The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Friday, May 11, 2012

When Is A Blog Post Too Long?

P questionP question (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        In deference to this week's A to Z Challenge Reflections, I will keep my posts here very short today and Friday.   Be sure to enter your Challenge Reflections on the Linky list and please visit those who are listed there already.  There are some excellent posts.

         When you come upon a long blog post, do you tend to read it, skim through it, or skip it?  

         If you leave a comment on a long post, does your comment tend to elaborate upon the points presented in the post or is it mostly an acknowledgement that you were there?

         What would be your advice to the blogger who often writes long. long blog posts?

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Honestly Lee it depends whether I'm in a hurry or not. I feel bad saying this but sometimes if a post is long and isn't really catching my attention in a good way already I will skim read. I never don't give a post a chance just because it's too long though, I think everyone who puts in that amount of effort deserves a chance and usually it's extremely good.

  2. I'm not too keen on long post, but to be fair to my followers I do read all of their post.


  3. It all depends on the subject matter. What is worse than long posts are posts with a difficult style font written on a background that makes it even harder to read. I have trouble with tiny white or red letters on a black background.

  4. I don't like postings that are too long simple because I like to read as many of the blog in my reading list as I can. I only have a certain about of time to read other blogs. I like to keep my postings, short and to the point. I don't like reading posting if there are in one block of text too.

    I do try to read long posting if I'm interested enough, if not, sorry but I will skip.

  5. If I have nothing on my plate I'll have a big helping of long blogs. But here's the thing, if I am weary, impatient or edgy, short blogs work best to liven me up.

    Some bloggers ramble thus their blog entries are scattered and difficult to reply to properly.

    When all is said and done, I have to be in a decent mood with little on my tray else I am scarping a long blog.

  6. Hi Lee - depends on the blog's content. I know mine are long sometimes.

    If it's long and waffly then I won't read or scan through ..

    Comments - if the comment is relevant to the content then fine.

    I like content with content!

    Short paragraphs .. too many posts are too long mainly because they're not easy to read ... one long paragraph after another - apart from the formatting of some blogs to our machines ... why they should convert to be unreadable - ie on a patterned background I've no idea: when others obviously have no problem.

    Such is life - Lee - once again many thanks for organising the A - Z .. cheers Hilary

  7. Unless the blog is really interesting, I don't read to the end if it is very long. If I think I can make a good comment, I do, and answer the question and comment. I check the members and if the blog could use more, I join. If they have hundreds, I don't. (You still cannot get to my blog from the linky list, just a statement, this page does not exist.)

  8. I am not a fast reader, so I struggle with long posts as it makes visiting all of my blogger buddies difficult. Sometimes I will just skip it. But if I do leave a comment, I make sure it relates to something the person said.
    And Hilary is right - breaking it up makes a long post easier to read.

  9. if the content is intriguing - informative &/or funny - or if i am commenting back, i will take the time to read a long post, otherwise i skim.

    i think the lack of comments might speak for itself...there are blog suggestions all over to increase traffic. if a person wants that, hopefully they will search it. i dont want to tell someone how to improve their blog, its like giving advice on their personality...i stick my foot in my mouth enough!

    and thanks for a to z! another great year!

  10. Yeamie-- Time is my biggest factor. I'll skim and then if I see content that grabs me I'll go back to read more carefully.

    Yvonne--Me too. I try my best.

    Siv -- I reading the post hurts my eyes and the content doesn't interest me I don't struggle with it.

    Jamara - A big block of text is also hard on my eyes and difficult to digest. I will often point this out to a blogger who does this, but usually get no response from them.

    Jeremy -- I think the writer who rambles would condense their writing if they'd go back through and edit. Something more succinct would probably be more effective.

    Hilary -- I like the way you break up your posts in small segments. It's like eating a dinner one bite at a time and thoughtfully savoring each bite as I come to it.

    Loverofwords-- I'm sorry about the Linky list problem. I tried my best, but I don't have access to the list and can't do much more.

