In the comments of One Blog Title – 52 Ways”, Raul of Alien Ghost suggested I write a post and have the readers pick the title. I LOVE his idea, so here it is:titles for blog posts

*****Beginning of post*****

When I’m writing a blog post, I often ramble on and before I know it, the post draft is pushing 1000 words.

That’s a lot of words for this blog considering my aim is to keep the posts short – 400 words +/-.

Although all of the writing does help me to get to the final message, those excess words may only sound like babbling to you.

Yawn, Yawn.

Hence, when I edit, I’m brutal.

Today’s Lesson

Most people think what happens in their life is pretty important. After all, it’s what they’re living.

For some, it’s baby steps toward a brighter future. For others, they may have slayed a demon. And yet for a few, their blog may be the only place where they feel they’re being heard. Word counts may not even be a consideration.

People want to share. People want to be heard.

Their story matters. At least to them.

And their hope may be it matters to others as well.

But…do others really care?

Or will they see it as a blogger rambling on?

I’ve read comments from both camps. Some will say, “get to the point”, “brevity rules”, whereas others thoroughly enjoy the story from beginning to end.

Both opinions have merit.

What say you?

Today’s Assignment

1) What title would you pick for this post?

2) Do you think bloggers are writing too much?

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  1. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    Get to the point – if there is one.
    Check out Kelvin Kao’s awesome post.Russian Spy Ring Case Likely a Movie Promotion StuntMy Profile

  2. Sam LiuNo Gravatar says:

    Wonderful post, Barbara :)

    I know I am guilty of using an excessive amount of words. But I love language, I love description and sentence structure and what is a blog if not an expression of oneself. I think bloggers must blog how they want to. Yes, of course you must take your readers into consideration, but if you have something to say and there’s a) no quick of saying it or b) you don’t want to say it quickly, then use as many words as you like.

    But if the blogger simply wants to make one point, one single point, yet takes a very long time doing it – padding their post out with over-elaborated information that does not add to the quality of the post in any way – then I think that’s a bit too far. And I guess that’s where editing comes in. That’s what I love about your posts, Barbara: they’re short, but they still make all the necessary points and you don’t do it an hurried manner. It feels natural.

    Finally, my suggestion for a title: “How Many Words? The Blogger’s Conundrum”.
    Check out Sam Liu’s awesome post.Cinematic DelightsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Sam,

      I do agree. As bloggers we shouldn’t feel we HAVE to keep our posts short, and for those like you who love language, blogging is giving you the opportunity to test your writing and word skills and with a blog, you can get feedback at the same time.

      I like the title you chose since it can be a real conundrum.

  3. CarolineNo Gravatar says:

    I am a fan of short and sweet (Unless the post is totally captivating and really well written). I read so many blogs (as I am sure most of your commentors do too) and love to read blogs that can inform or entrain me in a relatively short period of time. I will say, I do believe most bloggers feel this way…I don’t know too many bloggers that write long posts (or maybe I have chosen to follow blogs that are usually short and sweet!!!). Great post!

    Maybe the title should be…KISS (keep it short & sweet)
    Check out Caroline’s awesome post.Stranger 4My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      KISS. I like that Caroline.

      I follow bloggers who write both long and short posts and although I like them both, if I’m tired, I often save the long ones for later.

  4. Does size matter?
    Check out Julie @ jbulie’s blog’s awesome post.I don’t know about you but I don’t take criticism too wellMy Profile

  5. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    For a title, how about:

    “Maximizing your SEO to generate more income six-figures Social Media earn money from home freelance income money money money viagra” ….?

  6. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,
    How about:

    “Desperately Seeking Attention: My Words Count”

    Or, if you wrote it, “Does a Blogger’s Word Count Matter?”

    Or, if I wrote it, “Fewer Words Mean Less Typos”
    Check out Davina’s awesome post.I’m Not Blogging You AreMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Haha Davina,

      I love how you threw in the “typo” phrase. That’s perfect coming from a proofreader. 8)

  7. Sara HealyNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    WOW. For once, I’m here early. I can’t believe it!!! I know the easy button would be to figure out your writing schedule and then being early or late wouldn’t be an issue. I like to guess:~)

    I love Davina’s comment and all her titles, especially the one for you and the one from her:~)

    Okay…now to business. A title you want. How about this one:

    How Many Words to be Heard?

    It even rhymes:~) I didn’t check, however, whether or not it’s a good keyword title. I imagine it’s not.

