Much time has been spent on debating the ideal length of a blog post. Although there are proponents for the long, narrative-worthy blog post, there are also those who prefer the short and sweet road. So who is right? Looking closely at the style most bloggers use today, most posts can be read in under a minute if you are fast enough. So what is with the new order? Why bloggers write shorter blog posts?
Is short the way to go?
A blog is a shared experience, unless of course you write for private consumption. Back in its early days, blogs were meant to be short writeups that either presented the whole idea in one go or, in the case of unavoidably long writeups, shorter posts published as a series. For bloggers with a strong following, long posts were not really worrisome, considering that they have a stable audience. For new bloggers, however, it was a different story.
Until, of course, blogosphere was born.
These days, millions of blogs compete for an audience whose span of attention gets shorter and shorter. Although content remains king, bloggers now have to please both the meticulous readers and the skimmers – the type of site visitors who skim web pages for information, skipping whole sentences and even paragraphs to go through a post as quickly as possible.
To compete and keep the traffic coming, bloggers now have to devise ways to be the best source of information and still keep the interest of their visitors.
The result: shorter blogs.
Should you go short?
There are many reasons why bloggers write shorter blog posts nowadays. First, short posts are easier to write and much faster to finish. It also hones bloggers’ writing skills, building their discipline to be concise, choose the right words and be more efficient.
Short blog posts are also much easier to read, particularly if they are sent as RSS feed. There is a good chance that subscribers will read them because all they need to know can be had in just a few short paragraphs. Short blog posts are simply easy to deliver and even easier to digest.
How short is short?
Short blogs seem all the rage these days and some have even evolved into forms that resemble SMS. In fact, micro-blogging, the rising favorite at the moment, allows only a maximum of 140 characters (you read that right – characters, not words).
Without going to that extreme, however, bloggers could still write short blog posts without sounding as if they had some unfinished business. In general, short blog posts can run a respectable length of 250 words and go as far as 500 words and nobody will complain.
The key is to provide quality content, the kind that offers information, the kind that satisfies readers and encourages them to come back for more. If you want to go short, make sure you do so with style and substance. Avoid the post that looks like a drive-by shootout – it may be quick and do the job but it is also messy. Writing short blog posts is an art form – you have to learn what to take out and what to keep in order to make things more interesting.
Do you agree that blog posts are getting shorter and shorter nowadays? Do you think a blog post should be written long to prevail? Tell us what you think in the comments.
Peter Lee is the webmaster of ComputerHowToGuide.com. He recently got himself a new iPad and is now looking to buy some iPad accessories. For those looking to improve the performance of their PCs, don’t miss his article on how to speed up your computer.