Fandango’s Provocative Question #174 is about blogging. I’ve spent way more time on Facebook than on my blog lately, which is something I am hoping to correct starting with my answer to this question! The question is: Do you have a preference with respect to the length of blog posts you read? Does the number of words in a post affect how you read it or even if you will read it? What is your average post length?
I’m a fairly typical blog reader, so I try to think about what the readers of my posts might prefer.
I took a Writing for the Internet class once, and the instructor stressed that every couple of paragraphs, there should be a picture or graphic of some kind. It breaks up the text and readers get a break by seeing a picture, and then they keep reading. This is because blog readers are not the same as book readers – they may be the same people, but their preferences are different when reading online. No one really expects any or few photos to be included in a book they’re reading, but reading off a screen is harder on the eyes and readers tend to be less patient about reading long posts.
I tend to not like long posts, not because they aren’t interesting, but because I’m impatient. It is partly because I don’t like to do careful reading on a computer, and if the blog post is long, I tend to skim it. But my impatience also has to do with the fact that I’m usually thinking about writing a post myself, or about something else I could be doing instead. When I allow myself to go into my “Reader” and just read other people’s posts with no other agenda, then I have more patience to read longer posts. There are some bloggers I prefer to read, however, because I like their style and subject matter – even if they don’t add photos, although that does help! I have no patience to read long posts by people who can’t seem to write a coherent sentence or must have been asleep in school when they were being taught the rules of punctuation. Also. bad spelling really turns me off! I like to read lengthier posts by people who really know how to write.
I reread my own posts before publishing, in order to edit by changing the way I word something, or to find omissions or errors. I also try to tighten up what I’ve written by reducing my word count.