Lawyers tend to be long-winded, but long-winded bloggers tend to be unpopular. The longer a post goes, the more likely a reader will click away, so it pays to keep blog posts short, sweet, and pithy.
The most important thing is to consider your audience. If you are writing for other lawyers, you may be able to get away with longer articles. If you are writing for potential clients, you may not.
On Lawyerist, for example, our readers tend to spend just over two minutes reading two pages. On Caveat Emptor, my blog for potential consumer law clients, readers tend to spend well under two minutes reading two pages.
To get an idea what that means, it took me just about two minutes to read all of Eric’s 611-word, excellent post, Stop Bashing Biglaw. There are at least twice that many words in the comments, which are well worth reading. Our average reader, unfortunately, probably does not.
Bloggers obsess about SEO, page rank, Technorati authority, and Alexa statistics, but the bottom line to blogging is creating great content that people want to read. You can hide all the keywords and links you like in a 1,000-word post, but it makes no sense to write it if nobody will read it. I think the “sweet spot” for most posts should be 150-250 words.
But practice moderation in all things. The best blogs (and blawgs) vary the lengths of posts, emphasizing shorter, pithy ones, but offering the occasional longer and more in-depth post. And the best bloggers write to help casual readers get the gist of every blog post, no matter the length.