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  Optimal size of a blog post?  (Read 3488 times)
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Offline Varkas
« Posted 2014-02-03 10:49:07 »

I want to make sort of a poll. What do you think is the optimal size of a blog post? Do you like to read long texts? Do you rather want short texts, even if they can't include all information? Let me know about your likes and dislikes Smiley

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Offline Troubleshoots

JGO Knight

Medals: 36
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Damn maths.

« Reply #1 - Posted 2014-02-03 10:56:31 »

Short, to the point posts keep the reader interested. I'd say 250-500 words is a good size. If they're any longer then the reader will lose interest quite quickly.

Why are all OpenGL tutorials written in Brainf**k?
Offline nerb
« Reply #2 - Posted 2014-02-03 12:02:10 »

I'm of the view that 3000 well-chosen, informative and interesting words are better than 30 words of absolute shyte. As such, I'd happily read a blog post of any length providing that it keeps me engaged and is informative. I'll stop reading it the moment it starts rambling, repeating itself, or becomes boring. So in summary, I think content is more important than length, and I don't believe there is any 'magic-number' for post length.
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Offline Varkas
« Reply #3 - Posted 2014-02-03 14:29:02 »

3000 words seems to be a real lot. I've just been checking, and the biggest article that I wrote this year has just below 800 words, that seemed a lot already, but might fall into the "all informative" category. I think, I'll have troubles to read a 3000 word article on screen.

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Offline Nate

« JGO Bitwise Duke »

Medals: 167
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Esoteric Software

« Reply #4 - Posted 2014-02-03 14:35:38 »

Doesn't matter if the pictures are interesting.

Offline nerb
« Reply #5 - Posted 2014-02-03 15:39:09 »

3000 words seems to be a real lot.

Don't take it literally. My point was that if an article is interesting, it doesn't matter how long it is.  Smiley
Offline Varkas
« Reply #6 - Posted 2014-02-03 15:45:03 »

There are studies that people have problems to read longer texts, even those who were used to that during their study times, before or in the early days of internet.

I definitely suffer from that problem myself, reading a long article required effort and motivation. If it's not excellently written, there are big chances that I'll drop out ...

Doesn't matter if the pictures are interesting.

Agreed. Good illustrations help a lot.

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Offline StumpyStrust
« Reply #7 - Posted 2014-02-03 16:12:50 »

If it is interesting, there is no limit. I have read several thousand word posts because the topic was interesting.

What is not interesting:

Most peoples lives. We have our own to live.

What would be interesting:

Funny stories. They can be anything even something from life as long as it is funny.

Tutorials. Code much?

Thoughts on a subject. Non-political. We get enough of that crap here in America.

Offline zFollette

Junior Devvie

Exp: 2 years

I like jokes

« Reply #8 - Posted 2014-02-03 17:36:48 »

We get enough of that crap here in America.

We get enough of all crap, here in America.

Humor will keep you alive.
Offline ctomni231

JGO Wizard

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Not a glitch. Just have a lil' pixelexia...

« Reply #9 - Posted 2014-02-03 18:19:48 »

I did a bit of research using my own blog as a reference. I am currently running a blog for a game that I am doing for a small open-source development group. What I realized about the optimal size is... there really isn't one.

The most popular viewed blog posts are...

  • The blog post with a catchy title...
  • The blog post that informs people about development...

The blog posts that people commented on the most were opinionated blog posts regarding development decisions. It didn't matter how much content the blogs actually had in them. I had content ranging from 250 - 2000 words for the commented blogs and it didn't matter. For me, I say as much as I can to get the point across, and then stop. Pictures really help sometimes if you have very long posts. You may also want to consider splitting it up into different parts (a.k.a. Blah - Part I, Blah Part - II, etc.), if you feel like a blog post deserves a novel.

As for optimal size affecting popularity and retention of blog content; I would say that you are looking for corn in a rice field. The purpose of any blog is to try and generate an audience to be interested in your information. For this to work, you have to advertise in places where people that would be interested in your content hang out. (Like, if you have a gardening blog, then advertise on a gardening forum or web page.)

