Does Size Really Matter?

Lately, I have been reading more and more advice about how bloggers and article writers should be writing shorter, more concise text in order to make it more attractive to readers. I’m sure that a lot of this will eventually boil down to why you write and read articles, but first, let’s start with some basics about article length.

Pros and Cons of Length Variety

From informational value to bookmarking to readability to comments, here are some of the pros and cons of posts at different lengths.

Pros of Short Posts

  • Short posts are easier to read, so visitors have more time to continue to additional posts on a site.
  • Short posts are faster to write, giving the author the opportunity to write more posts for their own site or others.
  • Short posts usually leave a little to the imagination, which can lead to comments with questions for the author.

Cons of Short Posts

  • Short posts usually lack a lot of information, making them not live up to their headline.
  • Short posts are usually very simplistic in terms of giving concepts and ideas, but not necessarily applicable detailed information.
  • Short posts are so easy to write, so they can be outsourced to less than qualified writers (or put through bad spinning software) leading to lower quality articles.

Pros of Long Posts

  • Long posts typically fulfill their headline – if it is a how to post, for example, you should be able to follow the steps and accomplish the objective.
  • Long posts get a lot more bookmarks because people save them for future reference (or to finish reading later).
  • Long posts demonstrate the in-depth knowledge and expertise of the author.

Cons of Long Posts

  • Long posts take a while to write and format in order to break up the text, leaving the author with less time to write more in volume.
  • Long posts may not get as many comments because they do not leave openings for questions, as they answer everything someone may want to ask.
  • Long posts may turn off readers who are looking for a “quick fix” of information in smaller, easier to digest bites.

Preference, Need, and Goals

Whether you like short or long posts really depends on your preference and your need. If you are in a hurry and are only looking for posts that get your brain going in the right direction, then short posts are what you are seeking. If you have some time and want to learn how to do something, then long posts are the ones that will fulfill your needs.

For bloggers, you have to evaluate your audience, as well as your goals. Do your readers come to your blog for concepts and theories or how to’s and advice? Do you want lots of comments, bookmarks, and social shares?

The best route would be to try a little of both short and long posts to see what your readers respond to – if the results are what you are looking for in terms of getting more subscribers and reactions to your post, then stick with that length. If not, try changing your amount of content to see what happens.

Successful Examples of Lengthy Posts

My preference, in case anyone hasn’t noticed from reading my blog or my guest posts on others sites, is for the longer posts. I can’t help it – I feel like I’m not fulfilling my duty as a blogger if I do not cover a subject thoroughly.

A recent example of lengthy writing is my post on boosting article marketing results with CommentLuv for the Famous Bloggers + Comluv blogging contest. The post itself is over 1,200 words, which is what I would consider a long one.

Not only that, but I went to the extent of making sure each of the networks (HubPages, Squidoo, Bukisa, EzineArticles, and GoArticles) was covered in detail by supplying a specific supplemental guide for and on each network as well (each linked in the main guide) which range around the over 1,500 word count. Not that I wrote 5 separate 1,500 word articles, but in the supplements case, each one is modified to fit with the specific network. Ezine, Bukisa, and GoArticles are just text whereas HubPages and Squidoo include photos and video.

While it sounds excessive, I can almost guarantee that if you visit those articles, you will know, by the end of reading them, not only why you want to implement this strategy, but exactly how to do it. The main guide has generated plenty of tweets, comments, and a rating of 7.0 on Postrank.

If that doesn’t work convince you, just consider the success of Social Media Examiner posts. They require a minimum of 1,000 words, and some of their least popular posts get 300+ tweets. My first post on their site on social media crisis management received almost 800 tweets, which was phenomenal.

Your Preference

As a blog reader, what do you prefer in terms of post length? Do you like articles to be simple and concise, or lengthy and detailed? As a blogger, which do you prefer writing, or feel that your readers like better? Please add in your vote, and then discuss your reasoning in the comments.





Genesis Framework

Like the new design? Kikolani uses a theme called Wintersong Pro on the Genesis Framework from StudioPress. It's great design right out of the box, easy to follow installation instructions, and built-in SEO features makes it perfect for professional bloggers.

If you have several websites and blogs powered by WordPress or design websites for others, then you will want the Pro Plus Package. It gives you lifetime access to all of their current 40+ professional designs plus new themes regularly added to their collection for unlimited use on your own websites and blogs as well as your clients' websites and blogs. Learn more about Pro Plus!




Comments

  1. says

    It’s funny, the length of the post also has to do with the layout as well. I’ve often written posts that seem long on my site, but are short as guest posts on other sites (because of the post width).

