I was commenting on a blog last night which got me thinking about blog content and length. There’s no doubt that great content is paramount for a good blog post. But there can be a problem here. Great content can require a lot of thought and research, especially if it’s a how-to, tutorial or review. Also to do justice to a topic may require presenting well argued points for and against a particular view. Both of these factors can lead to a longish post and incidentally can take a long time to prepare.
A lengthy post is all very well if the reader is interested in the topic and has the time to work through the post, and possibly comment on it, but I suspect that many readers may be turned off by a long post, and just skim it and move on, especially if they are new to your site and not familiar with your previous posts. The situation is compounded if you are a relatively new blogger and haven’t built up an established fan-base who are familiar with your work. After all, there’s so much to read out there and we have to cover all the latest posts in our RSS feeds and get on to Twitter where ‘micro-content’ is king.
So it’s a question of striking the right balance in your post – being concise and not long-winded. Not repeating yourself like I’ve just done in the last sentence. Have an interesting title and introduction to set the scene and hold the reader. Try breaking longer posts up into sections with clear sub-headings, bullet points or numbered points. This may help the reader to skim sections they are familiar with. If required, try and sum up the post in your last paragraph.
If you’re in doubt whether your posts are the right length, look at your own last blog post and consider whether, if you had stumbled across it, would you have read it through to the end. I must confess that looking at some of my earlier posts, they were probably too long and that’s reflected in the rapid click-throughs I see in Woopra Analytics up to December. That seems to have improved recently as more people are taking more time to explore my blog.
I’ll leave it at that – and well done if you’ve read this far. I hope I’ve got the length just right this time.
Further reading: How to Write an Article in 20 Minutes – Copyblogger
Photo credit: Will Lion