    Alex -- Sometimes I'll just latch on to a key point I see and say something about that. I guess that's probably what you do as well.

    Tara -- I think you're right about the lack of comments, but sometimes I'm not sure the blogger is very concerned about that.


  11. Hi Lee! I'm finding myself skimming a lot lately, but when I have the time, I'll read through a longer post if the subject interests me.

  12. I'm a faster reader but I still prefer shorter posts. I used to think anything over 1000 words was too long, but now that number is closer to 500-600.

    Blogging is all about socializing. When I hit a blog with long posts and few comments, I always wonder why that person even bothers to blog.

  13. As previously expressed by others it depends on my state of mind and the topic of the blog post whether I read with care or I'm barely there. I like to leave a comment that shows that I have absorbed the information but there are times when the brain just doesn't want to co-operate. In those instances I leave nothing. Sometimes I come back later and reread when I have more power of concentration and then I am able to leave a worthwhile comment.
    In longer posts it would help to see more spacing between paragraphs to give the eye a break.

  14. Well my posts tend to hover around 400-500 words, I think anything up to a 1000 words is A-OK. But, if a blogger consistantly writes 2000 word blogs, I tend to miss a post here and there because I have a good amount of blogs to keep up with. Not that the posts aren't interesting; it's just that I don't have all that much free time. Granted, if I have a free day to myself, I'd have no problem catching up on the posts.

    As for commenting, I always elaborate on the post. I always feel those people who comment with, "Good post! Visit me at blahblahblah.blah.netcom" are just promoting themselves. Not that I have a problem with posting a blog link; in fact, I encourage it. It's just I can tell the difference between someone who didn't read a post and one who did. Sorry for the long comment.

  15. I used to us a 500-600 word range but have been sticking to 300-400 unless I have a guest blogger. Then they can can go a few hundred words longer.

  16. I have given up on posts that are longer than 500 or so words. I just don't have the time to sit and read on and on and on.

    If I hit a long post with a subject that seems interesting I may skim it, for the most part however I skip it.

    I usually don't leave a comment especially if I am going to skip it because I don't "phone in" comments." I try to make meaningful comments that deal with the topic rather than some generalized trivial reference to show I am was there. I don't like comments like that. It means first, you really don't care about my post and are somewhat disrespectful, and second you just hope that I will find your blog and comment on it.

    My advice would be to either edit the content to a readable size or do what I do when my posts exceed 500 or so words, make it become a short series.

  17. Miranda -- Sometimes skimming is the best I can do, especially if the writing style is difficult to understand or the topic is overly abstract or uninteresting.

    L.Diane -- My goal used to be 1000 words, but now I shoot for 500--easier on me and my readers. The super long posts with few or no readers or comments are puzzling to me as well. Low expectations maybe? Unrealistic expectations like they think many people read but just don't comment?
    Blogging as we are accustomed to is primarily about socializing or at least creating presence. I think there are other cultures of bloggers with different goals like the scholastic or professor bloggers who are taking the online version of being published in journals and such. I've read some of these blogs and they can be pretty bizarre to me, but I guess not to that blogger or any part of their culture that might read these.

    Delores-- Spacing and a few pictures can do wonders for a long blog. I think there is an illusion created that the blog is shorter than it really is because we have more distractions to provide breaks for us as we read.

    Chiz -- The self-promotion comments are pretty easy to spot and now I tend to ignore them. When a blogger is consistently writing long content laden blog posts I start thinking that maybe they should write a book instead.

    Stephen -- 300-400 word posts are good for the readers who are trying to cover a lot of blogs, but sometimes it can be difficult to express complex ideas in that few of words. It's good practice for a writer to try.

    Greg -- I think it can be appropriate to leave a comment on a blog that I've skimmed through if I leave it in the right spirit of things. I've even left comments saying that a post was far too long for me to read and the blogger should consider writing a series or making their post more coherent. I'm just trying to be helpful through honesty in those cases.


