As bloggers or writers we always seem to be wondering about what should be the perfect length of a blog post! And the pressure is increased and your worries trebled when you’re asked to write an article on a topic like the perfect length of a blog post, a more worrisome burden could not be invented. Phew! So, with all that pressure I’m still going to have to churn up an article which while not be flawless will still have some good and well meaning advice (well researched too) that we hope you’ll trust in. So let’s hop onto the ride travelling on the path to perfection and hope we get there too.
And whenever you’re discussing a topic like blog post length and the role it plays in SEO and user engagement, there are a few key truths that everyone agrees about. One of the most important facts that is undeniably right is that the length of a blog post will be immaterial if the quality isn’t up to scratch. Rubbish content will get neither here nor there. Moreover, the performance of your content, be it long-form or short-form content, depends on the intent behind the writing (i.e., B2B or B2C).
Why do we blog? We all know the reasons, because all of us would like more:
- traffic; and
- Eventually more sales.
And if you’re looking to satisfy all the parameters required to get more of the aforementioned things, you’ll need great content on your website for your audience to read and like. If you’re a writer attempting to build your online audience, you need to learn how to learn how to write great blog posts to lure those people in. And even if you’re someone who’s no novice to the blogging scene, figuring out exactly what your audience really wants is tricky, especially in terms of the length of a blog post.
Sure, Content maybe the King, but how long should that content be to catch the interest of readers and get them to like and share it?
Myth: “The shorter your blog posts, the better it is.”
“Shorter is better” is not generally true when it comes to content, but you’ll find that several “expert” bloggers still continue to perpetuate this myth. They’ll advice you to keep your blog posts precise and never be more than 600 words long. They are of the belief that online readers have short attention spans and prefer material that can be skimmed through quickly rather than read long and detailed articles. And they also believe that you might end up losing readers with longer posts, but a short and sweet post will draw those readers in like flies to honey!
Hmph, If only that were the Gospel Truth!
Most of us thinking that industry-experts cannot be wrong will have subscribed to this myth at one point or the other. Well, it’s time to break out of those word limiting chains because people want information and the more detailed it is, the better. However, that does not mean you drone on unintelligibly, instead make sure it is worthy of the reader’s attention.
Theoretically, long-form content fares better in search results for a few reasons:
- Longer content means there’s more space to insert more backlinks;
- The topic of your content will more likely be understood more easily by search engines;
- Long-form content tend is likely to be of higher quality.
Again, these are theoretical observations and the statements are true sometimes only.
According to a study conducted by BuzzSumo; longer content received more shares as compared to short-form content. (Several thousand articles were pulled from top performing websites like Inc, TechCrunch, etc. to get this data). But it’ll also surprise you to know that articles with short-form content were among the top performing ones on these sites. It seems like the Internet is being choked by a huge number of low quality short-form content that are being cranked out like factory products.
If truth be told, short-form content is very effective at drawing user engagement, but the drawback here is that creating high quality short-form content is incredibly challenging and time consuming. And you can’t always rely on someone else’s observation of your audience’s reading patterns, because it varies on an individual level. And irrespective of their preference between a long, well-researched article and a short list of content, users always prefer quality. Your users will engage more with a long article of higher quality over a shorter article with mediocre content.
Perfect Blog Post Length in 3 different ways
So then how long should a blog post really be while satisfying all those parameters as well?
Again, there is no definite answer to this particular question. It might seem like a conundrum, but that’s because there are a lot of different lengths based on the type of post, for example: you could have a mini-post that is only 100 words long or you could have a very detailed and informative encyclopaedic entry that has 2000+ words. It all depends on the type of content you want to post and what you want your blog to accomplish.
Do you want more comments on your blog?
If more comments on your posts are what you’re after, then a shorter post that focuses on posing questions to your readers and generates discussion usually works better. Try to limit the word count to about 300 words and pay attention to the wording (a writing prompt), inviting people to discuss a topic.
Bear in mind though that short posts do not rank well on search engines and are seldom shared widely on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Which means you’ll have a tough time because it’s bad for your SEO. If you focus solely on short posts, you won’t get anywhere with building an audience, you’ll need to cast your net a little wider for that. But short posts do manage to keep your readers engaged, so on the creating engagement front you’ll be sorted.
Do you want your post to be shared more on social media?
