How Long Should My Blog Posts Be?

blog-post-lengthIf the first burning question for bloggers is: how often should I update my blog? Then the second is often: how long should my blog posts be?

I’ve got a splendid new copywriting client who’s asked me to write a series of blog posts for them, each around 300-600 words long. They’re probably following search engine optimisation advice because generally the search engines like content at least 300 words long and they’re a medium-sized business with multiple blog writers, so  guidelines are needed to keep the blog coherent.

But can small business owners be that prescriptive with their blog post length?

My own blog posts tend to be around 1,000 words long and longer posts are better for search engine optimisation if they stay relevant. I try to write detailed, useful posts  in less than 1,000 words.

What if Blog Posts are Longer?

If you have more to say, and not writing one very long blog post, you’d be better off creating a series of blog posts because your blog will grow faster if you post shorter posts more often and not long posts less often.

Running a series of blog posts also helps your readers expect what you’ll be posting about in the future and encourages people to subscribe to your blog so they don’t miss anything.

What’s the Ideal Blog Post Length?

The best length for a blog post is however many words it takes you to get your message across and make it clearly understood, but I try to keep my blog posts about 500 to 1,000 words long and recommend you do too.

The Successful Blogging Facebook team (to join us click here) recently discussed blog post length.

Robin Dickinson and Karrine Elizabeth mentioned that they don’t read long blog posts unless they’re well formatted so you can be sloppy with your blog post formatting for shorter blog posts but if you want people to really read, and not just skim, your long posts make it easier with good blog post formatting.

Penelope James and Seana Smith both agreed that long blog posts are great as long as they’re not daily updates, so if you post often you might want to keep the length shorter.

Experienced public relations professional Catherine White added:

“I operate on the press release principal. Short, sharp, no more than 500 words, and the information laid out in an upside down pyramid in order of importance.”

With a timely reminder that quality is more important than both quantity or frequency, Catherine went on:

“I believe my voice should be used to persuade, influence and make a difference. Therefore, my reader needs to be assured that I only post when I have something to say. I know I have my readers ears, because I don’t bend it out of shape.”

Quality First

It’s easy to lose track of your true focus with blogging because there are so many technical issues and other distractions but keep your focus on the quality of your blog posts.

No matter how long or short they are, how often, or how irregularly, you update your blog, make sure that each post fulfills your readers needs.

Whether your goal is teaching, inspiring or amusing your readers focus on that and do some careful blog post editing so every blog post does its job in as few words as possible.

How long are your blog posts? Was this blog post too short or too long for your reading preferences? (In case you’re wondering it’s just under 600 words long.)

Please leave us a comment here of  join us on Facebook so you can join the conversation there too.

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Thank you for your support. I’ll have more hot blogging tips for you next week.

Photo credit: Paul Mannix

About Annabel Candy

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Mike, well, it’s great you’re not worrying about length but just doing what comes naturally and naturally coming in just right:) Wonderful that you’re reading these tips and acting on them. That makes me very happy and I’m sure your readers are too!

  2. Desolie says

    Hi Annabel

    Thanks for this discussion – it raises some interesting questions for blog writers.

    I find I don’t think about the word count (unless it’s looking a bit short for an article submission), but I put a lot of effort into making it readable – headings, chunks of text, sometimes bullet points, margin widths, a graphic.

    For me, making it as easy as possible for my readers to get my message is more important than the length.

    Looking forward to you next words of wisdom.

    • says

      Hi Desolie, thanks for commenting here and for joining in the discussion on Facebook too. I agree with you: “making it as easy as possible for my readers to get my message is more important than the length.”

      Lol, I always look forward to your pearls of wisdom too:)

  3. says

    Length should be determined by your objective. If you want to draw in the largest amount of readers, then your posts should be short and filled with photos. (I think I know a fair amount about how to run a successful blog, although for some reason, so far, I stubbornly refuse to apply this rule — and other ones — to my own, entirely obscure blog. I only care about writing a good story.)

    If your objective is quality content, then each post should be exactly the length needed to tell your story — which can be very long or very short depending on the nature of the story.

