Blogging Insights — Sizing Up Your Blog

Blogging insightsIn her Blogging Insights series this week, Dr. Tanya asks us about post length, which she explains is often characterized as either short form posts (typically 300 to 400 words) or long form posts (more than 1000 words). She asks us to share our perspectives by responding to these questions, some of which I answered in this response to a previous Blogging Insights post.

1. Do you prefer writing long form or short form content?

In my early days of blogging, it wasn’t that unusual for me to hit 1,000 words or more in a post. But since I started this blog in May 2017, I generally write shorter posts. My average words per post so far this year is just 250. And that’s up from 237 last year and 235 in 2018.

I think it takes more skill to write a compelling, entertaining, informative, and engaging post in a short form than it does in a long form. You need to write in a crisp, concise manner and you need to choose your words carefully in short form writing, whereas you can blather away when writing posts of 1,000 words or more. To that end, I’ve actually made a concerted effort to be more concise in my writing. I had always considered myself to be a writer who has a way with words, when what I should have been striving to be is a writer who knows how to do away with words.

2. How long, in your opinion, is the ideal blog post?

To me, it’s not how short or long a post is as much as how engaging it is.

3. What do you prefer reading, shorter or longer posts?

I hate to say it, but I have neither the time nor the patience for reading “long-form” posts. Unless it’s an extremely compelling post, I tend to prefer to read posts that are 500 or fewer words. But that’s just me.

4. What are the topics on which you would like to read longer posts (say, more than 1000 words)?

You know, this is an interesting question because I’m not sure that there are any specific topics that would prompt me to read blog posts of more than 1,000 words. Unless, as I’m reading a post where the writing grabs me. Then I’ll read it, regardless of its length.

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.

B is for Blogger

791CD1B9-5742-4B19-BCBF-39FD5922DB40I often wonder what I am. Am I a blogger who writes or am I a writer who blogs?

I read an interesting post last week from fellow blogger Teresa, aka The Haunted Wordsmith. In that post, Teresa, who blogs on both WordPress and Medium, wrote:

“Anyone who puts two words together with a purpose is a writer. A writer who takes those words and publishes them online on a blog is a blogger.”

I put words together with a purpose, but I am not sure I would call myself a writer. I think of a writer as someone who puts words together with the purpose — or at least the hope — of being able to make a living through the publication of their words in books that are sold to the public. The goal of a writer is to get something he or she wrote to appear on the New York Times bestseller list and to be generously compensated for having done so.

Writers compose their words to be read in book form, they tend to focus on the art of the sentence. They often write in long, complex, highly descriptive sentences strung together into long, complex, highly descriptive paragraphs, the objectives of which are to draw the reader into their long-form compositions for hours on end.

Bloggers, on the other hand, typically use shorter sentences and even shorter paragraphs in order to appeal to the shorter attentions spans of online readers. Their objective is to keep their readers engaged for five to maybe eight minutes.

And how many bloggers do you know who earn enough money from their blogs to make a living? I don’t even try. Thus, I fall squarely in the blogger category.

But then again, in order to be a blogger, you must write. You must, as Teresa said, put words together for a purpose, that purpose being to write posts that generate immediate responses from, and interactions with, other bloggers.

Bottom line, bloggers write and some bloggers may even get books published (or get their stories or poems published in anthologies). Published writers write and may or may not blog.

Does it really matter, at the end of the day, whether I call myself a blogger or a writer? Probably not. So, um, never mind.

More important, what are you? Do you consider yourself to be a blogger who writes or a writer who blogs?


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