[CONTENT CREATION] How long should blog posts be?

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Many content producers are looking for the answer to this question:

How many words should a good blog post have?

The answers and studies vary. People have documented all kind of trends when it comes to organic search, frequency of posts being shared, emailed, the number of visits… and the list goes on.

And what have the experts said? Here’s a sampling:

  • 300-word blog posts are good enough
  • 800-word posts are better
  • Now we are seeing ones with 1,200-1,800 words get shared more
  • Wait, a new study: 2,500 words.

Another version of this relates to the frequency of publishing:

  • Post once a week
  • Post daily
  • Post more
  • No, wait, less.

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I love analyzing what works and what doesn’t. I really do. When a post takes off, I want to know why and dig in. When one doesn’t I try to figure that out, too.

But how long should a blog post really be? The answer of course is:

Blog posts should be however long they need to be to share the story or content that is being shared.


We discuss the topic at length in this podcast:


That of course is a wishy-washy answer and not clear to those of us seeking specifics to everything. How do we really know that everything worth sharing has been shared? How do we know we didn’t share too much?

It’s easiest to focus on word count. The goal is to reach 500 words so that’s what we are shooting for. Are we there, yet? Nope, keep writing.

Instead, we should focus on what needs to be said about the topic and how do we make and keep it interesting for our readers. Most of the time that will likely get us to around 500 words anyway. I’ve seen very few writers who can share a good and informative blog post in 200 words.

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And while word count and publishing schedules can easily be overthought, there’s some value in keeping them in mind. Here’s usually how I do that:

  • I publish at least once a week on here and often more. Yes, publishing more – as long as it’s on-topic and relevant to our audiences, actually increases traffic and also conversions.
  • I share my blog posts and related content on social media over and over and over. Few have complained, yet.
  • Before I start writing, I try to make an outline mentally and then go. Once I know what I want to say, the words just appear.
  • I do keep an eye on how long a post is and try to shoot for 400-600 words. Sometimes, I go shorter and sometimes I go longer. My average post  has 430 words. Some have over 1,000.

What posts resonate the most with my audience? Well, sometimes, I can guess and sometimes I’m surprised.

It used to be that the personal ones took off the most. Today in 2016, ones that share how to solve problems nobody else has publicly explained how to solve get the most traffic.

The key has been this:

  • Keep sharing things that I think are worth sharing and have something to do with authentic storytelling and content marketing.
  • Find a way to publish.
  • Share ways that have solved a problem. Others often go online and search for solutions. Being one of the first to share a solution will drive traffic and relevance.

Guidelines are good. So is testing. Just don’t let rules – which change constantly – stop you from sharing stories that will help, empower and even entertain others.

Recommended reading for you:

Getting on a blogging schedule will help you stay on track

7 ways to get on a blogging schedule

One last thing: And while this article discusses the length of blog posts, the concept can be applied to all content: Figure out the right length to share the details that need to be shared.

 

This was first published in 2016 and updated in late 2019.