Members of the Pole Position Marketing pit crew answer your web marketing questions from their unique perspectives, with a “bonus lap” by a guest industry pro. See previous questions or go to our contact page to ask your own or inquire about our services.
Today’s Question: What is the Ideal Length for Blog Articles?
Stoney deGeyter’s Answer from an SEO Perspective:
You can read all kinds of studies that make the case for short over long posts and long over short posts and how medium length posts perform best or worst over the others. My point is, the ideal length of a blog post depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Some posts get more shares, some get more reads, some get more links, and some get more business. And I bet you want to know which ones get all three, right?
Well, I’m going to tell you. Because there is a specific length of post that gets shared, read, linked and brings in business more than any of the others. You ready for this?
Wait for it…
The post must be exactly as long as it takes to:
• capture the readers’attention
• keep them engaged
• provide the information they want
• drive them to the solution
• and convince them that your solution best meets their need.
Not a word more–or less–will do.
Deb Briggs’ Answer From a Content Marketing Perspective:
It’s an age old question, one that we’ve debated in our own office more than once: How long does a blog post need to be? If you look at Google trends, you’ll see longer posts—up to 2,500 words—are getting traction in SERPs. Google likes long-form content, because article length is usually an indicator of quality. And quality is what you should be focusing on when it comes to producing blog posts for your company blog.
Now that we have the numbers out of the way, let’s talk word length for your posts. What kind of writer are you? The worst thing you can do is try to make every blog post you write 1,500 words if you feel like you’ve said everything you needed to say in 800. Instead of shooting for a specific length, make your goal delivering a well-researched, informative post that genuinely helps your reader.
Some ways to do just that:
- Edit your post – Take a break from your post once you’ve written it, and then go back to it a few hours later. Look for areas of your post where you can add examples or customer stories to illustrate your point. Make sure you’ve covered each area you promised to in your introduction.
- Add visuals – A blog post doesn’t have to be just words, and it really shouldn’t be. Images, as well screenshots and even video, help break up larger blocks of text, and can leave even more of an impression on the reader. Social media also demands imagery; don’t let this be an afterthought.
- Write a killer headline – If the title of your post doesn’t draw people in, they probably won’t take the time to read it in the first place. Check out CoSchedule’s Blog Post Headline Analyzer for tips on tweaking a post title to perform even better.
So, if you’ve provided useful, personalized information, used visuals where appropriate and you have a great headline, you’re all set—no matter if the post is 800 words or 2,000.
Julie Graff’s Answer from a Social Media & Content Perspective:
It’s not a huge mystery why “they” are saying that long posts win the day. “More” is often confused for “valuable.” And there are a ton of long-form writers out there who are KILLING IT (hello, Neil Patel). But as my co-workers have already said, there is a place for short hits, too. If I can get a super valuable, actionable tip from an article that only takes me two minutes to read, bring it on! Everyone is crunched for time, so a short by highly actionable post can be powerful.
If you do prefer to write long, I echo what everyone here has said: Make it super valuable. Make sure it’s not long for the sake of being long. Make sure it is well researched and contains tons of actionable information.
Beyond that, be strategic about how you present your long post. Images have already been mention, and they are HUGE. I would also add that you want to break up the content with bullets, headings and plenty of white space so the content can easily be skimmed. Otherwise, readers may not be able to easily see if the content is of value to them and just bail.
Kathy Gray’s Answer from a Social Media & Content Perspective:
A few years back I was helping out with our church’s bake sale. I asked Baba Olga how long a particular dish needed to be baked and in her thick accent she told me, “until it’s ready.”
How long should your blog post be? As long as it needs to be, until it’s ready. There are studies that show long blog posts are getting shared with more frequency on social media. My personal opinion and experience is that it’s not the length of the post that matters, but the value of the post to the reader. Often, longer posts do tend to offer more value to the reader, but if written well, a short post can do the same.
It also depends on your audience. No matter how long or short your content is, if you’re not providing them with value, they’re not going to read or share it. Stop worrying how long or short your content is and start worrying about whether or not it’s meeting your readers expectations and needs.
Chris Steurer’s Answer from a Web Developer perspective:
I don’t have much to say about this from a web developer’s perspective, but as a user, I just like articles that have meat. It doesn’t matter if an article has 100 words or 1,000 as long as I feel “full” when I’m done reading it.
Kyle Jensen’s Answer from an Implementation and Reporting Perspective:
Here’s my unqualified opinion: Anything that’s strictly text with less than 500 characters is “too short” in the sense that it doesn’t make me want to continue engaging with the site beyond that post. Shorter posts that get straight to the point are ideal for finding/learning quick info, but if I’m going to subscribe to or follow a certain blog, I would like to know that valuable content is going to be within future posts.
Evening out the post length with pictures throughout (especially for tutorials/instructional posts) is my favorite tactic because those elements add length without cluttering the post to the point where I can’t find certain details.
BONUS LAP WITH: Danielle Antosz, Features Editor at Search Engine Journal
Danielle is the Features Editor at Search Engine Journal and also manages the SEJ ThinkTank webinars. She is a freelance editor and writer based in Florida who spends her days brandishing her red pen and her nights wishing people could all just agree the Oxford Comma is a thing.
The non-sexy answer is: It depends. Say what you need to say and use however many words you need to say it. It is more important to make sure your posts are valuable and concise than making sure they reach an arbitrary length.
Short and long form content both have their place. The best content strategy will have a mix of both longer, more in-depth articles and shorter, punchier content.