“How long should my blog posts be?’ is a big question that is hard to answer simply. There are several factors that can alter what constitutes the ‘perfect’ length for a blog post. Depending on these factors and your goals, the answer can vary quite drastically. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not an important question. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes marketers and businesses make when it comes to blogging is pouring a lot of time, effort, and energy into a blogging strategy that’s never going to achieve the results they need, simply because they’re getting the length of the posts they’re creating wrong.
How can the difference between a 300, 500, or 1000 word post have such a huge effect on your business?
To understand that – and to figure out how long you need your blog posts to be – you need to get to grips with the ins and outs of blogging and, especially, your own style of writing. Once you feel comfortable in finding what suits the needs of your readers, your business, and the content you provide to promote yourself, you’ll be on your way.
With so many widely available resources to research, simply Googling ‘what’s the best length for a blog post?’ can be totally blinding. One source states a maximum 500 words, another says 2,000 is the way to go, and it’s extremely difficult to decipher what’s correct and what’s not.
It’s a riddle, because they’re all right depending on context. Fortunately, we’re here to unravel the mystery. Read on for our expert guide to all the factors in this equation, and exactly how to decide what the perfect length is for a blog post is, based on your goals and marketing strategy…
Step 1: Learn The Basics…
One of the very first things to learn when deciding the length of your blogs is (perhaps predictably) the importance of their length. The main reason the length of a post is of such significance is due to search engine optimisation, or SEO.
When it comes to SEO it’s all about ranking highly on search engines. There are a lot of things that affect your ranking, but perhaps the biggest (or at least, easiest to control) is the length and quality of the content you create.
This means that the better-value the content you’re providing is, and (very broadly speaking) the longer it is, the higher you will rank on a search engine.
These two aspects exist in tandem and it’s vital to understand that – longer is only better if every word of that length is of the highest quality. As soon as you start losing quality by padding out a post, going off-topic, or repeating yourself for the sake of extending the post, you’re undermining the ability of that post to rank highly.
So, quantity (i.e. length) is important, but never more important that quality.
Step 2: Know Your Audience…
Another point to consider is the need to understand who your customers are and the topics you need to be writing about in order to attract them. This can affect your blog length. If your topic is straightforward and simple, such as ‘How To Post A Live Video On Facebook’, you don’t want to write a 2,000-word blog that could have easily been written in 500 words.
There isn’t enough ‘meat’ to the topic to justify that many words. Your audience are looking for an easy answer to a straightforward question.
They want it fast and simply explained, and aren’t going to read 2,000 words on the topic.
Grasping what’s best for your audience and how long they will engage for is extremely important.
Readers may be put off by longer posts if they’re searching a simple answer, to a simple question, that can be simply found elsewhere in a much-condensed blog.
But the same works in reverse.
If your readers are researching a more complicated topic, they want to be able to come away understanding the answer in full, with their questions completely answered. In this case, they will be more open to reading a long post that goes into detail and provides a lot of valuable information. In fact, they will not view a short post on the topic as a valuable solution, and will go elsewhere looking for more comprehensive information.
The topic lends itself to a longer post, because the answer is far more complex and can’t easily be given in 500 words.
If you have a complex answer to give and feel it merits a long post, but you’re worried readers might lose interest, there are plenty of writing tricks that can be used to keep them hooked. For example, open loops can be used to compel readers to continue reading past the point they might otherwise stop. This ensures they read to the end of the post (and hopefully follow your call to action), but more importantly, makes sure that they are satisfied with your work and won’t look anywhere else for their answer.
Again, writing more doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a better blog and will boost you up the ranks on Google.
It takes time to understand your audience and create SEO-worthy blogs whilst still providing engaging content.
As a result, perhaps the shortest answer to the question of length is this:
The majority of the time there is no set rule, no specific number of words you can stick to that will guarantee success. However, you can ensure you gain better rankings by always following the maxims of quality over quantity, and answering the topic at hand in the fullest (yet most comprehensive) manner possible.
Don’t just keep writing to hit your target word count.
Keep writing until the question your readers are searching for has been effectively answered, and before the blog becomes disengaging and uninteresting for your audience.
Trust us, if it’s boring for you to write, it will definitely be boring for your audience to read!
Putting all of this together can be a difficult task but when you’ve got all the right ingredients for the right recipe you’ll get your perfect bake.
Step 3: Understanding SEO…
SEO isn’t something that can be described and fully explained within a short (or even long!) blog post, but you can definitely learn why it affects the length of your blogs fairly easily.
Your main targets should be to effectively answer the question of your blog topic, and to do so better than your competitors.
Remember, there’s a lot more that goes into effective SEO than simply choosing the right length for your post. You also need to optimise that post for search terms your audience are typing into Google and asking Siri.
Your competitors are also trying to rank for those search terms, and in order to appear higher on search engine results pages (or SERPs, as we affectionately refer to them), your post needs to more effectively answer exactly the same question or topic as every other post optimised for that keyword.
There are many ways that you can beat your competitor in terms of SEO.
Search engines want blogs of substance that holds factual information and provides real, tangible value. This usually means that longer posts work better for SEO. But, again, it depends on your topic, your audience, and also what result you are looking for.
From a purely SEO perspective, the best blog length for 2019 is between 1,700-2,500 words, with the most effective being at the higher end of the spectrum.
Step 4: What’s In A Name?
One way to effectively optimise your blogs is picking a perfect title suited to the specific keyword you are optimising for. And yet length is also an important factor in writing a great title. It’s also an element that many people fail to fully consider.
