Three hundred words. Five hundred. Eight hundred. Over 1,000. Article content writers can’t decide. How long should your posts be?
When it comes to deciding how long to write your blog posts, you might get 10 different answers from different digital marketing experts.
Case in point: Neil Patel of Quick Sprout has covered the same topic, and it was more than 1,700 words long. On the opposite end of the spectrum, most posts on sites like Gawker or Mashable are in the 300- to 500-word range.
As a writer, you know how important it is to get your message across in the most impactful way possible. But how long should your blog post be? It’s a question many writers struggle with, especially when they’re new to blogging. Fortunately, some general guidelines can help guide you as you craft your blog posts. Let’s take a look at what the ideal length of a blog post should be.
Factors That Impact Post Length
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to determining how long your blog post should be. A variety of factors can influence the length of your post, including the topic being discussed and the intended audience.
For example, if you’re writing for an audience that may not have much experience or knowledge on the topic, then it stands to reason that you will need to explain more concepts and provide more evidence than if you were writing for an audience that already has a firm understanding of the subject matter.
Furthermore, longer posts usually require more research and time to write than shorter posts—especially if they include images or other multimedia elements like videos or infographics. That said, if your topic requires it, don’t hesitate to go into greater detail and make your post longer! Quality content always trumps quantity in this case.
The Short Answer
It is generally accepted that an effective blog post should have a minimum word count of 300 words. While it is possible to write a successful blog post with fewer words, 300 words allows you to provide enough information without making your readers feel overwhelmed or bored.
That said, some industries—such as travel and finance—may require longer word counts to provide the necessary information to their readers.
Know Your Audience
When it comes to story length, you need to understand who your readers are. At least, that’s the advice from digital marketing expert Joel Friedlander, an award winning blogger and digital marketing expert.
“I’ve spent a huge amount of time figuring out who my readers are,” Friedlander told AWC. “So if I want to post something today that’s, say, 1,000 words and tomorrow post something that’s 400 words, it’s OK, because I know my readers will be OK with that.”
But SEO writing is a different beast, he explains. It can be more mechanical and more technical, he says, due in part because the faster you write, the more income you earn.
“With SEO, the 400- to 600-word range is probably ideal, but that sort of depends,” he told AWC. “Again, you have to know who you’re writing for and know their expectations. Gadget and tech readers, for example, want something quick, in and out. But what they don’t want is a 1,000-word story on why this widget is better than another. They want a ‘top 3 things’ list.”
Don’t Worry About the Length, but … Longer is Better
The above subhead contradicts itself, but both statements are true.
As Friedlander says, “write until you’ve said what you wanted to say.”
Patel agrees, saying, “… It simply depends upon your purpose and the message you’re trying to communicate.”
However, Patel is a big fan of longer posts. The reasons?
- Longer posts typically get more search traffic: “Evidence suggests that the more content your page has, the better chance it has of a top position in Google results,” Patel writes. More content means more of it will get indexed, too. And the more content that’s indexed, Patel explains, the better it should perform in searches and results.
- Better variety of keywords: This is fairly simple to understand. A 300-word post might use one keyword two times. But a 2,000 word post will use that same keyword twice as often and include variations of it.
- More backlinks: As Patel says, the longer your posts are, the more likely they are to gain backlinks to your pages.
- More share-worthy: Believe it or not, research shows that longer articles are shared more often.
The Long Answer
In some cases, it may be beneficial to write a longer blog post. For example, if you are attempting to explain a complex concept or topic in detail to your readers, then a longer word count may be necessary in order to adequately cover all of the necessary points.
Additionally, if you are attempting to rank for certain keywords in search engine results pages (SERPs), then having more content can help increase your chances of appearing higher up in SERP rankings due to increased relevancy compared with shorter posts on similar topics.
Finally, there are some topics where it makes sense to write an extremely long article—including tutorials or guides that require detailed explanations and step-by-step instructions. These types of articles often have word counts ranging from 2000–3000 words or more!
Elements of Determining Story Length
Patel breaks it down to substance, style, frequency, purpose and audience, among other factors, when deciding how long to write.
Substance goes back to what Friedlander said: If you can write something in 200 or so words, then keep it at that length. If it requires more than 1,000 words, then go for it. Just don’t force the issue.
Likewise, the style depends on the subject matter and audience. Some topics don’t need to be long, while others need a more comprehensive report.
How often you blog can also help determine length. Some sites only have one long(ish) post a week, while others have several, shorter posts. The same can be said of your posts’ purpose. From educating to growing email lists, some posts naturally lend themselves to longer (or shorter) lengths.
And finally, your audience plays a big role in how long you should write, as both Patel and Friedlander say.
“Your goal is to create content your audience is going to read,” Patel says.
The Optimal Length
That being said, most experts agree that 500-700 words is typically the optimal length for a blog post. Posts at this length provide enough space for writers to dive into their topics without going overboard and overloading readers with too much information at once.
This length also allows search engine algorithms like Google’s to index content properly so readers can find them through organic search results quickly and easily.
Overall, when it comes to determining how long your blog posts should be, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
When deciding on the length of your blog posts, consider what type of content you are writing as well as who your target audience is so that you can create content that meets their needs while still being engaging and informative. Ultimately, it is up to you as the writer to decide which length will be most effective for achieving your goals with each individual post!
David is the Founder and Director of article-writing.co, the fastest-growing content creation agency in North America. He has transformed companies by offering high-quality content that has impacted their SEO ranking, revitalized websites with engaging and industry-relevant blogs and website copy, and championed successful email campaign copy.