Rambling too Much = Bad Blogging

Ever since I started doing some of the Q&A posts I started making many of my other blog posts unnecissarily long just because I got used to it.

I felt I was doing a bit too much rambling. I was right. Not 1 but 2 friends today told me that they wanted to read what I was writing but did not because it was too long and packed too many ideas into the posts.

Short snappy posts focused on 1 topic work well if you actually want people to read them. Seth is a master at this.

Here are the problems with rambling:

  • too long and nobody reads it

  • the added content dilutes the value of each point (to readers and search engines)
  • wastes content by making 1 post instead of 5 hyper targetedc posts
  • if too many ideas are in one post it is hard for you to reference your earlier content
  • it is hard for others to reference

If you are going to be longwinded make sure it is so focused, topically relevant and interesting that it becomes the industry standard for that topic. Elsewise you are best off writing quick posts.

I wrote this more as a reminder to myself, but if you ramble and want people to read it hopefully this helps you too. Feel free to call me out if I am not following my own advice ;)

Published: April 24, 2006 by Aaron Wall in blogs


April 24, 2006 - 10:58pm

I say it depends on the topic - I've found many of your longer posts to be the authoritative source on an involved subject, and appreciate how much time it took to create. I think it also depends on your audience - if you post about LSI or some other advanced topic that only hardcore geeks would care about, then I think it's better to have one long post than several short ones.

April 24, 2006 - 11:38pm

I have a real bad habit of doing this on my blog. =P

April 25, 2006 - 12:05am

I have left blogs or website articles before because of length. I find that bullet points or numbered lists work well to break up the content. Also, images can help with "page stickyness".

The only argument for long, drawn out content seems to be on sales (landing) pages. I don't know why, but the more the better. :)

April 25, 2006 - 12:06am

If a post is informative then it should be ok. Longer just means more great info. Unless it is rambling. But, I do not find that the case too often here.

April 25, 2006 - 12:17am

Feel your pain. I start what should be a short post, but it just never ends up that way. Of course, since G recently "misplaced: all but my index page from its search index, I suppose it doesn't matter anyway. Boo!

I still think for advanced topics, long posts are OK. Shorter posts hold captive the attention of say... someone who is beginner-to-intermediate level and might want to purchase an ebook about SEO.

Not that you should abbreviate your thoughts. Just make your long post, then break it up into a series of posts.

April 25, 2006 - 12:18am

I don't think it's so much the length of the post but more in emphasising key points. If maybe emphasis was given to certain areas of importance it would be easier to reference.
Just my thoughts on the subject - not that I'm practising what I'm preaching at the moment!

April 27, 2006 - 7:08pm

As with Glenn Ross, I start with an anecdote or reference to an item in the news. Personal anecdotes work very well. Then, I pull out what I learned from it, and how that applies to our company's approach. Lastly comes the Action Step.

I find that starting with the point of the post and working back is best for me. I always end my blog posts with an "Action Step" the readers can take right away, so they know they're getting something out of it.

The Action Step is also a nice punctuation point, and being part of every entry, it gives readers the ability to skip right down and see whether the post will be of use to them.

April 25, 2006 - 7:06am

This is a wakeup call for myself as well. Tangential thoughts may even bore the reader. Furthermore, a surfer's attention span is normally short, especially in the "keep-me-up-to-date, info-gathering mode".

Aaron, great advice: cut to the chase, give them the meat. They'll be back for more.

April 25, 2006 - 1:57pm

Just as there are many different flavors of ice cream, I think there are many different styles of blogging. My style is to tell a story (incident) which makes a point and states a benefit.
The formula is I + P + B=relevant post. Next I try to limit the post to 400 words (but I don't always make it). Finally, I "SEO" it.

But this may not work for you. I think the key question is: Does it capture the readers attention by being interesting and relevant?

April 25, 2006 - 5:22pm

Yeah, rambling can stop people from reading, and more importantly, getting your main point. Steve Krug said it best, "we don't read, we scan", speaking of online of course.

I always try to summarize my entries and use lots of headlines and bullet points, but that requires you to slow down and "write" more than just "blog", if you get what I mean.

Definitely something we all need to work on.

Nice to meet you in person at WMW.

April 25, 2006 - 6:32pm

Was good meeting you too Jim :)

April 26, 2006 - 2:44am

I've a tendency to get carried away, and come up with the most awful garbage on my site.

Then, I counteract that by trying to be more newsreaderish.

By the time I'm finished, I read it back next day and realise I've bored myself, so I delete everything except the headline and link.

Somewhere out there may exist a simple, systematic rule to define what makes content great, and that's pretty interesting to me.

I've been trying to create some criteria to make a rule of thumb to use. So far, my rule of thumb is to make it simple, interesting, short, real, personal, and emotive.

Now I just gotta start to use my brand new rules. :) I hope it helps somebody anyway, or even better, maybe someone could post more guidelines here.

April 26, 2006 - 12:40pm

I have also been guilty of this - especially when I first began blogging. It's so easy to go off on a tangent isn't it?

May 4, 2006 - 9:18am

the new drug application for Exforge

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