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Guest

How Long is Too Long?

By: Guest | January 20, 2011 | 
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Ingrid Abboud aka ‘Griddy‘ is a whole lot of things with a ridiculous amount of interests.

Get your mind out of the gutter people! I’m talking about posts and comments. Jeez!

When the fabulous Aunt Gini (editor’s note: She calls me this because of the Christmas video with my nieces and nephew) asked me to guest post on Spin Sucks, I was ecstatic. But I’ll be honest – I panicked a bit as well.

You see, I have this tendency to ramble – I mean write long, witty and insightful pieces – and I knew I’d have to abide by a certain word limit – which is understandable but poses quite the challenge for me. I’m at 90 words so far, phew!

I know you’re dying to count, so go ahead – I’ll wait.

I told you so!

I panicked for another reason as well. I knew I’d have to step it up and present her with something that was up to the standards of her intelligent and well-spoken audience (editor’s note: Don’t let her kiss up you!).

You see, she kinda brilliantly tooted me in one of her super #FollowFriday posts so I couldn’t possibly let her down with a “non-entertaining or below average post”.

I’m not kissing ass folks. I’m just telling it like it is.

Defying the Norm

I’ve often heard bloggers say it’s best not to exceed 500 or 1,000 words so that you don’t lose the attention of your readers, and that shorter posts often get the message across better. And although these are very true, I beg to differ – at times.

My last guest post for Traffic Generation Cafe was around 2,800 words. Yet somehow it got over 110 retweets. Another that I wrote for Famous Bloggers was close to 1,500 words. It generated 110 comments and was RT’d almost 300 times.

I’m not implying those numbers are something to brag about, they’re not. But they’re definitely decent. I must have done something right to retain the attention of my audience.

Have you ever read one of Glen Allsop’s posts? They may be as rare as peace in the Middle East, but they’re as long as treaties as they often surpass 2,000 words. I for one, don’t want them to end. They’re insightful, idiot-proof, and loaded with great examples. He has about 11,000 subscribers that agree with me.

Could it be that we underestimate the attention spam (not a typo) of our readers? For these are three times longer than the proposed “norm”.

Does the writing style not play an integral role?

I know when Seth Godin writes 50 words including “the” and “it” people listen and he gets retweeted a gazillion times. And all Brian Clark has to say is “Boo” and the blogosphore goes into an RT frenzy. But here’s the thing…you’re not either of those two “influential” chaps. But if you are – in my very fake French accent…“well hello there, I’m Ingrid and this is Gini’s blog, please comment, RT,  and connect” icon wink How Long is Too Long? GP for SPIN SUCKS.

Presentation is Everything

Much like a meal at a restaurant, or the design of a website – presentation is everything.

If you were to visit a site that was shabby-looking, would it inspire you to browse through it? I didn’t think so.

If I had started this post using a dissertation-like style and a monotonous tone, would you have read this far? Yup, didn’t think so either.

So like I said, presentation is key.

The way we present our words and the voice we use, determine whether we capture our readers attention or not. Ever hear the saying, “it’s not size that matters, but the motion of the ocean”? Well, your blog is the ocean and your words are the motion. It’s how you move people that counts.

You can write 200 words that are full of drivel or 2,000 that are loaded with insight! It’s not the length that counts but how you manage to remain interesting and captivate your readers till the end.

Gini’s posts are usually highly intuitive, informative, and to the point – but they’re generally no longer than 500 words.

If I’m able to hook you with intelligent and magnetic words from the first paragraph, you’ll want to read on – regardless of how “long” it looks.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying to write a long-winded article that takes three pages to get to the point – on the contrary. I’m just telling you it’s how you get to the point that will leave an impression. It’s how you break it up using short paragraphs that don’t scare the Bejeesus out of your readers. It’s how you talk to your audience. Because you want to talk to them in an engaging manner and not dictate to them.

Me, My Comments, and I

The same goes for comments.

I’ve come to be known around the blogosphere (“my friendosphere of bloggers”) as the girl who leaves novel-lengths comments. But are they thoughtless or do they actually add value somehow? Obviously, the latter.

“Gini and Danny, I swear to you if you’re smirking or coughing here…I’ll…Oh, who am I kidding?! Laugh away lol.”

Personally, I would much rather gasp pleasantly at a long comment than see a simple drive-by that says, “hey, great post”. I’m interested to hear what readers have to share that could enrich my own views. Why? Because if and when I have something to say, it most probably means the post is deserving of more than a simple “good job”.

We have news releases that limit us to a page or less and Twitter cut our musings to 140 characters. So why impose another limit on our personal thoughts on our own blog?

Write intelligently, wittily, insightfully, amusingly, respectfully, numerically, resourcefully, or commandingly…and people will listen. They will take the time to read if your thoughts are well-written and worthwhile.

So How Long is Too Long?

Is 1,000 words all that our brains can handle? Would you not give an article the time of day if were 3,000 words? Okay, 10,000 – maybe not!

