Monday, July 16, 2012

Give Me A Breather

A few weeks ago, I announced a scheduling change. I'm now blogging twice a week, Monday and Friday, instead of three times a week.

While I enjoy visiting blogs, the numbers are mind boggling. There's no way I can go to a blog every day and comment. I appreciate bloggers, who give me a breather by their sensitivity to my time constraints.

Shorter posts also endear me to a blogger. I can't stay on a blog for 20 minutes. There are exceptions to this rule. For example:

1) An author interview. Still, we can ease the suffocation by breaking up a long interview into two or three parts.

2) An award post that includes fun questions. While it's tempting to write a mini-autobiography, I make a conscious effort to keep my answers short and snappy.

3) A guest post. When arranging guest posts, I always give a word count requirement. I don't want readers to walk away because they're overwhelmed by the length of a piece. I will stretch to 500 words, but that's it. If the topic requires greater exploration, I'll split it into two parts.

Bloggers: What are some of the guidelines you use to keep your blog reader friendly?

Readers of Blogs: What sends you over the edge with reading blogs? The length? Topics that don't resonate with you? Please share.

Photo credit: sxeyetisxe


enthusiastically, dawn said...

Oh,Susan- it has been good for me to be challenged to keep shorter posts. I think my first guest post was such a blessing because I realized I needed to shorten up, tighten my writing and clarify my thoughts. This is a good reminder! I still deviate. Even so I know I need to come back to this truth. I hate to think people skim my writing after I struggle to find the exact words, but I know it happens and I am guilty of the same at times. Length matters. Attention spans are short and we all are trying to squeeze in a lot...thanks for the reality check!

Loree Huebner said...

I mix it up. I try to keep them short, but some run long - like interviews or history posts.

Karen Lange said...

I agree with you, shorter posts are best. Even if one contains a lot of info, I just don't always have the time to read it. I also like to offer some take away value to my readers, at the very least, something to think about.

Have a good day,

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. no short posts from me - I'm afraid .. as long as bloggers come over and are interested that's all I ask in life ..

I don't post that often ... also I keep my blog to mainly my posts ..

I can't deal with long long posts that I'm not particularly interested in ..

So I just try and keep my posts general, informative and educative and hope everyone keeps coming back!

Cheers Hilary

Cindy R. Wilson said...

I definitely understand the challenges of blogging. I recently switched from three times a week to twice as well, and I hope it helps me balance all the other things I have to do. As far as shorter posts! I'm trying! :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Modern - Good point. After working so hard on a blog post, who wants readers to walk away because of the length?

Hi Loree - I'm sure folks will gobble up a long post if it's their passion. Mixing it up is a wise strategy.

Hi Karen - As a devotional writer, one of the first things I learned was the takeaway. It's critical to all blogging endeavors as well.

Hi Hilary - Most of your posts have sections on different topics, so they're more digestible. :)

Hi Cindy - Ah, I'm not the only one! When I went to two posts a week, my stress level went down several notches.

Susan :)

Jean Fischer said...

I read blogs only when I have time to relax and enjoy them. Length doesn't bother me as long as the content holds my interest and is well written.

My devotional blog is mostly about little things I observe in life that are God-centered and can be easily missed. Those posts are longer than the ones on my blog for writers.

I enjoy blogs that have a theme but also include content variety--like YOURS!!

Blessings, Susan.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jean -

I love your blog! You take so much care with your posts.

Aww, thanks for the compliment. I try to have something special for both writers and readers.

Susan :)

Diane Estrella said...

There are so many great blogs out there.... how can any of us keep up??!?!?! Glad to see you whenever I can. :O)

JD said...

Hi, Susan:

I try to make my blog reader-friendly by keeping the word count under 300. That has been a double blessing to me, since more people seem to comment on shorter posts, plus it has helped me tighten my sentences.