    • says

      Hi Odysseuss, lovely to see you here and your penchant for storytelling must go down well with your readers. I know what you mean about stubbornly refusing to apply rules. I was a blogging rebel too but now I look at it more as experimenting. Good point about the photos. They do help and definitely lift longer posts especially if they’re the fastest way to say something:)

  4. says

    Hi Annabel, this is a very useful post. For me especially, since I tend to write quite long posts. However, my blog does have a different format though. Most the posts are a narrative about my experiences in Los Angeles, on set or auditioning. And in you post about keeping things personal you also agree that adding details and descriptions are nice.

    However, I rarely use sub titles and dots. I find it hard when describing experiences, but I should really do it. It’s good advice. Also, great little piece of information about the search engine optimization!

    All the best!
    —————————
    Stars in the Eyes – An Actress on her Way from Holland to Hollywood

  5. says

    Hi Annabel,

    Nice post. Interesting that you have looked into this. I usually tell my customers that a post can be as long as it can be. However, one thing you have to keep in mind. It has to convey only one idea or point.

    • says

      Hi Eddie, the convey only one idea or point if great. It makes sense but it’s hard. Some readers may have read all our posts, others may need filling in on some background…. so mine usually have a bit of backstory or an intro before they get to the juicy part!

      • says

        I guess some blogs need to do that. I usually link back or do a list post to cover older posts so that readers can refer back. Good to see different strategies being followed. May be we can do a case study and publish it as a free ebook for people reading our blogs.

  6. says

    Hi Annabel,

    Thanks for the mention. I’m flattered that you took me into account. As you may have noticed, I’m long-winded, even in my comments. That said, I think everything depends on the writer/subject/writing. Recently, I joined a blogging group and while several are outstanding, others go on and on about inanities, switch subjects as if enough isn’t enough, or post and repost as if they can’t get/give enough of themselves. Too much is too much. Unless you have a powerful message, 500-800 words is readable. I’m scanning much more than reading. So I’m trying to make future posts shorter though not always succeeding – yet.

    BTW. What do you think about twice a week posts?

  7. GutsyLiving says

    I agree that post length is an issue. This one was the perfect length, however, some of the really long “educational” posts take up a little too much time to read. We all have shorter attention spans, no matter what the content.

    • says

      Hi GutsyLiving, you have a point there. Even is the content is educational and very in depth it does need to be divided into short chunks of info people can easily digest:)

  8. says

    Good morning Annabel
    Well if my blogs are too long I shall lay the blame at your feet. It was all your fault that I got inspired to blog at that brilliant presentation you gave at the Hyatt. Being very ancient and inclined to dunk my biscuits in warm sweet tea and having never blogged for almost seventy years I have a lot of rubbish up in the metaphorical attic that wants to get out. The real plus for my blog site is for those with insomnia, a brief read will lead to deep sleep..just dont bang your nose on the keyboard! Best wishes and thanks for opening a door.. Angus.

    • says

      Hi Angus, lol, I am so glad I inspired you and haven’t dozed off once while reading your blog. In fact it’s a lovely place to go for a change of scenery and pace which I look forward too. Keep blogging!

  9. says

    Hi Annabel, I enjoy reading your long post as they have real and valuable info to impart. But for most blogs, the more general slice of life and mummy-type blogs, shorter is sweeter for me. You’re are also very well laid out and easy to read.

    My ambition for myself is to restrain myself and not be too wordy. I have a bad habit of being verbose. Of course when I am detailing a great place to take kids then the posts are long, but photos help to break that up.

    • says

      Hi Seana, I too have to “restrain myself and not be too wordy”! But that’s a good problem. Much better than when you can’t think of anything to write about and you can always do some tight editing afterwards:)

  10. says

    Thanks for this post! My last five blog posts were between 321 words and 420 words, so I’m happy to know that I’m hitting the recommended length. You quoted Catherine White in your post, and I think she meant to say (or write) to use an upside down (also known as an inverted) pyramid when writing. The most important information should go first: who, what, when, where, why, how and so what? This is standard journalistic style. People tend to skim rather than read, so you need to grab them with important/useful information from the start. Your lead (the opening paragraph), which may be a single sentence, should never be more than 35 words long. In fact, studies have shown that 19-20 word sentences are best for reader comprehension. Thanks again for this post! Cheers, Denise (blogger/journalism professor/tweeter @dbrsat)

    • says

      Hi Denise, thanks for joining us and adding these brilliant tips.

      I added the word “down” to Catherine’s quote. Yes, that’s what she recommends too but I think I do the opposite! Need to change that:)

  11. says

    Hi Annabel,
    I always believed that posts anywhere from 600 to 1200 words max are ideal. Any shorter and they are too vague, any longer and they are too long winded.