My rule is that there is no rule!

Write what you want. If you want to be clear and succinct with a short news type post – YAY. If you’d rather opt for a longer, more comprehensive post – then go for it! Do what feels right for you and your writing style.

I was initially set on backing this piece with solid resources from probloggers to prove my point. But…

Had I told you from the start that Darren Rowse averages 1000 + words per post but Chris Brogan about 500, or that Steve Pavlina writes over 2000 words but Leo Babauta around 600 – then you might not have bothered reading till the end and would have simply concluded for yourselves that it’s“your blog, your rules – mix it up”.

This post has a grand total of 1,139 words (editor’s note: Uh…more like 1,254).

Was it dreadfully painful to read? Rhetorical of course!

I’d love to hear your thoughts – and guess what? I’ll probably reply with a not so short answer to your not so short comment.

Editor’s Note: I really wanted to cut this down, but she’s right…I was captivated. Darn her!

Ingrid Abboud aka ‘Griddy’ is a whole lot of things with a ridiculous amount of interests. For one, she’s a social media enthusiast with a tremendous passion for writing and blogging. She’s also a pretty cool copywriter but a more serious MarCom Consultant. But most of all, she’s the proud owner and driving force behind nittyGriddy.com – A Kinda Social Media Journal with Net News & more.

179 comments
kristinanugent
kristinanugent

Hey Ingrid - You definitely hit upon a tension that I have yet to resolve myself: wordiness. When you spend so much time thinking about, and working with your own words, you gain an intense appreciation for anyone who knows how to string their thoughts together clearly and effectively. Left to my own devices, I think I wouldn't quite know when to stop writing. At the same time, I know that all good writing is concise -- hence, the tension. I sometimes wonder if my posts are too long, and who that might be scaring away. But like you, I also definitely don't want to obsess over it on a daily basis, which could just lead to not posting or participating at all -- guess it is what it is and we all improve with practice.

MADphilips
MADphilips

So many rules to follow this days and most times you just end up more confused than where you started from. In the final analysis, it's first breaking all the rules that matters. Make your own rules, period. Following all the rules out there will make blogging another job and eventually disable that creative freedom being on your permits. I don't want to write with restrictions, I want to write with passion and that means in the most literal term - I'm not the one writing, rather the writing is being done through me. So pardon if sometimes my posts gets past the 1000 mark to as far as 3000+ words. It's just the leading of the creative muse inside of me, who am I to fight it?

Justin Germino
Justin Germino

The answer depends on the purpose of the website you are writing for, if you are writing for a site that is known for in depth articles, reviews, how to guides, tutorials...etc then longer articles are expected for readers. If you write for sites that are about breaking news, excerpts or summaries and quick updates in the style of many personal blogs then shorter articles are better.

If you look at Helium or AssociatedContent as two major writing networks they both recommend a minimum 600 words (Helium) and 400 words (AssociatedContent) A/C these type of portal aggregate sites rarely hold a reader on topic for more than a few minutes. But detailed sites which produce articles less frequently tend to have much longer articles.

I always think longer articles are better for metrics like "Bounce Rate" but there are many articles written which are long winded, rambling and probably should be shorter and concise (not saying that about your articles of course).

Content indexing is also important, and if you have time to write 1 1,500 word article per day or 3 500 word articles per day, I would always choose the 3 500 word articles or break a longer article up into series. This is because only indexes 1 URL 1x, and you can get 3 indexed links on Google with 3 posts than you can with 1 long post, and Google Search Results are very important to bringing in readership.

I find myself Retweets aren't necessarily articles read, too many people will retweet just because they saw a friend tweet about it or another respected blogger, few read more than the 1st and last paragraphs to absorb the "gist" and then just retweet and comment or move on.

Michele_Welch
Michele_Welch

Amen girlfriend! Woohoo... write on! LOL.

Seriously though, I've always been back and forth of to write long post or not. At the end of the day it came do writing until it was complete. If that turned out to be 500 great (which is rare ;-) ) or 1500 (yup, more like me), then so be it!

The beautiful thing is as you said, if you can engage your readers then that's all that really matters and the rest makes little difference.

Great article Ingrid! Enjoyed every 1179 words of it. ;-)

HectorCuevas
HectorCuevas

Great post...................
.......
...
..
............OK, OK - I'll leave a long comment (I wouldn't wanna be the only one with a short one)

I gotta say, you were right about keeping your readers engaged from the very beginning; I probably would've stopped reading if it wasn't so dam interesting. Writing like this takes time to perfect. I know I didn't have it in me when I first got started, so that's why I stuck to short (300 words) posts.

Well, THAT and the "rule" of writing short posts that I was reading about all around the blogoshere.

It gets easier with time and practice. You start to figure out how to hook your audience and how to introduce new ideas in ways that excites them. You're great at this Ingrid - keep it up.