Having a compelling title for your blog post is vital, partly for SEO, but also for clickability.
It’s no good ranking #1 on Google if nobody clicks your link because the title is dull, too short, too long, or doesn’t effectively hook them in.
And creating clickable titles is an artform…
The best headlines are at a maximum of 60 characters. This will make your title stand out, ensuring it’s more attention grabbing, intriguing, and visually pleasing to your reader when they see it on those SERPs. Getting the length right also ensures they can read the full title on the search page and it isn’t cut off halfway through by the character display limit.
You can use Co-Schedule to help you analyse your title based on common words, uncommon words, emotional words, and power words. Aim to get a score in the green zone (above 70), anything less will be ineffective. The higher your score, the better your title will be read by search engines, and the more clickable it will be for your audience!
For example, our title for this blog post is ranked at 77 by CoSchedule’s app, and is the perfect length at 55 characters.
You should aim for similar results so that search engines like Google (as well as your readers) can easily distinguish what your blog is about, along with the quality of content they can expect from it.
Step 5: Use The Top Ten Average Method…
Another thing to note is to always keep on top of your statistics. You can use the Top Ten Average Method to find out what the best length of blog post is for your audience.
Find your top ten most engaging posts by using a site like Google Analytics. Simply view all your posts and filter them to show traffic coming from organic search, and find your top ten posts.
You can then use a Bulk Web Page Word Count Checker to calculate the total length of your top ten posts. (Make sure you only count the main body of your blog text, and minus off your headers, footers and sidebar text).
Divide the total by ten and you will have a rough benchmark for the length of blog post your audience is searching for.
While this isn’t a magic bullet answer, it can help you get a rough idea to bear in mind as you consider the remaining factors at work…
Step 6: Think About Money And Resources…
One of the most important things to consider is your money and resources, especially when it comes to long blog posts. We already know the massive importance of why you need long blogs exist and why they are written, but the difficult part is figuring out who’s going to write them.
One of the biggest problems with long blog posts is the amount of time it takes to actually write and edit them. It can be very frustrating for you, if you’re writing your blog knowing that you need to dedicate your time elsewhere but equally as frustrating if you don’t have enough time to write the blogs yourself. Unless you have a dedicated team or individual whose job role involves writing blog posts then you might need to think about alternative options.
Long blog posts are always worth your time if you can dedicate enough to them. Try to balance your availability of resources and team members to help get the job done. If this sounds like the most impossible thing in the world,you’re next option is to outsource.
Professionals can dedicate the time needed to write these blog posts and will help you to see the benefits of blog posts and how it can be mre cost and time effective for your business. Fewer resources are required as you’re saving yourself far more time than you are paying for.
Some of you may be thinking, “we know we need to outsource but what happens if our budget doesn’t cover it?”. In an ideal world, you would have a content marketing strategy that would allow a 2,500 word blog plus content upgrades, nurture sequences and lead magnets every week. But often, you will find that because it takes time to write high-quality content that is lengthy and in-depth, it may work out differently. In this case, you may need to rethink resources and your budgets and decide what type of marketing will work best for your business.
Step 7: What About My Topics?
You may want to discuss with your digital marketing agency, what purpose is behind your types of blogs. If they need to be written to boost social media popularity they’re best to be kept between 500 and 1,000 words to create discussion in the comments and it allows your audience to like and share if they wish.
You can share your short blogs on social as much as you want and they’ll work well simply because they’re shorter. People tend to come across more blogs every day, that they didn’t even know they needed to read until they read yours. If it’s eye-catching enough, it’ll get a click.
Or again if you want them to rank well on search engines using SEO, longer posts usually work better and due to this they should be around 1,700 words.
Quick Tips And Advice…
If you’ve never had any blog written for you before or had a in-house marketing team in your business, then it can still be difficult to understand how everything works. Here are our top tips on how to decide the best length for your blog…
- If you’re attempting to beat your competitor’s blog posts, your blogs should aim to be written to the same or even longer length as their post as your blog looks will then look more valuable.
- Don’t forget that with every blog post, a new topic will need to be introduced to keep your content engaging and your audience interested. You may want to brainstorm what topics you want to discuss and if you’re outsourcing your marketing team can get to work on their keyword research and SEO skills.
- Make sure that when you’re reviewing your work making sure that it is relevant and up-to-date. The best bloggers will use Gifs, quizzes and memes to hit the younger audience gratification and also stay involved within what’s going on, on social media and online. You’ll always be winning if you always consider what your audience is going to be searching and really what they want to know. As a business, you want people to read your whole blog, not leave and go and read another. Having some knowledge in the blogging area can help you to understand how to blog and also how to find the perfect marketing agency for you.
- Choose your ideal audience and target what they’re asking for. Always question yourself and stand in your audience’s shoes. Writing about what they are wanting can help you to write an awesome blog whilst putting your audience’s needs at the sole of the blog.
Always ask yourself the question, is there a way I can do better? Improving can always boost the value of the work and staying up to date with what’s best for your business can really benefit you. Although, it’s not always possible to do it independently. We’re experts in all these blogging, SEO and marketing. Our team can help you with any aspect of marketing and will advise you the best they can to get you blogging until you hit the top! Get in touch today…
Our Head of Marketing, Hazel Butler, is an award-winning author, copywriter, and editor. Part ghostwriter, part blogger, part videographer, and part strategist, when she’s not endlessly penning content for our clients Hazel’s happily concocting the perfect marketing plans to propel their businesses forward.
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