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Rambling Blogging

Posted By Darren Rowse 25th of April 2006 Writing Content 0 Comments

Aaron Wall writes a good post titled Rambling too Much = Bad Blogging.

I agree that rambling isn’t good blogging practice, but I wouldn’t say that all long posts are. To me it comes down to weighing up the individual factors that a blogger and their blog face and finding your own ideal post length.

Aaron sums his post up with this good (and concise) statement:

“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.”

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Boy, you’re really pumping them out…

    Great quote.

    I’m not a fan of longhand myself. I like writing to be short and concise–of entertaining and/or informative value.

    The only authors I like that are long winded are folks like Kurt Vonnegut and Denis Johnson. If it works for you, it works, but no one wants to read a bunch of unfocused malarkey.



  • What’s the ideal number of daily posts? If you have 2 rambling posts that could be broken up in to 5 posts each wouldn’t those 5-10 posts be too much for readers? How do you know which way your readers prefer?

  • I Agree. As long as it is informative length should be fine. Same goes for a podcast. It is ok if it goes an hour as long as it is informative.

  • I’d say that rambling is usually a bad thing for a *pro*blogger. But rambling is the sole purpose of some blogs, and some people ramble well.

  • Day after day of rambling gets old. But the occasional ramble is informative. Readers get an idea of how the blogger thinks (scary thought). Rambles can be amusing, interesting or sad, but the best rambles at least try to end where they began – which is at least a minimal form of structure.

  • My blog is so specialized (it *is* the only one on the topic) and I definitely stick to the topic (entries are typically much longer than average) but I’ve discovered something interesting; if comments are any measure of visitor interest, my short rambling -and off topic- posts are very popular too. I think it’s because it gives my visitors a chance to regroup (many of my posts are technically intensive), the topical equivalent of “white space”. One of my shortest posts to date (one paragraph) got over 40 comments which was a lot since my traffic was only about 300 visitors at that time. And the topic was stupid, tongue in cheek -that knit fabric is evil.

    I’m curious…in general, how many comments based on traffic, is typical?

  • No-one likes a bore at parties. The same rule probably applies to blogs.

    Whatever you might say about screen technology these days, it’s still tiring on the eyes to read something on screen for too long. If we want to keep your reader with you beyond the first few lines, we need to keep posts punchy and to the point. (Otherwise, It’s the same as if your page takes too long to load).

    I started out as a novelist and my first book went onto 480 pages after my editor told me to re-do the first draft. I’ve started a “fusion” lit blog on writing, culture and the arts – fusing my Malaysian and UK perspectives. It’s a challenge – but a fun one – to keep posts short and to the point!

  • What is important is the content and how it is presented. As long as it is shown in a captive way, the posts are ok even if they are quite lengthy.

  • About rambling:

    I did an experiment on my blog yesterday (after having read this entry). I posted a very long rambling post with 25 paragraphs -a gamut of topics, everything from software, to meetings, to resources, autism, cognitive dissonance, marketing, you name it.

    and they’re reading it. Stats are normal (high, rather than low) but the best way I know that they’re reading through to the end, is that the last link in the post -the second to last sentence- is my second highest offsite click. I’d bet money that click will be number one by later today. It’s typical on my blog. Long rambling posts and all.

    Another thing, I don’t want to be perceived of as snarky but I really get tired of people who say that short posts are the only option for a “good” blog. It’s just not true. My post was 2,293 words long. And that’s not atypical. Doing a running series on a given topic is constant on my site. I’m up to part ten of “reverse engineering standard work” and how dumb and boring does that sound? It sounds awful. But it has to do with the author’s voice. What my readers have learned, is that I am dry. The most boring sounding posts are often the funniest and most popular.

    What I’m trying to say is that while blogs like mine may not be typical, blogs are like people. We keep saying they’re communities, and they are but blogs are as different from each other as people are different from each other. I feel like there’s a constant “value” assigned to a “good” blog and I don’t agree with the comparisons. Or the standards of comparison. My blog is small but it fits me and my financial goals. Donations are good (average donation $75), book sales are up and people send me gifts off my wish list. My readers are very loyal and consider themselves “members” of my blog, not visitors. Down the road, I plan to have industry specific advertising (no google adsense or anything). I blog pretty much full time. It keeps up my book sales and keeps me growing intellectually. I have to do a lot of reading and research. Blogging is as good for me as it is for my readers…and how can that be “bad”?

    People tend to think negatively of big business, so why are big blogs better when the same people think smaller is better? The comparatives are unfair. Just because I don’t share big blog goals -and lack the commensurate traffic (about 2,000 a day now)- doesn’t mean the value and integrity of my work is diminished comparatively. Think of me as a “boutique” blog.

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