If you’re a regular reader of The Whine Seller, you know I can be pretty verbose. I don’t set out to be, I just sit down and write until I have nothing left to say on that topic. I’ve never noticed anything particular about how the length of my posts relates to traffic and long and short posts have both been equally commented on and shared.

But I sometimes wonder if my longer posts set me up for the letters every blogger dreads hearing: TLDR

Too Long. Didn’t Read. Sometimes written as tldr, tl;dr, tl:dr, or tl/dr.

While I have my own thoughts about a culture that brags about being too lazy to read something, I frequently abandon articles that take too long to get to their point or are too repetitive. I may not feel the need to tell the writer that their post was TLDR but length can be a factor in whether I read an article or not. It is also a big factor in whether I take the time to comment on it or not.

Now, if an article is long but looks useful, I’ll mark it with ReadItLater and read it in full when I have the time. But if it doesn’t pass the almighty skim test, I move on.

It’s a fact that a shorter post is more likely to be read to completion than a longer one. But if you are getting the traffic anyway, should you care if people are actually reading what you wrote? After all, you got their hit before they left your site. I say yes for several reasons:

  • People are more likely to share (via Twitter or Facebook) posts they have actually read, thereby bringing you more traffic.
  • People are more likely to comment on posts they have read to the end, especially if the post ends in an audience participation type question, thereby extending the conversation beyond the blog post.
  • People are more likely to stick around and read another post of yours if impressed with what they read thereby bringing you more readers and subscribers.
  • Wouldn’t it be nice if someone took the time to read those words you took the time to write?

As a reader, are you draw to shorter articles or posts? Do you often abandon articles that look too long?

As a blogger, do you find that you get more comments or traffic to short posts than longer ones?

(First one to comment “TLDR” on this article is a dork. :-))