What is the ideal blog post length?
It’s a question that I hear in variations, like …
“How many words should I write per blog post?”
“How short is too short?” “
“How long is too long?”
Researchers who are immersed in blog data can give you all kinds of analytics about how many words to write, what kinds of words to use, and even where to place those words in your blog post. That information is useful.
But if you’re like me, you want to get to get past all the explanations ASAP and learn the quick and dirty answers about blog post length so you can get back to writing.
So here you go.
The traditional blog post length is 500 - 600 words.
For years, that length was considered to be the blog post sweet spot because the majority of web pages contained only a little bit of content and a whole lot of ads. Personal websites were constructed quickly as “get-rich-on-the-internet” schemes and blogs were created by only a forward-thinking few.
Analysts tied low page word counts to weaker search engine results and higher word counts with higher rankings, leading to a recommended 300 words per page minimum.
Some bloggers took these particular tips on writing a blog to heart and began producing longer posts with consistent, quality content. A quality post with 500-600 words stood out. (Here's Michael Hyatt's blog writing story.)
Yet others stuffed their posts with more words, rather than clean writing. And Google is smarter than stuffers think. Down, down, down fell those would-be tricksters’ pages in the search rankings.
That’s why your blog post should always contain more than 300 words of high-quality content (keyword here: high-quality content). Otherwise, your post will have too few words to rank in the search engines.
Soon, blogging experts began recommending a minimum of 500 and even 1,000 words per post.
Yet is longer always better? Increasing numbers of readers access content on mobile devices and find shorter word counts more appealing. The average adult reads 200-250 words per minute. More users comment on shorter content because they have time to finish reading the whole post.
And since 74% of all blog posts are readable in 3 minutes or less (according to online social journalism platform Medium), that means that three-quarters of all blog posts are less than 600 words.
A word count of 500-600 words still considered to be a good blog post length.
Longer posts are filled with more details than shorter posts.
Even so, just 15% of all posts today clock in at more than 1,000 words. That’s why long outranks short. Search engines love high quality content that is well-optimized with SEO keywords. If you can deliver a high-quality post that’s 1,000-2,500 words, then go for it (keyword here: high-quality content).
It’s not cool (nor beneficial) to stuff your post with repeated information or fluff just to add to the word count. Well-ranked long posts get to the top of the search results because they’re well-researched, detail-rich, and well-written.
And make sure your long-form post is easy to read. Include lots of bullet points, short paragraphs, plenty of white space, and a reading grade level of 8 or less. Otherwise, you may rank higher in the search engines, but users won’t read your content.
And you want to get read, not just found.
Give your readers solid information with plenty of luscious details – that’s written well – and you increase your chances to rank higher.
Which leads you to a conundrum: “Should I write short posts or long posts?”
Yet that’s not the best question, because the answer is “both.”
Instead, as you write, ask this question: “What is my goal with this blog post?”
Naturally, all of us want more comments, more shares, and more traffic. But studies show that each of those goals is best achieved with different blog post lengths.
My guess is that you want to achieve all three of those goals with your blog.
So maybe you need to write blog posts of different intensities and word counts, always working to produce high-quality content (keyword here: high-quality content.)
Because in the end, you can achieve all three goals …
When you write posts that are valuable to your readers.
More Blog Writing Tips
Award-winning content writer and author Kathy Widenhouse specializes in writing for nonprofits and faith-based organizations.
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