You Can Write Shorter Blog Posts — 3 Powerful Reasons Why you Should

Ryan Porter

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#2: Consider your audience’s attention span

I have a problem.

I haven’t told anyone, but I think it’s time I admit it.

It’s something that bothers me day after day, and I need you to know about it.

I write long blog posts.

Call me crazy, but I think it’s easier to write seven minute articles than three minute ones. There are a few reasons why I think so:

  • I have a lot to say: I dump all my thoughts on my keyboard.
  • I’m slow to the point: It takes thousands of words for my ideas to come full-circle.
  • I’m an oddly picky editor: I don’t like chopping up my precious sentences.

Don’t get me wrong. Blog posts aren’t bad by any means. In fact, some of my favorite articles take longer to read than it does to drink my morning tea.

Shorter blog posts, however, are more user friendly for both readers and writers. They are short, but still get the point across, they’re easier to consume, and they don’t take as long to write.

1. Brevity is best

Short sentences pack a punch. Short sentences get to the point.

Brevity is a noun that represents a shortness of duration. In writing especially, conciseness is a reader’s best friend.

My journalism classes left an impression on me. COMM 101 hit me over the head with AP style. I became a robot that wrote for function, rather than emotion.

Even now, I write like I’m telling the news. It’s boring, but it gets the job done.

I do, however, like to break form. It’s fun to go against the mold and create twisting takes on sentences. However, I will fall back on my formal education when I’m in a rut.

Look carefully at the next paragraph. See how I structure my sentences?

I preach this simple writing style at my job too. I teach my students to write short sentences. There’s a reason. It prevents my students from making grammatical errors.

I could’ve used a colon between the last two reasons, but I chose not to. The period style works. It’s not complicated.

We know that all sentences must include a subject and a verb. Young writers take it a step further, and write long sentences because they think they sound professional.

Bloggers do it too. They write long, convoluted sentences. Then they sit back in their chair and pretend they’re Hemingway reincarnate.

In the end, they wind up writing hard-to-read run-on sentences.

By condensing sentences, it becomes more clear to the writer what they should say next. When writing, one needs to keep his or her audience in mind. The way you structure sentences determines your blog’s read difficulty.

  • Consider independent and dependent clauses: Reduce the amount of fragment and run-on sentences you write.
  • Use more periods: End your thought. Start a new thought.

Most importantly, the writer must provide an experience that is easy to consume. The reader must come first.

2. Consider your audience’s attention span

Do you remember Quibi?

Of course you don’t. They went out of business before you had a chance to use the service.

The whole point of Quibi was to provide users short, 10+ minute episodes of premium entertainment. They wanted to create digestible content for the person who’s too busy for regular television.

Unfortunately, the two-billion dollars of investment capital wasn’t enough to keep it afloat.

In my mind, Youtube exists for a reason: to watch 2–5 minute videos, or an occasional 10–15 minute video when I have the time.

The same ideology goes for blogging. The problem is, some blog posts are just too long to consume in one sitting.

I’m looking at you, 16-minute read on my homepage. Yeah you.

I for one am often turned off by anything longer than a 5-minute read. Unless you’re one of my favorite authors, I’m probably not going to read your 8-minute digest on your morning routine.

Hubspot says the ideal blog reading time is 7-minutes. They state that average, native English-speaking adults read 300 words per minute. This means 2,100 words is the optimum word count for a post.

Long-form blogs provide more value to a reader than short ones, however, one may find plenty of value in a short blog that’s packed with actionable takeaways.

Although I said posts longer than 5-minutes aren’t for me, I’m a culprit of writing multiple 9-minute articles myself.

Call me a hypocrite, but that’s why I’m saying short blog posts are beneficial for both readers and writers. They save everyone valuable time.

3. Short blog posts don’t take as long to write

Time is our greatest gift, but we waste a part of it everyday.

I have a job, but I try to write three or more full blog posts a week. This was previously a feat I never thought I’d be able to accomplish. I’ve found a great way to motivate myself to write everyday.

I always thought I’d be too busy to write on a consistent basis. Between working, exercising, getting enough sleep, and occasionally socializing, I am usually too low on time and energy to write.

Writing isn’t easy for most people, and editing hurts my head, yet I do it anyway.

Because I have a writing process, I am able to accomplish my three story goal.

I write during the week and edit on the weekends. My brain is more fresh on my days off. I don’t want to edit after a full shift.

After utilizing my process for a few months, I started looking for ways to refine it. The obvious choice is to dumb-down my articles because it saves me time, shorter articles are less stressful to write, and I give myself a chance to finish four or more articles a week

Conclusion

Most bloggers aren’t full-time bloggers. Being a full-time writer isn’t always something that’s obtainable, but maybe it’s for the best.

I write because I enjoy it. Do you know what would take the joy out of writing?

Unnecessary stress. It zaps the fun out of what was once a hobby.

I used to pressure myself to write as much as I could. I thought there was only one way to become the next full-time blogger on Medium. I thought I had to bust out as much content as possible.

I realized that manageable consistency was more important than firing off post after post.

For a while, blogging made me feel like a procrastinating college student who needed to write a 10-page American Studies 201 essay at 1 A.M.

I hated late night editing sessions then, and I still hate them now.

My process saves me from doing that. I go to work and I don’t worry about my writing. I do my writing and I don’t worry about rushing it into publication.

The greatest part about writing short stories is the peace I feel.

I’m bad at writing short stories, but I’m trying to get better at it. The benefits are obvious.

All I know is that this article would’ve easily been a 7-minute read, but I condensed it. I shortened it for you, but I did it for me too. In the end, I think we both settled for a quaint little piece. What do you think?

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I write about startup culture, productivity, and life's moments. My goal is to serve as a teacher for the next generation of content creators.

Los Angeles, CA
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