    My post length average is about 750 words.

  12. says

    Nicholas Carr’s book – The Shallow mentions that people are getting impatient and easily distracted, 1000 words maybe too much. I try to keep it as short as possible.

  13. says

    I am relatively new to blogging so found this post (and site…) really interesting.

    I have been writing content for others for around three years now and have written blog posts of 220 to 1,000 words.

    Is it not best to write about a subject until you feel you have imparted enough information rather than to count the words?

    Karen

  14. says

    I believe post length should vary depending on the topic, but as mentioned in the article, the information should be served in a pyramid-like fashion.

    Short topics don’t bother me. I can usually write up to 350-400 words on almost any topic. On the other hand, making my posts shorter than 1k words (which is always my goal) is a daunting task when covering certain topics. Sometimes I have a hard time deciding what to include and what to leave out of the article. How do you solve this problem ?

  15. says

    According to the latest search engine ranking factors released by SEOMoz, the consensus is that lengthier posts do better in SERPs – most likely they are an indicator of better quality.

    I think it’s better to post less frequently, but write better quality, more comprehensive posts, than post daily and sacrifice quality for the sake of that.

    Thoughts?

    • says

      Hi Ana,

      Great to see you here. My feeling is that I’d be better off splitting my 1,000 word blogs posts into two 500 word posts….

      That’s the plan but it’s all an experiment. I have been doing what you say – just posting weekly but I think I’d get more traffic if I posted more often so I guess it’s about finding a happy medium:)

      How often do you post?!

      • says

        I used to post 5 times per day – my traffic definitely was at its highest when I did that.

        I had to scale down to 3 times per week recently due to my recent writer’s block – my traffic went down, but it’s slowly stabilizing.

      • says

        Ana, I don’t know how you ever posted 5 times a day?! I can only manage once a week (on two blogs though) so you are thrashing me with three times a week! In my book that makes you a writing legend, not a blocked writer:) Please give yourself a break, you are rocking it. Kudos:)

  16. says

    Hi, thanks nice post. Actually i don’t care whether my post long or short. I just try to complete my idea completely. If it takes only 100 words it’s ok. If it takes 2000 words then it’s ok too. I just ensure that i won’t waste my readers time by using unnecessary words

  17. says

    I think this is some great advice, but all writers should definitely keep in mind that increasing the size of your post by adding sentences just to meet ideal word counts is never the way to go. Keep your blog on target, keep your reader happy, and you will be well on your way to blogging success.

  18. says

    Great post and I’ll include it in my bi-weekly newsletter to my list. I encourage vacation rental owners to blog about their locations in order to get more traffic to their sites. it’s a bit of an uphill battle as many are technophobic but we are gradually winning and seeing more owners creating fantastic content.

  19. says

    a common question and no one can give a perfect answer. it all depends on the content and the blogger too. i tend to keep it minimum 500 words and I also love to write bigger posts. your suggestion of blog series is quite cool. thanks :)

  20. says

    Hi Annabel,

    Thank you so much for this post! This is something that I have been worrying about a lot as of late. I’m always afraid that my posts are either too long or too short, but I sometimes think that posts need to be longer to get the full point across. This post has certainly helped to relieve some stress.

  21. Andrew Liongosari says

    I keep my blog posts between 500-800 words. I’m trying to do that for SEO. The very maximum I do is 1100 words, exceeding which I will break down into 2 or more related blog posts.

  22. says

    I have been making sure that my blog post exceed 700 words because I read somewhere that Google favors posts that have at least that amount of words or more. I think, however, that my readers are turned away when they see so many paragraph. From now on I will limit my posts to 300 t0 500 hundred words.
    Thank you for this useful info.

  23. says

    I can usually write 750+ posts easily but I want to train myself to keep within that range because longer posts can be broken up into a series which builds anticipation with readers and takes some of the pressure off me.

  24. says

    That did not feel like 600 words. A great and useful read. I appreciate it. This is the first post of yours that I have read and I look forward to reading more. You sold me on your blog : D.

    findingonespath.blogspot.com

  25. says

    I appreciated your article! I have done freelance writing for a while and most posts were the traditional “500 words”. However, I’ve realized that my own posts are going closer to double that. You’ve given me the assurance that this is not a problem. Thanks for your great input and I’m a new fan of your blog!

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