When we first start blogging there is so much to learn. Yes, we may have a passion we want to blog about but how to get started? We have to choose a platform, hosting, theme and domain name. Once we have them organised we start to learn how to build our site. And once the framework of our site is built we start writing.
This in itself can be a challenge. Even writing about something we are passionate about can cause problems. I have been blogging for some time and on many occasions, have sat staring at my screen just not able to get going. Fortunately over the years I have found a simple method that works for me.
I make sure that I structure my post before I start so that it conveys the message I want to get across and then I write pretty much how I talk! So we now have everything we need to create a successful blog, the next question is what is the ideal length blog post? My goal for this post then is to answer that question based on my experience and what has worked for me and successful bloggers that I know.
While there are loads of factors that can have an affect how long your blog post should be I want to try and simplify it for you. So let’s get started and jump on in to look at what factors determine our blog length.
Why Are You Writing The Post?
The first question you need to ask yourself is why am I writing this post, what is its purpose? Sound obvious right but believe it or not many people don’t, in fact when I first started blogging I was one of them. I would write what I thought was an interesting post without giving much thought as to why.
Because a blog post can have a range of functions. It can be to share interesting information but it could also be a piece of training, a review, a marketing focused article or maybe a topical post to generate discussions. All of these factors will have an influence on the way the post is written, shared and ultimately its length.
For most bloggers the goal is that their posts have a great search engine ranking. The majority of research and my own experience shows that these posts should be longer than posts where the focus is on social sharing and interaction. But regardless of the theme of the post, its target audience and its overall purposes there is one absolute constant and that is it should have unique quality engaging content.
Focus On Quality Don’t Worry About Quantity
The best piece of advice I could give to anyone just starting blogging is to focus on producing unique quality engaging content that fulfils your reader’s needs. In other words content of substance and value.
If we consider why people are searching for your content it is to answer questions or queries they may have. If our content does this in a way that is concise, easy to read and liked by the reader then it has been a success.
They will ultimately spend more time on our page and the search engines will thank us for producing this content by moving us up the rankings. We gain both the trust of the reader and search engines and quality content is much more likely to be shared.
Want to know how to do this? Well let’s look at 3 things that you should always consider before you start writing
3 Things To Consider Before You Start
The first is to ask why are people searching for what I am writing about and how can I best fulfil that need? This is so important. If you post isn’t answering the queries that people have they will not hang around and will leave your site resulting in a poor user experience and ultimately a have a negative impact on your sites seo. So your posts primary goal is to fulfil your readers needs.
The second is to ask how can I improve my readers experience? Great you have focused your content so that it fulfils your readers needs but how can you enhance that experience. Producing great text is all well and good but we are visual creatures and there are a wide variety of things that we can do to enhance our posts.
We can reinforce messages by using images. When I produce reviews I often add screen shots so the reader can see what I’m referring to but there is so much more. Consider using videos, diagrams, pictures, graphs and charts. Just be sure that they enhance the user experience and don’t add then for the sake of it.
Finally make it unique. It’s likely that there are lots of others posts talking about the same subject you’re writing about. Its imperative then that you don’t just regurgitate other people’s content. Do your best to make it unique. If you can think of a different angle to come from and still meet your readers needs then great. And if you have new ideas or concepts then be sure to include them. It’s good to be different!
Ok so we now know that quality content that meets our reader’s needs is our primary goal so let’s have a look at the factors that might determine how long that makes our post.
Know Your Audience And Your Topic
Again sounds obvious right but you would be amazed at how many people get this wrong. Let’s start with the topic. My personal view is that if you are writing a blog about anything then ideally it should be something that you are passionate about or at the very least something that interests you.
This means that you are more likely to have a good knowledge of the subject and understating your topic is important to make sure you fulfil your reader’s needs. For example if we are writing a blog post about a technical, difficult to understand topic then you will likely need to produce more detailed informative content.
Conversely if the topic is really simple and easily understood producing overly long content will be a waste of time as shorter simpler post will best fulfil the reader’s needs. Another key factor in how we write and the length of our post will be our audience.
Understanding the demographic of our audience and what they are looking for will help us understand what kind of post they are looking for. Are they looking for inspiration, help, training or entertainment? It’s quite possible that we can run a site that has individual posts that target very different audiences.
Let’s Talk About The Numbers
At last you are saying, that’s what we came to this post for tell us how much we should write. Ok I’m sorry it’s taken so long but it is important to understand that you could do all of the analysis and sums in the world and come up with the exact number of words for the most successful blog posts but it won’t matter if your post isn’t unique engaging and I’ll say it again, fulfils your reader’s needs.
So now we know that and we understand some of the major elements that will determine the length of our blog posts let’s take a look at some numbers.
Short Posts; usually range between 300 – 600 words. Short posts should ideally focus on one idea and are quick tips on a topic or a brief overview. Shorter posts are usually effective in getting more shares and comments and tend to be preferred content for social media platforms.
A great example of successful use of short posts is Seth Godin’s Blog. He posts short blog posts on a range of topics on a daily basis some of them less than 100 words.
Medium Posts; usually range between 600 -1000 words. This length of post is the range often used by professional journalists and tends to work well for news reporting or magazine articles. This length of post focuses the writer to keep to the point yet be detailed enough to keep readers engaged
Longer Posts; are from 1000 words upwards. Although we live in a “bite size” world with people having short attention spans and wanting instant answers statistics show that longer posts perform better in search engine results.
Long posts are those with more than 1000 words and that tend to address in-depth topics. These could include reviews, how-to-guides and problem solving. Longer posts tend take more time to research, write and edit than short posts.
According to Neil Patel “longer posts usually perform better on every level” He advocates that posts be “2000 words plus of high quality content” and wrote an article on why 3000 plus word blog posts get more traffic.
The Magic Number For SEO
So back then to million-dollar question is there an ideal number of words for SEO? Well the answer is possibly and the honest answer is none of us really know. We can analyse data, look at statistics and put one person’s argument against another and we are still unlikely to come up with a definitive number.
What is true is that most recent studies have shown that long blog posts fare better in search engines. An in-depth 2016 survey by Backlinko looked at over 1 million Google search results and analysed them for word count. They found that the average Google first page result has 1890 words.
Backlinko survey found that the average Google first page result has 1890 words.
So is that the magic number? Well no, as we’ve said Neil Patel’s posts are all in excess of 3000 words. Blog platform medium conducted a survey of their top preforming 100 posts and found that the average length was just over 1600 words with a read time of around 6 minutes.
And what about my sites? Well I took the top 5 articles from my site onlyveganstuff.com. These all tend to be on page one in Google search and their average length was 1633 words. And the post that has consistently been in position 1 -3 in Google since it was published is 1667 words.
So What Is The Ideal Length Blog Post?
So how long should a blog post be? Well it’s not as simple as just a number. The topic of your post, its audience and of course its goal are the three most important factors to consider. Instead of worrying about the number of words you are writing focus on creating the most useful content you can for your target audience and make sure it fulfils their need.
In other words make your blog post as long as it needs to be. And if you want numbers well I’ve found that posts between 1500 and 2000 words work best for me and my audience. But if most of your posts are between 1500 and 2500 words you won’t go far wrong.
And don’t worry about the article that is only 800 words or the one that is 4000. If you are consistently producing quality content and fulfilling your readers needs they will get found.
Oh and just in case you’re interested this post is 1893 words! I hope you found it useful. What length post works best for you? Do let me know in the comments below.