelihood that they’ve got lots of time to read is probably pretty small. Breaking a potentially large post into 2 or 3 as mentioned above, could be a smart strategy. However, if you’re writing a detailed explanation of a process for example, and in your niche that’s normal, then you’d likely have greater reception.

    Bottom line though, having a strategy of variety will pretty much always keep you on a good path.

    Great post Martyn!

  16. Melvin says:

    Great post Martyn. I can really use this set up with my blog.

    I couldn’t agree more with how short posts makes your audience engage more in commenting because they have a lot to say.

    Equation: Readers to Engage More = Short Post + Great Timing in Posting + Quality.

    By writing short posts you can practice to be more direct and straight to the point. You’ll really make all the left and right turns gone and make a straight path where you want your readers to proceed.

    But bloggers should be really careful with writing short posts because as how the great effects of it comes with a back-fire of a cannon ball in the face if you failed to write it with interesting contents.

    • Martyn says:

      You’re totally on with that last point. And even if the content is interesting, a chunk of your audience will unsubscribe because it’s so different. You have to gamble that it goes viral in social media so you can catch up.

  17. Brad says:

    Should have used bullet points for easier reading.

  18. Atish says:

    ……..And the example is you Martyn.. this is one of the shortest post but very informative.. I liked it.

  19. Peggy Baron says:

    Martyn,
    This post makes me happy!
    I honestly breathe a sigh of relief when I see a short, but value-packed post.
    Thanks brother.

    Peggy
    P.S. Okay… my last 2 blog posts were looong, but the hefty word counts were necessary in these particular cases. There’s a time and a place, eh? ;)

  20. Ayodeji says:

    Amazin! Can’t believe I began to look for the post, perhaps, cos I dropped in from twitter. It really proves that length doesn’t really suggest sense!

  21. I started to suggest that the post could look like shallow content to a search engine, but them realized that the comments from folks with some degree of authentic authority demonstrates that it is valuable content. Brilliant!

  22. Just yesterday I read something about never publishing a post under 300 words. I thought that was a silly rule. I’m all for short and to the point.

  23. Daniel says:

    Nice. It is said that one really doesn’t fully understand something complex until he can explain it to someone who doesn’t know anything about it shortly, and in language they can understand. So why waste someone’s time, if the point can be made quickly? Although I do understand some things can’t be said in a few paragraphs, so that’s why we have books. ;)

    • Martyn says:

      I absolutely LOVE that last line – “that’s why we have books.” Haha thanks Daniel. For sure, dead trees still come in handy.

  24. Brilliant! First thing I did was subscribe to RSS feed of Authors Blog. Will be using these idea in the future. Thank you.

  25. Carla Easley says:

    I always thought that a quality post should be at least 300-500 words but I learn something new everyday :)

  26. Vagobond says:

    Brevity is the soul of wit. Nice!

  27. se7en says:

    Genius, Love it!!! The idea of it and the action!!!

  28. bennix says:

    Practical tips!” Make it Simple Stupid”as what my teacher told me in College…:)

  29. Writing an article is not about how long you can write. Your article is considered good when you can bring audience to the point where you are trying to convey. Point to point article is the most affective way but don’t try to use this type of article too much. Otherwise your blog will become a bit dull and less interesting :)

    • Martyn says:

      As my friend told me, this type post only works about once per year. Save the super short for Twitter. :)

  30. I also think that our blog posts should vary in length. It is usually the article directories that demand a certain number of words. When Google went after some of them, they had to require a higher word count from writers.
    I also agree that our blog posts should represent who we are … as we are sharing of ourselves – our thoughts, feelings, learnings and experiences. We may express these in long or short posts.
    Ros

  31. Harrison Li says:

    Good one Martyn :) But I reckon these should be done sparingly, or else the bounce rate might be high because it takes less time to read :O

    • Martyn says:

      Try to not to pay too much attention to the stats, Harrison. They can be misleading. Focus on results, not cold statistics. :)

    • Tom says:

      I would think that a short post would actually decrease the bounce rate because the reader feels like they have more time to read your other posts if they aren’t as long.

      The “time on site” stat might go down, but that’s not so bad if you’re transmitting information more efficiently to your readers so that you waste less of their time.