..that was my LONG way of saying.. Great post :)

joey_strawn
joey_strawn

Ingrid, Sorry I hadn't got here sooner to comment but I only started reading your post and then the follow up comments on Friday, so I'm ahead of schedule getting to the comment. : )

There's a general rule of thumb that your post needs to be as long as it needs to be to get your point across and short enough so it doesn't seem like you're rambling or out of things to say. I, myself, don't really have a word-count that I stick strictly to (anyone who reads me regularly will know that sometimes my posts reach well over 1,500 words and sometimes are under the 50 or even 10-word mark. It's all about telling your story and you do that magnificently.

I'll read bloggers like @Danny Brown and @ginidietrich and yourself no matter how long the posts are because of how much value they bring. One thing to stay weary of though is training your audience to expect one thing or another. I know personally if I come across a Seth Godin post that's longer than 100 words I merely skim it because I come in expecting a short, meaty post.
I love to play with styles and lengths and pictures because I love the process of showing meaning with words and pictures and tend to read bloggers who do the same. You are definitely in that list and I don't care how long your posts or comments are because they always bring value, and that's the most important thing to keep in mind when you're writing.

Keep up the great work!

Griddy
Griddy

Hey Guys,

Just wanted to thank each and every one of ya's for all these amazing comments you left here. To say they were valuable and thorough would be an understatement. WOW and WOW again!

If I haven't replied to yours yet - I will for sure! I always do my best :).

I apologize for the delay (seeing the time difference and the amount of pennies that have been shared) and I will make sure to get to yours very soon.

Thanks for all your support, your views and your patience. I'm learning a ton from you all and it's great getting to know you a little in the process.

Thanks again Gin Gin for putting up with my longish thoughts ;).

Happy Sunday Spin Sucks readers
Cheers

barryrsilver
barryrsilver

Those that know much more than I (everyone) say it's the content that matter. I'll add style/well written is also highly important. I'll read a blog for enjoyment because it's well written even though the content doesn't offer info that interests me. I also look for blogs that offer content to help me grow. Length? Limiting length is a good self-editing tool for beginners. It's hard to grow a following if readers have to slog through the mud to get to your point. If you're offering great stuff and writing for a purpose other than growing a following, length is immaterial. As a blog consumer, if it's too long it just wasn't good enough. If it's good but time or concentration are in my way, I'll come back later to read great content.

wabbitoid
wabbitoid

Legth is not really the issue. It's all about writing. The problem with many blog posts is that they are introspective without much of a point.

Intimacy combined with passivity is like a bad relationship. If you insist on being immediate and personal, keep your language active and purposeful and it will move along.

TroyClaus
TroyClaus

This isn't a long post! You've left longer comments on my blog LOL!

Great job Ingrid, I agree that you should write until your heart is content...BUT... if your post are long, you better be one heck of a writer to keep their attention. You're safe there Ingrid, don't worry :)

Cheers,

Troy

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Nice to see your posts are as long as your comments, miss, especially away from your own blog, hehe.

The way I always look at is is that it's done when it's done. If it takes 200 or 2,000, then so be it. I have no issue with length of post - as long as it's not long just to try and prove some imaginary point of being intellectually superior.

Mind you, there are some blogs where every single post is over 1,500 words and I just don't have the inclination to read. Oh well - my loss, I guess... ;-)

C_Pappas
C_Pappas

It really shouldn't be about 'too long', 'too short' or 'just right', the question is: how long does it take for you to tell your story, make a case or explain a point (like this post). It may take 1 paragraph, it may be 2000 words. The point is, you are limiting yourself immensely if you always have to be within the same word count limit. Its very hard to do.

We started a content strategy on our blog last year and were advised to keep posts in 500 words or less. Assuming to help capture attention, keep interest and not drown our audience even further with more stuff to read. But it was a very interesting excercise as a writer to try and keep within the guidelines and tone down my tangents.

I love that you wrote a long post about writing long posts. I knew what was coming at the end before I got there, but I enjoyed your conversational style throughout. One question I do have is that when you are a blogger representing a brand, you have a different obligation and the 'freedom' to write and publish posts like this is not as easily obtained. Should corporations restrict the creativity of their writers to preserve the voice of the brand? Or should ambitious writers start their own blog and contribute as needed as part of their job responsibilities?

SocialSideMedia
SocialSideMedia

Griddy, this was a brilliant post! I really enjoy your writing style and had the post not been about blog length I wouldn't have even thought about it, as you had me engaged from the get go. I have always been one to say, "Keep your posts short! We live in an ADD era." You make a great case to not limit oneself at all. In fact, longer posts may get you a better reading audience and perhaps better comments as well. It stands to reason if they hang with you 'til the end then they must be a true fan. I am. :)

hackmanj
hackmanj

In my opinion the answer depends a lot on the target audience Griddy. While I am a marathon verbal conversationalist I tend to behave a lot more like a sprinter or millennial in that I am pretty much ADD with my reading. I read 1/2 of your post on my iPad earlier this morning and that was as far as I got. If people get and hold my attention for more than 500 words, it must be something I am incredibly interested in. If you're writing professionally and your target audience is one that will read very long posts, that's great. If you're writing personally, it doesn't matter. If you are writing for the short attention span types professionally, this could be a problem. That said I got enough from what I did read to want to respond, so that proves something. :)

The one time I suspend my Millennial Media ADD is when reading coherent comments that are responding to me or to something I posted. I figure if that person took the time to write a detailed and thoughtful response I should take the time to read it and respond.

