What is the ideal blog post length? Ah, the million dollar question.
You’ve probably spent some time researching this particular question; but strangely enough, you’re still looking for the answer.
And I know why . . . It’s because this is a question that has no definitive answer.
Writers, marketers, and agencies across the globe are divided on what the perfect blog post length really is. Buffer Social says that the perfect length for a blog post is 1,600 words. HubSpot suggests that the ideal word count for a blog post is roughly 2,100 words.
If you surveyed a handful of professionals, their answers would typically range from 800-2,500 words.
So, how are you supposed to hit an “ideal” word count with such a broad range?
The thing is, different post lengths work for different people. It’s possible to have success with 500-word blog posts, just as it’s also possible to have success with 5,000-word blog posts.
So, I can’t tell you, definitively, what the perfect blog post length is.
But what I can do is define some parameters and provide information that will help you discover an optimal word count for your content.
Just follow these five “rules”, and you’ll be able to create content at an ideal length every time!
Rule #1: Write for the post’s capacity
Regardless of circumstance, there’s only one golden rule when it comes to the ideal blog post length:
Your blog post should be as short or as long as the subject allows.
If you’ve covered what you need to cover in 1,000 words, why stretch your piece out to 1,500? People do this all the time, either to meet word counts or to build their archives of long-form content.
As a result, they end up ruining any chances they had at producing a quality article. The content is poor, and search engines can detect bad content. They know when you’re repeating yourself or stuffing keywords.
And vice versa, if it takes 1,000 words to cover your subject thoroughly, why chop it down to 500?
Quality always trumps quantity. Write for substance.
Rule #2: Write for your audience
Did you know that the ideal word count for a blog post is completely dependent on the industry or niche you’re writing about?
Neil Patel wrote a great article that explores desirable blog post lengths for various niches. In the tech industry, a word count of 800 – 1,000 words per post is the sweet spot, while in the travel industry, 1,500 – 1,850 is an ideal range.
Do some research and determine what other leaders in your niche suggest for length.
Rule #3: Write for your goal
What are you looking to achieve?
If your goal is to publish bite-sized posts for your immediate audience, daily, then long-form content is an unrealistic endeavor. In this case, 300 – 500 words per post will do just fine.
But if your goal is to grow your audience and reach a larger number of people over time, then you need to prioritize search engine optimization (SEO). For the most part, your material will need to lean towards long-form content.
Long-form content typically generates more shares and engagements, and long-form content with substance generally ranks higher in search engines. However, it’s worth noting that writers often forfeit good content when they develop tunnel vision for SEO.
Ultimately, search engines want to see good content. Create high quality content first, and supplement it with solid on-page SEO practices.
Rule #4: Write no less than 300 words
For SEO purposes, a blog post 300 words or less is cutting things close.
First, there are very few topics that you can cover comprehensively in less than 300 words. If your post is this short, consider whether your post has much substance at all.
It’s also very difficult to optimize 300 words for search engines. If you try to optimize your content in the same way that you would long-form content, your 300-words-or-less content will seem keyword-heavy, clunky, and a little forced.
And finally, 21st century readers love to scan. Not many people have the patience or the attention span to spend 20 minutes reading an article; so scanning has become the default method of content consumption.
When you present readers with 300 words, you eliminate the need to scan. The readers you do attract can determine whether your post has the information or the answers they want within a matter of seconds. You provide little to no incentive for readers to stay, engage, or share.
So at the very least, stay above that threshold of 300 words.
Rule #5: Write and review the data
As I mentioned earlier, the ideal word count for your content depends on a number of factors such as your niche, your audience, and even your ability as a writer.
After you have a handful of blog posts under your belt, use your site’s analytics to develop a better understanding of what is working for you and your business. Use data points such as traffic, engagements, shares, and conversions to begin carving out an “ideal” word count range.
Continue to monitor these data points and allow them to drive your post length over time. After all, it was only a few years back that the ideal blog post length was considered to be 500 – 800 words. Today, this would be a lean entry.
As a bonus tip, don’t be afraid to diversify! If you already have 10 different 1,000-word posts, it’s OK to create something that’s 600 words.
Ideal word count varies from business to business, but if you implement these five tips you’ll be able to identify a sweet spot that works well for you and your brand.