Back to Basics: How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

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By Jillian Frager

Blogging is not a new tool. Rather, it’s one of the earliest forms of Internet social media. Presently, its accessibility and incorporation into every avenue of business are at an all-time high. Web logging continues to enable users to generate and disperse content among various communities. However, starting a blog can be a daunting task. How often should you post? How do you pick the best topics to write a blog about? How long should a blog post be? 

There’s a lot to consider, but the length of each post can be an important parameter to define early on to establish a strong and stress-free framework for your whole blog. Here, we’ll outline some general tips to help answer the question of how long your blog posts should be in order to help drive organic performance. 

Word Count to the Wise

Unfortunately, there is not a singular magic number that will work for every objective and every user. You must take into account the industry your ideal blog topic lives in and your target audience accordingly. Depending on the year and source, you might hear a different number that promises success. Still, we can provide you with research to help establish a frame of reference. 

What Research Revealed

A BuzzSumo and Moz study that surveyed over a million articles discovered that 85% of published blog content had less than 1,000 words. Yet, those with over 1,000 words were shared and linked more than short-form content. SearchMetrics, on the other hand, found that the top-ranked Google content had an average of 1,140 to 1,285 words. 

So, according to recent studies, while there is no agreed-upon number combination, there seems to be a consensus that longer-form content generates more organic traffic. Specifically, these lengthier posts attracted nine times more leads. And your article will likely grab a higher ranking on Google’s search results.

You can conduct research to discover the average blog length of posts that use your target keyword. From that number, you should aim to exceed that word count. For example, if you find the average for your keyword is 700, then you should write over 700. 

These are some ranges of average word counts for specific niches:

  • Cars – 2,100-2,300 words
  • Recipes1,600-1,700 words
  • Destinations1,000 words
  • Financial planning2,500-2,600 words
  • Weight loss2,200-2,300 words
  • Furniture1,100-1,200 words

It can be beneficial to, if applicable, interchange long and short posts to allow for variety and appeal to a broader range of readers.

Quality over Quantity

Before you decide to strictly adhere to long-form blog content, keep in mind that search engine optimization (SEO) is not all that matters. While extended pieces have the added bonus of lending credibility and authority to your voice, that is only true if you are offering valuable or entertaining information. As witnessed by Twitter’s extensive usage despite its character limit, it remains acknowledged that most readers will scan or skim the text. 

As a matter of fact, the average user has the time to read 28% of words during a visit, although it is more feasible around 20%. So, the strategy to reach a particular count could be counterintuitive if time is wasted on filler words. Just like any other form of media, you must grab the attention of the reader and benefit from being straightforward. 

The Effectiveness Of Short-Form Content

Short content can be effective if your intention is to provide a list of links, a recipe, increase brand awareness, or if your blog is designed to sell a product or service. The takeaway is to prioritize producing quality informative, well-researched content rather than bogging down a clean piece with empty words.

Make Revision Your Main Mission

A surefire way to lose readers and credibility is to not go over your blog post before making it public. In all forms of writing, it is always necessary to comb through and re-read so that you can spot any grammatical or spelling errors that you may have missed initially. You might also find that restructuring could strengthen your argument or improve the flow. For those who require research or include links, fact check yourself and verify that the links are functional.

It’s better to catch these small, tricky mistakes before they are available online. If you are unable to ask someone to take a second look, make use of online resources, such as Grammarly, that can double-check your work. 

Readability and Design Guidelines

Whether you choose to go the long or short route, it is essential to remember the role readability plays in your blog. Anyone who has ever picked up a book knows that to get both the eyes and mind to focus, and remain engaged when there are many blocks of uninterrupted text. 

  • Make It Digestible: If you think about easy to read books, you will realize that there is a lot of organization that goes into typesetting a novel. Imagine yourself as a younger reader. What may have made a book attractive to you then will help you format your blog posts from the average viewer’s perspective now.
  • Use Bullet Points: By incorporating bullet points, smaller paragraphs, and standalone sentences, you create enough white space to reduce the abrasiveness of heavy text. Exactly as we’re doing now, being that you’re heading into more informative text below. 

And that single-line transitions can be extremely effective for digestibility! 

Font and Text 

The first order of business when writing a blog is ensuring that you are choosing a simplistic font that will be readable. Sans serif fonts are standard choices because of their modern look and the ease with which a majority may read with. Although it may seem eye-catching, it is suggested that you restrict your use of fonts to two, if necessary. 

A single font is, however, most optimal. 

As opposed to using various fonts, make use of bold, italics, or underlining, should you feel it necessary. These should also be used sparingly. Another alternative is to adjust the font size. Yet, visibility to those with less than perfect eyesight must be taken into consideration. Make sure that your font is not too small nor too varied. Utilizing the style function can make your posts uniform and easier to distinguish between titles, headings, and content. 

Organization and Spacing

Like chapters of a book, breaking down your blog with section headings can help make reading more effortless, as well as help those looking for specific information locate it more easily. While longer posts may make you seem thorough, you want your posts to be inviting. Visually unapproachable texts may be turned away in favor of more appealingly designed blogs.

Next, try to keep paragraphs to a maximum of five to six lines before starting a new one. Most readers need a break, at least for their eyes. It may be challenging to follow and, thus, to want to return to a piece if it is composed of large unbroken paragraphs. So, leave spaces between paragraphs and also consider the line spacing.

Then guide your reader into their next position.  

Moreover, as aforementioned, bullets, blockquotes, and lists can be helpful strategies to prevent endless strings of text. List-style articles are actually the most consistent performers in terms of shares and referral links. Examples can also be stronger or more memorable when set apart from the leading explanation and analysis. Make your argument stronger and easier to follow by consciously implementing these strategies. 

Mix Up Your Multimedia

A great way to break up words is not to use any words at all. With a worldwide web at your disposal, you can easily find or create your own pictures, videos, or infographics to convey or bolster your message. Although, unless your blog is centered around images or videos, use them logically. 

Readers are not necessarily looking for a picture book. Sites with more than three images received 15% fewer reads than posts with less than three. Thus, find the balance between words and media that still works for your benefit.

Engaging Your Audience

For most individuals, the purpose of a blog is to draw attention. But, in addition to having eye-catching and engaging content, you will be rewarded more so by interacting with your readers. A dialogue, as opposed to a long-winded monologue, is more inclined to engender responses in the form of comments and shares. 

  • Responses! – By responding to people in the comment section or your next piece, you are building a relationship with your base, which will encourage readers to come back and be interested in your other content. The trickle-down effects include having a dependable number of repeat visitors that will expand the audience you could potentially reach.

Ending on a Strong Note

Though not necessarily academic in nature, blogs and longer forms of writing benefit from having conclusions. Regardless of the word count, your blog post will be stronger if you tie everything up together at the end. This is the ideal section to reiterate the main takeaways you wish your readers to leave with. Additionally, you can use the conclusion as a space to stimulate responses. 

When all is said and done, remember these practical suggestions before you blog:

  • Research average blog post length of others that use your keywords
  • Ensure your content is useful for your audience
  • Employ design principles, particularly spacing, to ensure readability
  • Use an engaging, relatable voice

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