What a great discussion you've started, can't wait to hear more of the responses.

wabbitoid
wabbitoid

I don't think that length is all that important, but you have to know your audience. If you're out to amuse people with a lot of time, being funny is more important than anything else. Typically I like to keep it to 800 words, no more than 1000, on my own blog with complex topics and 400-600 when I'm doing content for other people who are all anal about length.

But longer posts are good for SEO because at one mention per 'graph you can stuff the keywords in a lot more often. I do think 800 words is a good max for this reason, but rarely get clients to agree with me.

I wrote a 1k word rambler today that I hope is funny - haven't done one like this in a while:
http://tinyurl.com/4w5t9o9 It's about the Zodiac and how we got what we have. It's supposed to ramble, as that's part of the joke, but it still has to be fairly tightly written as it bounces from one connected tidbit to another. You can judge how well it works!

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

Leave it to @Griddy to go over the 500 word limit (didn't you see @ginidietrich 's rules in the video today? You also mention a bunch of bloggers whom I have no idea who they are except Seth Godin. But he doesn't allow comments which means he has no community and is just push advertising his brand. I only work with the opt-in folks like @ginidietrich and yourself. I mean no comments? really Seth? no comments me no read..no retweets...won't buy your book. So sorry. @Danny Brown allows comments but it is on some awkward platform called Gravatar which is really Gravy with a Tar at the end.

I remember when Gini told me no more than 500 words I was like 'Don't you read my comments on your blog? 500 Words to me is like 1 word! And here she is stressing her blog platform with the weight of how many words did you say you wrote here? Like 300 Million Thousand? She must like you or its pay back for you always including her posts in your Sunday round up.

I fully agree that people's content and their writing/story telling ability are key to keeping people interested. And we each have styles and interests we gravitate too....wait no... @Danny Brown I said Gravitate! Not Gravatar. Sorry. Anyway as I was blogging, I read the Economist Magazine cover to cover hanging on every word the same way I do a really well written Horror or Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book. It is all about style and content. Has anyone ever been able to connect the Lord of the Rings with the Economist ever? I know you can say it...go ahead you know you want to....here say it with me. Literary Rockstar! There. Thank you. Didn't that feel good? I am flattered. You really shoul not of said that. But thank you that you did.

Well I now have other blogs I must go and blog upon. Thanks as always for the delightful prose and wit Ingrid. If it wasn't for Gini I would never be blogging on your blog posts! Thanks Gini!

Griddy
Griddy

@Dragon Blogger Hi Justin,
I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and leave that thoughtful comment - htank you.

I think what you said in your first paragraph could boil down to knowing your audience and that of the site you're writing for. Therefore a mix and match - in my opinion - is always good thing.

I think that the length and what can be said can also depend on the topic at hand. If it's a step by step tutorial - then maybe it should be clear and to the point - and whether that means a short or long piece - will all depend on the level of complexity of what you're trying to explain or point out.

As for breaking news, updates and so forth - then as you said - short pieces may be better.

I'm familiar with both AC and Helium (although this one much less) and I actually wasn't aware of the minimum words required for each - thanks for sharing that :).

It's true about detailed sites that post less frequently - at least that's what I've been noticing. That is actually why I used Glen Allsop (ViperChill) as an example - and obviously there are others. A few self-development sites that I have come across tend to have their posts on the longish side as well.

It's funny what you mentioned about Bounce Rate - a couple people noted that and the SEO factor as well - in regards to longer posts. I've never taken either into consideration as I write mine (whether long or short) - which is probably not a good thing. I also have the entire post appear on my site instead of where you have to read more to continue and I think that may affect my Bounce Rate as well - I'm actually having that redesigned as we speak, errr... I mean as I type hehe.
But again - for aesthetic purposes much more.

You brought up another great point about Content Indexing and mentioned that maybe turning an article into a series is a good idea. I don't think I've had anything close to 3,500 words yet (except maybe for this comment or my GP on Traffic Generation Cafe haha) but in case I do - I will take into consideration what you said. Thanks for that. You see - that's why I love when people take the time to comment and share their input - there's always a lot to learn or consider :)).

I always say you can learn as much for the comments as you can from a post - and you've clearly proven that here with your take on things.

I'd like to think that everyone is like me when it come to RTing something - but I know that's not the case. I tend to read everything or at least skim thoroughly what I throw back out there on Twitter. But you're absolutely right when you say that many people will RT because some else they like or admire did it first. It's understandable but I'm sticking to my principle of "read before I share" just to make sure what I'm sharing is actually something that I either enjoyed, found valuable, or think that others can like and benefit from.