  18. I must confess, during the A-Z blog-hop my heart would sink a little if I arrived at a blog with a lengthy post because I knew it meant my available time to read as many blogs as possible would be curtailed.

    That said, I would start reading and if the content wasn't riveting I'd continue in skim-read mode.

    I always tried to leave comments that were relevant to what I'd read - if someone has spent time writing it, then it's only fair they should know it has been read.

    I like it short and snappy if I'm in a hurry (which is my usual status, these days!) - certainly no longer than 1k-words! If the blogger has more to say, why not split it up over several posts...?

    Although - I'll own up to having written a 2,600-word the day after the A-Z challenge, (all 26 of my 100-word story-bites) but I did give fair warning that I would do that, so anyone who missed an episode could read the entire story in one sitting! ;-p

    SueH I refuse to go quietly!

    Twitter - @Librarymaid

  19. unless it's a subject that absolutely fascinates me, a long blog post is going to get skimmed or ignored. Particularly obnoxious are blog posts with 20 large photos, all loading at the same time making the scrolling go up and down so i lose my place. Have mercy!! have a lot of photos you want to share? give us a link or some thumbnails! I love your photos, but more than 5 or 6 photos is not pleasant in a blog post.

    Mimi Torchia Boothby

  20. I tend to skim a longer post so see if I really want to read it then add the link to a "go back to later" folder. I will read it eventually but might not comment then because of the time lag.

  21. I write long blog posts sometimes--usually when I do my Archetype series. Other than that, I try to keep my posts short or at least medium short:)
    Happy weekend!

  22. All posts for which you have to use scrolls in order to read them are too long (this doesn't count if you have pictures within post).
    When it's too long, I find it a bit disrespectful towards the readers, and I usually just skim it (if it's a friend) or avoid it totally.
    People who often write very long posts usually do it for the purpose of rant :) and I think that they get their pleasure in writing it and not in people actually reading it.

  23. Honestly (and I realize that this may be offensive to some people), I think it's really shallow to dismiss a post because it's too long. That's kind of like saying that it's not worth reading anything by people with beards. And, if you look at G.R.R. Martin, evidently, long and beards are both good. Generally speaking, I find it's much more worth my time to spend it reading 1 long post than 5 or 6 short posts. Usually, the short posts don't have much to say anyway. I have a blogfriend who writes quite long posts (even longer than mine (much longer than mine)) very frequently, but I'd much rather read his, because they make me think. Very rarely does a short post make me think about anything.

    Sure, I get that a long post might look daunting, but to skip because it's long is just, well, shallow. I don't care how many short posts you can get to in the time it takes you to read a long post. At that point, you're just playing a numbers game, and what's the point to that? Shouldn't writing and reading posts be beneficial beyond the ability to say "I visited 100 posts, today." If that's what you're about, why bother reading any of them. Just go leave a comment saying "I was here" and leave it at that.

  24. I have just opened up over twenty blogs belonging to bloggers who have visited me this week. The plan was to read and comment on them before bedtime. I've done it... just! But I did skip one or two, the ones that hit me with a screenful of words, no spaces to provide relief, no variation of style, not even a short section of bullet points to draw me into an important aspect or helpful summary.

    When I was a teacher I was paid to read and mark pages of closely written words. I don't have to do that any more. Blogging is my relaxation but it's also a chance for me, and all of us, to hone our writing skills and attract readers to stay awhile, not forgetting that less really can mean more.

    [Apologies if this comment was a little longer than the average comment but these boxes don't allow for bullet points and other variations of style!]

  25. SueH -- I'm pretty much in agreement with what you said.

    Mimi -- A blog that takes a long time to load due to pictures can be very problematic and when the page jumps around it drives me nuts.

    LD -- That's kind of what I do except I don't save it in a folder but try to remember to come back which means I usually forget.

    Nutschell -- I've certainly done my share of long posts, but I try to keep them within reason.

