Posted in Of Bloggingly

Of The Long and Short of Blogging

Shakespearetoblog

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?

Author:

Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

21 thoughts on “Of The Long and Short of Blogging

  1. I think length does matter in blog posts, but not always. Since my own time is limited (full-time job, etc.), I tend to prefer shorter posts (and have started writing shorter ones myself, mostly poetry now). That doesn’t mean to say that if I find the subject matter and writing engaging, captivating, relevant, artistic, etc., I will not read a longer post. Happy Friday!

    1. Exactly! Just like a book, if it has got you interested, you are more likely to keep up even if it is long. By the way, I love how creative and intriguing your numbered lists are. I read a lot on music, and yours is a very different and informed blog!

  2. yes, I share all the feeling you expressed in this. I put a lot of work into my posts and yet I have very few readers, but I’m really enjoying the process anyway. My hope is that I develop a nice core group that follow me fairly regularly and that they engage in discussion, furthering the ideas I put forth, challenging them, celebrating them and encouraging one another. I have faith that this will eventually happen but I am sometimes prey to worrying about how to attract more interest when, as you state well, I just need to “do my thing” and let the other stuff sort itself out.

    1. I used to feel that way too. I’ve been blogging for one and a half years. For the first six months, it did feel like I worked more in proportion to the feedback I was receiving. I wasn’t proud, I just wanted to know what I could do to be more interesting. In time, and by getting a handful of readers who were commenting regularly, I developed a “voice” for my blog, so much so that I stopped caring if a new post felt like a continuation of a conversation from the last one. Statistics mattered for a long time, but even when they are good, what really makes the experience at its best is the engagement from readers through commentary. It doesn’t matter what the numbers are, as long as there are a few people who are interested. And I am sure you will continue to find more people who are!

  3. Does the length of a blog post matter? I think it depends on how many people you want to read your blog. If you want a few people to get some in-depth information, go as long as you want. If it’s longer I hear that it helps to have a lot of subtitles, because people generally skim. But a lot of people don’t have a big attention span. When the New Republic went from a journal to the Internet they cut their article sizes way down. Some people quit. I think that something is lost and something is gained.

    1. Yes. I read recently that the human attention span has decreased to about 8 seconds, which is less than a gold fish. On the other hand, there is new research that suggests that multi-tasking actually yields better results than being focused on a single task. And of course, there is the tried and tested theory that people read less on the internet. If it is a book or a newspaper, people are just most likely to concentrate better on paper, and skim more on an electronic device.

  4. Hello Amrita! Hope all is going well. I really don’t care how long a blog post is because if I find the content intriguing then I’ll read it till the end. I’m wacky like that lol Just keep doing what you are doing! ~Tamara

  5. Your concerns are the sentiment of many bloggers. We all have concern about the content of our blogs and the little things about length, viewership and all. Your post reminds me we are all in this together. If we continue to follow our passion, not worry about followers, all the rest will follow. Thanks for visiting my blog today

  6. I used to write very long posts, with very long paragraphs. Posts that would take over 10 minutes to read. I’m still very proud of those posts, and with a book being an ultimate goal, I think it is useful to know that I can write solidly on a subject and not ‘pad’ it out. In terms of blogging though, I did eventually notice that my posts were not being read as much, so I purposely made them shorter. With my Photo Shuffles I made them even shorter and I did focus on making my paragraphs shorter too. I find it has helped, but I wish it did not have to. As a reader of a number of blogs I am not put off by the length. I definitely follow the people I want too because of their content, and not how well it looks, or how short or long it is, or where they place their photos or whatever else. It really is about following people who interest you and I’m glad to have people following me, and to follow people. Like you 🙂

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