Obviously I could go as I have quite a few things I've left out here but I wanted to make sure I address your very valuable points and it seems I've already left you with a novel to read hehe.

Thanks again Justin for your excellent input. I appreciate it.
I hope you found this "little" post of mine here as entertaining as it was useful.

Have a great day.
Cheers

PS - Keep rockin' it over at Dragon Blogger - great stuff! :)

Griddy
Griddy

@ginidietrich Phewww...Does that mean my post is more on the "shorter" side now? ;) Oh, and way to come out and say that here in a teeny tiny comment instead of writing in capital/bold letters in the post! lol

Griddy
Griddy

@Michele_Welch Hey Michele,
Boy do I love your enthusiasm hehe.

How good of you stop and take the time to read and comment - and with such fabulous words of support :) YaY and Thank YOU.

I'm obviously like you on that one - I write what I think needs to be written or until I'm satisfied with it - where I can read it to myself and think: this is good, entertaining and useful for others or...this sucks let's fix it up so that my readers and I will read it till the end and get something out of it.

And yes, being able to get your readers to engage or at least react somehow is always great. That's one of the main blogging goals after all.

It looks like you've got a different word count there - 1179. Now I'm confused haha. I thought it was 1139 when I wrote it (excluding the subheadings), @skypulsemedia says it's 300 million thousand and @ginidietrich says it's 1254 LOL.

Hmmm...mirror, mirror on the wall...
Damn, it's Gini's blog - so... ;)

Thanks again for your kind words Ms. Welch
Happy Sunday
Cheers

Griddy
Griddy

@HectorCuevas Hey Hector,
Awesome of you stop by and share your thoughts on this - thank you very much.

It seems I'm contagious with my long comments haha - well, that or people do indeed enjoy sharing their views no matter how many words they need to express them. And I for one, couldn't be happier about that :)!.

I'm so impressed by the length as well as the added value that all these amazing comments have brought.

I'm glad that you didn't stop reading and that I was able to captivate you from the start. It means I achieved one of my goals with this piece :).

When I started blogging - I had read nothing about blogging nor the "rules" or the length "norm", nor anything. I knew about blogging, SEO (still do do much about that one lol), the people they refer to as A-listers, Brogan and Godin - zilch, nada!

I just knew I wanted to write and I would take it from there. Little by little I learned and I too came across many posts suggesting that the shorter the better. But hey, it was my blog so I said what the hell. If my article is short and good - great. If I need to ramble or include more words of insight - then great again!

I did and still do whatever works for me depending on the topic I'm writing about. And of course, in the process, I consider my audience and try to cater my words to them.

I'm glad this method of mix and match is working for me and that my readers are enjoying (generally - cause I can't please everyone of course) my posts.

What takes time is getting to know your audience. And with every new reader and commenter you learn more and more.

Thank you again for using the longish way of saying "great post" - I certainly appreciate it :).

Have a great Sunday
Cheers

Griddy
Griddy

@joey_strawn Ooops I forgot to tell you:
Happy Sunday to ya Mr. Strawn
and...
Cheers :)

Griddy
Griddy

@joey_strawn @Danny Brown @ginidietrich Joey,
What a pleasure it is to see you here "Oh, great story-teller" ;). And thank you for all those kind words you left for me. I'm truly flattered and if you could see me right now, you'd know that I have a big smile on my face :D.

No need to apologize whatsoever my friend. With a comment like yours, you could have left it in a month and I'd still be happy to read it and reply to it.

The rule of thumb that you pointed out is 110% true - at least for me it is. I do tend to ramble at times - but if I'm gonna' do it, I'll make sure it's somewhat entertaining in order to not put my audience - or myself - to sleep.

You story-telling style posts are so good that I would actually be sad to see one that's 50 words lol. I always want more of your writing. You do it so well and always manage to leave us with some fantastic take-aways.

But if you were to write one that's 50 words short - then I'm sure you have a reason and I have no doubt that it would rock just as much. Either way - I'm all over it lol.

It's funny what you said about your audience getting use to expecting a certain lengths from you. I know mine expects a longer type post but I do mix it up - I don't always have THAT much to say haha.

However - what I've come to notice (for me) is that they expect a long comment from me always now. That's fine too but it kinda puts the pressure on lol. I mean there are times when I just want to say a few things and then I'm out. Sometimes you can get your message across in just a few lines when commenting on another blog post.

You'd be surprised how many times I've heard someone say "Ingrid - don't forget to leave one of your mega comments" or something along those lines. And when they do - although it's great to hear and I'm flattered - I'm not left with much of a choice haha. What if I have nothing to say? What if I only have 2 or 3 points to make? Should I just start rambling so that I can fill up the lines?

Kudos on @Danny Brown and @ginidietrich - I couldn't agree more. They could write a frickin' 200 page novel for all I care - and I would still read it for I know to expect great insight. Both have their own unique styles and voices and both manage to keep us till the end.

