What’s the best blog post length? I get asked this question over and over again, and my answers stay basically the same despite the changing content marketing world.
I recently spoke on a marketing panel at a writing conference. All the speakers said the same thing: It’s important to have a blog and to publish posts regularly.
The writers balked. They wanted to just write their books. (Of course, they could blog their books and kill two birds with one stone.)
Then came the question about length. (It’s inevitable…)
The panel agreed: You should write 300 to 1,500 words.
That’s a big range, right?
I interviewed authority blogging expert Chris Garrett last week for my Nonfiction Writers’ University. (Join for just $1!) The subject of blog post length came up. (Of course.)
Chris said a blog post of 400 words is plenty.
Neil Patel at QuickSprout.com, on the other hand, says 1,500 words is the sweet spot for a post. But it’s hard to successfully blog a book with posts of that length. Read this post to understand the arguments related to blog length and why Patel suggests long is better.
My Final Word on Blog-Post Length
So who is correct? Who knows. The best experts on bloggers can’t agree on the answer to this essential blogging question.
Here’s my opinion based on what I know today—compared to what I knew when I wrote this post and this post. (I told you blog-post length is a popular topic.)
- Google’s algorithms change all the time. In the past, we were supposed to write at least 200 words to get indexed well. Then it became 300. Err on the safe side; write at least 300 words but aim for about 500 minimum.
- Studies show that longer posts (1,500 to 2,000) words get more engagement, but engagement is changing, too. It’s harder to get comments but easier to get shares.
- People all around the world to feel busier and busier. Life seems chaotic. They don’t have time to read. So give your readers a break. Write short(er) posts they can consume quickly.
- People’s attention span is super short these days. Do you have bandwidth to read a 2,000-word post? Probably not. So, write short(er) posts.
- Publishing posts often continues to be a great strategy if you want your site to become discoverable—to be found on the first Google search engine results page. I don’t know too many people who can write a 1,500-word post several times a week and keep up with their other commitments. So, I suggest writing posts that are between 500 and 750 words in length. Throw in an occasional 1,200 to 1,500-word post, especially if it is core content for your site. And publish several times per week (at least for the first six to nine months or more after you start blogging).
- Visuals and videos are hot, hot, hot! So include one or both in your posts, and then write short posts to accompany them. (You need written content for Google to index your posts.)
- The more content you have on one topic, the faster you rise in the search engines. To churn out content, write short posts.
These are the post-length strategies I use. My readership continues to rise on all three of my sites. This post from the Yoast SEO blog (the people who provide the plugin) supports my arguments stating that a post should be no less than 300 words and no more than 700-800 words.
I wanted to increase readership on one blog this year, so I added more content, including videos and visuals, transcripts and posts. My traffic on that site has almost tripled since January.
Yes, it took me about nine months to triple my readership. Building traffic is a slow process.
But tell me this? Has your readership grown significantly in that amount of time?
What’s your thought on blog post length? I’d love to know.
Photo courtesy of bethrosengard / Pixabay.com
Jennifer Brown Banks says
I think that the “emphasis” here should not be on the “quantity” of words we use, but rather on the “quality” of the words we use in our blog’s content. Are the needs of our readership being met in the process?
Seth Godin’s very brief and hugely popular blog posts are a good example.
It has worked for me too, I believe. 🙂
Thanks for this enlightening post, Nina.
Ali Rae says
Thanks, Nina, these guidelines and your supporting arguments were really helpful. I can understand how shorter would be much more manageable. I have a hard enough time getting myself to blog. Can’t imagine doing it regularly at 1,500 words a crack!
Michelle Chappel says
I also want to thank you for this thoughtful article. I’m finding that I can keep a blog briefer if It’s part of a series. Which brings me to a question. If you write a blog on the same topic with 10 installments (e.g., 10 Ways to Find Your True Calling), should the title be the same + part 1, 2, 3, or should it vary? Thanks so much!
Ray Gerts says
I think the length of a post depends on your topic and your readers. You have to get your point across and sometimes depending on your readers and the subject at the time that may take more words. I’m in the camp that thinks a post should be 800 to 1000 words. I believe you have to get your reader engaged and I can’t do that in 300 words.
Nina Amir says
Yes. You must keep it sustainable, Ali. Hope to hear your voice on the NFWU calls! You are still a member…
Nina Amir says
Michelle, It’s a great idea to break a long post–like 2,000 words–into short installments. Divide the content into 3-4 posts. I’ve done a series where I used the same title and part 1,2,3,4. It think the SEO on that is not quite as good as different titles, though. But I’ve done it! You also can include info at the beginning linking to the other posts and say it is part 2 or whatever.
Nina Amir says
Ray, It’s true…the info determines the length. I have some posts that are as long as 2,000 words, but I can get a lot of info out in 750 words (or less). Depends on the post structure and your writing style
Bartosz Mocek says
Nice article. From my experience I can say that even though longer posts are technically better for search engines, the shorter are better for most readers.
Nowadays people don’t have time to read long posts, in fact most of the time the headline is enough for them.
Nina Amir says
I agree totally, Bartosz.Thanks for your comment.