“What do you think is the best blog post length? How long should my blog posts be?”
This is a question that we have often come across in this blogging and content marketing field.
When it comes to blogging, definitely all of us would like more:
- more readers
- more comments
- more links
- more traffic
A common myth being perpetuated out there is “When it comes to blog posts, shorter is better.”
Many “expert” bloggers perpetuate the myth that “shorter is better,” they are for the opinion that blog posts should never be more than 600 words long. They explain that online readers have short attention spans and don’t want to read long articles. The only way you can get more readers, they say, is to write posts that are short and sweet.
DON’T LISTEN TO THEM.
I know you are definitely asking now that I have condemned those “shorter is better prophets”.
So then what’s the perfect length for blog posts?
Well… it depends.
From as short as 100 words mini-posts to over 4000 words encyclopedia posts, each one of them has its own advantages that the other one doesn’t have.
With that in mind, let me ask you three questions about what you’re trying to accomplish with your blog.
1. Do you want more comments on your blog?
If yes, then shorter is usually better. Especially if your post is focused on asking your readers’ questions and generating discussion.
Problogger recently shared a 151-word blog post that was designed to engage their community. With 27 comments since being published, it’s a great example of how to ask a burning question to get readers to comment.
Blogging tip: Want more comments on your blog? Try writing short, discussion-based posts no longer than 275 words long.
2. Do you want more social media shares?
When starting to write, 10 shares on Facebook and twitter might make you ecstatic but if you want real traction anything you might want to aim for 100 shares each post.
I’ve found that how many shares you get on social media is influenced by several things, including your topic, the posts’ quality, and, of course, the size of your existing audience. What effect does length have on social shares?
Blogging Tip: Want more shares on social media? Aim for medium length blog posts between 600 to 1,250 words.
Do you want more traffic from Google for your blog?
Who doesn’t want more traffic Google? One month, I went from getting just a trickle of new visitors from Google to getting over 1,000 new readers per day. I was ecstatic, of course. But then I found out the source of all the new attention was a guest post written nearly two years before. Oh well.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a tricky business, and while the rewards for getting it right can be extremely high, focusing too much on it can be a huge waste of time. However, what post length is best for getting Google and other search engines to take notice of your blog?
Blogging Tip: Want more traffic from Google? Write longer, heavily researched posts 3,000 words long.
The only time when word count matters
The search engines like information-rich websites with unique, quality content. So if search engine rankings matter to you, it’s worth sticking to their guidelines. And for good rankings you need a minimum of 250 words of optimized copy per web page. That’s the absolute minimum; if you can get the word count to over 500 words, that’s even better.
A blog post should contain at least 300 words in order to rank well in the search engines. Long posts will rank more easily than short posts. However, long posts require strong writing skills.
Not every writer will be able to write readable blog posts of more than 1,000 words. Still, these lengthy blog posts are of great importance for your SEO strategy.
Long-form content or rather long-form articles usually have more than 1,200 words and there are some that are well over 10,000 words. It’s true that there’s no standard definition and it’s all about one’s perspective.
- Less Competition
It’s obviously not easy to write an in-depth blog post (or create long-form content) that’s got several thousand words. This means that when you do it there won’t be much competition because it takes a lot to create high-quality content.
- Keyword Rich
When you write long-form articles, it naturally becomes keyword rich and you will see yourself writing more keyword rich sentences. When you have more keywords it will become more diverse and you will get more organic search traffic.
- Increases Authority
If you have a blog and you are publishing a lot of in-depth blog posts then your blog’s authority will increase over time (assuming that you are providing value in all your blog posts and they are of high-quality).
- Better Search Rankings
Search engines love in-depth and informative blog posts (or content) and they give it more weightage. In fact, Google used to highlight in-depth articles on their search engine results pages until few months back.
If you are creating long-form content by yourself then it’s going to take a lot of time and effort. And if you plan to outsource your content creation then it’s going to cost you a lot of money.
- Time Consuming
Oh yeah, it’s time consuming. Very, very time consuming unless you’re a superhuman.
- No Guaranteed Rankings
Just because you have created a long-form content piece doesn’t really mean that you will get guaranteed search engine rankings.
- Difficult to Scale Up
If you are publishing only long-form content, then it’s going to be obviously difficult to scale up (unless you have a team of content crafters).
Again, when you focus on long-form content, it can lead to your blog’s inconsistency. Sometimes you will end publishing a blog post or two a week and then there can be several weeks without any new blog posts. Just like mine (or similar single-authored blogs).
Short-form content or rather short-form articles have usually less than 1,200 words (or ideally less than 600 words). The perfect examples of short-form content are social media posts on Facebook, twitter, etc., or image posts on Pinterest, Instagram, etc., or videos on vine, etc.
- Short attention spans
A research by Nielsen on how people read websites shows that people don’t read web pages word-by-word, instead, they scan it. Likewise, people don’t read your blog posts (when it’s got thousands of words), they scan it. However, if you publish short-form content chances are they read it.
Short-form content is mobile-friendly and that’s why people love to use social media websites and apps on their mobile device. So, if your blog posts are short then people would rather read it on their mobile device itself than “saving for later”.
- More shareable
It’s true that long-form content gets more social shares but short-form content is more “shareable” if you think about real sharing. That is, if you find an interesting long-form article then you might share it on your social media channels but if it’s a really interesting (and useful) short-form article then you might actually read it and share it with your friends.
Or, you might end up embedding it in a blog post or a slideshow, or twitter, or Facebook, etc. It means, short-form content gets distributed more quickly (forget social media shares). The best example is, a viral post on Facebook or twitter.
When you focus on short-form content, it’s much easier to make your blog hyperactive. Because you will be able to publish several posts a week. However, it also depends upon the kind of topics that you focus plus industry.
- Less time consuming
Creating short-form content ideally doesn’t take as much time as long-form content. For example, you can update your Facebook page or twitter several times a day but you can’t update your blog at the same pace (at least I can’t). Again, it depends upon your industry and the kind of topics that you focus and also your expertise.
- it’s not easy
No, no, it’s easier to write a 500-word blog post than a 5,000-word blog post. But the problem is it’s not easy to limit our words especially when we have a lot to say.
And this quote says everything:
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” — mark twain
- Can’t go in-depth
When you publish only short-form content then it wouldn’t be an in-depth analysis. There are several topics that require more clarity and in-depth research, and this necessitates more word count.
- Can annoy readers
If you’re publishing a lot of short-form (or even long-form) articles per day or even per week, then it can really annoy your users unless you’re delivering great value in all your blog posts.
- Not search friendly
Short-form articles are not so search friendly. That is, if you are primarily targeting search engine traffic then you will need a lot of content rich pages that are optimized with keywords as well.
Conclusion on the best blog post length
Your blog post should always contain more than 300 words, otherwise your post will have too few words in order to rank in the search engines.
Write shorter posts for engagement, longer posts for search engines.
If you’re an experienced writer you could write very lengthy posts containing more than 1,000 words all the way up to 3,000 words.
Now here’s the thing – you need to have a content strategy and always write with your target audience in mind. Would they want to read the content? Does it answer a specific question or challenge that they have?
Yes pay attention to SEO, but write for humans.
Now if you want to speed up the process you might want to choose the best article spinner to generate multiple articles quickly AND then manually re-write those articles to add the human touch and avoid penalties by search engines.