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How long should a blogpost be?

dannysteenman profile image Danny Steenman ・1 min read

Do you prefer reading short posts or long posts?

Discussion (22)

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misslorsx profile image
Laura Jane

I love either - but maybe adding subsections so we can easily scroll to a particular bit if we are quickly reading, I love hearing about people’s stories and reading their blogs. (Hoping you will do one soon?) πŸ˜ƒ

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dannysteenman profile image
Danny Steenman Author

Yeah I'm working on a giant blogpost (+3000 words), so I'm trying to find out what the average person likes. I like long posts that contain a lot of information, but that's just me.

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gc_psk profile image
Giancarlo Buomprisco

Long Posts have their place, but the average post anything between 1300-2000 words

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misslorsx profile image
Laura Jane

I’d have a read for sure, but definitely consider subsections if it’s a long blog. Can’t wait to read it! Good luck! πŸ˜ƒ

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damian_cyrus profile image
Damian Cyrus

I am preparing a post with under 4000 words as the target needs a little more information than just a tutorial step by step to create something. This way the post is exploding with words, but I am fine with it as it helps also a wide range of people.

After that I will create a tutorial post in short steps without explanations, to test what works better πŸ˜ƒ

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dannysteenman profile image
Danny Steenman Author

How are you planning to test it? Using Google Analytics?

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peterfarrugia profile image
Peter Farrugia

Using Google Analytics is a great way of tracking how well a particular content performs but you'll have to have additional tracking installed (see this) as the default pageview tracking will not provide much info (except for how many views the article got ).

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damian_cyrus profile image
Damian Cyrus

This is actually the way I want to test it, thank you @peterfarrugia for the link!

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george profile image
George Nance

I echo @waylonwalker .

Layout is key. Line Spacing, breaking up paragraphs.

But in terms of how long should it be? It depends on the subject. It depends on your audience.

If you are doing a deep on a programming language, that should be longer then a post announcing a new minor update for your open source library.

One other thing is finding out what kinds of posts are your readers reading besides yours? Which ones get the most comments or read time ?

There is no clear formula for every post. What matters more is posting content people want to read πŸ™‚

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patarapolw profile image
Pacharapol Withayasakpunt • Edited

I prefer relatively short.

Longer may be ok, if it is well-styled (with Markdown); making skimming easier. (It's not like I read only once, if it is good enough.)

I don't like exceedingly long posts. It makes me miss the point.

TOC and collapsible subsections, like Wikipedia, should be ok.

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

πŸ‘ yes, needs to be well-styled for scanning. If I can't find something that interests me by scanning, I probably won't read it.

Treat each section as its own, and choose a title for it like you would choose an article title. Not clickbaity to anger a reader who didn't get what they wanted, but something engaging to pull them in.

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robole profile image
Rob OLeary • Edited

This long πŸ‘† ☝ 😏 Im kidding! I think it's depends on the focus and the topic. If an article meanders too much, I will stop reading. I think personal accounts, exploratory studies, and tutorials delve deeper and warrant a longer post. I always appreciate a table of contents if it is longer article.

If you use VS Code, you can check out the Marky Markdown extension for adding a TOC to markdown documents. It has a status indicator above your TOC telling you if it is up-to-date or not as you edit your document.

Status

You can set it to update on save, so it's stays in sync with your headings always. I wrote it recently as I include TOCs in markdown documents regularly, and I don't want to be doing manual updates for this kind of thing! πŸ€―β›

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker • Edited

Most of the time I prefer short as I am more likely to read the whole thing. If its setup as a series I am more likely to work my way through the whole series in a matter of a few sessions. Just my preference

I will say though there are certain articles that fit well to the long format. They are articles that folks tend to come back to often as a reference again and again.

layout is key

Either way you go layout is key. Most folks here scan articles. I often scan, then read. If the article is really good or pertains well to me I will read everything, otherwise, I go back and read the sections of interest.

Break it up

Use headings, images, and blockquotes to break your article up and make it scannable. I almost treat each heading as an article title. It should be engaging and pull the reader in, but not be clickbaity and irritate them when they didn't get what they expected

make it scannable!

