Lola’s Ramblings: What’s the right length for Reviews and Blog Posts?

March 3, 2016 Lola's Ramblings 34

LolaRamblings

Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.

I’ve seen quite some posts and comments about what’s the right length for things, everything from tweets to facebook posts to blog posts etc. One day when seeing a post about the topic of long blogs posts on Nosegraze her blog it made me wonder if there even is such a thing as the right length for blog posts. I can see how from a research point of view there always is a right length and there will be an average length for every type of content, but at the same time I don’t think it’s really about the length of posts, but more about the content.

Why I think there is no set right length

I believe there is no set ideal length for things like blog posts and reviews. I think that as long as your review or post is as long as to tell everything you want to it’s the right length. Sometimes that might mean a post or review is pretty short or other times it means it’s really long and that’s okay. Write whatever you want to tell on the topic or book and keep it at that. If you need to fill it up with too many examples or mentioning things mutliple times, if you have to artificially make it longer for the sake of making a longer post of review, I think then it’s probably too long and you should just stop at the point before you add that. I can’t remember I ever read a lot of blog posts or reviews that got too long in my opinion, but I do remember from my university days that some teachers or study books had trouble getting to the point and I felt like those books or lectures got way too long, simply because they tried to add more or explain it more, while sometimes less is more. I think a blog post needs to have enough information on the topic or your opinion to get a feel for the poster their opinion and understand their point of view or get enough information about the topic. With a review I think it needs to include everything you want to tell or share about the book, how it made you feel etc. If there are topics you go into more depth about that’s okay too. A post should be as long as necessary, not as long as a certain length. I think the content is more important than the actual length.

What is too long and how to handle it

Having said that I do believe that if a post is too long there will be people who might not read the whole posts. I have broken up blog posts because I thought else no one would read them all completely, because I thought if a post was too long people would skim and I wanted to prevent that. I do wonder if’s more about the length or that if certain people are more inclined to skim or not read the whole post, no matter what the length.
When I think of that I do realize I changed that blog post under the assumption that there is such a thing as too long. So while I might think it’s more about the content than the length, I also think that sometimes it’s better to make a blog post shorter. I only cut up posts when I felt like I could do that. Sometimes I noticed my blog posts was about multiple topics at once and there was a nice way to break it up and other times it was such a long list that I just made a part 1 and part 2, so I do think that’s a good solution if you’re afraid a blog post is too long. The added benefit of this is that you have an extra post scheduled as well. With reviews that isn’t as easy, so I would just go with the long review if necessary. Don’t remove parts because you’re afraid it’s too long as there migth be people who want to read that part and those who don’t can skim or skip it. I personally love both short and long reviews.

The length of blog posts

Personally if I read a post and find the topic interesting it doesn’t matter how long the post is, I will read it all. I do skim now and then, but that’s more about if I am busy and don’t have time to read it all or feel a bit rushed. And I even skim shorter posts, it’s more about me in those cases than the actual post. If I feel like the post is too long winded or I might not be as invested in the topic I also skim parts now and then. I usually try to read the most important parts to still get a feel for the post. So again I feel like my willingnes to read the whole posts is either more about how busy I am and how much time I have or more about the content than length. Although ofcourse if a post is really short you can’t really skim, but you won’t be able to convey a lot about the topic either. I do think I prefer slightly longer posts compared to short posts. And from my own blog posts I think this tendency is obvious as well. And when visiting other blogs I often find that the longer posts contain more information and makes it easier to comment as there is more content to respond to.

The Length of Reviews

For reviews I am okay with any length, I’ve seen short reviews, long reviews, different styles of reviews and so far I think they all work. It’s more a matter of personal preference of the reviewer and I think if as a reviewer you pick the style or length you’re most comfortable with, it shows in your review. I rarely ever skim reviews, with the exception of when I am busy or feel rushed or when I am afraid of spoilers I might skim, but that doesn’t happen often. I don’t think I ever encountered a review that I thought was too long. I’ve seen quite some long reviews, but usually don’t mind as it was obvious the reviewer had a lot to say and usually find them informative. In my own reviews I do add a sumamry alinea especially for the people who don’t have time or don’t want to read the whole review, that way they can still get the general feel of my review.

What do you think is the right length for blog posts and reviews? What’s too long and will make you skim? Have you ever cut up your blog post or made two blog posts of it to make it shorter?

