If 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 optimization 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 1,200 words long and longer posts are better for search engine optimization 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 are not writing one very long blog post, you’d be better off creating a series of blog posts.
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 800 to 1,200 words long and recommend you do too.
The Successful Blogging Facebook team 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 work 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.”
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.
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Sue Anne Dunlevie
Sue Anne Dunlevie helps beginning bloggers succeed online. She works one on one with her clients to give them the tools to achieve their goals. You can find Sue on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.