Bloviate: “talk at length, especially in an empty or inflated way”
The debate presses on about length, or word count, of the ideal blog post. Opinions vary and many good points are made about long vs short, what online readers read, and how content length helps in SEO ranking.
The long and short of blog posting
Readers, how do you fall into a blog post and what keeps your attention until the end?
It’s said the attention span of the average online reader will go both ways. Articles are frequently skimmed with longer ones saved for reading later on apps such as Pocket. Look at the bottom of this post and you’ll see the Pocket icon, a useful tool if you don’t have time to get to the end of this one!
However, short posts won’t appropriately convey long, detailed subject matter.
How long is too long? In terms of measurement, the great debate continues in the comment sections of posts such as one on the Buffer blog. As you read through this lengthy post, you’ll find details of the ideals, or save it for later when it can be studied more thoroughly.
The bottom line in the Buffer post is to show what the science of metrics says is the behavior of online readers and how we can capture attention with ideal lengths of everything from Twitter posts to email subject lines.
Making the choice
Do you go long, or stay short?
Write until you’re finished, then edit. Writers tend to over populate their content with unnecessary words and descriptions that don’t add to what they’re trying to say. Write as your own personal reality dictates, but don’t “bloviate.”
If your expertise warrants a well researched and longer post, be sure to give the reader a rest in between long expanses of text with images, graphs, or quotes.
The perfect mix
One of the ways a site like Medium has measured the length of an article is by how many minutes of your time will be spent reading it. This is super helpful if you’re on a tight schedule, notice something interesting, and determine whether you can read it now or save it for later.
By the way, their research shows the ideal post is 7 minutes or 1600 words. I wonder how they determine reading speed?
Wrap it up
Working to combine a mix of long and short posts could be a determining factor to keeping readers on site. Don’t sacrifice quality, ever. If you can get the idea across in 3-500 words, great, if it takes 1-2000 words, that works as well.
Readers will read what’s interesting to them, well written and esthetically appealing. Even with all the data and studies, it boils down to the fact that there is a diversity of curiosity. All writers can’t write for all readers, but offering something absorbing, captivating, amusing or engaging will keep them coming back for more!
Don’t bloviate. In case you’re wondering, this post is exactly 496 words!