As bloggers, at some point we become intrigued with how many words should blog posts be. This is especially true in our beginning as content marketers, but, you might be surprised at how much consideration is given to this subject across all levels of online writing.
Hello, and thank you for visiting TH$M!
Since you are here, it seems you too would like to find out which is the best length for blog posts (LOL). The problem new bloggers face is that content writing is only one piece of the puzzle, and as a lone entrepreneur you’ll have to use your time wisely. Regardless of your writing abilities, I will show you in a moment the ideal length of your works is tied to your niche, your style and how frequently you choose to publish.
I have read many articles in this regard, more than I would have liked to, because I found much of the information to be useless for my purpose of helping up-and-coming new online marketers. Part of the reason is the fact much of the information out there is addressed from the perspective of larger production groups, and obviously you can’t compete if you are the only member of your team. However, I trust it all have served to offer a concise point of view, which I hope will translate to practical application for you.
Another reason is, even the experts can’t agree on an optimal length for blog posts; there are valid arguments for both short and long form content writing. Along these lines there are 3 main concerns:
• Article Readability
• Top Search Engine Ranking
• Overall Audience Reach
After all on this subject has been said and done, I would surmise the ideal blog post length for beginners is brief, effective and definitive, but, what does that really mean and why?
OK, let’s see how well I can sample that with this post. I’m happy to have you be the judge.
What’s the Minimum Post Length?
I would like to start with this point because I understand writing valuable content that actually accomplishes whatever is our ultimate goal is hard, and more specifically time consuming. Therefore, you might be interested in knowing how to write shorter posts which are still effective. Of course, if writing has always been one of your strengths, you may have different concerns in this area, but, in my experience most new content marketers struggle to find the key to successful writing.
Based on search engines recommendations, a minimum of 250 words was established a while back, and although the effectiveness of shorter posts has been challenged, as you’ll see in a bit, this number is still considered valid by many. However, Google has suggested this number should be increased to somewhere between 300 and 500 words.
The reason for this more content demand is simple: Google has moved away from relying on links and Meta Tags to decide how a post should rank, to analyzing the entire content with advanced algorithms, and this cannot be accomplished if the post is too short. While for some bloggers even these numbers are a challenge, even higher post lengths are being suggested, as high as 3000 words or more, due to statistical findings revealing their benefits.
Still, there are plenty of bloggers out there, doing very well with short form content, and I personally feel it is the way to go for everyone dealing with limited time and human resources. One of the strengths of shorter posts is readability, since there are many who are generally turned off by large bodies of text. The key of short form success is to give a lot of information clearly and in a few words; this means, to be concise but comprehensive.
Statistics Favor Long Form
Many studies have confirmed the benefits of lengthy content, primarily in terms of favor with the search engines. For instance, the average blog post length within the first page results of Google is no less than 2000 words. Some would say not to worry so much about what Google prefers because there are other search engines, but, it is a fact Google uses very advanced technology, and it is authoritative.
Those studies can be easily found on the web, but as mentioned, I don’t feel they add much to this post, besides stuffing it with recycled information, so I’m not including them here. If you are interested, this article published on
does a good job at presenting statistical data while stressing the key aspect of quality content.
Although these statistics offer valuable information, unfortunately many have opted for longer content, overlooking much of the details within the data, and ending up with inflated articles, which do not meet the readers’ expectations – not good.
Should You Go Short or Long?
Before you decide you must be writing 2000-word articles for the sake of SEO advantage, understand long content is more difficult to write. Long form must be thoroughly researched and very well written in order to capture your audience’s interest. An idea that can be easily expressed in a short article becomes redundant and boring when stretched into long form.
Many prefer short content with helpful and insightful thoughts, myself included. Besides the level of difficulty and time demand of longer articles, it just might be people would not read all of it; readers are likely to scan your post looking for the information they need. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as oftentimes the topic dictates how many words are necessary.
Instructional tutorials and “how to” blogs, for example, require for explanations to be thorough and clear to satisfy your reader’s needs. Additionally, the length should correspond to the search inquiry or keyword; obviously, simple factual searches do not require a long explanation. If your niche or style are better suited for long form, remember your writing must be very interesting to keep your readers attention. Moreover, the proper structure, including use of headings, graphics, etc., are very helpful in getting your point across.
