How Long Should Your Blog Be?
The right word count in a blog can get you higher search engine rankings, more social media shares, more comments or a higher number of sales...but here's the "gotcha":
There is no one rule or suggested
length that will get you all four.
So what's the magic word count? Before I get into the "right length" answer, I need you to forsake the stupid, ill-informed and misguided advice you'll see and hear from those who display their own intelligence shortcomings and can't or don't care enough to back up their beliefs with empirical evidence:
MYTH: Because of the public's short attention span, blogs should always be short; i.e. 250-500 words max.
If only I had a dollar for every time I have proven that one wrong. Long form content outperforms short form content by about 40.54%.*(1) I have typed 7 pages in Word for online pages that produced results so massive sales campaigns had to be shut down because fulfillment couldn't keep up...or massive landing pages for one-time events ended up being repeated every weekend - FOR A YEAR - due to demand. Do you really think 250 words could build that kind of enthusiasm and response?
Facts for the Stubborn, Short-Sighted, Short Blog Writer
An Orbit Media study in 2017 found the average blog word count is 1142*(2)
In 2017, 6xs as many bloggers were writing 2,000+ words posts than in 2014.*(3)
HubSpot found their posts that performed best in organic search were between 2,250 and 2,500 words.*(4)
CoSchedule found posts with around 2,500 words typically rank best.*(5)
Buffer suggests blog posts should run about 1,600 words.*(6)
The "Ifs" of the Blogging Dinner Table: Getting Your Purpose Right
If your audience is really interested in what you have to say, they'll swallow all of the information you can give them. If you leave them half-full with skimpy blogs they'll find a competitor who can feed them well.
If you know how to present valuable insight from a position as an authority on a subject, your reader will be hungry for more. But if you write dribble for the sake of "getting something out there", or are constantly asking for the sale within your blogs, they'll puke you out and never come to your dinner table again.
If you practice the rules of right form and purpose for a blog and know your audience almost as well as yourself, over time you could be feasting on the banquet of high traffic.
If you try to make it something it is not they'll leave your dinner table.
A blog's entire purpose is to feed your audience with information.
So, What is the Right Length?
At the outset I said that there is no one rule or suggested word count that will simultaneously achieve higher rankings, more comments, social media shares or more engagement with potential customers. The length depends on your goal as all four desired results need a different approach to blog length. Write Practice*(7) breaks it down like this:
If you want more comments on your blog post, it should be about 275 words. [Read below to see why this probably isn't for you.]
If you’re after social shares, write a post that falls between 600 and 1,500 words. [See...even what we often refer to as dim-witted, short attention-span social media addicts need more length than we often provide.]
Finally, if you want your post to rank in Google, it should be at least 2,500 words. [And after all, isn't that what we're often told and sold when it's suggested we use blogging as an outreach tool?]
Length matters. The right length for the right purpose or goal is important.
Satisfying the Two-Headed Audience
I write keeping in mind there are two audiences you must attract; a prospect/client/customer and the search engines. Within any one industry and except for extenuating circumstances, you'll find that all of your blogs will have one common goal - to inform. So, unless you are a local business, such as a restaurant, and are asking a quick question in the hopes of gathering comments from your audience or
are posting tonight's specials, forget the 275 word blog. This is probably not in your wheelhouse.
But to inform and get Google to sit up and take notice, I strongly believe a blog should address the following:
What question, objection or burning desire does your audience want answered or need to know about, and how can you fulfill their insatiable appetite for knowledge without your blog becoming a sales pitch?
Aim to please your people audience with good information with blogs no shorter than 1250 words - longer when the topic warrants it - and then worry about the search engines. If they approach 1750 - 2,250+, so much the better. But don't add fluff to get the word count up...add value.
If you want blog traffic, especially when starting out, wisely promote the blog as much as you would promote anything else. You are not going to quickly reach the masses with blogs any other way.
Where and When Blogging Goes Wrong
If you've read other pages on this site you may think I'm totally against blogging. I'm not. I write them often under the right circumstance and for the right purpose. But blogging can go terribly wrong and business owners can become frustrated really quickly due to use of the wrong length, ill-chosen purpose and poor content, all of which leads to unmet short-term expectations.
Don't expect a blog to be a magical Santa Claus that is immediately on its own eager to deliver tons of traffic and sales, because it won't. Remember the following:
Most forget that blog readers are looking for information. They are not a direct, immediate path to sales. Don't expect to use them as such.
If you want immediate traffic, blogs take promotion - as much as anything else you present online. Posting excerpts or "...read this" on social media is not a full-blown promotion. Every tweet, post or blurb inherently possesses a short shelf-life.
Don't let a copywriter or marketing agency present blogs as your first offensive move. Blogs are not a substitute for a good online sales strategy.
Am I totally against blogs? No. If you have a well-performing online sales funnel already working they can augment your credibility. But if you are looking for a quicker path to sales there is a better way.
* All sources for facts cited in this article were thankfully researched and compiled from numerous sources by CoSchedule.