Should your post be short or long? How short is short and how long is long?
This is a question that I have contemplated over and over throughout the years. I’ve heard arguments for and against each side of the situation. The overall gist:
There is no such thing as too long – only too boring.
Short vs. long
Your content, no matter what format, should only be as long as it needs to be to make your point. If you have 300 words of good content, don’t try to stretch it out to 1,000 words to reach some sort of quota.
The opposite could possibly work: if you have 1,000 words, but want to keep it to a short 300 word post, it could still work. You could even make it two or three different posts. This, however, is a subject for a different post.
[Tweet “There is no such thing as too long – only too boring. via @JoshuaWRivers”]
There are many ideas out there of what the ideal length should be. These are the most popular lengths for posts:
- Mini: less than 250 words
- Short: 250-500 words
- Medium: 500-800 words
- Long: 800-1,500 words
- Very long: 1,500+ words
So, which one is best?
Things to consider
When you are contemplating this, there are several things you need to consider:
- Which style is best for your personality? Some people are wired for short, sweet, and to the point messages. Some people prefer to have a beautiful picture painted with the words.
- How often will you be posting? If you are posting daily, consider writing shorter posts to build momentum. If you are posting once a week or month, then longer posts may be ideal.
- What do your readers prefer? This should have been the first one I listed. You should always keep your audience in mind. The content should suit them, not just you. Don’t know what they want? Try asking them with a survey (topic for another post. Or, you could just test it out and see what kind of reaction you get (how was your traffic affected? how did it affect your engagement?).
- What are other bloggers/writers doing in your niche/industry? Take a look around and see what others are doing in your field. This can give you an idea of what may already be working. After getting your feet wet, Jim Woods recommends you use the freedom of Medium.com to experiment with your writing.
Short posts have several benefits:
- Quick and easy to read
- Easier to focus on a single topic
- You won’t give your readers information overload
Long posts also have some benefits:
- Ability to dive deep into a topic
- Demonstrates competency and builds trust
Short posts could turn people off because they may be too shallow or simple. You could leave your readers without fulfilling their needs.
One negative of longer posts are that some people may be quick to skip it because they are in a hurry. These people prefer to have shorter post that they can quick scan to get what they’re looking for.
My conclusion is that there is no one right answer. There are too many variables to nail something down for everyone.
When you experiment you will find the balance between your personality, your audience, and your message. Find the balance between your personality, you audience, and comparisons of those in your niche. If you prefer shorter posts, but your audience prefers long-style, meet in the middle. You could also mix it up a little with some shorter post and some longer posts – just let your audience know what to expect.
Remember, there is no such thing as too long – only too boring. You want to be entertaining, relevant, helpful and informative.
- Be as specific as possible.
- Don’t add fluff.
- Stay on topic.