    Sometimes though, I find that long posts are filled with what I call “empty sentences.” Basically, a lot of filler and no substance. In all, it depends on the blogger, their style, and their expertise. Those who know what they’re talking about can get it out no matter the length..

    • says

      That is a valid point. Some long posts say the same thing throughout but “rephrased” supposedly to emphasize a point, when really it is just to increase the wording. I definitely think long posts should be fully developed content, without fluff or filler.

  2. says

    As a reader, I would say that readers would to read article from stable or lovable writers, like you, but, we talk about new writers, he/she should write short post, because Readers don’t have time to read about unknown or new writer.

    Or, maybe in simple word “Readers don’t want to trust new writers, and, don’t want to give their valuable time for reading his/her article, but, they trust stable writers like you, and, would appreciate and love to read your long post, because they trust you”.
    CharlieHash just posted 20 Funny stuff you should know about Dentist

    • says

      That is a good point. Once you trust a blogger, you are wiling to commit to reading a lengthy post because you know you will get something out of it.

      Sometimes I feel like newer writers lose their potential audience right away by producing short content that doesn’t feel original. Like when I got a post today in my inbox on 5 easy SEO tips, and it was the same thing you find everywhere else (title tag, meta tag, etc.). If you’re going to catch a new audience and want to shoot for short content, at least make it something unique that will wow people in an easier to read format, or produce something amazing that will help people figure something out!

  3. says

    It depends, I think shorter for personal reflections or opinions so there is room left for conversation, and longer for expertise.
    I also think that post length should be consistent. If you visit a blog that normally writes long posts, but suddenly only posts a few sentences it might give the impression that the writer is being lazy. And vice versa, it may seem overambitious when most posts are short but suddenly a lengthy one features.

    • says

      Consistency is a good point. If you’re readers are used to one format and like it, you probably shouldn’t change it unless you are sure it will be beneficial to your fans.

  4. says

    It depends! If I am reading a fast update about something then it has to be short and straight to the point, but it’s completely different when it’s about tutorials for example, I prefer them with more details!

    Short post are much easier to formulate compared to long articles, it takes more effort and time to format it in a way that makes sense for readers and keep them exciting to continue the read without being bored!

    I actually like to write long posts that explains the topic in detail as I always try to give satisfaction to readers and keep them longer on site!
    Hesham just posted The Biggest Blog Commenting Folder in the History of Blogging

    • says

      I agree with the last part. I just can’t help it though – I can’t write an article without going into full detail. It’s an addiction!

  5. says

    I come from the perspective of a professional writer. In most instances you want your blog post or article to say what it needs to say in as few words as possible, while still keeping an interesting style and being easy to read.

    If there’s a lot to say in a post, then of course it can go 1000 words or more. I’ve just seen too many posts that should have been 300-400 words, yet went well beyond the thousand-word mark.
    John Soares just posted 4 Reasons Why You Should Write the Sales Page First

    • says

      That’s also a good point. I think that a lot of writers are at the point that they have a lot to say, but they feel like they should be writing shorter posts, so they end up writing something super basic to make it short and sweet instead of really sharing the depth of their knowledge and making it useful.

      List posts are a great example of this – the latest guest post here on PR tactics for blogging has five strategies and their benefits listed, and one commenter pointed out they would have liked to have seen more of the strategies listed to make it more comprehensive and useful.

  6. says

    It Depends. I tend to lead toward longer posts and guest posts. I also feel its my duty to explain everything and give my opinions along side. So that tends to make a long post. But also do a few short ones, those generally quick tips or social media news update and site udpates. Those will be short unless, its part of review or review.
    element321 just posted Back-End Solutions to Having a Quick Load-Time

    • says

      True… site updates should usually be short and sweet, especially if you want visitors to actually check out the updates as opposed to just reading about them.

  7. says

    OK. I will answer here exactly as I did vote for your poll and that is, it depends. For example, I would have never find out the pros and cons of writing short or long posts if you were the “short” writer type, lol. It would not fit and you would end up writing it in series, e.g., Part 1, 2 and so on.. That can be an advantage but then again, it is still very difficult. My approach is somewhere in between.
    DiTesco just posted Update: Making Money Online With Mahalo

  8. says

    I prefer longer. I like to make sure I get out everything I want to say on a topic, and usually with a shorter post I can’t.. It’s more like the abbreviated version. So I prefer long, but everyone is different. I write how I enjoy writing, and if readers like it… then they’re meant to be my readers!

    c
    Cori Padgett just posted Why Guest Posting is Fun in 200 Words or Less…

    • says

      I have to agree with that… I just wrote a post yesterday that was 2,600 words long. I shortened it to 2,300 and thought about splitting it up, but at the same time, I just wanted to say everything about it right then. I think that’s why I like including “comprehensive” in the titles.