I propose short form to newbies and lone wolves for the reasons stated above, regarding time and resources restraints; however, it is not necessarily easier. Short posts must be succinct, delivering the expected value with less words. A good example of the power of short blog posts is the work of Seth Godin. Mr. Godin is a master author, as well as, a well-respected marketing entrepreneur, and a lot can be learned from his approach.
How Posting Frequency Plays into Post Length
As I said before, the problem new bloggers face is that writing quality content takes quite some time and effort. This puts considerable stress on all of us who are building an online business alone, as there are many other aspects of our enterprise which need to be addressed as well. For instance, another important factor for achieving good search engine ranking has to do with posting frequency, meaning the more the better, because it indicates fresh activity and new information becoming available for searchers.
A high frequency would be one or more posts daily; but, how good a content would you be able to put out this fast if you are a solo blogger?
Probably not so good, especially if you attempt long form, and without great content you are “dead in the water,” so to speak.
Therefore, I recommend checking your writing rhythm, as a gauge to help you decide how long and how frequently you should post. To illustrate what I mean, suppose creating a decent post of around 500-700 words takes you 2-3 days, then you wouldn’t do very well attempting to post daily; your content quality would suffer and you’d feel overwhelmed as you fall behind on other business requirements.
Depending on your niche, if a 500-700 words article accomplishes your goal, then posting 2 or 3 of these per week wouldn’t be bad at all assuming you address the essential points for a great article every time. Another option might be to push yourself to write no less than 1000 words for each article, and choose to post consistently only once or twice per week.
Note that consistency is also a good thing to help establish your brand on the web. For new bloggers it is good to publish a lot of content, as fast as possible, in order to hone your skills. New websites would also benefit from continual publishing, as a way to build authority and trust, both with search engines and readers.
Optimal Blog Post Length
My goal with this article has been to help establish a practical, ideal length for your blog posts based on identifiable characteristics of your writing, rather than the statistical data floating on the web. In other words, something you can accomplish effectively and consistently in the early stages of your business. You are your venture’s best asset, therefore your unique style and personality are the most important components of your branding efforts.
However, the one element which is most critical I have only touched on casually thus far: Your audience. Search engine algorithms cannot deem the value of your posts as your readers can. The ultimate gauge to establish how good your work is, or how many words should your blog posts be, must be your readers. If you are fairly new in this game, this may not be well defined for you yet, but, learning from analytics and testing has to be part of your strategy as you grow.
Having said that, let’s review the key points in this article:
• Google requires 300-500 words to properly rank your post: Statistics show posts of around 2000 words rank better.
• Consider your writing style: You may be more direct and to the point, or someone who is verbose and illustrative.
• Posting frequency: How often do you wish to post vs. how consistently are you able to publish new material.
• Let the purpose of your post dictate its length: Address your topic with as many words as necessary to get your point across and connect with your readers.
From the beginning, I intended for this article to sample my ideas on what the optimal blog post length should be. I thought it would turn out short, but, after I wrote everything I considered necessary I ended up with 2,043 words; that’s without including the above mentioned studies or citing related materials. This means I could have capitalized on this appealing topic for a beefy post, but, it wouldn’t be consistent with my suggestion for new bloggers
Interestingly, I identified a single idea which merited its own space; therefore, I took a chunk of text from my draft to also offer you a short post sample on the same topic; please check it out…
On that other post you might also notice somewhat of a different format; my aim is to present examples of both short and long form on the same topic, to help you determine what might work best for you.
Generally speaking, longer posts can potentially provide for better reader interaction and search engine ranking, but, if you can capture your readers attention and accomplish your goal with less words, short posts can be powerful as well; just let excellence be your main goal!
I hope this article has helped you figure out how many words should your blog posts be, or maybe just reassured what you were thinking before you came here. Either way, if you have something to share on this topic, or have a question, I would love for you to drop it below. Thanks for reading!
Helping you prosper,