As for Seth Godin - I do read his little nuggets of wisdom once in a while but in all honesty - even though I know he's amazing - I'm not the most avid of readers. There are many places I visit first. But again - he's great at what he does and deserves a ton of credit.

I'm afraid I've left you with another of my novels here lol. Hope this one is worth the read as well.

Thanks again for the ego-boosting words you said about me. I really appreciate every single one of them.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@joey_strawn @ginidietrich Seth Godin writes long posts? Crud, who have I been reading all these years??? ;-)

Completely agree on don't give your readers a fals expectation - most of the blogs I read are of varying length posts, and it's for the value reasons you state. But I stopped reading one blogger because they started getting stale and basically you could tell they were just posting it in. Gotta keep our attention as readers - plenty of others will if you don't.

And cheers for the kind words, mate, appreciate it.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Griddy I hope my mom doesn't see you calling me Gin Gin. She's the only person who has ever called me that!

Griddy
Griddy

@barryrsilver Hi Barry,
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts here - I appreciate it.

Yes, the content will indeed make or break any post - but I definitely agree with you in saying that the style and tone/voice that a post is in - makes a big difference.

It's just as much about how you retain your audience - how you engage with them and keep them captivated till the last word - as it is about the topic at hand.

I've come across many topics that If ind boring in general but that I think will be beneficial to me somehow. But depending on how the information is presented and even how long the post is (if it's a topic that wouldn't generally interest me) is what will determine if I read it or not.

Each writer has their own style and comfort zone. Some prefer the shorter posts whereas others prefer to write a little more.

To me, it doesn't matter - long or short - as long as I think that my readers can benefit from the post somehow all while being entertained in the process.

That's why each blogger should learn to know their audience and find a way to engage with them and get them to participate in the post or conversation.

But like you said - our moods to sometimes play a role in what we choose to read at a particular time or not. Thank goodness for bookmarking hehe.

Thanks again for sharing your 2 cents.
Have a nice day.
Cheers

Griddy
Griddy

@TroyClaus Well Hello there Mr. Claus :)

It's strange but I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't recall ever leaving longish comments anywhere - totally not my style (cough & a ROTFL & a wink)!

I'm psyched that you took the time to drop by and leave those kind words :). Thank you Troy. And even happier to know you enjoyed this post.

I agree - if it's gonna be a longer one - you better find a way to keep your readers till the end.

Thanks again for what you said Bonsai Boy. I really appreciate it - as usual.

Have a great weekend.
Cheers

Griddy
Griddy

@Danny Brown @3HatsComm Uhhhh...Hmm....I'm a bit nocturnal as you can see lol. But it's Sunday tomorrow (I mean today) so I get to be lazy all day - except for finishing my SuperPost Sunday roundup that is :).

Griddy
Griddy

@Danny Brown @3HatsComm I couldn't agree more with this as well. That's why you talk to and with your readers. Nothing worse than demeaning your audience or making them feel like you're the shits and they're not. But then again - that should be a given in everyday life as well.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@3HatsComm Completely agree, Davina - and there's no faster way to lose readers than to make them feel that you're talking down to them...

3HatsComm
3HatsComm

@Danny Brown Good point about styles like "intellectually superior." It's not that some posts are long or short - just they style, the way they're written. Or rather if I like how they're written, if it's something I find approachable, readable or not. Think that's the concensus: if it's good, interesting to us as readers.. we'll read it, long or short. FWIW.

Griddy
Griddy

@Danny Brown Hiya Danny,
And thank you for coming over here and taking the time to read this and comment - YaY ;).

Well, I just finished answering your other half up there :). And like I told him, no clue what you mean by my long comments in general - Huh...I don't know why everyone is getting that impression of me hahaha (insert sarcastic wink here).

I agree - use as many words as you need (within reason - maybe not 20,000 for a blog post) to get your message across - just know how to use them properly.

Oddly enough, I don't think that all of my blog posts surpass 1,500 words - I know this one doesn't and I have quite a few shorter ones on my blog. I try to mix it up as I know people don't have the same attention span or energy to read everyday. Some days yes, some days no.

As long as I keep my post useful and entertaining in some way - I think I'm fine with that.

Thanks again for your thoughts Bonsai Boy :). I'm sure you know that already, but you truly have been an inspiration to me throughout this blogging journey of mine. Learning from you is always a pleasure and your posts always manage to make an impact. Hats off.

Enjoy your weekend
Cheers

Griddy
Griddy

@SocialSideMedia Hey Michael,
Wow - I really appreciate your comment. Not sure about "brilliant" but heck, I'll take it lol. Thank you so much :).

It's funny that you mention that cause I asked a couple commenter's a similar question. Basically, I reminded readers about the length of this post (although I don't think it's ridiculously long) and had the topic been about something else but with the same style of writing - would they have noticed? Would they have read till the end?

Obviously - as you can see from the comments (YaY) - quite a few did ;). It's not that I'm only promoting long posts, not at all - I'm promoting both and saying to write what best works for you - but know your audience in the process. But if you plan on going for the longer post - make sure to add value and make it easy to read or digest.