  9. says

    As a professional writer turned blogger, (who has successfully published just about every genre of writing imaginable), I think that by its very nature, blogging should be concise. That’s what most readers look for in online material. Let’s face it, most of the topics covered through blogs can be found in great detail in books, if (most readers) wanted book length material they’d buy the book version.
    That’s just my 2 cents.:-)

    I agree with John. The objective is to capture their attention without holding them “captive.”
    Jennifer Brown Banks just posted How to Handle Constructive Criticism In Your Creative Career

    • says

      I like having a willingly captive audience I guess. :) It’s funny that you mention books… I always look at books at the bookstore, but then hold off buying them to make sure I can’t find the information online first (for free) so I end up appreciating the lengthy tutorials on sites because they save me a little money.

  10. says

    It’s interesting to see how people sit on both ends of the spectrum. I prefer longer blog posts as a blog reader and writer. I appreciate when a topic is covered thoroughly. Most of the topics I read about require a more in-depth presentation. On the other hand, it all takes considerable time! It’s always good to trim extra words, whether the post is long or short. I sometimes try to work toward a balance of two longer articles and one shorter one each week.
    Sandra Lee just posted Irresistable benefits of meditation

    • says

      I can usually lop off a few hundred words in a post, but I find it nice to know that I’m not just repeating the same thing in multiple spots – everything in my content usually needs to be there. The 300 I pulled off of one post I only did because I knew I could make another post out of it. And I agree, when I read something, I’d rather take additional time and get full coverage of the topic than have to seek out additional sources.

  11. says

    In our niche, the ‘sweet spot’ is generally in the 300-350 word range.

    We tend to subscribe to many blogs, and I’m surprised at the number of bloggers who write long posts that do not place their key points in bold. A long article can be easily digested by placing the main points in bold, thus increasing the number of folks who read the long article by catching their attention with the key points.
    Colleen just posted Richland Washington Homes For Sale

  12. says

    In my opinion, a good blog must consist of long and short posts. So, it depends to what you wish to write in that article. As a blogger, i will feel proud to write a long post than short post as it represents my expertise on that topic. However, we should not the add some unrelated things inside the content in order to make it longer. This will only destroy the useful information from that article.
    KS Chen just posted Knowing Search Engine is Important for SEO

    • says

      That’s true… goes back to adding filler or fluff material just to make something a certain length. Everything has to be on topic and valuable to make a long post worth it for readers!

  13. says

    It actually depends. It depends on what you’re writing about. If the post would come out better if it is straight to the point, concise or short, then keep it short and simple. But, if the post needed to be further explained or expounded or if it needed to be in detail, then create a long post. Just write what you need to write, or write from the heart and from your knowledge and what results is the best, if it’s long, or if it’s short, then, so be it.

    • says

      Great way to put it! So long as the post fully conveys what you want it to, the length should be a secondary consideration.

  14. says

    Actually when i read any blog post i just don’t look at it’s size. I just read title at first if it is really interesting then i go for it. I don’t care too much on size. And when i write any post i don’t estimate post size at all. I just try to make my post clear to my reader. If it requires too many words then it’s ok. And if it requires few words then it’s ok too. So i just can say size doesn’t matter to me. It totally depends. Thanks

  15. says

    Interesting thoughts here but the trouble is there isn’t any right answer. Sometimes you can cover it all in brief and sometimes you need to go into more detail. Sometimes people want a quick read and other times they want to get into the nitty gritty. Most of all I think it’s important to make sure you don’t try to artificially spin out a short post to make it seem more weighty. Readers can see right through that and it’s so boring. This post was just the right length for me though:) Thank you!
    Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot just posted Getting Things Done Vs. Getting Results

    • says

      I have been able to recognize when writers are “stretching” ideas to make the post seem longer than it needed to be. It’s definitely not the right route – if you want to write something longer, make sure to research the topic more so you can provide more information on it.

