As my blog name suggests, I’ve a tendency to ramble. I’m easily fascinated by tangents; in writing, this is forgivable because I can read what I just wrote and rescue my chain of thoughts by hammering in the connective logic. Tangents are what makes things interesting. Tangents are as much a part of the writing as anything else. Tangents can create equal opportunities for exploring new lines of thought. But yes, I have scope to limit my meandering once in a while.
The typical web reader has a short attention span when it comes to reading content online. Experts in Search Engine Optimization consider that both extremely short and long web pages are not ranked as highly as pages that are of a reasonable length. Of course no one really knows how many words are ideal – but the general opinion seems to be that a page of at least 300 words are probably a reasonable length. Similarly, many advise keeping pages under 1000 words.
But in my case more than a few posts themselves have crossed the 1000 mark.
- Post on ‘Nostalgia’: 3045 words
- Post on ‘The Hero’: 1201 words
- Post on ‘Ashtavakra’: 1998 words
I remember a friend saying that you should write enough to comprehensively cover your topic and then stop. Long posts for the sake of them are not a wise move – but so are short ones that don’t cover the topic well. I feel if you are going to be longwinded make sure it is so focused, topically relevant and interesting.
I usually start with an anecdote or reference to an item. Personal anecdotes work very well. I feel each blogger needs to work out what length post suits their writing style and topic. The length of a post is truly a case of “it depends”. It’s like arguing about the perfect colour or the ideal layout (Yes, I always bring it back to design!). Maybe, the length should be just like a girl’s skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to keep it interesting.
Mark Twain once said: “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter so I wrote you this long one instead.” It is absurd to criticize someone for an economy of words. Forgive me, but in writing, size does not matter. Anyone with stamina alone can bang on a keyboard to reach some magic “300 words or more” length for a posting.
I write really long posts on topics that I’m passionate about. So, how long should a blog post be? There is no one answer to this. The length of a post is dependent on its topic and depth of thought and text required to convey your message, idea or argument. In this regard there is no write or wrong: sometimes I can convey a thought better in 100 words than I can in 1000, and at other times vice versa. Sometimes it might be somewhere in between. As a blogger though I can only say to others that this isn’t something you should get hung up on: quality is not measured by length.