I'm hardly blogging these days, so I though I'd at least open a Twitter account - and here it is, and some stuff I've done recently like London Barcamp 4 and getting OLPC XO-1 laptop weren't blogged at all, just twitted. This is all caused by a certain problem with blogging - people really like to read long blog posts. Just look at the "Popular posts" sidebar - it's long post after another. People even like insanely long blog posts like those by Steve Yegge. But long posts take too much time and energy, so most of the posts written by me and other bloggers are pretty short. So I somehow thought that writing stort blog posts isn't really worthwhile, and tweeted instead.
Today I thought maybe it's time to verify it, so for some hard data I collected statistics from Google Analytics (unique page views) and del.icio.us (number of bookmarks except of mine), and divided my 202 blog posts into ten buckets depending on their plain text size.
And indeed - it seems that almost nobody cares about the short blog posts and the longer the post is the more people read it. The difference is even more pronounced when counting del.icio.us bookmarks. I feel that the number of del.icio.us bookmarks is a much better indicator of post's "value" than page views, as page view is generated before the reader even seen the post, while bookmark is generated only after it was read and decided to be valuable. Search good vs experience good.
|Bucket||Posts||Average size||Average page views||Average bookmarks||Average page views per kB||Average bookmarks per kB|
This confirms my beliefs and disproves the commonly held ADHD theory of blog readers which states that most blog readers have very short attention spans and would much rather look at the kittens. It seems that to the contrary, reader really love long posts. At least my readers. You'll still be getting kittens of course, my blog would look quite empty without them.
On the other hand a completely different picture arises when page views per kB and bookmarks per kB are measured. Bookmarks per kB is pretty flat, while page views per kB is going down fast. So if kBs of text are a good measure of blogger's effort then the best way of generating value is writing tons of stort posts.
I'm so undecided. Is it better to write fewer long posts, many of which would be big hits (relative to the blog popularity of course, this isn't I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER), or rather many posts which would generate less value per post but more value overall. I'm kinda writing for myself, but I still think if the post would be valuable to the average reader or not before posting it. I should probably simply keep posting instead of thinking too much.