I was at a meetup with a group of bloggers recently when someone turned to me and asked, “What do you think is the ideal blog post length? How long should my blog posts be?”
It's an important question, because when it comes to our writing, like all of us you probably want more.
- More readers
- More comments
- More backlinks for SEO
- And of course, more traffic (search traffic, social media traffic, organic traffic)
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 the perfect blog post length.
If content is king, then what is the perfect length that will help us get more people to read (and share!) our blog content?
My Story: How I Discovered the Ideal Word Count for Blog Posts
If we haven't met, hi! My name is Joe Bunting. I'm a WSJ Best-selling ghostwriter and author of the memoir Crowdsourcing Paris, and I've been writing blog posts for a long time.
Here are a few things you might not know about me:
- Blogging transformed my writing career, helping me go from someone who wanted to be a writer and studied writing in college to a professional author read by millions of readers.
- I got my start on a Blogspot blog in 2008 (does anyone remember that blogging platform?)
- My first paid writing job was writing online music reviews and news pieces for a local magazine
- I was a travel writer for a year as I visited 15 countries
- I started The Write Practice in 2011 and it eventually helped me become a full-time blogger/teacher for the most amazing writing community in the world!
In that time, I've written many different content types with many different average word counts, and so I can definitively say this: post length matters.
Why does it matter though? And how do you find the perfect length for your posts? In this guide, I'll share all my best content length tips that I've learned writing and teaching writing online over 10+ years.
But first, let's dispel a common myth.
Myth: “When it comes to blog posts, shorter posts are 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 blog readers, they say, is to write posts that are short and sweet.
Don’t listen to them.
Honestly, early in my writing career, 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 2,000 words long.
3 Perfect Lengths for Blog Posts
So then what’s the perfect length?
The quick answer: it depends.
As I’ve experimented with different lengths, from 100 word mini-posts to 2,000+ word encyclopedia entries, I've found that each has different advantages depending on what you want to get out of your blog.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the data.
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?
If you want content that spurs online conversation, shorter is usually better, especially if your post is focused on asking your readers’ questions and generating discussion.
Content length tip: Want more comments on your blog? Try writing short-form, discussion-based content no longer than 275 words long.
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.
Here are a few examples of short-form content generating a lot of conversation:
- What Are You Struggling With In Your Writing?
- You Must Remember Every Scar
- Which Famous Classic Writer Are You?
Do you want more social media shares?
When I first started my blog The Write Practice, I was ecstatic if my posts got more than ten social shares. Now, I’m disappointed if our posts don’t get more than 100 social media shares.
I’ve found that how many shares you get on social media is influenced by several things, including your topic, the post's quality, and, of course, the size of your existing audience. What effect does length have on social shares?
Content length tip: Want more shares on social media? Aim for medium length blog posts between 600 to 1500 words. (Share that on Twitter?)
This is the length I usually shoot for. Medium-form is also fairly good for content for SEO and for generating discussion.
Of course, you still have to write high quality content with a great headline and a compelling premise that solves your readers’ problem.
Here are some types of content that are a good fit for this length:
- How-to Blog Posts
- List Blog Posts
- Interview and Profile Blog Posts
- In-Depth Guides and Lessons
- Personal Narrative Posts
Here are a few examples of medium-form content generating a lot of social shares:
- How to Write a Short Story: 5 Major Steps from Start to Finish
- 3 Tips to “Show Don't Tell” Emotions and Other Moods
- JK Rowling’s Writing Process: 9 Principles You Can Use From Rowling’s Philosophy of Writing
Do you want more traffic from Google for your blog?
Who doesn’t want more organic traffic from Google? One month, many years ago, I went from getting just a trickle of new visitors from Google to getting over 1,000 new readers per day. I was ecstatic!
Since then, I optimized the post to better fit my target audience and it still generates thousands of new visits per month.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is complicated, and a much larger subject matter than we can cover here (and typically involve a keyword tool like Ahrefs for SEO analysis).
However, for our purposes, what is the optimal blog post length for getting search traffic from Google and other search engines?
Content length tip: Want more traffic from Google? Write longer, heavily researched posts 2,450+ words long.
Search engines love long-form, authoritative, in-depth guides, 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 huge bump in organic search traffic.
Here are a few examples of long-form blog posts generating high amounts of search traffic:
- Point of View Guide
- How to Write a Novel Without Fail: 20-Step Guide
- How to Write a Book: The Complete Guide
Key Takeaways: How Long Do You Want Your Blog Article to Be?
To sum up, here’s a list of common blog posts lengths to help you find your own ideal length:
- Micro content: 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!
- Short Form content: 300-600 words. This is the standard blogging length, recommended by many “expert” bloggers. Shorter blog posts are a good middle-ground for social shares and comments, but are too short to gain much authority or search traffic.
- News Article length content: 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.
- Mid-form content: 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 piece of content 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.
- Long-form Content: 2,450 words and longer. The highest ranking articles on Google are most often 2,450 or more average word count. If you want to have a top-ranking posts that can become evergreen on search engines (and thus get thousands of new readers per month, year after year), this is the best length to write. However, make sure you do your keyword analysis to write about a topic that people are actually searching for (I use Ahrefs for this). It would be a shame to write a book-length long-form 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.
Best Blogging Platforms for YOUR Content
Even if you write the “perfect” length, if you’re on an amateurish blog platform like Blogger, WordPress.com, or Wix, you’ll still lose visitors and engagement.
One of the best things you can do to feature your content well is host your blog on a professional platform. After blogging professionally for nearly a decade there are two platforms that I’ve found to be the best:
- Self-hosted WordPress with Divi theme. WordPress is an amazing blogging tool, is built for strong SEO, and has a huge, vibrant community of developers creating free and paid plugins. Divi is a paid drag-and-drop theme that runs on WordPress and makes it easy to create a beautiful website. We use WordPress with Divi here at the Write Practice. You can see my full review to build your author website with them here, or get started now with WordPress on Bluehost here and then download Divi here.
- Squarespace. Squarespace allows you to create beautiful websites fairly easily. It’s slightly more expensive than WordPress through Bluehost and it gives you much less control over the design and function of the site, BUT it’s a little easier to figure out. Get started with Squarespace here.
You can learn more about the best blogging platforms for your content on my full guide, Building an Author Website here.
Write the Length You Want
If the muse moves you, don’t be afraid to write original content that is 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 from time to time. An average post across the web is going to vary widely by topic and audience.
Keep in mind what audience 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? Share in the comments.
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. If you want to workshop it before you post the link, post in our Pro Practice Workshop here and comment on a few other writer's posts as well.