Article types

As I can see there are several article types on DEV

  • superpost
  • single post
  • series
  • discussion

superpost

I think this is what you are eluding to with the (+3000) word post. This is the hardest to pull off in my opinion, but if done right it will land you at the top of search for a long time, in the top 7, and potentially the top 1 for a given tag.

I used to think that every post needed to be a super post that everyone would rave over. I have found personally that attempting to do this makes it so I rarely post and way overthink them.

This can also be the most frustrating, you have put all of your eggs in one basket. If you don't title it right, post at the right time, share it at the right time, it might not take off like you had hoped.

These posts take a lot of work!

single post

Just your average post. There are a lot of great techniques to making the average post great. Sometimes they find traction, sometimes they don't. I don't sweat if they don't. I like posting shorter content as its achievable for me and my lifestyle. I can always crosslink them and generate more views/discussion across them.

For those struggling to find what to write about, this is a great article from @swyx learn-in-public-hack

series

Using the series tag you can break super posts into smaller ones. This puts fewer of your eggs in the same basket. I typically start a series when I know that I am going to post about a single topic often, but don't have it all laid out. I've been told for these to be really successful it needs a bit more pre-thought.

I do notice that I get a bit of engagement back to older posts every time a new one is posted. so this does help drive engagement by continuously pulling readers in. I am not sure if its quite as good as a link, or liquid embed. Keep in mind when doing this the series component will show the first 2 and the last two without clicking. Make sure that the first two really count, they will likely get the most traffic benefit from the series.

series tagged

Here is a great example from my latest notification. I notice this almost every time I post to my actions series, the first one in the series almost always gets a bit of a bump in engagement.

discussion

Posts just like this one, where the author leads the discussion with an intriguing question or comment but holds back on their opinion. The key here is that the author should engage in the discussion, keep the discussion moving and provide their thoughts here.

Selfishly this is one of my favorite types of posts to make as I learn the most from them.

Post what you want to read

At the end of the day YOU are the most important component. Post what you like to read, post what you are able to write. If you struggle to wrap your head around concepts in small posts and have a talent at making rockstar super posts do that. Do YOU

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dannysteenman profile image
Danny Steenman Author

You hit the nail right there! If you create a long post, better make sure to setup your SEO correctly, otherwise it could be a waste of effort in the longs run. But yeah if I do read smaller posts, it should answer the question that I’m looking for otherwise I’ll skip it.

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helenanders26 profile image
Helen Anderson

Excellent advice as always! This would make an excellent blog post in itself

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n8chz profile image
Lorraine Lee

I don't have an opinion as to how long a blog post should be (and certainly one of my pet peeves about the net these days is heads up displays of "reading time"), but I'm very strongly of the opinion that blog post is two words.

Not that anyone asked for my opinion on anything else, but I'm also of the opinion that medium, substack and the like are not blogging. Twitter is not "microblogging," whatever that even is. Blogging by definition is about having a space of your own, not a platform. Blogging as I understand it, unfortunately, is largely ded. But if anyone wants an example of what a blog should look like see astoundingteam.com/wordpress , note the ultraminimalist Wordpress theme, loads nice and fast.

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jenc profile image
jen chan

Linkbait writing experience tells me, 900 words at most and the less the merrier.

My blogging here breaks all those rules.

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ashwinsharmap profile image
Ashwin Sharma P

I prefer a detailed and long post. But that is not the case with many, as I have seen people liking more information embedded in less words these days.

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

For me its a matter of breaking it down. If its straight text with nothing to break it up its really hard for me to ingest.

Also I need to carve out time to get through a long post. I might πŸ”– it, but never get back to it.

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dannysteenman profile image
Danny Steenman Author

Same here. But I like shorter sentences because that reads a lot better!

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adamgreenough profile image
Adam Greenough • Edited

Exactly as long as it needs to be to succinctly get your point across. I don't want to read a long post about a handy JS snippet but might about problem solving or strategy.

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Andrew Brown πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

This is just the right amount πŸ˜‰