Performancing Metrics

The Shrinking Blog Post

A few years ago, when someone asked the ideal length of a blog post, the common answer would sound like “between 400 to 600 words.” Now, when you ask someone the same question, the reply would fall between 200 to 300 words. This seems to be the case of “The Shrinking Blog Post.”

Now, why is this seemingly happening? I have a few theories:

  1. The Micro-blogging Effect – Twitter introduced a new level of brevity when it comes to writing interesting content.  My guess is that since people want instant gratification in content, readers are now slowly expecting the same about blogs– say what you want to say in the least amount of words possible.
  2. “Sharability” over Stickiness – Slightly related to the first theory, my general observation is that people are more into sharing content. And I think sharing is really a “volume” activity in the sense that you gain credibility by sharing often, even if the quality is passable at best.
  3. Economics – For professional bloggers and writers, there are schemes where the author is paid based on the number of words in the article. Perhaps this is a response to the financial crisis that started a couple of years ago.
  4. The Public’s Trust in Experts – While I believe social media does open the gates for new experts, there are a few experts whom the general public trusts and these experts often have “The Word” on certain topics. This credibility gives them the privilege to post long, but rare articles. This situation leaves people to be often have to rely on high frequency of posting to elevate their reputation.

There may be other reasons, but the case of “The Shrinking Blog Post” may not be cracked soon.

Categories: Blogging Tips

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Comments

  1. Tyson J. Hayes ) says: 11/18/2009

    I wonder if it’s necessarily a bad thing, the shorter blog posts allow for quicker reading and quicker sharing, which means ultimately the post gets looked at by more people. Is that really a bad thing?

    Reply

    • Regnard Raquedan says: 11/18/2009

      Hi!

      I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but just sharing my personal observation and theories on the matter. :)

      Reply

      • Tyson J. Hayes ) says: 11/19/2009

        I definitely think that a character limit for SEO reasons is a bit silly, content and sharing are way more effective then a good ranking on Google. More people are turning to the social networks to get media specifically designed for their interest then searching for similar products.

        Reply

  2. chrispian says: 11/18/2009

    What a great question. I think the 300 word mark came about because of SEO advice. At least at first. I think micro blogging and, really more so, life streaming (twitter, facebook, flickr, youtube, etc.) have pushed that even further along. Texting also plays a role, as does the fact that Gen Y and beyond grew up with communicating online and in shorter, more conversational styles. That, and general lazyness ;) That’s what I think caused it.

    Good thing? Sure, most of the crap online needs to be short, that way we don’t waste our time. I’d rather read a bad 300 word article than a bad 1200 article. But I’d rather read a 1200 word great article than a 300 word article of any quality. But I’m a wordy writer anyway ;)

    Reply

    • Regnard Raquedan says: 11/18/2009

      Hey Chrispian!

      SEO comes into the fold again. But if you ask me SEO for blogs is a bit overrated, especially when it comes to content length.

      What do you think?

      Reply

  3. @Jordan_Keats says: 11/19/2009

    Regnard,
    Interesting post, what is your word count? (joking). The increasing popularity of Tumbr, Posterous, and Friend Feed, make it so handy to post perhaps people are getting post happy – choosing quantity instead of quantity. For Tumblr, a post can be nothing more than a sentence long question. For Posterous, any email can become a blog post. Friend Feed only shows a snippet of a blog post to if you want to entice a full read, you had better make the first hundred words catchy, or controversial.
    I am sure you know all of this already, but it is an interesting trend you have spotted, and discussion too. One friend said her blog was only for ideas that were too long to tweet, and that may be the trend. Either that or Twitter is killing our attention spans. Thanks for the post,
    Jordan

    Reply

    • Regnard Raquedan says: 11/20/2009

      Hey Jordan!

      Good points, you got on those 3 sites, altough it’s worth noting that attention span may be shortening by the minute all over the world.

      This has pretty serious implications like how we do work and how schools should be taught.

      BTW, I average around 200 words per post, give or take. :)

      Reply

  4. indir.com says: 11/19/2009

    very nice. thanks !

    Reply

  5. Tyson J. Hayes ) says: 11/19/2009

    Oops, meant my last comment to be a reply to something else, sorry! :)

    Reply

  6. Mark Sherrick says: 11/23/2009

    Honestly, I’d rather read a longer entry rather than a two sentence blip. Save em all up and make a bigger post!! Give me a Chris Brogan or UnMarketing blog post over Seth Godin’s one sentance wonders anyday!

    Reply

  7. KA says: 11/30/2009

    After starting to tweet this year, I do find it harder for me to write blog posts. I think Twitter does have an impact on the length of blog posts! I should save up all my words for a good post eh.

    Reply

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