It doesn’t matter how long or short your blog posts are. What matters is their relevance. And that’s the long and short of it.
There are tons of advice floating around on this relatively new medium. Having numbered lists are better than paragraphs. The smaller the paragraphs, the better. Tagging and slugs are too important. White spaces. Attractive blog designs. Frequency of posting. Blog tags and challenges. More visuals, less writing. Having an overall brand that is intriguing and memorable. And of course, promoting on other social media that consists of, at least, twitter and facebook. Loads of blogs do at least one of these. But, none of these can guarantee you a thriving blog if your content isn’t able to achieve that fairly unpredictable element – being relevant to your reader.
As a reader skimming through the internet, I often look for something specific. Even something as vague and popular as “love” can make Google sift through web pages, trying its best to come up with search results that will be broadly relevant. But, perhaps, you are not looking for a Wikipedia page on love, or news updates on Valentine’s Day. Even if you specifically chose to look for love, albeit only on Google, you were unconsciously looking for something that might spark some other sort of interest than the two above. Though these results will be considered relevant, one academically and the other topically, perhaps a search result that reads “Artificially injected love hormones found successful in recovery from surgery” will pique your interest more than the others. It wasn’t what you were looking for, but you are dying to know more.
I used to worry about my blog posts. I would think my blog name would turn off people into thinking this would be an angry blog. My Of gimmick made my post titling limited. I am incapable of making visuals to accompany my writing, and have to resort to borrowing images that don’t always help what should be the main attraction – the writing. I worried most about the writing. I worried about the length, the dense paragraphs, the opening lines. I worried that even if I did all of this to my satisfaction, as well as the things listed in paragraph two, I’d still have less readers than I hoped. Which all happened, and continues to happen, often enough. I’d comfort myself thinking my blog was “niche”, though what that niche was I didn’t know.
And it took some time apart, some experimenting with different forms, assessing reading habits of my own and others, some looking back on all that I have done right and wrong so far, to realise that what matters is this: excitement. My excitability at what I want to convey to my readers, and my readers’ interest when they see it come up on their Readers or email. Even for someone discovering my blog for the first time, it would still have to be a blog post title and opening lines that intrigue them to further investigate, and hopefully participate. I could try and be more topical and less niche. It would be easier to focus exclusively on some area of popular interest, which many popular, well-written blogs do. But, I’ve realised my brand, my niche is my self. It is of what interests me, what makes me think, what makes me want to share. The best that I can do is send it out to the universe (or, more practically, on WordPress) and see who might want to share in my excitement too.
That, by the way, is why I called this whole confused, bumbling affair Of Opinions in the first place. Because I wanted to think about things, and I wanted you to think about them too. You weren’t really thinking about the length of your blog posts today, were you? But, ah, see what I did? I made you join the conversation, even if you decide to keep your thoughts to yourself and not comment below. That is why I prefer to keep to these long rambles. Since my overall theme is my self, I couldn’t be putting my self into numbered lists, could I? But, I won’t make it a stream of consciousness either. It might be long, dense and erratic, but the short of it is, it’s only conversation. Whoever thinks of relevance as they chat with a cup of coffee on a winter night?
Does length matter in blog posts?