    Regarding whether or not I think bloggers write too much…it pains to say this, but I’m known to have a higher than normal word count. It’s just how it works for me.

    For me, as a reader, if a post is interesting and there’s adequate white space/subtitles, the number of words will not matter. On the other hand, if a post is a solid block of text with no breaks, I will struggle, even if the subject is great:~)
    Check out Sara Healy’s awesome post.Poem Work- How to Write HaikuMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Haha Sara,

      Even I don’t know what my posting schedule is – other then twice a week.

      Great title. And, so true.

      I know what you’re saying about breaking up a long post with white space and subtitles. That makes for reading a long one a lot easier.

  8. Is Rambling Gambling With Blog Success?

    Hmm… this is fun. Maybe we should all start asking our readers to help write our post titles. Could be very interesting, methinks.
    Check out Blog Angel a.k.a. Joella’s awesome post.How Dofollow And Nofollow Links Impact Blog SuccessMy Profile

  9. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    Hi B
    Since my last post was about word pictures, I’ll have to go with..
    “Prune it hard… or let it grow?”
    But I rather like…
    “A word in the hand.”

    You do make a serious point about how long should a post be.
    I sometimes look at the length of a post and just give up! Especially my own. LOL
    I think that it’s important on a long post to break up the text with headings, graphics, quote boxes, lists etc – makes the task ahead look less daunting.

    Big headings are great, they allow you to scan the post and read the bits that look interesting.
    And… keep your text in a fairly narrow column, just like the newspapers do and you do here.
    Check out Keith Davis’s awesome post.A splash of colourMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Keith,

      Great choices. I also like “A word in the hand”

      I confess. I’ve done that too – give up on long posts, but not yours. :) Yours I’ve come back to as I know they’re filled with value and I want to be fresh when I read them.

      You know, I’ve never thought how a narrow column of text is easier to read, but it’s true. What I’ve had problems with is when a theme doesn’t have a fixed width and the writing goes from one side of my screen to the other. With the large screen I use with my PC, it’s very difficult to read. (Hmm – sounds like a topic for a future blog post)

      • Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

        Hi B
        Added a bit to the title…
        “A word in the hand is worth two in a rush”
        I’ll settle for that.

        BTW – with so many comments coming up with great ideas… it’s difficult to say how long this post is. Perhaps it should include the comments.
        Check out Keith Davis’s awesome post.A splash of colourMy Profile

        • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

          Hi K, :)

          I agree. With this post, and most others on this blog, the “word count” is a combination of the two; the post and comments. I’d call that a winning combo.

  10. Alien GhostNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Thank you for the credits, that’s very kind :)

    This is a perfect example of “Keep your mouth shut”, now I should come up with a decent answer to the questions!

    Post title: “Twitting or Babbling?”

    Do you think bloggers are writing too much?

    Not really, I believe it depends on what the blogger wants to say and how in deep he/she wants to go, some ideas can be written short and sweet while others need a more detailed explanation. I myself have written very short posts (24 words) and some longer ones (988 words)

    Do readers get bored with long posts?

    If the writing is engaging I say no, if it is boring and/or too personal, then probably yes and better then go for short and sweet. My take is that every blogger can find what works better for him/her based on the results and attention readers give throughout time and then adjust the length of the posts accordingly.

    Raul
    Check out Alien Ghost’s awesome post.The Problem With LifeMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Raul,

      Thank you for the suggestion.

      Actually “keep your mouth shut” would be a catchy title. I know I’d click through.

      That’s a good point. If we pay attention to how our readers react, we may get a clue if long or short posts are working better on our blog. Some blogs do very well with lengthy posts, but I know on this blog, short gets better results.

  11. Title: “Is this Post too Long?”

    To answer your question, I much prefer short posts to long ones.
    Check out vered | Blogger for Hire’s awesome post.My Reasons for Going GrayMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      LOL. I’ll bet if we wrote a post, and named it “Is This Post Too Long”, our commenters would let us know.

  12. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    Title: “The long and the short of it is …”

    My rule on post length:
    Long enough to cover the subject and short enough to be interesting.
    Check out Lori Hoeck’s awesome post.This time baby- I’ll be bulletproofMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Good one Lori,

      That’s great advice. We don’t want to have a post so short it doesn’t cover the pertinent information. It’s like the nursery rhyme; it should be “just right”, which is a fine line.