As for the ADD era - you're right. Even I don't have the patience to read a post that "looks" long sometimes - so I may skim it first to see whether it's worth it or not. That's where the formatting plays a role as well. If I see long paragraphs (or just one that goes on for 3 pages), no visual, no subheadings...then I may think twice. But if the opening paragraph is captivating and the rest looks "light" to read but with tons of useful/entertaining/helpful... information - then absolutely!

If people trust you and they like your style of writing, then regardless of the length of the post - they'll expect it to be worthy.

Anyhow - I'm certainly glad that you are a "true fan" - and flattered as well :). I would go on but I'm afraid that I may be less coherent seeing the time where I am (3am).

Thanks again for your supportive words. Much appreciated.
Cheers
PS - I do write "shorter" posts as well lol. Oh, and comments ;).

Griddy
Griddy

@hackmanj @ginidietrich Aww, thanks Joe :). I'm hoping there was some usefulness along with the fun - whether in the post itself or in the amazing comments and conversations that have taken place here.

I think a lot of people had some insightful things to share - including their personal experiences and preferences.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@hackmanj @Griddy Joe, I told her I'd have to have her back more regularly so our community gets used to her craziness!

Griddy
Griddy

@hackmanj @ginidietrich Joe - thanks so much for taking the time to come back and reply. And of course - for reading the rest of the post LOL. So how was it? Worth it or not really?

I tend to scan/skim as well before deciding whether to read a longer looking post or not. That's another reason why I think formatting is really important - subheadings, short paragraphs, bullets, bold letters and so forth. These do make a difference.

I do my best to be thorough but obviously we all have our weak moments lol.
Once again - I appreciate what you said. I think I have a lot to learn from you too as well as many of the wonderful peeps that took the time to read this and comment.

And yes. kudos to Gini hahaha. But I gotta' tell ya - I'm very honored that she invited me here. She's just an amazing all-round gal. Funny, intelligent, a pro at what she does, witty and friendly - are but a few of her many qualities.

Thanks again for dropping by and enjoy your Sunday.
Cheers

hackmanj
hackmanj

@Griddy
I am going to thoroughly read the other 1/2 because you took the time to give me a response that could easily be a blog post by itself! I think when I stop reading I start scanning, I read the paragraph titles, scan for words that grab me. I might end up reading a few more sentences in some cases. I know, total ADD, to my defense though I do juggle a lot professionally and personally (not implying you don't, that's just my excuse!). To your response it sounds like we do agree, but you definitely have a greater commitment to being thorough and I am definitely try to really summarize. :)

I am confident I will be learning from you, I look forward to your future posts and kudos to @ginidietrich for inviting you to guest post.

Griddy
Griddy

@hackmanj Hiya Joe,
Well as much as I'd like to persuade you to read the other 1/2 (cause it's better lol) I'm kinda happy that it only took a part to make you want to come back and comment. So, YaY and thank you. I appreciate your time and your thoughts on the topic.

And you're right about the target audience Joe. It's good to know yours. But to get to know them, you need to listen to them as well. As much as I want to write for them - I think you should write for yourself too. Be authentic and they may like you. Be witty yet provide information that could help them or interest them, and they might come back. Answer their questions, reply to their comments, and they may do the same for you (but do them anyways without expecting anything in return).

I'm a copywriter and therefore have adapted to writing in different styles. One of the first questions I ask a new client is: "Who is your target audience", "Who's gonna' read this and where are they located mostly?" If I'm writing the Bank's Chairman's message on the annual report, than I sincerely doubt I would use the same tone or style that you see here or on my blog - not to mention the lengths.

Speaking of lengths (this comment is long - yes, I know lol) I do write shorter posts as well. I'm totally for them when I deem them necessary and when I can say what I need to briefly or in the space allowed. But again "my blog, my rules" and I do mix it up a bit. I'm comfortable with both but obviously I seem to have a preference - and so far it seems to be working for me (I hope).

Now I know some may not believe this - due to my "not so short" posts and comments - but I too really need to be captivated by something (however way that is) to read it in its entirety. Be funny, be smart, be intelligent, be insightful, be brief or beneficial, long or witty, whatever...but be something good and ignite a spark in me to make me want to follow through and react somehow.

I can actually count/name the books I read in full in school. As for the rest - thank God for Cliff notes lol. College and grad school were a different story though.

As for removing the MM ADD hat when it comes to reading comments - I'm with you 110%. A good or thoughtful comment (like yours and others here) does indeed deserve to not only be heard - but replied to accordingly.

Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your views. I'm glad you're enjoying the discussion so far.

Obviously I could go on but... :)
Cheers

Griddy
Griddy

@wabbitoid HI Erik,
I agree about knowing your audience - it's extremely important and allows you to know what will retain them and what won't.

