This week’s Blogchat Twitter chat featured an interesting question: Do you prefer to read longer blog posts or shorter posts with more discussion in comments?
The topic of the chat wasn’t really whether it’s better to write longer blog posts or shoot for shorter ones that attract more comments from your audience, but it was a sidebar discussion that came up during the chat.
As a blogger, I’m conditioned to want as many comments as I can get. Since blogging began, though not as much these days, reader comments were considered a major measure of blogging success: if you were writing the kind of content that got people to respond, you were apparently doing everything right.
Over time, however, as social media has expanded in so many different ways across so many different platforms, most bloggers have likely seen a corresponding drop in the number of comments they regularly receive. Because I started this blog in a smaller blogging community, AOL Journals, I had more comments early on. The members who were part of AOL really supported each other and it wasn’t unusual for a longer post of mine to receive 30 or more comments within a day or so.
These days, getting that many comments seems next to impossible.
Maybe that’s a bad thing. Maybe it isn’t.
But if I look at blogs as a reader, not a blogger, I have to admit that I’d rather read a longer, well-thought-out blog post than a shorter one that might not cover all the bases with a long line of comments to sort through. These days, social media can turn the simplest statement into a long hate-fueled tirade of people shouting each other and rarely listening to anything anyone else has to say. You need look no further than Facebook to find examples of this. People argue back and forth whether they’re particularly passionate about a position or that they just like to argue.
Thanks to social media, for the reader in me, I’m a little leery when it comes to comments. I rarely leave them anymore because I don’t care to jump into some kind of pointless battle.
If that’s how I feel as a reader, how can I expect someone to leave comments on my blog? I’ll answer my own question as best I can: what I try to establish here is an atmosphere where people can have their say as long as it’s respectful. If you can’t at least do that, this isn’t a good place to try to respond because there’s an excellent chance I’ll remove your comment (or edit it a bit). It’s my blog, after all: I can do that. And I make that clear in my blog rules.
The other part of the question, though, is also worth looking at: How long is a “long post?”
I’ve never been one who’s particularly concerned about word counts. Five years ago, I told you I don’t do word counts and that’s pretty much the way I feel now. I worry about reaching 300 words whenever possible because, according to Yoast and other sources, at least 250-300 words is sort of a sweet spot for SEO: if your content is at least that long, it’s more likely to rank better. At this point, just so you can get a mental picture of what a 300 word post might look like, we’re well past the 560-word mark now.
For me, I try to write until I feel I’ve made the point well enough that you can come here and understand what that point happens to be. If that takes 1,500 words, so be it. If it takes a mere 600 words (we’re past the 600-word count now), then I’ll stop there.
So I guess, in answer to the question of longer blog posts or shorter ones with more comments, I prefer longer blog posts, but only posts long enough to say what needs to be said.
What’s more valuable to you: A longer blog post that covers all the bases or a shorter one with lots more discussion from other readers?
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.