how long should a blog post be

How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

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How long should a blog post be? We get this question often from new bloggers.

They want to make sure they are doing everything right. I understand where they are coming from.

You also need to be careful about over-thinking things too much. As we have often said on this blog, clarity comes from movement.

If there is one thing I have learned about blogging over the last few years it is this: bloggers are a lot like scientists. Scientists don’t fail; they experiment.

John Acuff in his book, Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters talks about the value of experimenting. He is careful to point out that:

  • James Dyson developed over 5,126 prototypes before changing the game on vacuum cleaners.
  • Angry Birds was the result of Rovio’s 52nd attempt at creating a gaming app.
  • WD-40 had 39 other formulas that came before it.

The point is there is only learning (and not failure) on your blogging journey. You need to discover the best way to serve your audience using your unique voice.

How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

The Short Blog Post

Seth Godin is the master at short, witty blog posts. He was even asked once how far in advance he has his blog posts scheduled. His reply: “I could be dead and gone and you wouldn’t know it for a while.”

He is the exception and not the rule, but here is someone who has served his tribe well through short, witty posts.

The Long Blog Post

Steve Pavlina was blogging way before the name was cool. He writes on self-development and does so from a very educated perspective. It is not unusual for his blog post to reach 2,000+ words. He goes just about as thorough as you can possibly go on a topic. Still, he has figured out how to serve his audience well.

My Personal Philosophy on Length of Posts

Recent studies have confirmed that Google is favoring longer posts. In other words, blog posts ranked on the 1st page of Google are averaging 1850+ words. Google is favoring longer post because they want to satisfy the reader’s question on the first click.

I’m using a 2-prong strategy that includes:

  • Pillar Posts – Blog posts that tackle big questions that result in 2000+ words per post.
  • Support Posts – Shorter blog posts that still satisfies the user’s intent in 600+ words but that include internal links to the pillar posts.

Now that I have proved the point that anything is possible as long as you serve your audience well, I’ll share with you what I shoot for. I’m a big believer in answering any and every question my niche might have. While I love to write inspirational posts, I also really enjoy writing posts that answer questions.

How long should a blog post be?  The answer: as long as it takes to answer that particular question. I know that wasn’t specific enough for most of you so here is my best shot at a specific answer.

I like to at least see a minimum of 600 words in a post for the search engines sake. I want the search engines to have enough keywords to rank the post. We cover this in our Blogging Your Passion 201 Course by giving you a 9-point SEO checklist. Now, if your strategy is not to worry about the search engines, then make your posts as short as you want.

I also try to hold my post under 600 words if possible. Anytime I go over the 600-word mark I ask myself two questions:

  1. Where can I be more concise with this post?
  2. Are there any areas where I have strayed from the “big idea” in this post?

If you go back and look over my long posts, you will discover a trend. Most of them are long for a reason. They are long because I was tackling a very detailed “how to” type of post, which also included many pictures. I didn’t want to leave out any details just for the sake of being short.

At the end of the day, it is probably good for you to have both short and long posts. Short post can be powerful and concise. Long posts can be helpful and detailed. I just crossed 600 words so I guess it is time to stop. 🙂

Question: How long are your blog posts on average?

11 thoughts on “How Long Should a Blog Post Be?”

  1. This is great Jonathan. After years of blogging…pretty lengthy stuff, I’m finally getting better at editing to take away stuff that isn’t necessary. I still fall on the long side.

    1. Jonathan Milligan

      It isn’t easy. I’m always guilty of being in a hurry. I enjoy writing more than I enjoy editing for sure.

  2. gregorywoodard

    Conventional wisdom I have read is 800 words. Most of mine are more than 1000 words. My last post (a continuing summary review of a book) came in at 1600+ words. It really depends on what I am writing about.

  3. I agree that the more important questions are whether or not you are serving your audience well and covering the topic succinctly and sufficiently. I have experimented with length a little bit, leaning toward much longer (1200 word) posts at the beginning. Now, I’m trying to see what 500-700 words will get me. Still looking for that sweet spot of focus and voice.

  4. Funny, off the top of my head, my answer to how long it needs to be was: As long as it needs to be. That is, as long as it needs to be to say what my audience wants/needs to hear.

    Mine are running around 600 – 650 words. Some are in the 800s. These are actually my more popular posts (come to think of it). Hmmm….

    However, I do strive to make them as concise as possible.

  5. Jonathan,
    The more I blog the more concise I become. Part of that is from watching blogs I read. With the quantity of content out there if something is more than 600 words it would have to draw me in quickly. I make most of my posts 300-500 words.

    1. Jonathan Milligan

      Thanks for sharing your insights Dan. I always enjoy reading your posts. You always seem to have an interested story, fact, illustration, or question to pull in readers. Concise and to the point posts can be very effective for sure.

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