Social Media presence is a must for every business to survive, because everyone hangs out in sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest etc and the more exposure you get on Social media, then the more customers you gain. So when you create content make sure it’s something that you know will get shared. But does the length of your post influence your shares on social media?
There are several things that will influence the number of times your post gets shared like the topic, the quality of your content, the relevance and, most certainly, the size of your existing audience.
A blog post of medium length that has about 600 – 1,250 words is perfect if you want more shares on social media. Again you need to make sure they generate discussion and medium length posts do help with engaging the audience, so you won’t have a problem and on the plus side, they’re pretty good for SEO too. Again the unwritten rule applies that your post has to be a good one, meaning quality content with a great headline and a compelling premise; basically it should provide a solution to your readers’ problem. Your post going viral is the best case scenario but at the least your post needs to be shared a few times at least.
Do you want more traffic from Google for your blog?
All of us want more traffic from Google, but in most cases that wish goes unfulfilled because of SEO issues. These SEO issues are the cause for your post being unnoticed yet by Google and other search engines. And tricky or not, focusing a bit on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will reap great rewards when you get it right, but you can’t spend all your time on this as it will drain your resources and time. So the alternative to getting noticed by Google is to write long posts, I mean the 2500+ words kinds which are well researched, extremely detailed with trustworthy and authoritative content. While the comments on your post might dwindle a bit you will notice a bump in your search traffic.
Another way to get Google’s attention is through word count: you need to understand that all those top ranking first page results that rank for for many competitive terms have a word count of over 2,000.
And of course, a long post doesn’t mean you lead the audience on a merry dance, your content should be aimed at providing solutions to their issues and should have quality links leading to authoritative sites as well.
To put it succinctly, we’ve compiled a list of common blog posts lengths through which you can find the ideal length for your blog post:
- 75-300 words: These are super-short posts which rarely get shared on social media and will do your SEO more harm than good, but if you want to generate discussion and more comments on your post; this is your go to length!
- 300-600 words: According to a lot of experts on blogging, this is the standard length for blogging. While it is not long enough to get any clout or help you SEO-wise it’s still a good middle-ground for social shares and comments
- 750 words: For professional journalism, especially newspapers this is considered to be a standard length and it’s not completely bad on the sharing on social media front and it’s pretty good for getting links from other bloggers as well.
- 1000-1500 words: People might say comments will dwindle at this blog length but there are several posts out there with lots of comments even at this length and of course, shares on social media are definitely more at this. As long as you’ve got a solid topic and quality content, you shouldn’t have to worry.
- 2,450 words: Don’t trust all those naysayers because long articles with 2500+ words are some of the highest ranking articles on Google. A post this long will make your search engines rankings go up, thus increasing your audience every month. However, you need to ensure that the topic you’ve posted on is something that people are actually searching for. Otherwise all this has been for naught!
Write the Length You Want
After all the lecturing you’d have understood that:
- longer = more shares on social media and better SEO, while
- shorter = more comments and better engagement with readers, but it’s a SEO killer!
There isn’t any set length that is ideal, or considered a standard for blog posts. You should be aware of what your readers need and if you don’t know how to interpret that; look at a few of your previously published blog posts and check the content to see which ones have performed well and which haven’t. Check which ones are your highest quality pieces, are they short-form or long-form content? Which of them get you more user engagement; listicles and quizzes, or articles backed by research and data? Once you have the required data, you can create the kind of blog posts that your readers can engage with and are ideal for your goals.
And while the size of a blog post is important, the quality of the content matters more. The length of your blog post is secondary to the quality of your post, the structure of the article, its readability, and its engagement level when you’re writing a blog post, especially for search engine optimization. Find out how long people actually spend on your post checking out images, video, or eye-catching lists and stats and cater to it accordingly. Your overall results will be better when you churn out content with 1,000-1,500 words regularly with a few 2500+ words thrown in as well.
It’s not necessary that you have to write book-length articles each time, if you’re inspired to write posts that are 2,000 words or more, go right on ahead. Simultaneously, it’s nothing to chew your nails over if you have a post that’s just 200 words long.
You need to remember what that post length will likely bring to your blog, and vary the lengths of the posts to suit the needs of the readers. Writing is a creative art, be inspired, be bold, be original and mostly just have fun!
Do you have a standard length you follow for your blog posts? Do tell us your opinion in the comments below.