How Long Should a Blog Post Be?
Blog Post Length is an eternally open debate, there’s no final answer as to exactly how long a blog post should be.
Thing is it’s a question we all have to answer along the way – blog posts vary from a single image all the way to the 3000 word leviathan, and everywhere in between.
Ultimately, each blogger must answer this question for themselves. These guidelines will help you find suitable post length for your blog, and each post you produce.
The Long and Short of Blog Post Length
Blog Post Length is based upon these principle factors:
- Your blogging style and readership
- Posting frequency on your blog
- Your niche or industry
- Post topic
- Post purpose
- Research/Writing time
Length of Post by Blogging Style and Frequency
Some blogs are built upon a certain length of post.
‘Daily Tips’ type blogs thrive by providing quick, ‘bite sized’ tips each day that their readers can check in and read in a minute or two.
Blogs with a highly technical, academic or informational content base tend to benefit from longer posts which provide detail and comprehensive coverage of their subject. Their readers may expect more from a post (and spend more time reading it) but probably don’t come back each day for an update.
Following on from the example above – if you post daily, you may benefit from keeping your posts short and sweet. Two or three posts a week invites a longer read each time.
But these are more like guidelines than rules (pirate code again). I know several excellent single and multi-author blogs with wide readership which publish lengthy and detailed posts every day.
Not every reader reads every post, but there are plenty of hits on each.
Long Post Niche, Short Post Niche
Some niches invite shorter or longer posts.
This graph was put together in by Glen of ViperChill when he researched optimum blog post length in February 2010, based on looking at successful blogs spanning 8 different industries. I’m sure the general trends and findings here are still applicable now as we move into 2012.
Here’s the full article: Bloggers: This is How Long Your Posts Should Be
Post Length, Post Topic, Post Purpose
Following on from the idea of niche affecting blog post length, certain topics and styles of post will call for longer posts which contain more information (or not!)
Detailed explanation of how to set up a link wheel without getting on the wrong side of Google? 1000 words or more.
9 most important content SEO factors Google looks at to rank your page? 500 words max.
Lists make for short and easily digestible posts.
Tutorials can go either way, depending on the complexity of what you’re teaching.
But generally, the most shared and bookmarked posts are the ones which make the most impact and deliver the most value.
So is your post a quick ‘blog-byte’ to keep your readers in the loop, share a tip or idea – or is it intended to be an all encompassing reference or ‘ultimate guide to….?’
Longer Blog Posts Take Longer to Produce
For many bloggers, the time available decides the limit on post length.
From personal experience it takes me far less time to write a 500 words post than one twice the length (obvious, really)
Read this post for some tips on how to write blog posts faster
It’s not just writing time. Longer blog posts need to deliver more value to be successfully read and shared (especially if they’re designed as ‘link bait’) and can take a lot of work to research properly.
How Long Should a Blog Posts be for SEO?
Both long and short blog posts have a role to play in SEO.
In terms of individual posts, longer tends to rank better. Google seeks quality of information, and (up to a point) rewards longer posts.
Around 800-1000 words seems to be perfect from a purely SEO perspective.
Longer posts of around 1000 words tend to rank better than much shorter posts (given all other factors equal – difficult to test accurately!)
If your posts are shorter, it’s probable that you’ll be able to publish more. More posts means more updates which tells Google you’re providing plenty of fresh content (here’s why Google likes it fresh) – which helps your rankings. 300 Words is a recommended minimum in any case.
So from an SEO perspective, a combination of both long and short posts on your blog is no bad thing.
Blog Post Length – Solutions:
- Quick Tips
- News or Topic updates
- ‘Thought for the day’
- Basic ‘How to’ posts
Good for regular updates. Most effective with a single, clear point or idea. Easy for readers to digest and a good opportunity to link to further more detailed posts.
- Detailed tutorials
- In-depth Reviews
- Resource Posts
More scope for full coverage of any topic. Good for getting ranked in search. Easier to create link-bait – content which is shared, bookmarked, linked back to and referrenced.
Keep longer posts trimmed by editing out all unnecessary words and elements. If we want the whole story, we’ll buy your e-book.
The Middle Way:
Size matters – but there’s a place for epic blogging just as there is a place for quick tips.
As with so many things in life, there is a happy medium as well. Within the context explored above (niche, intention, topic etc) there is much flexibility and each blogger and their readership must find their own ‘sweet spot’.
The longer the post, the more essential it becomes that you make it easy, interesting and worthwhile for your readers if you want them to stay till the end (and beyond). Check out these Blog Writing Tips for some simple but powerful ways to do exactly that.
Still looking for a number to define the perfect blog post length once and for all?
Somewhere between 500 and 1000 words seems good to me. But it doesn’t matter what I think. Go ask your readers!
Please help me out by voting and sharing this post – it’s part of what keeps Blogger’s Alchemy growing. I always appreciate it when you do.
So – what do you think? How long should a blog post be?