Is it possible to deal with a topic in depth in a single blog post and still be read by a substantial number of people on a blog platform? Or is a blog post meant to be short, striking, entertaining for a moment, even intriguing, merely pointing to something more extensive and detailed? Is it meant to just keep people updated, a “Hello! I’m here” as opposed to “Hey! I’m here to visit and here’s my luggage. I plan to settle in for a while.”
Obviously, there is no one answer to this question. Yet, it might be important to consider the question simply because it would tell us how much effort we might put into each post and how frequently it might be feasible for us to publish each post. If we went the long, extensive, in-depth way we could obviously post less frequently hoping readers would remember us in the hiatus between posts while short, quick posts could be written even a few times a day.
Long, detailed posts obviously have their virtues. Apart from being exhaustive, they can address counterarguments, provide examples, be more creative in a detailed way. They buttress the writer against adverse criticism more effectively since the defence can be in-built into the post itself rather than in a small corner in the comments section. Those of us used to a more traditional method of reading also tend to take well-written, longer posts more seriously.
Yet, long posts have their problems too. If we put in everything we have to show about a topic in a single long post, would people read any of our other writing? That too assuming they’d get beyond the first few paragraphs in the short attention span they have while browsing.
If we put too many of our eggs in one basket in one long post, we fall victim to the very short shelf lives that blog posts tend to have. Also, a badly written beginning might ensure that many a well-written word remains unread, the longer the post, the more the unread words! Yet, a single long post, very well presented, might gain a more strongly dedicated readership than a bunch of short, snappy ones. Or will it?
Short posts have their virtues too. If posted frequently, they have a possibility of reaching a wider audience. They seem more shareable on social media and can be read in short bursts while a person is casually browsing. For people who don’t already have an established reputation, a reader might be more willing to invest a shorter time to read them. But writing good short posts requires a special talent and all of us may not have that kind of specific gift.
After all, we wouldn’t want to shove a novel into a short story and expect it to fit. Or vice versa. So what do people think?