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.
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.