What do you think a blog and a miniskirt have in common?
I, too, couldn’t make the connection at first. However, I kept the image in mind and kept on reading. By now, if you are thinking “length” then you are on the right track.
According to A. Handley in her book, Content Rules, a miniskirt is long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to keep onlookers interested. As far as possible, we should follow the “miniskirt theory of writing” (I never know there was such a thing) when writing our blog.
While this suggestion could apply, my take on the matter is this: Generally, short content is preferred over longer content when writing for the web. However, depending on your blog topic and your audience, I believe that it is better to do what works. After all, it’s your blog and you are catering to your audience!
In my research, 1000 and 1500 words are the highly recommended lengths for blog posts…if your goal is to improve your website’s search engine ranking. This is another factor that will help you determine your blog post’s optimum length.
Let’s take the miniskirt analogy a bit further. When you walk down the street or enter a room while wearing a miniskirt, you make statements. Some adjectives that come to mind are: bold, sassy, playful, and sexy, while some members of your audience may have a shocked expression like my young friend (pictured). Like the miniskirt, ensure that your blog makes statements. You want to get your readers’ attention and you have to grab it quickly before you lose them.
Other suggestions for enriching blogs that get read include:
- Planning what you are going to write and actually being interested in the topic. Just as others can see your enthusiasm or hear it over the phone, your readers can feel it, or not, when reading your blog
- Use attractive, bold images. Images are your visual punch lines. They can really paint “thousand of words.”
- Read your post out loud and listen for its flow and clarity. If it doesn’t flow when you are reading it, then you should make adjustments. Make it easy for your reader to get the point, not having to think about the point you are trying to make.
- Make your post attractive. Yes, attractive things, including blog posts always draw attention. Spend time ensuring that they are properly formatted, the layout is consistent with earlier posts and there are no walls of text.
To sum up, write your blog post to the length that works for your audience, even if it does not fit the miniskirt analogy. Maxi, mid-calf and knee-high lengths also work fine; once you consider what is ideal for your audience.
Note that the information I have included here is only a snippet of all the information available on blog writing best practices. Most is repetitive and some are divergent. The key is that you make a judgement call on what you believe is an appropriate length. Lastly, if you are blogging on behalf of your company, write within the context of your company’s blog or social media policy.
PS: This is the first in a series of web writing for seven specific online media – blogs, emails, Facebook and Twitter posts, LinkedIn profiles, ebooks and whitepapers.
- Everybody Writes – A. Handley
- Writing for the Web – J. Redish
- Content Rules – A. Handley and C.C. Chapman