How Long is Too Long?
I have been helping a doctor setup a web presence that includes a website a blog and some social media applications. With new clients, especially those that don’t read blogs let alone blog themselves, I help them understand and train them on how to blog. In one of our first sessions we discussed frequency, recency and consistency of posts. I had mentioned that she should aim for about 250 words per post and try not to go over 500 words – especially if she was going to post frequently.
The doctor and I have just begun and she sent me a question this morning about the optimal length of blog posts:
“I have been thinking about the limitations of 400 words on a blog. There may be days when that suffices but I think I need more space.”
Here’s the deal –
THE BLOG READER
The 250-500 words is about readability and is really for a web or smart phone audience. This is where people are looking at a ton of articles every day and they get quick hit updates. No reason you can’t write longer – but the longer articles or papers – 500-5000+ words – are for a different audience. This audience will probably not want to read long articles online or on a pda. They will be the people that will print and read.
THE BLOG WRITER
The 250 words is also for the writer who may be writing a post daily or 3-5 times a week or more. The 250-500 is more for those that are trying to post often and want to build an audience in our ADD world.
QUALITY VS. QUANTITY
If the quality is there, don’t worry about the length. there are people who post long pieces once a month anf people will wait because they like what they read. Just write about what you know. And add value.
FIND YOUR VOICE
Over a few months, a blogger will find a length, a tone and a style that is comfortable for them and works for their audience. It takes time and perseverance. The best way to do this is to setup some time in your schedule to do some writing every day. And it will come. That may be during a commute. It may be between calls. It may be first thing in the am or last thing at night. But it is easier to make it happen if time is set up and a habit is formed.
Blogging is not hard to do. It is hard to do well and it takes dedication and effort. Now I am off to revise my schedule so that I can find time to blog myself!