34 Responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: What’s the right length for Reviews and Blog Posts?”

  1. Mary Kirkland

    I tend to agree with you on this. If a blog post really interests me then I am more liable to read it all. But if it’s on a subject I really son’t understand, like a post full of science or math type language that would be better for a college lecture atmosphere and goes right over my head…I would just skim over it.

    For reviews, I think what ever the reviewer is comfortable saying is good as long as it’s not just, “This was great.” lol I mean sometimes I wish I could just say that and everyone would read it or buy it and see things the same way I do, but that’s just not gonna happen.

    • Lola

      Indeed if it’s a topic I am not interested in or am busy I will skim. If it is a topic I am interested in I will most likely rea dit all no matter how long.

      And for reviews I always like seeing the various lengths and styles, although yes I usually do prefer a bit more than one sentence as then I still don’t know why someone liked or didn’t like the book.

    • Lola

      I agree it depends it actually the best answer and the reviewer or blogger should just go with what they are comfortable with. And readers can always skim things if the post is too long for them.

  2. Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons

    If you’re looking for SEO, most experts recommend that the post be at least 300 words for good SEO. If it is shorter than that, then Google might not think it is a relevant article. Outside of that, I would say however long you need to say what you’re needing to say. I think putting in sub-headlines, like you did on this post, helps allow users to skim to sections that they might want to read and skip sections that they might not be interested in. I will agree that if a post is really long and there is a way to break it into two posts, then that would probably make sense. My feeling is that it’s your blog, do what you want. Another great topic.
    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted…Fire Touched Audiobook by Patricia Briggs (REVIEW)My Profile

    • Lola

      That’s interesting to hear from SEO point of view what the right length is. I think at least 300 words is a nice indication, below that it’s hard to say a lot in a post, although I can imagine that some posts or pages still get below that. Like a giveaway or a short post about a new book release on an author website for example.

      And yes sub-headlines are helpful for getting the gist of a post and helping readers skim sections. I also find it that posts like this just look better with sub headings, it gives a bit of an overview. And it also helps me when writing my posts, I usually write down the sub headings first, so I have a feel of what my posts will be about and it’s easier to fill in the rest. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. S. J. Pajonas

    I try to keep blog posts and reviews between 500 and 1000 words. If I go on the lengthier side of things, then I make sure to break it up with headers and photos so it’s not big blocks of text. Shorter chunks are easier to read and absorb. I also make sure to bold points of the text where I want to call attention to things. Long paragraphs with little breaks makes me want to skim!

    So it’s not about length, it’s about presentation. ๐Ÿ™‚
    S. J. Pajonas recently posted…Book Chat #23My Profile

    • Lola

      Yes when writing long posts adding headers and pictures can be really handy for keeping the overview and not having the posts look as long. And yes lists are really helpful too. I think good styling and formatting of posts can really help when writing lengthier posts and I usually use some of those for my Lola’s Ramblings posts as those always turn out pretty long. Great point on how important presentation is!

  4. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    I completely agree! There is no write length for blog posts or reviews. The “right” length is however much you need in order to express the message you’re trying to express. Yes, there are lengths that are better for SEO and whatnot, but my posts are never what I would call short as I’m a very wordy person lol, so I don’t worry about that. And personally I don’t like super short posts because it doesn’t give me a whole lot to think about or respond to. And I suppose there is also such thing as too long, so I try to avoid that and edit my posts to be more concise when possible. For reviews, I’ve considered adding a summary, but I usually try to kind of summarize my thoughts in a sentence at the end, and then I use the “recommended for” thing which I feel is similar to a summary in that it kind of states what the book has or is about, you know? Another great topic, as usual!
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Discussion: Why I Donโ€™t Watch Movie Adaptations of BooksMy Profile

    • Lola

      I think that only very short posts are bad for SEO, at least that’s what another commentator mentioned. So we don’t have to worry too much about that ;). And the message or opinion you want to express is more important than the actual length.

      Too short posts can be tricky as it can make it hard to respond as there just isn’t a whole lot to respond too, so my preference for discussion type of posts is usually more to the longer side. I never worry too much about the length with my reviews and just add the summary. With Lola’s Ramblings posts I do try to not say the same thing multiple times and use formatting to make the posts easier to read and sometimes even break them up, although that happens rarely.
      I like your recommended for thing in review posts it does give a bit of a feel for the book you’re reviewing and makes it easier to determine for who this book is right.

