I'm at the very beginning of a blog post for Worldbuilding Stack Exchange's blog, Universe Factory, written in conjunction with an answer to a question on Worldbuilding. It's going to about astronomy (mostly orbital mechanics), and I don't plan to shy away from mathematics, albeit hopefully clear and accessible mathematics. My goal is something approaching technical writing.

I've written an outline for the post, in part because it's going to be longer than normal. Most blog posts on Universe Factory are estimated to be about five-minute reads, typically short and to the point. However, my post is most likely going to be something like a thirty-minute read, especially if any enterprising readers choose to fully work out some parts of it.

Part of me is worried about this, because while it seems like the audience of the blog is scientifically literate enough to make it through the material we've been writing, thirty minutes is comparatively a lot, and this post is going to be denser (in math and science) than normal.

For blogs in general - and especially this blog in particular - how long is too long for a blog post? Might I sacrifice details and condense the post in the hope of keeping readers attracted, or can I keep the post as-planned?

I'd love to see various comparisons in readership (i.e. how many people finish reading the post) between more condensed blog posts and expanded blog posts, but that's most likely impossible, because you can't tell where an internet reader left off on a post, and hits are accurate to only a certain degree.

2 Answers 2


A longer post can work on a blog that usually tends toward shorter posts if you take some care in structuring it. "Here are 20,000 words, plus equations" may send some people to the "back" button right off, but a five-minute introduction followed by an expansion can satisfy both audiences -- those looking for the high-level information and those interested in all the details. The former will stop reading at the first subheading but will have gotten a regular blog post's worth of content out of it, so they should still feel satisfied. (It's probably what they expected when they clicked.) I have no research data to back this up, however.

If taking this approach, it's important to be using a blog platform that doesn't force readers to scroll through the whole post to get to the next one. Medium (where the blog you linked is hosted) shows only the first few sentences of a post on the main page and readers have to click through, so that works. Platforms like LiveJournal and Dreamwidth offer authors the "cut tag" to put content behind a click.

The other option is to break it into multiple posts. This works well if you're covering a topic that has multiple facets or can be treated as a series. You can't always break a long essay into several shorter ones, though, especially if you'll be spreading them out in time. If the later parts deeply depend on the former ones, then anybody who didn't read or doesn't remember the earlier ones is going to be lost and probably give up anyway. If the parts are more independent, though, consider breaking them up to fit the blog's usual format.

Finally, if the blog is new and doesn't yet have a long tradition, there is more room for variation. Maybe the blog's readers are happy to have longer posts but there just haven't been any yet.


The best advice I can give you is to write a post that fits into the blog where you're going to publish it. Universe Factory seems to favor short posts, and I see a couple of multipart posts, so I'd do that if you can.

Some blogs regularly run shorter pieces, and some will run multi-thousand-word essays without blinking. Personally, I try to keep blog posts to between 500 and 1000 words where possible. I'll split anything too much longer into multiple parts.

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