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Are super-short posts good for your blog?

Are super-short posts good for your blog?

Almost two years ago, Darren Rowse posted an article “Frequent Short Posts – A Secret of A-List Bloggers Success” based on research into a handful of “A list” blogs. The conclusion drawn was that posts of 150 words or less are not only indexed better by search engines, but appeal to those with a shorter attention span, as well as allowing a much greater number of highly targeted entry points into a blog compared with longer posts.

Earlier in the week, Michael Gray wrote an article at Webpronews about Sound Bite Blogging in which he extended (or should that be contracted) the principle:

The one question that stood out was this one:

By limiting your posts to less 300 characters on average can you attract and retain a larger audience, I think so.

That’s around 40-50 words per post.

Though he acknowledges that search engines might not lap up your content because the design elements of your page on a single article will outweigh the unique article text, he believes that shorter ‘sound bite’ articles could have greater impact in the social networking / bookmarking / Digg culture.

if my suspicions about being able to retain a larger audience is true you have a greater chance of getting more links. Chances are that sound byte audience is also more technically advanced and social media friendly and would help you build a Digg culture and get you those sought after links. You authority problem would be short lived once you built up critical user mass.

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It’s an interesting thought. My blogging style (both contractually, where applicable, and from choice) is to write at least 150 words per post, and usually anywhere from 200 to 400 words. However, I do write shorter posts as well.

I personally think a blog thrives on a variety of styles and lengths of post, and that most blogs can benefit from sound bites, features, and everything in between. Sure, don’t pad out brief news for the sake of it, nor attempt to trim down an article that needs more prose. A blog built entirely on sound bites may end up looking a little shallow after time.

What do you think?

View Comments (12)
  • It would be interesting to find out if short, sound-bite style posts have less acceptance by certain audiences. I wonder how well the tech crowd responds to these types of posts versus people in, say, the world of fashion.

  • I like short posts. Seth Godin is an absolute master at dishing out insightful guru-style posts which leave you wanting more.

  • Gee, that seems a bit brief to me (especially because I seem to be a wordy blogger) but I wouldn’t deny it. I think really targeted, concise information will win out over something overwhelmingly long and essay-like. Especially in the time-strapped lives we lead.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is some bloggers make judicious use of bold to highlight important points – added text formatting helps break up a big wall of text.

    See, there I go, I have trouble even typing a short, concise comment… :)

  • I prefer using header tags like <h3> to separate points whenever I write lengthy posts. That way readers with short attention spans can simply scan and skim through whatever they find interesting.

    But having a short attention span myself, I admit I sometimes lose interest halfway through a long post. I just read the first three paragraphs or so, skip some points, and go directly to the conclusion. My bad.

  • Depends on your goal. If you want to monetize by maximizing traffic, go for pithy soundbites. But targeting may be better in the long run — building a smaller audience of better quality who will stick around to read longer pieces…

  • People are so concerned about increasing traffic and getting linked that sometimes they’re loosing sight of the goal. Give us something valuable to read without pandering to search engines, people with short attention span, the ‘digg culture’, and whatnot.

    Michael Gray’s article is based on assumptions: “I think so”, “if my suspicions (…) is true”, “Chances are that”… Hey, what if you’re utterly wrong?

    My latest blog post is 896 words long because in this particular instance I needed several hundred words. Yet, given the complexity of the subject, there is nothing to remove from this post, the content is accessible, easily scannable and to the point. It may bore you to death but in this case you have nothing to do on my blog.

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