  32. Shabbir says:

    Martyn, yesterday I published the longest post on my blog but I see how short posts can also make the great impact. Keep going …

  33. Cristina says:

    Well done Martyn.

    The lenght of your posts depends on what you want to say and how. There’s no need to write 1200+ words every time.

    You made a good point here.

    Cristina

    • Martyn says:

      Thanks Christina! Short posts are good at getting your audience out of the woods a bit. You should try this too, you know.

  34. Jeremy says:

    After reading this I am going to turn the comments back on. I dare you to comment on my shortness. This post came at the right time. Beautiful.

  35. Marie Noelle says:

    That was short!!

    I post really short post from time to time for several reasons and I get as many comments on those posts than I get on my really long ones… It kinda invites the readers to add something to the post!

  36. Kathy says:

    I love the shortie post! Some of my best ones are 100-200 words. Believe it or not, part of my reasoning for doing so is because I know my readers have a lot of blogs to follow, and that’s a heck of a lot of reading. When they hit one of my shorties, it’s like a merciful gift of light reading in a sea of words that make their eyes cross.

  37. rosemary says:

    I do 2 short posts a week on Tues and Thurs call them Photo Gallery and show one photo and state where it was taken. It helps me to still have a post a day but gives the readers something different and they know every Tues and Thurs that is what will be posted. It seems to be working well for both me and them!!

  38. Nice one Martyn. Posts doesn’t need to be much to make sense!

  39. Roger that!

  40. Great post – but I’m not sure I’m a believer of what your saying.. their are 2 sides to this.

    1. Writing short posts will not rank well with google – well that’s what i find anyway – please correct me if I’m wrong

    2. If you are a pro blogger and get loads of organic traffic then yes short posts are awesome for your blog readers and i think they prefer them,

    BUT – if your looking to generate traffic and are new to blogging then you need to write article size posts so google rank them well.

  41. Grant says:

    It does not take long to write. Of course it doesn’t because you don’t have anything to say or you are too lazy to say what needs to be said.

    It does not take long to read. Nope, and people will be left wondering why they read it.

    It forces you to write efficiently. If you call this efficiency then you really need to look up the word.

    It increases the number of comments. Proof?

    It makes you stand out. Or it makes you look silly

    It gets spread a lot. Doubtful, posts rich in information get spread, posts like this go largely ignored.

    It builds your audience. Yeah, right

    Another problem with this great idea is the fact that search engines don’t care for short posts and often reward much longer posts. It’s one thing if you are posting live action from a breaking news standpoint but in general short posts do absolutely none of the things you say.

    But hey, seeing as Darren has given up on the roots of Problogger leaving it to a horde or guest bloggers and only doing drive bys to sell something then maybe I am wrong and this is the wave of the future.

    • Martyn says:

      I got a reaction out of you, Grant. That’s exactly what I wanted. I saw some rockstars on Twitter say this is a must-read, and I’m glad to see the other viewpoint.

  42. bschebs says:

    I just started blogging, but I like this advice. My posts tend to be approx 500 words or less. for all my posted and drafts so far.

  43. I’m so very guilty of writing long, very descriptive posts to where I am sure my readers are nodding off….

    I forget that most don’t enjoy long, drawn out detail. My readers are not me.

  44. Laimonas says:

    Short, straight and simple. Cool!

  45. Mario says:

    This is exactly what I like over at Seth Godin’s blog.

  46. Zove says:

    Short post is good, we don’t need to write too much useless words in our post, just express the right meaning.

  47. Chris Price says:

    I just took your advice and posted a really short list that I came up with in like 5 minutes, when instead I generally post longer posts. I guess I’ll see how it works…although I don’t see doing it often based upon my general topic.

  48. I think short post don’t get search engine traffic easily (unless its very unique). But short posts go well with the readers. That’s the dilemma!

    Destination Infinity

  49. Monja Wessel says:

    Personally, i much more like long posts. I like to dive in, I like to read and I like to learn more about the author through his writings. So short posts are definitely different and grab attention but I like the long ones :-)

  50. Create Ebook says:

    It looks like all 7 points in the blog have happened. I arrived here from a link on Twitter posted by Affilorama, and was impressed by the content and comments. It seems to have worked well.