Archives for December 2012

Blog Post Length: The Long and Short of It

This afternoon I was reading a new blog post from KISSmetrics.  Neil Patel and his team (I assume there is a team) delivered a well presented Long Blog Postand valuable post with 30 blogging tips.  It’s definitely worth the read, if you can get through it all.  Therein lies the question.  Can a blog post ever be too long? It’s a constant debate.  Is 4500+ words too long for a blog post?

The post from KISSmetrics included “Write Long Posts” as one its top 30 blogging tips.

The reasons included:

Search engines know better what the post is about because of the length

The disappointment of the reader when attracted to a great headline, only to be disappointed by the length of the post

 

Liabilities of a Long Post

The time to create the post – I wouldn’t be surprised if the KISSmetrics post took 10+ man hours to complete.  The writing and research for this type of post would be painstaking for most of us.  The links, images, and photographs all have to be placed on the backend.  It is a labor intensive effort when 4500+ words are involved.

I just couldn’t put that Blog Post down – Do you ever find yourself saying this with blog posts that resemble e-books? I’m guessing not so much. Hold on, someone just liked my cat picture on Facebook, I have to go thank them.  I know, I’ll bookmark and read later.

Off to the Bookmark Black Hole – Let’s face it, all things being equal, longer posts generally head to that crowded place we call bookmarks.  Sadly, most posts will not see the light of day once they land in bookmarkville.  We really mean to get back to them, because they are overflowing with value, but it just doesn’t happen.

Blog Post or “War and Peace” – The internet and the content created resembles a fast food environment.  We want it short and sweet.  Is it any surprise that Twitter is so popular? Cozying up with a nice 4500 word piece doesn’t play for the majority. Photos, quotes, and images get more love than posts.  We’re visual.  Those are the facts.  No need for an empirical study, we live it every day online.

Efficiency – Are 4-5 800 word posts more valuable to you, the writer, than one 4500 word post?  This is something to think about before embarking on mega post.  If you’re looking for the highest percentage of readers to finish the piece keep it short.

Long doesn’t mean Good – Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because your post is long that it’s going to be good and well received.  The KISSmetrics piece is solid, but there are no guarantees for any writer.  A lot more can go wrong with a long post.

 

The KISSmetrics post could have been an e-book.  One page for every tip detailed, and you have a 30 page e-book.  If you have 4000+ words in you, think about putting together an e-book.  The people that request an e-book expect it to be much longer than your typical blog post.  While getting you point of view out there is important, keep it tight and think about your readers.

Have you ever composed a 4000-5000 word blog post?

Have you composed a 1500 word post?

What were the results?

When is the last time you read a 4000 word post verbatim?

 

I welcome and look forward to your comments on this one.  Don’t be shy.  If you enjoyed this 573 word post, please share.

Google+ Communities: The Great, the bad, and why you need to Join

In case you missed it, Google+ Communities launched about 48 hours ago.

It’s Google’s answer to Facebook Groups.  That new car The Photo Community - Google Plus smell jumps off the screen, but this is more than another shiny toy.

I caught the post Thursday on the Google’s Official Blog that Google+ Communities were being rolled out.  They showed some public community examples including The Audi Community, Star Wars, and The Photo Community (led by Trey Ratcliff).  The Photo Community has over 14,000 members already if you’re keeping score at home.

Later that evening it became apparent that Google+ users could create their own community.  Hmmm, should I do this?  What the heck, let’s give this a shot, and the Blog Community was born.  Come join if you’re interested in blogging and making connections.

The Great

The People – While the core of Facebook is friends and family, the active Google Plus user has more of an interest in industry and hobbies.  While Photography, Technology, and Social Media are some of the favorites, there is a wide array of topics that have a passionate following outside of the communities.

Categories – So you’re not relegated to one long stream of dialogue and content as is the case with Facebook.  The Google + Communities have categories which basically create communities within the community.  Below is an example of some of the categories from The Photo Community.  As you can see there are many categories that are included in photography.  This allows the member to hone in on a specific aspect of photography.  This is powerful.  Whatever your community of choice, you’ll find a layer that should no doubt keep your interest.

Categories - Google + Communities

Diverse Communities – Only two days in and there is no shortage of community topics.  There is something for everyone from Photography to Nuclear Energy.  Here are few to check out that look like they’re cooking already.

The Photo Community

deviantART Community

Real Estate

Space

Makers, Hackers, Artists & Engineers

Friendly Interface and Search – The Google+ Community interface and search really makes it easy for you to take a look at a community before joining.  The overwhelming majority of communities are set at public, so the door is wide open.

Community Search on Google +

The Bad

Well it’s not all peaches and cream!  Google has a good reputation of digesting user feedback and making adjustments to create a better experience.  It’s a little tough to be overly critical after only two days, but here are two flaws of the Communities that have been discussed widely on Google+.

Currently if you post on a public community that post will also be shown under your profile.  This can create confusion especially if you are posting consistently in several communities.  It can make your profile messy fast.  Google has to allow users in communities to choose if they want their post shared to just the community or to specific circles in addition.  There is no choice right now.

If you are creating a community, choose very carefully if you want to it be public or private.  There is no turning back.  Unfortunately, if the need arises to change from one setting to another you’re out of luck.  If you wanted to go from public to private you would need to delete the group and start over.  That is a problem.

Why you need to Join

Ground Floor on Large Network – Communities are fresh out of the oven, and a great time for you to create your own community of interest. It’s unbelievably simple to start your own community.  Be one of the first to start a community in your niche, and build it up.

Make new Connections – The active users on Google Plus are generally not the same active users from Facebook.  Most pick one or the other to spend the brunt of their social media time.  This gives you the opportunity to make new connections in a whole new environment.

Many of us have made our strongest online connections in Facebook groups, and I have a few that are still of great value.  However, Google+ Communities looks like it has the makings to be a special place, and I highly suggest you give it a shot.

 

If you enjoyed the article and found it of value, please share.  Comments are welcomed.