    Dezmond -- We must be on a telepathic wave length today. I kid you not--I woke up this morning thinking, "I really need to comment on one of Dezmond's posts so he won't think I'm upset or anything like that", but I guess you understand.
    A long rant can be a real venting experience, but it's not very thoughtful if it's long, vicious, and rambling like they usually are. Those can be such a bore.

    Andrew -- I think we are all really generalizing here. There are long interesting posts that I will read and highly respect. I would rather have enlightening content than fluff that doesn't teach me anything. But if the fluff is entertaining then I think I need that sometimes as well.
    It's a case by case thing, but usually I find that a super-long post would be better served as being presented in another format. I get tired reading off the computer screen. Also long can be broken up into more than one post or edited to a more succinct presentation.
    Sometimes long posts are worth every word and done the way they should be done and sometimes they are a tedious bore. Books are that way too for that matter.


  26. Rosalind -- I totally agree that long posts have to broken up. I would think if the blogger is checking their work after they've written something that they'd see this, but apparently some bloggers don't see it or don't care.


  27. I agree that long can be boring. Short can also be boring. Boring has nothing to do with length, but it's easier to deal with when it's short.

    I know that it's all a general kind of thing, but you and most of the commenters have stated it in a such a way as to say "long posts are bad." Again, I think that's like say "people with beards are bad." It promotes the attitude that posts -shouldn't- be long, and I think that's wrong.

    Posts should be what they are, long or short. If someone wants to write long posts, someone else shouldn't come along and tell them they're doing it wrong. Other people may choose to bypass the long post, but, if they're doing it without evaluating the post/blogger to see if it's worth their time, it's their loss.

  28. Hi Lee,

    I found you from Dez's blog. Maybe it' a good thing I found you on this particular topic =)

    My posts can be pretty long and I don't expect people to read them, I give a warning in the beginning if it's going to be long and if it's going to a "journal" type post.

    I don't expect people to stay if they don't want to nor would I be offended if they clicked away, didn't comment or didn't follow. I follow blogs because I find them interesting. I have people who have told me my blog is just to painful to read and I respect that. =))

  29. I usually read blogs from begining to end, and sometimes twice as I tend to forget first part of a piece of writing by the time I come to an end. With comments, I try to stick to the subject matter, unless I have a specific message for the blogger. I would not know what to advise a blogger who writes lengthy ones except that they can see if there is repeatation of some sort.

  30. If the subject is interesting I don't mind if a blog is long. Short story writers are to be commended. Most of the timebloggers just ramble on and on like some people. Pictures can get boring depending on the subject -- to many babies.

  31. I will read through an entire post, no matter the length, but I think that a great story can be told in just a few paragraphs.

  32. Andrew -- I'm not equating long posts with being bad, I, along with others, am merely stating in the context of the way we are blogging, especially as it pertains to something like a blogfest, long posts don't work as well. There is a time and place for everything and something for everybody. My main point is that if someone is going to post their novel, or what have you, on a blog, my preference would be to read it in a book.
    The beauty of blogging is that we do have choices of not only length, but content. Something for all tastes.

    Elsie-- If someone holds my interest I can hang in there for a long post if I have the time. The fact remains that what may seem of infinite interest to one particular writer may be an absolute bore to certain other readers. I often find that some bloggers who write long posts can be quite boring while others can be very interesting. And usually the ones who are boring are repetitive, rambling, and essentially lacking coherency. Learning to condense for these writers would be to their advantage and be easier on the readers.

    Munir--Exactly--I think you got this correct. Self-editing is an important discipline to practice.

    Blue Ridge -- I'll agree about the pictures. I like to have some illustrations but not too much of the same thing. One picture of your cat is enough. I don't see that many babies on the blogs I read.

    Nellie -- A blog is a good place for a writer to practice and learn the art of brevity with content with substance.


  33. It really depends. I know that can be an annoying comment, but it is so true. Some posts fly by because I am hanging on the edge of my seat with interest. Others, even if they're short can get skipped if I have no interest. What can I say? Maybe I'm selfish that way.

