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 and 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.