  5. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance

    You have some great points! I think it’s a good idea to try and shorten your posts if you personally think it’s getting too long. Like you said, don’t ramble or repeat yourself. Quick and to the point is okay sometimes! I often like quick and to the point for reviews, but it all depends on the book. Some things deserve more explanation and thought. ๐Ÿ™‚

    -Lauren
    Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance recently posted…A Few LGBT Reviews ElsewhereMy Profile

    • Lola

      I agree if you think a post is too long you can shorten it. I personally hardly ever do so and prefer to cut up the posts in two. And indeed don’t ramble too much or repeat yourself too often is probably the easiest way of preventing your post of getting unnecessary long. I like writing long and in depth reviews myself, but I love seeing all the different styles on other blogs.

  6. loverofromance

    oh yes what a great topic you have here!! I honestly don’t mind the length whether short or long as long I am interested in the topic. I do think I prefer more length to reviews than not. But it honestly doesn’t matter to me. Mostly because each person is different and are gong to style their reviews in their own way. I never skim unless its a book I am currently reading or planning on reading soon and I don’t want to risk a spoiler.

    • Lola

      Yes as long as the topic is interesting the length doesn’t seem to matter as much. I personally write longer reviews as well, but I like seeing different styles and lengths on other people their blog.

  7. Braine

    Great points and like always, both sides can be argued. Personally I do my best to keep mine short. I know a lot of people have short attention spans or they squeeze reading my posts on their free time so I keep that in mind and try to get to the point ASAP. I fail more than succeed but at least the intent is there lol. That said, thank you for taking the time to read my posts ๐Ÿ™‚
    Braine recently posted…Loved It: The Brontรซ Plot by @Katherine_Reay #contemporary #litficMy Profile

    • Lola

      I just can’t keep my posts short no matter how hard I try, so I just roll with that and add summaries, questions and headings to make it easier for people to skim and get the gist of what I am saying in case they don’t feel like reading it all. And yes some people have short attention spans or are busy or any other reason why they might not read the whole posts.

  8. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    I don’t think there’s a fixed length that can be decided in advance, either, Lola. It definitely depends on whether the post or review keeps my attention or not! Some posts can be quite short, but not really catch my fancy, wile other posts can be quite long and still keep me interested from start to finish.
    I don’t have a set length for my own posts, either, I feel like sometimes I have a lot to say, and other times, I don’t. And I won’t ‘force’ myself to write more if I think I’ve covered what I needed or wanted to cover ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great post!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted…Review: Another Day – David LevithanMy Profile

    • Lola

      I agree it really depends on while a post or review can keep your attention. There are long posts I read whole and shorter ones where I skim. And just going with what feels right or enough is the best measurement I think.

    • Lola

      Thanks! And I totally agree that it really matters what you want to say and how you get that across in your review. My reviews do tend to get to the longer side, although I’ve also written some shorter ones.

  9. Wattle

    I think if you’re interested in what you’re reading, there’s no such thing as a post being too long ๐Ÿ™‚ it’s always a personal preference though.

    I have short reviews and long reviews, sometimes I don’t have much to say and sometimes I have a lot to say about a book. It’s just how it goes I suppose (sometimes a book is so good there’s only so many times you can rephrase it!) I do try not to make my posts *too* long though, as I’m aware writing it may be more fun than reading it!
    Wattle recently posted…Book Review: Maisy and the Mystery Manor by Elizabeth WoodrumMy Profile

    • Lola

      Yes post length probably is a bit of a personal preference as well, although I do think if you’re interested in what you’re reading is really important. I have some shorter reviews as well, although most of mine tend to go to the longer side. And I do think that writing a posts might be more fun than reading it at times and readers might not be able or have the time to read it all.

