I was at a meetup with a group of bloggers recently when someone turned to me and asked, “What do you think is the perfect length for a blog post? How long should my blog posts be?”
When it comes to blogging, nearly all of us would like more:
- more readers
- more comments
- more links
- more traffic
For writers who are trying to build their audience online, it’s essential to learn how to write great blog posts. However, even if you’ve been blogging for a long time, it’s difficult to figure out what your audience really wants, especially in terms of blog length.
If content is king, then what is the perfect length that will help us get more people to read (and share!) our blog posts?
Myth: “When it comes to blog posts, shorter is better.”
Many “expert” bloggers perpetuate the myth that “shorter is better,” 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.
Honestly, for the first five years that I blogged, I subscribed to this myth. However, as I’ve learned more about what makes people read your blog posts, I realized that more often than not the opposite is true: the longer, the better. In fact, some of my best-read blog posts have been over 1,500 words long.
3 Perfect Lengths for Blog Posts
So then what’s the perfect length?
Well… it depends. I’ve experimented with a lot of different lengths, from 100 word mini-posts to 2,000+ word encyclopedia entries. Each has different advantages depending on what you want to get out of your blog.
With that in mind, let me ask you three questions about what you’re trying to accomplish with your blog.
Do you want more comments on your blog?
Then, shorter is usually better, especially if your post is focused on asking your readers’ questions and generating discussion.
Blogging tip: Want more comments on your blog? Try writing short, discussion-based posts no longer than 275 words long. (Share that on Twitter?)
Keep in mind, short posts rarely get shared widely on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. They also have a tough time ranking on search engines and are bad for SEO. If you’re trying to build an audience, I wouldn’t recommend focusing solely on short posts.
However, if you’re trying to create more engagement with your readers, try posting something short.
Do you want more social media shares?
When I first started The Write Practice, I was ecstatic if my posts got more than ten shares on Twitter and Facebook. Now, I’m disappointed if our posts don’t get more than 100 combined shares.
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. (Share that on Twitter?)
This is the length I usually shoot for. Medium length posts are also pretty good for SEO and for generating discussion. Of course, you still have to write a good post, one with a great headline and a compelling premise that solves your readers’ problem.
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 2,450 words long. (Share that on Twitter?)
Don’t believe me? Here’s the data.
Search engines love long, authoritative posts, especially when they’re focused on solving a pressing problem for readers. Longer posts might not get a lot of comments, and they might even be shared slightly less than average on social media, but if you can wait until Google takes notice, you might just get lucky and see a big bump in search traffic.
So How Long Do You Want Your Blog Post to Be?
To sum up, here’s a list of common blog posts lengths to help you find your own ideal length:
- 75-300 words. Super-short posts are best for generating discussion. They rarely get many shares on social media, and they’re horrible for SEO, but if you want a lot of comments, write short posts!
- 300-600 words. The standard blogging length, recommended by many “expert” bloggers. Good middle-ground for social shares and comments. Too short to gain much authority or search engine-love.
- 750 words. This is the standard length for professional journalism, especially newspapers. I find that it’s pretty good for getting links from other bloggers and shares on social media.
- 1000-1500 words. You’ll get fewer comments at this length but a lot more shares on social media, especially if you’ve followed the advice above and written a post that actually solves someone’s problem. That being said, I’ve written posts this long and gotten 100+ comments, so it really depends on the topic and your audience.
- 2,450 words. The highest ranking articles on Google are most often 2,450 words. If you want to rank well on search engines (and thus get thousands of new readers per month), this is the best length to write. However, make sure you write about a topic that people are actually searching for. It would be a shame two write a book-length blog post on a topic no one ever searches for!
To paraphrase up: longer is usually better for social shares and SEO whereas shorter is usually better for getting more comments.
Write the Length You Want
If the muse moves you, don’t be afraid to write posts that are 2,000 words or more. At the same time, don’t feel bad if you want to write a post that’s just 200 words long.
Keep in mind what that post length will likely bring to your blog, and vary your lengths so you can best serve your readers. But most of all, remember to have fun!
What about you? How long are your blog posts usually?
Today, try writing a short discussion based blog post, no more than 275 words. Then, after you publish it, why don’t you share the link in the comments section.
And if you share, click on a few links from your fellow Write Practice readers and comment on their blogs!