The five hundred word blog post.

This is the first paragraph of a 500 word blog post. It should have a explanation of the basic issue being discussed, which will be either: an original or semi-original thought not requiring links and/or attribution; or a reference to the thoughts of someone else (which will require links and/or attribution). This paragraph needs to be delicately balanced, as it simultaneously needs to both inform the reader about whatever got the author worked up that day, as well as be sufficiently entertaining to get the reader to keep reading.

‘Second’ paragraphs are often quoted text and/or videos. Whether or not to quote is an often vexing question with no official ‘right’ answer, complicated by the fact that a lot of people don’t really grasp fair use all that well (see here for more discussion on that). I use the rule of thumb of only quoting really, really good material. Sometimes somebody simply sums up things perfectly, after all. As for videos… if you use them, try to get the transcript whenever possible. If there is no transcript, then provide a summary for the benefit of readers who are reading your site on their cell phones.

Note that there was a page break above. That’s to let people skim your front page and decide what posts that they want to read. Remember: you want your readers to have as an easy a time at reading your site as possible.

Now we come to the blog post’s analysis and/or sarcastic mockery, depending on the original topic. Again, there is no ‘right’ answer on whether you want to be comprehensive (some would say ‘tedious’) or brief (some would say ‘shallow’): it depends on what kind of reader that you want to attract. This is called ‘linker versus thinker,’ and while you can be either most people are comfortable with being one or the other.

What is important is that your analysis should be on-point. That means that everything that you write should loop back to your main idea, which ideally should be already expressed in the title of your post – and, as an aside? Cute titles are all very well, but they are not good from the point of view of search engine optimization principles. Save the obscure but cutting zingers for the subtitle.

Moving along, you probably want to avoid your favorite political or cultural hobby-horse unless it is absolutely germane to your point. It’s all right to be specifically interested in a particular topic, but shoehorning that topic into places where it doesn’t actually go will eventually give you a reputation for being a bit of a crank. If that’s your goal – and it is actually a viable long-term strategy; ‘bit of a crank’ is not too far off from ‘recognized expert’ – then great. If not, keep your obsessions down to a dull roar.

Now, the summation. If you’ve done everything right, you shouldn’t need much. Don’t use much, either. End it quick.

Moe Lane

PS: Edit.  It gives you more space.


  • BigGator5 says:

    Witty and [humorous] comment, with link to show support.

  • Spegen says:

    Who’s post offended you so?

    • Moe_Lane says:

      Spegen: nobody’s, per se. I’m going to need an example of a five hundred word blog post for another post, so I figured that I’d write one, and since I was doing one anyway it might as well be on something useful for others.

  • Ric Locke says:

    Bitter, ad hominem rejoinder with no supporting links.

  • Brian Swisher says:

    If a self-referential blog post is alone in the woods with no one to read it, does it

  • Darin H says:

    Comment blasting the OP, missing the point entirely, thus proving I didn’t read past the headline (nor click any supporting links).

  • Murgatroyd says:

    This is the theme to Garry’s Show,
    The theme to Garry’s show.
    Garry called me up and asked if I would write his theme song.
    I’m almost halfway finished,
    How do you like it so far?
    How do you like the theme to Garry’s Show?

    This is the theme to Garry’s Show,
    The opening theme to Garry’s show.
    This is the music that you hear as you watch the credits.
    We’re almost to the part of where I start to whistle.
    Then we’ll watch “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show”.

  • lourae says:

    Vaguely pornographic pun, *cutesy action*, smiley face.

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