What’s the Ideal Blog Post Length? A Definitive Guide to Captivate Your Audience in 2023
Now and then, a certain question bubbles to the surface in content marketing: What is the ideal length of a blog post? It’s a conundrum that doesn’t quite have a simple answer. Different audiences, platforms, and purposes call for varying, ideal blog post lengths. However, the industry presents a fascinating range of insights on this topic.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
What does the data say about the ideal blog post length?
Content creation is a dynamic art, constantly ebbing and flowing with trends, audience preferences, and search engine optimization algorithms. But one question that persists for content creators is “Is there a magic number that can ensure optimum reader engagement and SEO performance?”
Contrary to popular belief, data suggests the “ideal blog length” isn’t a one-size-fits-all. It varies, often widely, depending on factors like your audience, the nature of your topic, and your SEO strategy. However, it’s commonly accepted that blogs ranging from 1000 to 2000 words tend to perform well in terms of SEO, readability, and audience engagement.
Let’s delve into the details behind these factors. Consider our page on Neuroscience of Storytelling. This in-depth exploration of the human brain’s affinity for narratives wouldn’t have the same impact or provide the same value in a condensed, 500-word article. Its longer format allows it to fully express complex ideas, making it a great example of why longer blog posts (around 2000 words) can sometimes be the “best blog post length.”
On the flip side, it’s not always about packing in as many words as possible. Pruning redundant ideas, removing fluff, and presenting clear, concise information can transform a meandering piece into an engaging read.
“A great blog post is like a great story. Every word must earn its place.”
A historical detour: Why is it called a blog?
This exploration wouldn’t be complete without understanding the origins of the term ‘blog.’ The term originated from “weblog,” coined by Jorn Barger in 1997. The weblog, shortened to ‘blog’ in 1999, was initially a platform for individuals to share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences online. Today, it has evolved into a versatile platform used by individuals and businesses alike for many purposes. Discover more in our Psychology of Writing blog post.
The best length for a blog post is all about context
It’s more than just a numbers game. As they say, context is king. Consider your readers’ time, the content’s complexity, and the post’s objectives. Let’s take a journey through some typical blog lengths and understand why they might work and how many words are best in different blog post types certain contexts.
The power of being succinct
Sometimes short, crisp, and to-the-point blog posts hit the right note with readers. This is especially true when discussing focused, singular topics. A quick update or important announcement rarely warrants a 2000-word deep dive. Instead, use a 500-700 word post to more effectively communicate your message, respect readers’ time, and keep engagement levels high.
To see what I mean in more detail, take a peek at the What I Learned from Modernist Writers page on our site. It effectively captures a few examples of key learnings in a relatively short post, showing that brevity can indeed be the soul of wit (and wisdom).
Comprehensive guides and long-form articles
On the other end of the spectrum, in-depth guides, comprehensive tutorials, or detailed explorations of complex subjects often require a longer average word count. To truly connect with readers and provide real value, these ‘pillar’ articles can exceed the 2000-word mark (one noteworthy example of content length is our deep dive into How to Use SEO Copywriting to Boost Traffic. We filled this comprehensive guide with valuable insights, making the longer article length necessary and worthwhile).
Your ultimate goal is to create a meaningful and rich posts that truly serve their intended purpose, whether that purpose is to inform, persuade, entertain, or a mix of all three.
The challenge for content creators is striking the right balance between comprehensiveness and readability, between providing valuable long form content and respecting the reader’s time. This is the true art of determining the “ideal word count for a full blog article or post”. Next, we’ll explore how you can determine the perfect blog post length for your specific needs and objectives.
Optimal length for SEO
If your primary goal in writing blog posts is SEO optimization, data suggests longer blog posts of 2,300 to 2,500 words perform better in terms of visibility and ranking. This is partly because of the ability to include more relevant keywords and the assumption by search engines that longer posts have higher-quality, more comprehensive content.
Reader engagement and social shares
If your aim is to get reader engagement or social shares, longer 1,500 word blog posts are more effective. It’s the sweet spot that offers substantial information without overwhelming readers, promoting more interactions and shares.
Balancing SEO and engagement
There is a middle ground for those aiming to balance SEO and engagement – an average blog post length of 1,700 words suffices to provide deep insights and cover a topic thoroughly, while still being digestible for readers and remaining SEO-friendly.
However, your post’s length shouldn’t overshadow its quality. Readers prefer longer content that’s well written, useful, and relevant. Remember the words of one of the modernist writers, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass”. Our post, What I Learned from Modernist Writers, beautifully elaborates on the importance of ‘show, don’t tell’ in content writing.
We should replace the question, ‘How long should a good blog post be?’ with ‘How can I make long form posts best serve my audience?’ Keeping the reader’s needs, preferences, and behaviour in focus can help you determine the length for your blog posts.