  13. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I am not coming up with a title…will have to go and look up Keywords before I can make an attempt – to keep myself learning

    I divide my 1,000-2,000 word essays into several posts…I am practicing keeping them to 500 words…but then one of your posts told me that even my words are too complex and too long..

    ah me!..I will learn

    I read every word of the posts that I am reading….When I am tired I want them to be short when I land there…but I am beginning to think seriously that the shorter the better KISS is hanging on my computer
    Check out Patricia’s awesome post.The WeddingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      That’s a fabulous idea of dividing up a long post into shorter ones. Not only does it give you more material to fall back on, but you’re able to tease your readers about what’s coming up next.

      I’m trying to think of which post addresses complex words, and I’m guessing it’s the one where we discussed how some of us need to write at a lower grade level than we do. (based on our blog topic) in order to appeal to a broader audience.

      Ditto to landing on long posts when we’re tired. :)

  14. Simon HayNo Gravatar says:

    “It’s Less Painful to Slay a Dragon Than to Sew Your Lips Together!” – and yes, some bloggers say to much. Slash and burn people, slash and burn. I’ve been too wordy in the past, and I’m working hard to fix that.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Simon,

      That’s funny; “It’s Less Painful to Slay a Dragon Than to Sew Your Lips Together!” I’ve hadn’t heard that one before. :)

      I know what you’re saying. Sometimes we get to writing and feel each and every word is important and don’t know what to cut out.

  15. ColleenNo Gravatar says:

    How about The Blog With No Name Eh? Then, you could make a movie out of it, right? :)

    Are bloggers writing too much? Hmm, I guess it depends on your frame of reference. I don’t think so.
    Check out Colleen’s awesome post.New Tri Cities Washington Luxury Home Listings August 5 2010My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Colleen,

      Yes. I love the idea of making a movie out of a blog. If Dooce can get a spot on HGTV, I’d say a movie is possible too.

      P.S. Thank you for the link. :)

  16. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    You know…I was just thinking that there was no need to rename the title to this post….because the title “Name this Post” feed in my email inbox made me do a clickover to your site.

    Whether an article is long or not depends on the nature of the content. Sometimes, short ones can create powerful impact as well.
    Check out Evelyn Lim’s awesome post.Inspirational Story- Song of the Little BirdMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Evelyn,

      Who knew? I wouldn’t have thought the name of this post would make anyone curious, so I made a point of promoting it on Facebook.

      That’s true. The nature of the content is often the determining factor to the length of a post.

  17. George AngusNo Gravatar says:

    Short and Sweet Makes a Blog Reading Treat.

    -or-

    Going Long is Only for Pork Belly Futures

    -or-

    Bloviating Your Readers Into Oblivion

    -or-

    Does Size Really Matter?

    Cheers

    George
    Check out George Angus’s awesome post.Flash Fiction- Even StevenMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi George,

      Wow! You’re on a roll.

      I like them all and especially how your used the word “Bloviating”? 8)

  18. HI Barbara,
    How does this sound?
    “Quick fix or Big Fix? You Decide”
    “Size Aint Just another Number”
    “More for less or less for more?”
    ok thats all I can think of off the top of my head…but the suggestion here are so awesome! I especially love Joellas and then I love Carolines “kiss” too!
    What a fun post!
    Lots of love to you my blogging genius teacher :)
    Z~

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Zeenat,

      I’m happy to see you’re having fun with this assignment. You’ve come up with fabulous ideas. :)

  19. My suggested title: Brevity or Babble?

    Last week, I wrote a post about blog do’s and don’ts. I struggle with word count. Most of mine are under 1000, but I bet people would read them more thoroughly if they were closer to 500. Then again, I wouldn’t be able to get the emotional response as easily with less word count.

    A few months ago, I wrote a guest post that had to be under 500 words. I thought I’d struggle, but I was able to do it.
    Check out Theresa Milstein’s awesome post.Platform Contest!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Theresa,

      That’s a good point. When we’re sharing emotions, more words are often required. Just saying “I’m feeling sad (or whatever emotion we’re describing) often needs clarification for greater impact.

  20. Tony SingleNo Gravatar says:

    I dunno… how about “Number Boggle: Making the Words Count”?

    Sorry, that’s all I got! :P

  21. Dearest Post Of The Lovely Barbara,

    I, Jannie Funster, being of sound body and relatively sound mind do hereby title thee….

    “Grab Me From Word One”

    or…

    “Make It Snappy, Pappy”

    ??

    :)

    xo

    And now a little shameless self promotion — I’m singing in a video on my blog today!! Who-hoo…
    Check out Jannie Funster’s awesome post.“Somewhere On A Michigan Highway” — Singin’ For &amp About The G-ManMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Jannie,

      Make It Snappy, Pappy! That’s funny.

