After having attended one of your great Blog Smart workshops, I’ve taken the plunge and am now starting a weblog of my own. What I’m not sure of, however, is how much to write in each entry. I’ve seen some weblogs that have one-liners, lots of them, and others, like your Intuitive Life that has much longer articles. What’s your recommendation?
This is one of the holy wars in the world of blogging, as far as I can tell. I read a wide variety of blogs on dozens of different topics and find that the articles therein range from so-called linkblogs, one line ‘Here’s a nice article about X’ type of entries to blogs where the author or authors clearly view their blog as a magazine and each entry as a feature article.
My colleague Debbie Weil blogged about blogger Pat Cleary’s own guidelines for his National Association of Manufacturers blog, including the comment that “he tries to keep his entries short but finds that a natural length for him is 500 words. Too long for a typical blog post…”
But, of course, who decides what’s too long and what’s too short?
If you said either “the reader” or “the writer”, give yourself a pat on the back. You’re exactly right. There are no editors, no layout people, no standards body, nor government regulators involved here. And thank goodness for that!
I’m reminded of a common piece of advice from good development editors in the publishing business about how long a chapter or book should ultimately be: write just enough to cover the material at the appropriate level of detail, then stop.
As you’ve noticed, my tendency is towards long postings. I find that 2-3 paragraphs is just starting to wrap a context around the point I want to make. But I’m a professional writer and can produce 750-1000 words on a topic without even adding any adjectives.
Personally, I don’t subscribe to weblogs where the typical entry is less than about 250 words, because I’m not interested in discoverability, that is, what other pages on the Web I should be checking out, but in why the blogger thinks the page, article, site, entry, whatever, is worth my attention.
It’s darn surprising to me how few bloggers explain their motivation behind a link, however, so we are surrounded by a sea of frequent, ridiculously succinct blog entries like “Dave has some good thoughts on blog entry length.”
In summary, I’m not the arbiter of entry length, I can only share my personal preferences and explain why my own weblog entries are atypically long. I think that the most important thing is for you to find a length that matches your topic and writing style, then give yourself the freedom to vary on a per-article basis.
I’m pretty sure that Stephen Streight, blogging as Vaspers the Grate, has done some research on average blog article length, so perhaps he’ll pop up and share some of his findings in this regard?
And for the rest of you, dear readers, do share your preference: lots of short, succinct entries, or a smaller number of longer, more thoughtful articles?