  16. says

    Another problem with a long post is that unless you’re a good writer it can tend to waffle or bore the reader to such an extent that they fall off the chair hurting themselves and then the next thing you know, when they come to their senses, you have a law suit on your hands :D

    Personally I prefer the shorter posts, both in reading them and writing them. Ching Ya is known for her long posts and she definitely fills them with so much interesting and worthwhile information. So much so that I can’t absorb it all in one sitting and I need to come back to it, the only problem is that I have so much on my plate most of the times I get distracted and forget all about it.
    Sire just posted Looking For US Citizens Who Buy Alternative Milk Products

    • says

      You know, I haven’t heard of such a lawsuit, but I wouldn’t be surprised with some of the ridiculous ones out there.

      I end up loving all of Ching Ya’s posts actually, because I know when she writes about a topic, you’re going to leave knowing just how to get it done since it will include all of the info you need. That’s what I usually like in posts. And if I don’t have the time to finish it, I bookmark and tag it so when I work on something (like Facebook page updates) I have all of my good resources easily available.

  17. says

    Personally, it depends on what I’m there for. If I’m looking for information and I come across a short post, I’m leaving ASAP. I just believe that post is not going to give me enough information so there’s no point wasting my time.
    However, if I’m reading for pleasure and out of curiousity, maybe from the blog title, then I don’t mind, (but yes, it would be nice if it’s short).
    When looking for information it would be nice to have a summary that could possibly give a direct answer, if a direct question was asked, then go into further details in the body of the blog. That way, everyone eats their cake and has it!
    Tola just posted Blog history – Why Blogger and Not WordPress

    • says

      Thank you Tola. I feel better that I’m not the only one who ditches short posts. I have done that a lot recently – I see a great headline like how to do __, and I go to the post and it’s about 3 short bullet points long and more overall theory than applicable techniques, I leave almost immediately because I know certain topics are going to need a lot more coverage.

      A short summary on a long post is a good point… Blogussion actually does that, but they do it at the end of the post with a summary and keypoints. Something at the top of the post like that would be a great idea!

    • says

      You’re welcome. Your post was as inspiration for creating the title of this one… normally I would have said something pretty straightforward like “do you like longer or shorter posts” and then I went with this. It felt a little more cheeky and attention grabbing!

  18. says

    I’d go for shorter posts, like 500-600 words. The important thing is to just be relevant with the headline. And if in case you have other things related to the topic that is worth mentioning, you can always make it as another post, which you can include as links within the body.

    The good thing about this is that you get to showcase your expertise while you are:

    1. enhancing the quality of your contents through clean and succinct entries
    2. improving your blog’s internal linking structure
    3. decreasing your blog’s bounce rate
    4. getting other pages dug by search engines and people of course

    Well, that’s only my opinion. But it really depends on the topic. A great question to be asked before start writing. Thanks Kristi :)

    Regards,
    Jason

  19. says

    Yet another supposed “debate” I just don’t get.

    Write until your point is made. WHERE is the debate? Seriously.

    Of course, you should always include some of YOU personality wise (unless you’re writing tech manuals) and yea, sometimes mine may be a bit longer then they absolutely have to be because of this, but my readership eats it up.

    It’s all good.
    Dennis Edell just posted Blog Network Almost Ready to Rise – Multiple Posts Coming Here.

    • says

      I don’t know if it’s a debate, persay, but I keep reading that articles should be short, articles should be short. And every time I find a short article, I end up leaving because it doesn’t have any good information. So it’s more about sharing my opinion and getting others as well.

  20. Anne says

    In my opinion, size really does matter but it depends on the topic of your article. There are articles that needs to be short since the coverage of its details isn’t that important. Short and informative articles are better compared to lengthy articles that doesn’t make sense.

  21. says

    This is a good post, there does seem to be a big push for short content at the moment, I agree with you though. Readers are looking for information, and as a rule – longer content = more information. Longer posts just seem to make more sense in that respect.

    That said, I actually try not to focus on length too much, I think if you try to write short posts you risk missing something out, but if you try to write long posts, you risk waffling.

    I tend to “know” what I want to cover, and I write until I have covered all the points that I wanted to get across, if I say everything I have to say and it’s only 350 words, then so be it. Sometimes I will get really stuck in and write a much longer post though; as long as I’m happy with the content, the length doesn’t usually worry me too much.

    As always, my philosophy is: Quality and readability first, everything else second, it sounds obvious, but I find it is helpful to remind myself every now and then…

  22. says

    Kristi, in my experience, the really truly viral blog posts are long. Some of them really long. As far as money making blogs, I don’t think it matters. Articles ranging from a couple hundred words (Godin) to several thousand words (Pavlina) have all proven successful. But the long ones (in my experience) tend to outperform in long term search results.