  34. Yellow Rose- I'd say you're just normal. I do the same. Sometimes I'll stay with a long post because it's worth it. Some short post I kind of shrug off as "why?" but I'm rarely at loss for words to leave a comment and rarely is it in the "nice blog" category. I comment for my own creative entertainment sometimes if the blog post isn't worth saying much about.


  35. I do long posts (usually a 1000+ words) and i do worry about putting people off. The subject tends to be very specific so I think you have to be interested in what I'm writing about anyway, so perhaps that makes it a little different from more general types of blogs.

    As for leaving comments, I tend to find it easier leaving comments on longer posts as there's more chance something will inspire a response.

    Moody Writing
    The Funnily Enough

  36. This is another of your posts that I don't know really how to reply, except, I'm sure some people felt badly because they write long. Those who write short may be patting themselves on the back. :)

    So I'll say this, my posts aren't the longest in the world nor the shortest. But, I think the blogger writer needs to write and the reader read what they want to write and read.



  37. I've never written a long blog post and skim through those I come across (except a few individuals whom I've really connected with personally) I write with photos mostly, allowing the pictures and art to speak. Occassionally I'll post a paragraph but it's rare and I don't expect many to read it. When I write it's more for me than anyone else.

    Have a good one!

  38. Mood -- I find that most longer posts fit into a niche topic and will be interesting to a specific audience or are rambling rants and blathering that leave me scratching my head or even beat my head against a wall (figuratively speaking).

    Teresa -- I find that your posts fit into the just right category and they have good content.

    Scarlett-- I find your posts to be very well organized and easy to follow.


  39. I'm not a fast reader so as long as the post was written slowly I don't mind.

  40. I use a font with a different size to make for easier reading. Because of the size of the font it does appear to be long after it is sent. I don't judge a long or short post, mainly because if I do that, others probably do too. I read an entire post. Honestly, tho the first two paragraphs should catch a readers attention.

  41. I like a blog with pictures so I can see at a glance if the subject matter is something that interests me.

    I frequently post blogs with several pictures, too.

  42. I skim most long blogs unless it really grabs my attention. During the A-Z, most long blogs didn't even get skimmed due to time. One reason I chose my 10x10 theme was to force me to keep my posts short...a tip I had read ahead of time and one I'd pass on the next years participants.

    I follow hundreds of blogs, no way to read them all completely. Sometimes I feel my personal blog posts are too long but most of my readers of that blog tell me they're fine. I suspect they are following less than 50 blogs. LOL!

  43. well i have to say, my least commented on post for the a-z challenge was my longest--and unfortunately it was my most important one to me--the first couple of pages of my story the "Q" day---but honestly, especially during the blog challenge, i tented to get kinda excited when i saw a shorter post--but most other times, it really does just depend on the interest i have in the subject matter

  44. I usually skim long posts but I do slow down and read it thoroughly if it has useful information. I would say if you're writing a long post, you better make it a good one.

  45. This is a topic I've struggled with. I'm long winded. I talk a lot. It's a personality trait. The A-Z challenge though really helped me with this. I tried to keep all my posts under 400 words (I'd say my usual posts used to be more like 750 words). I've gotten better at editing. I'm not good at baby killing, so when I cut huge sections of a post, I put them in a note for future use. I never use them. But having them saved makes me feel better.
    As to reading long posts, if the text is broken up and the blogger is entertaining, then I'll keep reading. I always comment if I visit a blog, and I always read the whole post. However, I don't get to as many blogs this way. Good questions, Lee, and it's been a good discussion in your comments.
    Tina @ Life is Good

  46. I try to fully read all posts I come across and then comment on specifics.

    But it's like reading a book. If you haven't hooked me in the first couple sentences, and it's a long post, I'm probably going to move on to my next blogger buddy. There are simply too many great people to read to take time on long windy posts. (Was my comment too long?)

  47. From those I follow religiously I read their posts from top to bottom and either comment on specific points made or on the general theme of the post.

