Blogging Insights — The Long and the Short of It

Blogging insightsIn her latest Blogging Insights post, Dr. Tanya essentially asks the age-old question, “Does size matter?” Okay, that’s not really accurate. She’s actually asking about “long-form” posts (2,000+ words) versus “short-form” posts (1,200 words or less).

Here are her questions and my answers.

How long are your blog posts on average?

My average words per post has dropped precipitously since I first started blogging on WordPress, as you can see in the average words per post statistics below.

  • 2009 – 772 average words per post
  • 2010 – 699
  • 2011 – 684
  • 2012 – 724
  • 2013 – 718
  • 2014 – 556
  • 2015 – 437
  • 2016 – 367
  • 2017 – 255
  • 2018 – 235
  • 2019 – 237

In my early days of blogging, it wasn’t that unusual for me to hit 1,000 words or more in a post, although I don’t think I ever came close to 2,000 words. But since I started this blog in May 2017, my average words per post barely reaches 250. Given that I post a lot of responses to prompts with word limits, ranging from 280 characters to six-word sentence prompts, to five lines prompts, to 100 and 200 word max prompts, that’s to be expected, right?

Given the option, would you rather post long-form or short-form content?

The late Al Neuharth, founder of, and columnist for, USA Today, wrote that “long-winded stuff loses the attention of listeners and readers.” He quoted FDR, Henry David Thoreau, and Mark Twain, all of whom made comments about how difficult it is to be concise in one’s writing. Twain, for example, said, “If I had more time, I’d write shorter.”

Who am I to argue with Neuharth, FDR, Henry David Thoreau, and Mark Twain? I’ll stick with short-form.

Time is short and the attention spans of social media users shorter still, why do you think the search engines prefer longer content?

Maybe the preference of search engines when it comes to the length of blog posts is more around commercial and political blogs than personal blogs. In any event, I don’t blog to get better rankings in Google searches, so I don’t care what Google prefers.

By the way, this post is 327 words, so it’s definitely above average.

28 thoughts on “Blogging Insights — The Long and the Short of It

  1. newepicauthor January 13, 2020 / 1:39 pm

    My post yesterday Men of Gravity was long coming in at 1287 words and although I thought it was great, it only got seven likes and I guess that is because most people felt it was too long.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jordann @thebookbloglife January 13, 2020 / 1:44 pm

    I try to make my book reviews around 500 words, but everything else depends on what I’m writing about! Great post though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango January 13, 2020 / 11:30 pm

      Thanks. I agree. It all depends upon what you want to say.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Taswegian1957 January 13, 2020 / 1:48 pm

    I don’t care what Google thinks either but I do try not to let my posts run too long. I generally aim for between 500-1000 words but if I am posting something that is mainly photos it can be a lot less. I know I can be quite long-winded so sometimes if I realise a post is running long I break it into two parts posted on consecutive days. I do that most often with the doll blog. I want to inform and educate people about the subject but I don’t want to bore them to tears.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. YouLittleCharmer January 13, 2020 / 1:49 pm

    My posts are minimal to say the least…
    I’m never sure if that’s because I fear I would bore the reader – or if I’m boring myself! 🤔🖤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango January 13, 2020 / 11:32 pm

      Good point. I get bored reading my own posts if they go on too long!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sadje January 13, 2020 / 3:04 pm

    I think shorter posts are better as they are easier to read and write!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango January 13, 2020 / 11:36 pm

      I agree that they are easier to read, but sometimes it can be a real challenge when there is a word limit imposed and you have to tell a complete tale — beginning, middle, and end — in 100 or 200 words!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sadje January 14, 2020 / 1:48 am

        Oh, those are really tough ones. I am always deleting words to meet the word count! BTW, do the prompters actually count our words?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Fandango January 14, 2020 / 8:42 am

          I don’t know. It’s probably on the honor system.

          Like

  6. Marilyn Armstrong January 13, 2020 / 5:47 pm

    I write long when the subject seems to require it and short when that is appropriate. What no one seems to really GET is that despite content, we do this for fun and some kind of satisfaction, creative or because we believe we are going good for the world. Maybe when you first start your blog, numbers matter at least until you get up to speed, but by the time you’ve been doing it for years. length and content are one unit. I often start out long then start cutting. I try to stay under 1000 words and preferably, under 500. I go long only if the subject really warrants it. I have a long one percolating, but I’m not ready to write it yet. I don’t have a good beginning for it yet. Once I have a proper opening, I probably start it.

    I try very hard to not write about the same things all the time. I don’t want to sound like an entirely political blog because people get tired. I think Trump will lose because he has exhausted the American people. Even if they are his followers, they are worn out. Their blood pressure is up, they haven’t had a raise in 10 years, they don’t know what to believe about anything and they have nightmares about fires and the end of the world.

    If this country elects him again, we are even stupider than I imagined possible and probably deserve whatever happens. I am grateful I am not young. Maybe I won’t have to live to see the rest of the international disaster we are creating. With a little bad luck, I won’t have to watch the world burn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango January 13, 2020 / 11:42 pm

      I hope you’re right about Trump not getting re-elected. I so hope you’re right!

      Like

  7. XingfuMama January 14, 2020 / 7:27 am

    I believe that the Google Monster prefers longer posts because it makes it easier for their logic programs to accurately sort the posts appropriately. I think that people tend to prefer shorter posts because, frankly, who has the time to read the hundred or so posts that come in the reader if they are all 1000 or more words?
    Ms. Armstrong has it right: you need to use the number of words that works for what you are posting about.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. leigha66 January 14, 2020 / 5:48 pm

    Your word count certainly did go down through the years. I know I prefer shorter pieces, but a lot of what I write is poems too. I just have to watch some of my Mumbles posts; I can go on and on about some subjects. Good answers Fandango!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Scotty’s Keep January 15, 2020 / 11:22 am

    Good post. Longer posts have their place, such as quoting other sources. But I often find then longer posts contain more fluff.

    I’m not worried about the time. I have plenty of that…I hope.

    However, if the writer doesn’t make some headway toward making a point in the first paragraph, I often move on.

    Shorter posts come about naturally with experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. DebbySEO March 19, 2020 / 7:12 pm

    It really depends on what your blog is about. Twitter and Facebook use extremely short posts and these networks are very popular. For websites I find that a page more or less the size of a wikipedia article works best. Including legit references will also help. Focus on providing quality content and make sure all images used are original as well. Good luck!

    Like

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