      P.S. I checked out your video. You rock! 8)

  22. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. it does depend on our blogs – if your doing regular articles and want to get into a magazine or column .. then presumably the word count has to be down ..

    Your subjects can be lengthy or can be short .. same as mine .. I’ve rambled on sometimes and thought oh dear .. but hit the post button and I get complimentary comments .. as I hit the button, thinking I shouldn’t publish .. I tell myself I’ll get compliments!

    Naming the post:

    “What do you Think? 400 or 1,000?

    I love everyone’s ideas .. certainly a creative bunch around .. have a great weekend Hilary
    Check out Hilary’s awesome post.Could this be a sitcom – or a break out sitcom Ever had a one word – at a time – conversation Fish and Chips – how do you spell itMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Hilary,

      That’s right. The title we use does depend on our blogs. For example, a reference type blog may not look very credible if they use a goofy sounding title. Whereas other blogs may appear too serious if their titles are always packed with SEO or keyword phrases.

  23. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb! I haven’t missed too many of your posts this summer but haven’t been allowing myself time to comment much anywhere. But godonlyknows I love a contest! :)

    How about “Blabbing or Blogging?” (Somebody used my first thought of Does Size Matter, darn it!)
    hugs
    suzen
    Check out suzen’s awesome post.Getting Organized Notes from the Queen of JuggleMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Suzen,

      It’s great to see you. I hope you’re enjoying your summer.

      By the looks of it, “size matters” is quite popular – as you’ll see by my next post. :)

  24. “Bare or Florid: The Word Count Quandry”
    I’m a florid writer. But, my webmaster tools have told me this over and over: no one wants to read a 700 word post. The Internet is a funny medium. People want to surf and absorb shallow knowledge very fast. They want to read the abstract not dissertation. They want to move on. Give ‘em what they want or expect a smaller readership. People want bloggers personality in sparkling champagne sips, not thick malt gulps. Just MHO.

    • Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

      Chris
      I think that you are probably right.
      To add to your observation about shallow knowledge, I read somewhere that these days… “We know less and less about more and more.”
      Love the “sparkling champagne sips”
      Check out Keith Davis’s awesome post.A splash of colourMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chris,

      That’s true. Those who are surfing online do it so fast, many don’t take time to stop and read whole articles. And rightly so, time has value.

      Like Keith, I also like your analogy of “sparkling champagne sips”. That says it very well.

  25. JoyNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    perhaps…”Inspired or Overwhelmed?” or “Words: Contentedly Full or Overstuffed?”… *love* the reader suggestions!
    I tend to be wordy because I tell stories; my readers understand that about me and visit when they have time..I enjoy short simple posts that are a photo or a quote. I also enjoy wordy posts that tell a story or provide insight. It depends on how well written/presented it is…and I love the creativity within both options…
    Check out Joy’s awesome post.Fearless Fun Friday- Break a Barrier…My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joy,

      You made an good point. If we are writers who tell stories or share lengthy posts on a regular basis, our readers will know that. And as you said, will visit when they have time to absorb it all. So it’s not to say one way of writing is better than the other; we just need to be aware of our visitor’s reading habits.

  26. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    1) Brevity Rules or Here Go Round the Mulberry Bush?
    2) I think size depends on the function – solve a problem, make you think, make you feel, or just for fun. If it’s solve a problem, I think a good way to right-size is to scope it to a specific scenario or task.

    Personally, I have low-tolerance for writing that doesn’t get to the point, unless it’s oustanding writing where each sentence entices you to read the next.
    Check out J.D. Meier’s awesome post.Day 6 – Friday Reflection – Identify Three Things Going Well and Three Things to ImproveMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi J.D.,

      Great observation. Function often determines the length of a post. If we only want to get one point across, we should be able to accomplish that with less words. However, if we’re sharing a story or trying to solve a complex problem, word count may not be an issue.

  27. Sandra LeeNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I like the KISS title myself…

    I can’t believe you try to limit your posts to 400 words!

    Mine have been on the mega side. I’m trying to limit them to 800-900 words. This has been very freeing and a good challenge. I tend to be verbose.
    Check out Sandra Lee’s awesome post.30 days of getting results with J D MeierMy Profile

  28. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sandra,

    Haha! 400 words can be a little tough, but because I want to get to the “lesson” quickly, I try to keep them short so my readers have time to comment, as well.

    But like it said, it can be a challenge to keep posts on the short side. But, it’s a good challenge. :)