  10. Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books

    I don’t think there is any “right” or “wrong” way to blog… but I personally don’t like reviews that are super lacking in any opinions or explanations of opinions anyway. Like “yay, it was good. I was a little surprised by the ending, but I still liked it” THE END. I’ve seen a lot of reviews like that and I’m like ????? That tells me nothing. I also don’t like when posts have GIANT paragraphs. I prefer things to be broken up because it’s less intimidating. As long as the content is there and I can feel some sort of passion behind it, I’ll prob like it ๐Ÿ™‚
    Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books recently posted…New YA Book Releases For The Week Of 2/28My Profile

    • Lola

      Indeed there is no right or wrong way to blog and everyone should blog they way they like or are comfortable with. I agree that the one sentence reviews aren’t really helpful when trying to gauge whether a book is for you or not. And yes breaking up your review in paragraphs makes them much more readable. My reviews are long, so I try to break them up at least, so it doesn’t look like one huge block of text, but I did that when I just started reviewing.

  11. Molly @ Molly's Book Nook

    I actually like long posts. There’s more content to relate to, to discuss, to understand the bloggers thoughts. BUT, I’ll read any length of a post. As long as it gets it point across effectively. A 1 paragraph book review in which the writer is just going “OMG It is amazing, the feels yAAYAYAYYA!” You don’t actually get a good feel of what was good or bad about the review. When I write long posts I typically break it up into smaller paragraphs. Like 4-5 lines. I use bold text on points I want to emphasize, italics on things as well. I think visuals are important throughout.

    However, there is no right or wrong way. There is someone who will read the post, whether it’s long, short, a huge bulk of text. Someone will read it and enjoy it.

    On the same note, if people are serious about SEO. There is definitely a recommended length in order to show up in search engines. I don’t think a lot of people care about that, though.

    Great post!
    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook recently posted…Being Sick Sucks! & A Blogging Extravaganza!My Profile

    • Lola

      I also like long posts, especially when they are formatted nice to make it easier to read and there is more to relate to and comment about in those. But I’ve also seen some good shorter length posts, as long as it get’s the point across indeed. Those short reviews won’t tell you much about what was good or bad about it, except that the reviewer liked it. It might be less useful for gauging whether it’s book for you.

      And indeed there will always be people who enjoy and read it, there is no right or wrong way to write posts or reviews

      One of the other commentators said something about SEO and the recommended length being at least 300 words. But I think most blog posts do get over that amount at least.

  12. Marsha @ KeeperBookshelf

    I’ve always felt that my blog posts or Twitter messages are simply long enough to say what I want to convey, and then I’m done. I don’t feel there is an absolute right or wrong – simply what is right for your own personality. Some book reviews of mine are extremely short, often because the Cover Description gives most of the book away so why repeat or… it just didn’t move me to rave about it. Others are long cos I loved the story and just want to talk about it. Bottom line for me is – it’s long enough when I’ve said all I want to say. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lola

      I think having your posts or messages be long enough to say what you want is a good way to write them. Itโ€™s not exact science, the length that feels right or works for you is the the right length. Your bottom line statement sums it up pretty nicely, itโ€™s long enough when you said all what you wanted to say. Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Sameer Panda

    Hi Lola

    Great post. I love writing long posts minimum of 1500+ words. Yes, my review posts are no that long, still that reaches around 750+ words. To keep our thought in front of our audience, we need to write it thoroughly, we can’t leave the post incomplete right? So I never break my posts, even not post pagination. I love user-friendly blog post. you have written this post so clear. Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sameer Panda recently posted…What Your Blog Post Length Should Be? An Actionable GuideMy Profile

    • Lola

      I actually have never checked the word lengths of my posts and reviews, so I am not sure how long exactly my posts are. And yes I think that not leaving the post incomplete is important. I’ve had some posts where there was a natural way to break them up, but else won’t do it. Better have a long post than an incomplete one.

    • Lola

      I agree what feels right is the right length for a post. My reviews also vary in length, I just write what I want to say and sometimes that means I add a lot more words to adequately describe it, while other times in fewer words I reach that point.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Kitchen: Kaiserschmarrn RecipeMy Profile

  14. Jackie

    I don’t know if I consider any particular length to be appropriate for a book review. I know I do have a preference for reviews that are medium to “long” though. Short reviews/bite-sized reviews don’t really do it for me. I think medium length reviews hold my attention the best, but if I really value a particular bloggers opinion, or if their review is particularly engaging, I can be sucked in to those longer reviews.
    Jackie recently posted…The Book that Made Me Blush | The Sisters of Versailles by Sally ChristieMy Profile

    • Lola

      I guess it really depends on the blogger their writing style as well. I’ve read some good short reviews, but also some great medium to long sized one.

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