I had an email earlier today from a reader who asked an interesting question that got me thinking.
He’s just started a new blog and was asking what type of posts he should put up first? He had decided upon a niche or focus for the blog and his first hunch seemed to be to write a long post that covered pretty much the whole niche with lots of tips on many aspects of it (it’s hard to describe it without giving away his niche – a good one).
The alternative was to write lots of smaller posts focussing upon the different aspects of the niche.
My reactions to his question were a little mixed as I thought through the pros and cons of either approach. I’m still pondering the question and thought I’d do a little thinking out loud:
The Good things about good long ‘uber-posts’:
- they demonstrate you have a knowledge of the niche
- they show you have something to say of worth (expertise even)
- they can be useful in defining your blog’s niche/topic
The Bad things about long ‘uber-posts’:
- they could overwhelm new readers
- they could leave you with little to say later
- they confuse search engines who seem to like posts with clearly defined one topic subject matter
The Good things about shorter more focussed posts:
- they will do better in search engines
- they work with the short attention span that many web users have
- linked together well they can still convey your expertise and knowledge
- they can leave readers thirsting for more
- they are easier to sustain over a long period of time
The Bad things about shorter more focussed posts:
- they can feel a little ‘bitsy’ or ‘light on’
I’m sure there are other things to say about either approach in the early days of a blog.
For me as I think about the blogs I’ve launched in the last few years I would say that either approach can work well as long as you are aware of the consequences. My own approach in launching my latest blog has been to tackle focussed problems/topics within the wider niche rather than the whole niche in a post. The posts still end up being quite sizable but they are well defined (I usually start with a problem or need that the reader would have and find solutions/tips/answers for it) so as not to ramble.
The benefit of this is that if I were to do a longer uber-post that covered every aspect of my overall niche that I might feel like I was just going over the same stuff later on or that I’d have nothing left to say.
The other thing I’d advise in the early days of a blog is that you do need to establish credibility and a grasp of your topic. People want to know that you have some idea of what you’re talking about and that coming back to your blog or subscribing to your feed will enhance their life in some way. So your content does need to have substance to it (long or short).
I guess it partly comes down to the topic of the blog and how wide it is as well as the personality and writing style of the blogger.
What do you think?