Ideal Blog Post Length: Long vs. Short

Ideal Blog Post LengthWhat’s the ideal blog post length? There are as many answers to this question as there are blogs in the blogosphere. However, is there a ballpark how long your blog posts should be? Instead of giving you a number, let me give you some guidelines which will help you determine whether your blog posts should be long or short, and how long or short.

Factors that Determine Blog Post Length

Every blog is unique. Every blogger is unique. Here are some factors that strongly influence the ideal blog post length.

  • Personal Style: Some bloggers just prefer shorter or longer blog posts. Some blogs are known for their short, crispy, to-the-point posts while others are known for their long, detailed, juicy posts. If you fall in one of these categories, you probably want to stick to it. A blog can build an identity around length of the post (remember though that length is NEVER a substitute for quality. This should be obvious by now).
  • Examples:

    Short Posts: Seth Godin’s blog. This is by far the best example I can think of. He’s an expert at what he writes and is able to deliver great value in 100 words or less.

    Long Posts: Self Made Chick is one of the blogs that is known for long, detailed posts. Regular readers expect the posts to be long – more than a 1000 words in most cases.

    Conclusion: Depending on your style, your blog posts can be long or short, especially if you want to build your reputation around the length of your posts. Either way is good.

  • Pillar Articles: A pillar article is usually some piece of content that provides a great value to the readers and attracts repeated visitors again and again to your blog. Pillar articles attract new readers to the blog who find these articles satisfying a need and stick with your blog. Every blog should have some pillar articles that establish your blog’s authority. Pillar articles usually tend to be long. If you are writing a pillar article, then you’re an expert in that area and you would want to share as much as possible with your readers about that topic in one post. It is also a good idea for pillar articles to be comprehensive and complete within themselves.
  • Example: A pillar article about pillar articles written by Yaro Starak of Entrepreneurs Journey. Notice the long, detailed post explaining most aspects of what a pillar article should be like.

    Conclusion: Pillar articles are long. I would suggest posts over 1000 words for pillar articles.

  • Idea Generation: Lots of bloggers use short blog posts to paint an initial idea and ask for reader feedback. Perhaps you want to test a new idea and see how people react to it. You don’t want it to be too long because you want your readers to think from all angles and not just in a direction that you lead them to. In those cases, keep your posts short. These can make for terribly interesting reads!
  • Example: The Atlantic wants readers views on what an entrepreneur-first platform looks like. What do they do? Write a short blurp and let the readers pitch in their ideas. The Economist does that very well too.

    Conclusion: Keep posts that explicitly ask for reader feedback short.

  • Reviews: Reviews are usually detailed posts. For readers to derive value from these reviews, it is essential that you’re an expert yourself and know what you are talking about. You need to research further, look at the pros and cons and lay them all out so that your readers can make an educated decision about the product or service you are reviewing. In most cases, the ideal blog post length of reviews is at least twice as long as your average post.
  • Example: oDesk Review at GeeksMakeMoney. This is a detailed review of oDesk that lays out the pros and cons and lets the reader decide for themselves if they want to join the site.

    Conclusion: Reviews in general should be long, over 1000 words ideally, especially if they form pillar articles for your blog.

  • News: There are many times when you want to let your readers know about an event or news. For instance, if you run a blog on SEO, you might want your readers to know about a huge upcoming change in Google’s algorithm. In that case, you might just link to the main Google blog post and keep your post short. All the information the reader needs is on the other link. However, you can add your subjective thoughts to the issue. In general though, you want to keep these posts short. This happens a lot in certain niches, like technology.
  • Example: There are plenty of blogs on HuffPo that fall into this category. If they are talking about a news released by CNN, they will just link to that news item and provide only a brief write-up leading to that.

    Conclusion: News based articles should be short and link to the source. Detailed analysis can follow in another post. Ideal blog post length of news articles is less than 250 words.

Ideal Blog Post Length for SEO

The ideal blog post length for SEO is hard to determine because Google and other search engines don’t publish this data. There are however several unofficial reports. Many SEO experts believe that blog posts should be of “ideal length” which is usually 250-1000 words. Anything shorter/longer can get penalized. However, this wisdom is old, before all the algorithm changes by Google last year. I am not sure if Google penalizes longer content but it is definitely possible. I know some SEO experts think bigger is better.

As you probably realize, for this blog, I like to write longer blog posts. What’s your average length of a blog post?

Photo Credit: DailyMail

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10 Comments

  1. Hi Sid,
    great post ! Honestly I think we marketers should stop being slaves to SEO. As you say Goggle will come up with changes all the time, so instead of focusing on SEO, then write your article as if you are writing it in a written newspaper or magazine. It will set you “Free” and make you focus on your story instead of density of keywords and what have you….. Enjoy wrting articles and You’ll get much more traffic than SEO could ever have provided.. Why ? Because people will enjoy reading from you:-)
    Cheers
    Tina

    • Sid says:

      Tina, that’s very true. Those days are long gone when you could ‘trick’ the search engines into believing your content is good when it isn’t. I think it is always important to write for your readers. That’s the only long-term sustainable way to grow your blog.

  2. Adrienne says:

    Hey Sid,

    Okay, I’ve read about post lengths and I’ve heard from all the gurus but I still just write what I want and I never worry about length. I have certain things I want to say so for the most part I don’t consider SEO tactics and killer headlines. I know, sounds really stupid doesn’t it? But, yesterday was a holiday here in the states and I already have 60 comments on my post about why you shouldn’t feel guilty about taking off. No earth shattering educational post, just my view on working too hard.

    I believe that you should write from the heart no matter the length and then build up those relationships with your readers. If you can do that, you’ll have a successful blog.

    There you have it, my opinion on this subject. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your week.

    ~Adrienne

    • Sid says:

      Adrienne, that’s very true – and I know your style of blogging! However, it really depends on why you want to blog, don’t you think? As in, what you consider successful blog. For some it is comments, for some it is traffic, for some it is money. I am totally with you though – this post was just meant as a very rough guideline if someone wants. If you can connect with the reader, be genuine and share what you got, nothing like it. Thanks for dropping by, appreciate your input as ever!

  3. Matz says:

    Personally, I don’t prefer any length in blog posting since what matters most on my part is the content.

  4. For me, generally 1000, 1200 words with 6-8 % keyword density is preferred. I think not only the size, the readability should also be counted for.

  5. zura iphone says:

    Hi Sid, like Tina said and agreed. Now we are actually finding what great potentials long and lengthy articles are written for. At least nowadays it s really shows in SERP’s and unique informative post/articles are getting the benefits.

    For us, we keep in between, and like you, depend on the topic. We hope we can brush up our writing skills (coming from Malaysia) and improve by the variety of content length. Thanks for your taught and insights.

    • Sid says:

      Thanks for dropping by Zura. There are so many different criteria search engines take into consideration it is hard to isolate things. And it changes dynamically. I usually write posts on the longer side to include as much detail and information as is necessary for someone to learn something good. I am glad you liked the post.

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