    I’ve just never understood why people make these kinds of claims when contradictory evidence is right front of their face… and more importantly, in front of every one else’s faces too. Just don’t get it.
    Dave Doolin just posted Blogging Outside the Box- Approaching Your Blog with Creative Spirit

  23. says

    A very good discussion!!!

    From my observation I feel that all the content which went viral were because of the authority of the document.

    Just check the posts which get more than 500 tweets(other than breaking news) you will observe all are expertly crafted documents.

    Once again if you write small posts with high frequency like quickonlinetips and such even then you can succeed.
    But if you write a blog post after a good research and out of your experience then people look at you as an expert in your field rather than just a blogger.

    The option is left to you anyways and doing it remarkably alone matters atlast.
    iPhone Application Developer News just posted 10 exciting news for iPhone Application Developers June 2010

  24. says

    For myself, I’ve been trying to get a greater variety of posts – some short, some long. But I don’t really worry about size. Size seems to matter if one is in the mindset of “what posts work” – which ones get responded to and go viral quickly, usually because they’re “5 Ways to be Better Blogger” sorts of stuff. Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots of good reasons to write posts like that. But it would be the understatement of the century if I were to say there might be a tad too many posts like that.

    My general feeling is that if one wants to be an influential blogger – and I’ll go further and say that influence doesn’t really show up on our metrics, because the key to influence is that new ideas are in play that weren’t there before – then you have to post long, where cases are made thoroughly and no words are wasted.
    ashok just posted Jane Kenyon- “The Blue Bowl”

  25. says

    This is a discussion that I’ve seen a lot over the years. I even did my own little test on the topic either last year or the year before, and the results were somewhat inconclusive.

    To me, you write until you’ve said your piece, then you move on. Having said that, you’ve probably seen where I talk about Marelisa’s blog and if you’ve visited, you’ve seen how long her posts are. They’re also very detailed and well researched, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yet she has another blog where if a short phrase or something hits her fancy, she posts it there and moves on.

    Personally, as long as I get something out of it, I don’t mind it either way.
    Mitch just posted Sunday Question- How Do You Celebrate Your Independence

  26. says

    Hey Kristi, Its quite simple! If you are writing to impress search engines then write those lengthy article containing 1000+ words. But if you are writing for your readers then you should always write medium sized article. Highlight important points using bold tags,use list to put your point forward because they are easily comprehended by your readers, and I see you doing this a lot in your Blog posts and that is why I like your posts.
    Patrick just posted How to Trace Mobile Phone number in USA Canada and Caribbean Islands

  27. says

    Hi Kristi,
    I have thought about “size” a lot. Since I still know most of my readers (my mom, best friend…) I have asked their opinions and I have copy and pasted some of the blog posts I read regularly into my word program for a word count. I like posts that are around 550 words or less. After 550 words you have to real fascinate me. It seems my friends and family (Love their nat like attention spans) also lean towards the shorter posts. I can often shorten posts by eliminating “that”, “very”, “truthfully” and other words which don’t contribute much to my content. Having a friend who is a proof reader and willing to proof my posts in exchange for my undying gratitude and chocolate chip cookies has also helped me be clearer and more succinct.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject..I have added them to my “Size” Evernote Notebook.
    Katybeth just posted Gems Of Insight polished by the Grit of Sorrow

  28. says

    Much like the poll results show, I too would have to say, it “depends” yup those dreaded words, but unfortunately its so true! I think everyone has their own preference and style, and what size fits them the best. That being said, I think whether you are going for short or long articles, the key is to always be consistent, you don’t want to confuse your readers by constantly switching styles, you will gain more satisfaction from your readers if you stick to a more consistent style, at least that’s how I feel.

    Till then,

    Jean
    used tires just posted Places to buy used tires

  29. says

    My preference: it depends…on the topic as well as the writing style of the blogger. One of my favorite blogs is full of very long posts. Normally, I don’t have the attention span to sit for 15 minutes reading, but his style is as though I am having a conversation with him. I want the blog post to get to the point quickly and retain my interest.

    As a writer, I typically write between 450 and 600 words per post. This is what I have found my readers to like.

    • says

      I feel like you’re the first person to “get” the humor in the post title! :)

      I agree – I hate long posts that are just rephrasing of the same ideas. But I also don’t like posts that give you a new idea but not the information / tools to implement it.



This site contains affiliate links, sponsored advertisers, and web analytics tracking code. Email addresses collected on this site will not be sold or given to third parties without your permission. While all attempts to provide accurate and valuable information are always made, the owners and authors of this site are not responsible for the content provided here or linked to on external websites.