Long-Form versus Short-Form Content – The Long and Short Of It

Within the blogging establishment, one issue that seems to be forefront at the moment is the debate over long-form versus short-form content when posting. Both have their place in the blogging world and function exceedingly well in specific situations in providing information, insight and enjoyment to readers.

insightsCoupled alongside that, are those like myself that prefer one style over the other when it comes to both writing and reading.

The next installment(Number 17) in Dr. Tanya’s Blogging Insights Series is Blogging Insights #20 – Long Form versus Short Form Content.

Dr. Tanya gave us this preamble to her post.

The blogosphere remains in constant flux, changing shape and form according to the needs and desires of readers and writers. Hence, any rules or norms that govern it are pretty flexible too.

This is true of the length of posts or content. Post length is arbitrarily divided into short-form and long-form content.

Short-form posts are approximately 300 to 400 words, can be read in about two minutes and do not usually require a lot of critical thinking to assimilate.

Long-form content is, loosely defined, a piece of writing more than 1000 words, some say not less than 2000 but again the criteria are arbitrary. It is a popular notion that search engines prefer longer posts.

She gave us four questions to consider:

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

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

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

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

Here’s my take on this:

Do you prefer writing long-form or short-form content?

Generally, I prefer to write short-form content.

content3With my lifestyle and work schedule, the majority of my “blogging time” occurs only on my days off and then only until about 9 or 10 in the morning. In order to post on those days and to perhaps get a post or two “in the bank” to schedule at a later date during the week, my writing tends to be more short-form in length. Anywhere from 750 to 1000 words in length.

I have written posts in the past that are much longer. But having said all of that, more often than not, my posts end up being whatever length they are in order to say what I need to say.

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

From a technical perspective, I don’t have the expertise to answer that question in terms of SEO and search engine ranking issues.

content2Ideally, the post should be long or short enough to convey to the reader what the writer has to say.

Personally, I like to read articles that are short and concise. I don’t have the attention span to sit and read for much more than 5 to 10 minutes at a time. After that, I tend just to simply scan the pages to get the “essence” of what the author is saying.

What do you prefer reading, shorter or longer posts?

I think I answered this in Question 2 – shorter posts for sure.

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

This is a difficult question to answer.

content1When reading blog posts, I like to “get in; read them; get out; move on to the next one.” Again it comes back to my preference for short-form content. I do tend to gravitate towards personal development and mental-wellness topics to read, so if they were well written as long-form content, I might slug it out for the duration of the post.

I do have trouble reading for any excessive length of time on the computer regardless of the topic. I’m more of a “tactile reader” in that I enjoy and find comfort in the feel of a book in my hands.

Conclusion

I know that there is much research and information available as to the benefits of long-form versus short-form content when it comes to blogging. At this stage for myself and I’m sure for other writers as well, long-form versus short-form isn’t much of an issue or concern.

There are many of us who write and find the words to say which are birthed from a well that is deep down inside our souls. A place where long-form and short-form content doesn’t reside. We simply write until we’re satisfied we’ve got it all out there for that post.

As always, a huge thanks to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her neverending work on this “Blogging Insights Series” and looking at “long-form versus short-form content” within the blogging universe.

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – How Long Should Blog Posts Be

insightsDebate amongst those in the blogging world, and certainly among those who write extensively on blogging tips and advice is, “how long should the ideal blog post be?”

Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) in the next installment Blogging Insights #13 – How Long Is The Ideal Blog Post. asks that very question.

Dr. Tanya gives us this preamble of where she was coming from in regards to this post.

Short-form VS Long-form Content

Before I launched my blog a couple of years ago, I read quite a few posts and articles about blogging. All of them said that the search engines preferred content to be around 2000 words. This, I learned, was called long-form content.

I paid for a plug-in called Yoast which all the articles said I must have (more about this in a later post). This plug-in which works on a traffic light kind of system would not give me a green light unless I crossed 300 words. I dispensed with Yoast since the WordPress Business Plan that plug-ins operate on was quite expensive and not really doing anything for me.

By this time I had discovered that short-form content (1200 words or less) seemed to be doing very well for many bloggers whose work I admired.

Her questions are:

How long are your blog posts on average?

blog lengthDoing a quick bit of looking at stats from 2020 to 2017, my average post length for each year is:

2020 – 905 words

2019 – 763 words

2018 – 792 words

2017 – 656 words

Which averages out over those four years to be 780 words per post.

Given the option, would you rather post long-form or short-form content?

Obviously, it appears, I post in short-form content.

I have written many that are much more than those numbers above. One constraint I have is limited time to write, so I’ve developed the habit of writing more concise and shorter pieces.

Ultimately, when it comes right down to it, I write until the post until I believe the message it contains has been delivered. If I can do it with fewer words – wonderful. If it takes 1450 words, that’s okay too.

There are a few pieces I have written, that I have broken down into two-part or three-part series. Mostly done that way to keep the word counts lower and to separate the content into more meaningful or distinct chunks.

Time is short and the attention spans of social media users are shorter still, why do you think the search engines prefer longer content?

I have no idea about the search engine stuff and that side of things.

For myself, I prefer reading posts that are smaller in length. Unfortunately, I don’t have the attention span to read a long post. I need lots of visuals and paragraph breaks, highlights, bullet points and other devices in order to keep my attention.

I did read from a blogging expert that suggests keeping posts short and engaging with graphics, bullet points, block text and highlights, etc in order to keep the reader engaged due to the very reason of short attention spans.

In the end, though, it will depend on “what you are blogging and writing about” and “why are you doing it” that will dictate how long your posts should be.

Thanks again to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for her adding to the depth of this exceedingly important issue that all bloggers, whether professional or novice has to grapple with.

For those of you out there in the blogosphere where do you fit in with all of this?

  • short-form versus long-form content
  • does it really matter?

I would love to hear what you think about this.

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —