There are so many questions you may have as a new blogger. How do I start a blog? What do I put on it? Will I ever make any money from it? How exactly do I do that, and when should I start? Another common question is a simple one: How long should a blog post be? While there’s no magic number that you absolutely have to stick to, there are definitely guidelines. That’s the case with pretty much everything related to blogging, so if you’re new to this, you might as well get used to it.
So how long should your blog posts be? The answer is not too long and definitely not too short. Let’s get a little more specific.
If you’re a WordPress site owner using the Yoast SEO plugin you’ll notice you don’t get that covetable little green dot until your post is at least 300 words. That’s where Google and other search engines draw the line, and decide you probably haven’t created something of value. So for SEO purposes you want to make sure every post is longer than that (especially if you hope to attract any organic search traffic to it). I personally wouldn’t want a post to come in at under 400 words, and most of mine are somewhere between 600 and 3,000.
Longer is often better. Generally, web users are getting greedier, and want long form, super useful posts. The exception, based on my own research (and my own web habits), is if you write a super specialized post on doing just one specific thing. These can definitely be shorter. If I’m looking for a quick and easy solution, I’ll skip past longer, more in-depth (ultimately more complicated) posts to find something that spells out exactly how to do something in in six bullet points or less!
Longer content is better for a few reasons. Long blog posts are more shareable. Content curators want to give their audience something substantial. According to this free cheat sheet from QuickSprout, posts over 1500 words are in ‘The Golden Share Zone’. I can confirm this from looking at my own stats. As you can see, my longer posts like this one (at around 2,600 words) have several hundred shares.
Shorter posts that cover something specific (like this) may get lots of hits, but less shares. People will find your post (often through a web search if you have your SEO set up right), but then they’ll use your information and go. (That’s a good reason to have your pathways around your website set up right so you can keep them on your site.)
Longer posts are often more link worthy, too. Other bloggers are just looking for great content to link to from their own blogs, and something that covers a topic in depth is more likely to attract links from other bloggers. If, for example, they’re writing about a related topic and want to link out to some high quality content that covers one aspect of the subject at a deeper level, they’re going to choose something comprehensive rather than a quick overview.
I’m getting a lot of inbound links to my affiliate marketing series, for example, because my blogging buddies who want to mention affiliate marketing as a monetization strategy (but don’t want to write thousands of words on it themselves) can link to the thousands of words I’ve already created as part of my six-part series on the topic.
Can a blog post be too long?
Yep. Internet readers are short on time and if they wanted to read 10,000 words on a topic, they’d probably buy an ebook on it (most of my non-fiction ebooks are around 10,000 words and they sell pretty well). If you have that much to say on a topic, break your posts up into a series, or write a short ebook (or repurpose your content to do both – I believe all bloggers should consider writing a short ebook or two).
Remember that none of this matters if you don’t write high quality posts that meet your readers needs, so focus on that above all else.
Need help getting organised and running your blog? You might want to download my free workbook for solopreneurs, or invest in the Busy Blogger’s Success Kit (you can get it half price when you subscribe to my super useful monthly newsletter). Sign up below.