I like your idea of breaking up long interviews. I've interviewed one actress and one author on my blog thus far, and will keep in mind the option of spanning interviews into parts for next time.

I love your blog! And I appreciate all of your support over at my spot, too. ;-)

Be well...


Carol J. Garvin said...

There are so many wonderful blogs, but I've discovered, as you have, that it's impossible to keep up with all of them on a daily basis. I have my favourites grouped in folders on Google Reader so I read many from there and only click over to a writer's site if I want to leave a comment.

I prefer posts that aren't too long, but if I'm caught up by the topic or style of writing, a little more length isn't important.

On my own blog I generally keep posts between 300-500 words and try to use the visual aspects to make it easy to read -- short paragraphs, interspersed photos and white space, etc. My topics swing from writing to faith, from family and photography back to writing, so I know that visitors won't necessarily find something that interests them on any given day.

I've posted pretty regularly three times a week for four years and I think most of my regular readers have figured out what to expect. Newcomers are probably a little confused ... but that's okay. :)

So what do you think about overly long comments???

Jeanette Levellie said...

You are wise to manage your time, dear Susan. I admire you.

Looooong posts that suppose I only go on one blog--theirs--make me want to run away with a big ice cream cone! I love short (less than 500 words), to the point posts that help me grow as a Christian or a writer, or make me smile and laugh.

Yours always hit home!

Love you,

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Diane - We're into Swagbucks besides blogging and writing! I've learned to make use of every bit of time.

Hi Janette - I always try to visit those who comment on my blog. They get first priority. Then, I travel down my blog list. From there, I go to my blog reader.

Hi Carol - Yes, graphics/photos do attract people. Just text can be boring, but a picture speaks the proverbial 1,000 words.

Hi Jen - Aww, thanks! I sure try. :)


Kathryn Neff Perry, PhD, MA, LMHC said...

This is a great reminder to keep my blog posts short.
I try to read as many blogs as time allows, but I usually don't leave a comment. However, I realized one day how much it means to me when someone actually takes the time to read AND comment on one of my posts. So from that day forward I've tried to "reform" and leave a comment. I do understand about time constraints....but I love hearing from you my friend.
Hugs and many blessings

Jessica Nelson said...

Length, funky background or fonts, which can make reading more difficult.

As you know, I'm mostly sticking to blogging one day a week and it has seemed to work really well for me. I hope you enjoy your breather. :-)

Oh, I do enjoy shorter posts that get to the point too.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Katt - I always try to leave a comment. To my way of thinking, a blog is an interactive experience.

Hi Jess - I couldn't agree more. There are a few blogs I no longer visit because they are physically hard on my eyes. It's fine to set a mood, but not at the expense of the reader.


Rhonda Schrock said...

I find it to be overwhelming. The sheer numbers that you CAN visit...I have to break it down to the number that I CAN visit, if you know what I mean.

And if it's long at all? I skim.

There. That's my true confession for today. And now, for a second round of coffee. :)

DenaNetherton said...

Hi Susan, I sure understand the necessity of going to two blogs a week. I love to read blogs about faith issues. I can read about writers, and some interviews, but not a steady diet of them. I love to read posts that challenge me to think, really think. Thanks so much for your faithful writing. I've appreciated your comments on my blog as well. You're a treasure!

Unknown said...

Hope your new schedule is giving you the extra time you need for other important projects! You bring up some good points, Susan. It IS difficult to get to everyone's blog and there's a delicate balance between investing time in commenting on blogs and doing the writing that needs to get done. That being said, I've taken to heart your preference for posts that are less than 500 words. Working on it! Hugs & God bless!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rhonda - Yes, if a post is too long, I also do the skimming thing.

Hi Dena - I like a variety as well. May I suggest Maria Morgan's blog, Life Lessons?

Hi Maria - Just gave you a plug. :)

I know the amount of work a post takes, and it's a pity when they get skipped over because of length. I'd rather write something short that gets read.

Susan :)