The power of "word-of-mouth" is very strong still. (If you want proof, search up the recent success story of "Flappy Bird".) The more eyes that you can get on a blog, the better. As long as you keep updating with new, varied, and somewhat interesting content, you will attract more people. Generating a good sized following is difficult, you always have to realize that there are many things battling for people's attention nowadays. However, if you keep trying and show some effort every day to maintain your blog and showcase it in the right spots, things like having an optimal post size won't matter.

It is not a matter of how you post. It is a matter of where you post.

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Offline ctomni231

JGO Wizard

Medals: 99
Projects: 1
Exp: 7 years

Not a glitch. Just have a lil' pixelexia...

« Reply #10 - Posted 2014-02-03 19:35:54 »

Now to answer your questions about what I like Tongue

What do you think is the optimal size of a blog post?

I like to read short posts, though if I'm interested in the topic I can read it for as long as I want. I went through a 15 part article post, and I usually like to read in short bursts. As I said, there is no such thing as an optimal size post. If the post is interesting enough, I can read it forever.

Do you like to read long texts?

It depends on the author and the content. I treat blog posts like I treat any article, with the passion to learn something. If the post is giving me something informative, then I can read it for long periods. If the post is boring, I'll move on to something else. I really don't care about reading long posts if I'm informed all the way through.

Do you rather want short texts, even if they can't include all information?

I would rather a post have a complete theme, rather than cut it halfway. The only way I'd be satisfied with an abrupt ending is if the post is a multiple part deal, and even those posts should stand alone. You really don't have any idea which post people will start reading first.

Long story short, make posts informative.

That goes for blog posts (and thread posts in forums too). The only reason people ever read in the first place is to be informed, so make it complete so it does not disappoint Smiley

Offline Drenius
« Reply #11 - Posted 2014-02-03 21:29:58 »

@ctomni231: A good example. Tried to read your post, but stopped somewhere in the center because it was just so long...  No offense! Just want to point out that it is the same in forums.

EDIT: Oh, you did that already  Smiley
Offline kramin42
« Reply #12 - Posted 2014-02-03 23:23:30 »

I'd say that Jeff Atwood's blog posts are good examples (e.g. this one, but I find most of them interesting). Notice that he uses italics for emphasis within the text, but uses bold text to let you quickly see what a paragraph is talking about. A lot of people (me included) skim read and will only stop to read a paragraph properly if something interesting catches their eye.

Also remember that the first of everything is the most important, and needs to introduce the main idea: the first paragraph of the post, the first sentence of each paragraph, etc.

"All science is either physics or stamp collecting." - Ernest Rutherford.
Offline Varkas
« Reply #13 - Posted 2014-02-04 10:50:14 »

I think my intro blurbs need improvement. I'll work on that.

With formatting, I'm a minimalist. Quotes are formatted diferently, to show which is my text and what is quoted, but other than that I'm usung text attribution very sparingly.

Since I write in german and about topics which personally bother me, or which are of interest to me, I assume my audience will be limited. So far I've been blogging about social issues, health of body and mind, some art/crafting related articles, and some about spirituality and religion. Sci-fi and near future visions are also a topic that might show up now and then, mostly in combination with health or social topics though.

I've lost interest in technology and programming a lot. Well, I know a lot about both, but I feel no urge to write about it. I can use it, it's good. If it touches social or health topics, it's more likely that I'll write about technology, but mostly about the social or heralth impacts of technology.

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Offline aldacron

JGO Coder

Medals: 20
Exp: 19 years

Java games rock!

« Reply #14 - Posted 2014-02-04 11:08:19 »

I'd say it depends on A) target audience and B) what you want to say and C) why you want to say it. If you can say everything you want in a way that is engaging and informative for your target audience and manage to achieve your goal in C, then you've found the optimal length.
Offline Oskuro

JGO Ninja

Medals: 73
Exp: 10 years

Coding in Style

« Reply #15 - Posted 2014-02-04 14:37:09 »

I find that the list format is quite easy to read. If the list item titles are informative, they offer a quick overview of all the elements, and then the reader is free to read up on those of interest.

At least that's my personal experience. If I'm reading  a long post that is properly subdivided, I can skip parts I'm not interested in, in favour of those I want to read.

Furthermore, the list format is pretty popular all around (a fact that gets abused often).

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