    In general, if I run across a blog post (regardless of length) the subject matter i.e. the title, usually defines the legth I'll read. If it is just good information my comment will usually reflect something of a "thanks for the info" feel.

  48. Dino -- I probably write faster than I read because it's me saying it. When I reading what someone else has written I tend to read carefully--i.e. slowly--so I can try to understand what they've tried to say.

    Gossip Girl-- Right about the first two paragraphs grabbing the reader. They should be the set up for what's to come. Variations in font, section headers, highlighting and color changes can all be helpful in breaking things up a bit.

    Shecki -- Pictures are good as long as they load easily and are not repetitious.

    Donna --Yes, if you are trying to read many blogs then the long posts can be a hindrance. I especially have a problem with long pieces of fiction on blogs. That's why I read books.

    Lynn -- I think less comments on a long post is more typical than aberrant. I've found the same to be true on many of my longer posts.

    Susan -- If content is good I don't have a problem with slowing down and reading and in some cases rereading to understand what the author is saying.

    Tina -- This post is one of those where I don't say much and let the readers do the talking. I've found that these can be rather popular.

    KM -- You're comment was just fine and one that I agree with. The author needs to have good content and be able to convey it well in order to keep my interest.

    Chuck -- A post should have a title that lures you to read it. Then if the writing is decent the reader is hooked. I usually hang in when a post has these things and I normally respond in kind. I've also left those kinds of "thanks for the info" comments when that's about all I can add to the discussion.



  49. You received some wonderful comments, something for everybody is out there.

  50. I will read a long post if it is well written and the subject is of interest to me. However, on some days, if I'm tight on time, I will skim a longer post and keep it in mind to return to read in full, particularly if the writer is someone I enjoy reading on a regular basis.

    I think a good idea is to provide a mix of posts - long, short and medium in lengths.

  51. Blue -- I agree that there were some excellent comments for me having put forth such simple post. Ask the right questions and you get good answers.

    Paula--I like that idea of the mix. I think I tend to do this though I do try to keep posts shorter that some of the ones I used to do.


  52. I suggest bloggers make their posts short, as advised. A reader cannot hope to cope with many long posts in one day. I skimmed through them to get the gist, thereby wasting all the wonderful words written. Although guilty, I had to do it.

  53. Reading the comments to this posting (something I don't always do either) I would say that the "shorts" have it.

    For myself, if my blog post seems a bit long, I will do my best to brief it up, and to format it with pictures, short paragraphs, add more white space, center the print, etc. Sometimes a long blog doesn't seem so long it it isn't text dense. And then I hope that the formatting changes and the topic will hold the reader.

    When I read other blogs, if they are text dense, (over long paragraphs with no break for the eye) I do skip it. It isn't the length of the posting so much as how dense the text appears on the page for me.

  54. I often skim long posts and leave a comment related to one piece of the post, mostly to let the blogger know I stopped by. I really appreciate long posts that are divided by topics the way Alex does his.

    One of the biggest exceptions is Blabbin' Grammy who often writes long posts but Ruby makes me feel like I'm sitting at her kitchen table with a piece of pie and a cup of coffee, having a long visit. When I stop by her place, I tend to stay awhile.

  55. Since I'm mainly blogging for myself, if a subject is near and dear to my heart I have a tendency to write until I feel I've said what I wanted to say. But truly, "Less is more". State your subject, say what needs to be said, and be done with it. The best 'stories' in life are those that give you enough to tantalize you and then leaves it to your imagination to fill in all the blanks.

  56. 1.) It depends on three things: how much time I have to read blog posts, how many blog posts I plan on reading in that time, or how much the post's topic appeals to me.

    2.) It depends on the post. I like when posts pose a question at the end so I can answer that. Sometimes I really don't have anything compelling to say because the post said it all, so I leave an acknowledgment comment. And sometimes I elaborate on what was said in the post.

    3.) Consider breaking it up into a series of two or three posts!


Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.