The kettle’s boiling and your phone is switched to silent. You’ve compiled a list of awesome blog topics and now you’re ready to start writing. But before you get cracking, there’s one more thing to consider: how long a blog post should be.
You might think that a short, snappy blog post will be better since we’re all used to Twitter’s 140 character limit. Wrong! Longer blog posts have a big part to play in your content marketing campaign, so don’t be afraid to go into detail. From SEO benefits to improving your reputation as an expert, long-form content can be a very good idea.
On this page, we will look at how long posts and short posts both have their place. At the end, we’ll tell you how long a blog post should be… sort of.
How Short Should Blog Posts Be?
Knowing how long a blog post should be is hard because of the number of elements involved. However, while we can’t quickly give you an answer as to how long posts should be, we can give you a quick answer on how short they can be.
As we’ll explore below, longer is generally better for blog posts, but you should aim for an absolute minimum of 300 words. Any less and Google’s robots will have very little to search through, leaving your eCommerce website sinking to the bottom of the search rankings.
But blogging isn’t all about the SEO benefits; shorter posts also lack the detail that can help forge a reputation in your industry. Your customers should visit your blog and find a treasure trove of valuable information that will make their lives better.
Some bloggers find success with shorter posts. Though, unless you have the reputation of Seth Godin, it’s best to aim higher with your word count. Godin is the exception that proves the rule not because he goes against every idea about how long a blog post should be — and yet his blog is immensely popular.
However, Godin’s posts work because he’s not targeting a particular keyword and because he posts something every day. In a way, Godin’s posts are more like microblogs or elongated Tweets.
Your blog will be very different because you are targeting certain keywords and it’s unlikely you’ll find time to post every single day. If you do manage it, power to you! Still, if you want a hard and fast rule to get you started, stick to posts over 300 words.
How long posts depend on many SEO factors
One of the best reasons to start blogging is that it creates more content for Google’s robots to sift through. The same principle applies to individual blog posts; more text means more chances to include your target keywords.
Spreading your keywords out over 1,000 words as opposed to 300 will also make your content feel more natural. You’ll get a greater SEO benefit and your content will read better. At Exposure Ninja, we try to aim for 600 to 1,000 words for each of our posts and pack them full of photographs and infographics to keep people interested.
Your content marketing strategy should seek to blend quality and quantity. Too little of one or both will leave your blog posts feeling a little empty.
How long a blog post should be also depends on your audience
The internet is not short of opinions on how long posts should be.
The idea that the average attention span is getting shorter is a complete myth. Yes, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and WhatsApp all make distraction very abundant, but the average internet user is still able to sit down for a long while and focus on one thing.
For example, the Guardian has a section of its website dedicated to “long read” articles. Likewise, QuickSprout publishes super long posts that attract thousands of visitors and hundreds of comments. Don’t pander to the idea that people won’t pay attention to your content. If it’s interesting and insightful to them, people will pay attention to anything.
There’s data to suggest that posts over 1,500 words in length carry a greater SEO benefit than shorter posts, thanks to the extra data that Google’s robots have to look through. They can also help to establish you as an expert in your field, as longer blog posts give you the chance to go into microscopic detail.
However, as Rand Fishkin has pointed out, there’s reason to be sceptical of any data telling you about “the perfect blog post length”, because it depends entirely on what your audience want. If you sell cupcakes, potential customers might not want to read 5,000 words on the history of baking. However, they might love weekly posts containing a great new recipe each time at just 600 words each.
Equally, if you sell computer software, a 500-word post might not contain enough information for your audience. They might prefer monthly posts at 3,000 words a pop.
At Exposure Ninja, we’ve written a number of long-form posts, including a guide to running promotional events and a guide to live streaming. These posts aren’t just long for the sake of it; they’re also helpful to our readers. That’s also the reason we wrote our best-selling content marketing and content marketing book.
However, we’ve also written a number of short posts as supplements to our podcasts. As with most things in life, it’s best to mix it up. For every long post, make sure you’ve got a few shorter ones to balance it out.
Choose your long-form content wisely. If you’ve found a super interesting topic that could include tonnes of research and genuine insights, be our guest. But if you’re just writing for the sake of it, the content probably won’t be that engaging.
So, do you really want to know how long a blog post should be?
After all that, we can finally give you the definitive answer to how long a blog post should be…
*Drum roll please*
Yes, it depends. That may sound like a complete cop-out, but there really isn’t a set-in-stone answer.
How long posts should be depends on your topic, your audience and your aims for each post. If you’re not sure, a good rule of thumb is to write as much as you can without waffling. That might be 400 words, or it might be 2,000. As long as your content is well-researched, useful and engaging, it’s entirely up to you.
Still struggling to figure out how long a blog post should be? Contact Exposure Ninja for a FREE website and marketing review and tell you just how long posts on your particular keyword should be.