Although length may not be important - it's essential to make the longish posts captivating somehow. People usually expect to gain more out of a longer post - they expect it to have more valuable information - in general. So if you're (that goes for me as well obviously) gonna' go with a longer one - than find a way to either entertain them or make them want to tread till the end somehow.

Each person has their own unique style (at least I hope) and each has a comfort zone. I tend to mix it up between the short and long posts - but I obviously have a tendency to go with the longer ones more often. That's why I think formatting is key here as well. A lot of people tend to skim longer looking posts before reading to them to see if they're worth it (I do too) - so make sure you have the subheadings, the short paragraphs, the bullets if you need them, the visuals, etc...

It's funny because when I write - I never take SEO into consideration - not a very smart thing I know. It's actually something I need to work on more this year. But that's a good point you make.

400 or 800 - do whatever works for you and your audience. But either way - make them want to finish reading it and try to hook them from the first paragraph.

I've already opened your Zodiac article in a new tab and will get to it shortly I hope :).
Thanks a lot for dropping by and sharing your views on this. Appreciated.
Enjoy your weekend.
Cheers

wabbitoid
wabbitoid

@HowieG
Howie, Taoists are never popular. We're in the biz of pointing out the obvious and making it sound both mystical and simple at the same time - no one wants to hear that crap. Besides, laughing at how funny nearly everything is gets creepy fast.

I'll never understand popular, either, but I just let it go. It's ... one of those really funny things, iddn't it?

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@Griddy @ginidietrich @Danny Brown @joeystrawn wow Griddy that answer was worth the wait. We are starting to approach the record for comments. More than half way there. You might make the Top 10 list for 2011 and its only 23 days into the year. I guarantee you will take the crown or tiara for most words combining blog post and responses. Definitely by far. As for my counting. I have a degree in Finance. And trust me as you saw during the Housing and FInancial Crisis here is Finance types are very good with numbers. 2 + 2 can equal anything we decide it to be. So 300 Million Thousand could be the length. Right now I have a crate of apples helping me to count word by word. So far its up to 287 Crates and 19 Oranges. I use the Oranges when I have to carry a decimal or divide by the square root. All us Finance folks do it this way. You should see how many Crates of Apples @meganbeausang uses at Arment-Detriech cosidering the flood of cash pouring through their doors every morning. But when I am done calculating I will give you a proper count.

Obviously you ar every popular. I could only dream of being so popular. My guest post I think had like 18 responses with 6 being my own...sigh. But hey if there is a way for your posse to help you become a member of Parliment since I believe a new Government is being formed we can have either an email, a letter, or a call in campaign. Let us know what you need. Plus I will have crates of Apples I can send you soon after I complete the word count. Giving out free food on the streets often increases how many votes you get.

Thanks for sharing Think Traffic going to check it out. You are always so kind and thoughtful Griddy!

Griddy
Griddy

@HowieG @ginidietrich @Danny Brown Howie, Howie, Howie (yes that's 3x Howie LOL)

Boy do I love it when you stop by - well....pretty much anywhere - but all the more pleasure and fun when it's on one of my posts :).

And Gini, Danny and Troy think I leave long comments! HA!
As for the bloggers I mentioned - they're all awesome professional ping pong players that blog about their respective pinging skills hahaha. Except Godin - he's more into badmington and talks about that ;).

It's true about Godin - he doesn't allow comments :(. I actually mentioned that in one of my replies here yesterday. I read an interesting debate actually on Corbett Barr's blog - Think Traffic - between two bloggers; one that defends the pro comment side and the other the ney side. Pretty interesting - you should check it out - I would fetch you the direct link but it's 4 am and I'm being lazy haha.

In my defense - my surpassing the allowed word limit here was an honest mistake - I truly thought it was 1000. And I was actually willing to write another post cause this one would have been a bit hard for met to cut down. But YaY for Gini for liking it enough and agreeing to post it anyways :). And IT'S NOT 300 MILLION THOUSAND - it's a tad bit less lol.

As for including her in my roundups - I promise you that the posts I include in there are well worth the read - and her's are indeed. I don't do it cause I absolutely love her and admire here - I do it cause they rock. And if this is a payback (a kind one) then hell - I'll take it ;)!

As for you talking to yourself about Lord of the Rings and The Economist - okay, sure - whatever you say hehe. But yes, The Economist does have some fantastic articles - although I'm not the most avid reader of it - so I'll take your word on it and LOTR.

Story telling is always a good way to go if you know how to do it properly - actually @joey_strawn does a great job of doing that. If you're not familiar with his work - definitely check him out - he writes on his blog and @Danny Brown 's For Bloggers, By Bloggers.

Thank you so much for always being such a super engager and commenter - and for your kind and supportive words :). I guess we are both indebted to Gini for having connected with each other :). So...Thank YOU Gin Gin :).

Have a great Sunday

Cheers to the Chief Alien

Trackbacks

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  4. […] more than a week ago, but very relevant to my point here) Ingrid Abboud asked the question: How Long is Too Long. She’s of course referring to blog posts.  I would have to say, mine are not long enough…or are […]

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