Uncovering the Best Blog Post Length

blog post length

Let's be straight about this. No single, one-size-fits-all word count determines how long your blog posts should be. It all depends on the information you seek to convey and what you are trying to achieve, which likely will vary from each piece of writing that you post on your blog.

We've seen that it can be good to change the length and types of your blog posts. It keeps your site dynamic. A 300-word blog post can be compelling, informative, and attention-grabbing, in a space where readers' attention is constantly shifting from one form of social media to the next. A 2500-word exploration of a topic may help readers to learn more, and if it's useful and interesting enough, it will hold their attention. Yes, web users scan content, but if it's well-organized and it's what they're looking for, they'll read it.

While nobody can tell you the ideal post length for your blog, there is a good place to look for clues. As with most modern marketing methods, determining your ideal blog length should begin with thinking about your customers or your readers.

Ask Your Audience

There are two effective ways to find out what length of posts your readers prefer. There's no harm doing both.

First: use analytics. The analytics tools that come with your site or third-party analysis tools such as Google Analytics will show you how long people visit your pages and how long they spend reading while there.

Think about which of your posts are the most popular. How many words do they contain? How is the text formatted? Is there a trend?

Remember that people in general scan websites for information rather than reading them word for word, but think about times when you've found an article that met your needs, and you scrolled back up to the top to read it from beginning to end. Despite a human tendency to scan websites initially, long-form content has been demonstrated to increase traffic, conversions, and engagement.

Are there signs that people are reading your long-form content or are they clicking away as quickly as they would for a snappy blog post?

Second: go direct. Use a survey, a poll, email or a blog post to ask your readers what length of a post they prefer.

As well as potentially increasing engagement on your site, you're demonstrating that you are blogging with your readers in mind. With human interaction, you might reach an insight into your blogging - not only your post length - that you would not have achieved single-handedly.

You might also examine posts on blogs similar to yours, paying particular attention to anything performing better than your blog posts. Be wary, however, of changing your average post length based on a comparison with another blog's average word count. An excellent blog post has many essential elements; hence entire books on the subject of successful blogging.

Key factors impact the ideal length for your blog posts.

Things to ask yourself include:

What is your writing style?

If you can say everything you want to say in 200 words, stop there. If it takes 2000 to exhaust a subject, so be it.

The way in which you write will have a direct impact on the length of your blog posts. Some people are characteristically succinct and to the point (Seth Godin) while others prefer elaboration and story-telling (Neil Patel, founder of Kissmetrics).

How often do you post?

If you're posting once a week, the likelihood is that your post will be more thorough and in-depth than writing found on a daily blog also drafted by an individual.

If you're responding to current events and/or provide your readers with up-to-the-minute information, you're likely to be posting every day, if not several times a day, which can impact the amount of words that you can physically generate before burning out or developing hand cramp, as well as how many words your readers are willing to wade through.

Do you post alone?

Are you a one-man or one-woman blog posting machine, or do you have an entire team working on creating content? If you have more resources, it's easier to write longer posts regularly than if you are going it alone.

What is the purpose of each blog post?

The overall goal of your blog post will influence its length. For example, are you providing a detailed rundown of your product features, or are you posting something snappy to stir up debate and encourage interaction? Are you gently prodding visitors who have almost committed to signing up for an offer or are you writing something more lengthy to maximize your use of SEO keywords and keyphrases?

What type of blog post are you creating?

An infographic can say in an instant what 1000 words can struggle to achieve. If you like to use infographics or slides, your word count is likely to be lower than that of a blogger who relies exclusively on text. The same is true of course of bloggers who use video and audio content.

You may also be interested in "4 Types of Long-Form Content Worth Experimenting With".

What Does Google Think About Blog Post Length?

Google prefers longer blog posts.

Yes, this chapter could have led to that announcement, but it's worth digging deeper into the subject of length. Stay with it.

According to Google, the content of a blog post should have the word count necessary to satisfy your message, no more and no less. Don't pad a naturally 300-word blog post into 1000 words. Google will find out. Avoid throwing up lists with no introductions, explorations or conclusions; they get tossed into the Google trash bin.

How does Google assess the quality of a blog post? These days, there are two main factors to consider.

Firstly, Google uses what it calls the Panda algorithm to identify sites that are spamming and providing low-quality or malicious content. Google Panda was launched in February 2011 and has been part of Google's core ranking signals since the beginning of 2016. Though the exact workings of the algorithm are under wraps and constantly changing, the essence is that it prefers longer posts that are not stuffed with keywords and keyphrases but are well-organized and contain natural language.

Secondly, there are humans involved too. Dubbed 'Search Quality Evaluators', these people check websites and blog posts for E.A.T - Expertise, Authority, and Trust.

For a blogger to demonstrate knowledge, authority, and trust in a single blog post, that post tends to be longer than average and more in-depth. This is even more likely if a blog topic is rather broad. The tendency is to require more words to do the various facets and angles of a general subject justice.

According to Google, creating quality content takes at least one of the following: time, expertise, effort and/or talent/skill. That was AT LEAST one. Make an effort to apply all four to create blog content that Google loves. If Google likes you, its users will find you.

Longer Post Do Better, But Why?

There you have it. Data shows that longer format blogs do better overall.

But this demands the answer to a new, more interesting question. Why?

  1.  A long article has more scope for SEO. Keywords and keyphrases are typically repeated, naturally, numerous times when an article is lengthy and focused. Think about how many times you might write SEO and variations on that theme in a 200-word article, compared to a 3000-word post.
  2.  More natural keywords and keyphrases can result in higher-ranking and more organic traffic from search engines.
  3. If the length of an article means that it contains more valuable information, it's possible that it is more likely to be shared than an equivalent but much shorter and less useful article.

Like Google, people appreciate blog content that demonstrates expertise, authority, and trust. An in-depth article garners search traffic, receives many links and shares, and can result in a greater number of conversions than short articles because they are valuable to their readers. In-depth, thoughtful blog posts tend to take more words to express the ideas within them.

For a blog post to satisfy your reader and get your message across, it might push 1500 words. The length, however, is a byproduct of the quality. Not the other way round.

Don't feel compelled to break a long post up into shorter posts to make it a series. Your series will do better when you genuinely have a lot to say. Each post should be as long as it needs to be, not truncated into unnatural, bite-size pieces.

Focus on quality. Take the time to craft your posts and know that 1000 words and over is a powerful benchmark, but don't bend yourself out of shape to reach it. The length of your post will be a combination of what your readers want and how long it takes you to say everything you want to say on a topic.

When you write a great blog post, you’ll know it. You'll be aware of its length, but you'll be more concerned with hitting the mark concerning a well-crafted piece of writing more than hitting a specific word count target.