Length of Blog Posts

The problem with writing big blog posts is that it is difficult to acquire readers that way. It calls upon too much effort from the reader to read through the entire thing, and then decide whether to subscribe to your blog. As I have observed while looking at friends’ shared items on Google REader, the longer a post is, the greater the chance that I put NED and just mark it as read.

If you write consicely, it is that much easier to acquire new readers. It is that much easier for a new reader to quickly read a few of your posts, and decide that he likes it enough in order to subscribe. More of your posts that get shared on Google Reader are actually read, and there will be more click throughs to your full blog.

Look at some of India’s more successful bloggers – for example the two Amits – Varma and Agarwal. Amit Varma specializes in writing really concise stuff. His posts are usually quotes from some other article that he has linked to, and maybe a couple of lines of commentary (this is about his normal blog posts, not his Bastiat pieces which are longer). Amit Agarwal’s posts are longer but they contain so many pictures that they can be read very quickly.

The point is that these guys’ posts are so quick to read for a new reader that it is very easy to evaluate. If you don’t give potential customers a chance to evaluate you easily, the number of people who even evaluate you goes down and that has an impact on your overall readership.

I know that on this blog I’ve been guilty of writing extra-long posts. I try my best to finish stuff within 500 words but half the time I go beyond 900. Dear Readers, I appreciate your patience and thank you for still remaining loyal to this blog. The problem wtih me is that I never edit or proof-read my posts, and I write them in flow. So the posts represent the flow of thought through my head and that need not be concise. And hence I overshoot. However, henceforth I should make a conscious effort to keep my posts concise. And maybe you should do the same, too.

11 thoughts on “Length of Blog Posts”

  1. But there’s an exception to this da. Suppose you write something really incredible and it gets linked with lots of positive feedback. After that even if its long, people will remember the blog and be more likely to subscribe.

    1. that is true. if you write long stuff quality needs to be there. basically the required maximum length of blog post varies inversely with the quality

  2. Though of course if you are able to get a point across concisely it is even better. But for things like Sidin’s legendary post on South Indian names the charm was in the fact that it rambled on for so long without get stale.

    1. actually i thought of this post after checking out Sidin’s blog only. went to whatay.com and saw that each of the top few posts was huge. and that put me off and i didn’t bother to read it. it’s different when someone has recommended something to you. but for blind test, length => jai only

  3. Recent reader here, but I have gone through exactly the same things you mention. Sometimes we (at least I do) tend to put fundaes with so much enthu that the post never ends and tends to bore people that dont share same enthu.

    I also agree with Aadhist. If you are networked, you will get positive feedback regardless of the length. It’s a percentage game. More people read, more chance that someone will agree with/like what you write, regardless of length.

    1. see – i’m willing to try read a long piece if someone has recommended it. but in case of a “blind check” a long post will put me offf

  4. Somehow I never felt that your posts are extra long. My enthu feelings dramatically increase looking at the title of the blog rather than its length

    1. I agree with what you tell – I have observed myself that I’ve taken eons to finally put enthu to read your long posts – while anything that takes not more than 2 min is something I read right away (so, I agree that anything around 500 words is a good place to start).

      One thing that Amit Verma told in one of his recent interviews was that as time went by – he was able to realize and make his points concise. And I tell you – that really works. Not everyone who subscribes to your feed in the blogosphere would know you personally. I think a long post(say – all posts on the marriage scissors are long – but they are excellent fundaes) once in a while will work – but not a long post every other time.

      1. of course being concise works. and it is an art. hope to imbibe that as days go by.

        as i’ve mentioned in some other comments, if you write well, then length doesn’t matter. for example Prem Panicker (of Refidd, India abroad, etc.) writes humongous essays. but he writes them so well that people don’t mind.

  5. I have a different perspective about writing, a little weird though!

    While writing, author should not care about who reads, who does not, how many subscribers it attracts. Should write as if no one in this world is going to read it; only then one can write ones mind and heart out, without any inhibitions, prejudices.

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