We firmly believe in the mantra ‘quality over quantity.’ Rather than fussing over the word count, bloggers should focus on delivering valuable content. It’s more about ‘word value’ than ‘word count’.
- Meet expectations. Understanding your audience’s expectations is critical. Adjust your content length based on your readers’ preferences. If they expect detailed, long-form content, meet that expectation. If they prefer bite-sized, quick reads, deliver that instead.
- Post frequency and length. Interestingly, there’s a correlation between post frequency and average post length. If you’re posting frequently, shorter posts can be more digestible for your audience. However, if your posts are less frequent, your readers might expect longer, more detailed content.
- Cater to purpose. Make sure your blog’s purpose influences its length. An informational post may require more words to provide a thorough explanation. Conversely, a quick update or announcement may only require a few hundred words to get the message across effectively. If you want more shares on social media, aim for medium-length blogs between 600 and 1500 words. Want more web traffic? Write longer, heavily researched posts 2,450 words long.
In a nutshell, here’s a guide to standard blog post length that can assist you in determining your perfect fit:
- Micro content: 75-300 words. Ultra-brief entries excel at fostering discussions. Although they might not receive many shares on social platforms and aren’t SEO-friendly, if engaging interactions are what you’re after, keeping it concise is the way to go! But we advise you to steer clear of short blog posts falling under 300 words if you want to make a splash on social or boost your web traffic.
- Brief content: 300-600 words. This used to be the benchmark length for blog posts, advocated by a multitude of seasoned bloggers. While not the perfect fit for gaining authority or search engine results traffic, these shorter blog posts balance social interactions and comments. Once perceived as the “norm” for blog posts, this word count now falls short of establishing authority and ranking well on search engines because of insufficient depth on the topic.
- Journalist-style. 600 – 800 words: This length is commonplace in professional journalism, newspaper articles, product descriptions, and encyclopedia entries. Blog posts within this range gain traction in terms of social shares and backlinks.
- News style content: Around 750 words. This mirrors the standard length of professional journalism, particularly in newspapers. Such length is optimal for gaining backlinks from fellow bloggers and gaining traction on social media platforms.
- Medium-length content: 1000-1500 words. With this length, you might notice a decrease in comments but an uptick in social media shares, especially if you’ve crafted content that effectively resolves a reader’s issue. However, based on the subject matter and your target audience, this length can still garner a significant amount of comments.
- 1,300 – 1,700 words: This domain is the stomping ground of the “What is …” blog post. As you cross into this territory, you’ll notice a surge in social shares, high-quality images, educational content, and backlinks. It’s also a favoured length for influencers crafting promotional posts.
- 1,700 – 2,100 words: “How to …” blog posts fit nicely within this word count, which also offers promising prospects for lead conversion and organic traffic from search engines.
- Extended Content: Approximately 2,450 words. Google’s highest-ranking articles often have an average of 2,450 words or more, so this is the golden word count for blog posts that want to appeal to search engines. If you’re aiming for a high-ranking, evergreen blog post that attracts thousands of new readers every month for years to come, this word length is the ideal length. But remember, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough keyword analysis to ensure you’re writing about a subject that people are actively searching for (tools like Semrush can be handy for this). You wouldn’t want to create a lengthy, book-sized blog post on a topic that nobody is interested in!
- Pillar Pages & In Depth Guides: About 4000 words. According to HubSpot, pillar pages encompass a broader scope of content than an ordinary blog post. Picture pillar pages as your comprehensive handbook to a specific topic, ready to take on the internet in blog post format. These posts act as the ‘keystone’ supporting a suite of other blog posts and entries, each connected to the theme elaborated in the pillar.
When crafting a post within these higher ranges, you’re optimising the potential to attract valuable traffic to your site and converting visitors into leads. As we do here at Well Versed, it’s wise to strive for these sweet spots where feasible (Note: this article falls comfortably within the golden range).
Ultimately, focus on creating content that provides value, meets your audience’s expectations, and aligns with the blog post’s purpose. As we always say, let your brand’s superhero voice shine through.
The advantages of lengthier blog posts
Though we’ve established that an article near 2,450 words often performs best, you might still wonder why longer content is preferable. Doesn’t lengthy reading fatigue audiences, causing them to abandon the post and thus reduce its relevance?
Here are three key advantages to writing longer blog posts:
- Longer blog posts increase page dwell time. Statistics show that 40% of readers spend more time on pages with long-form content. Naturally, the more comprehensive the article, the longer a reader will engage with it, even if just to skim through the headings and sections. This extra time spent on your post sends positive signals to search engines about the relevance and quality of your content, potentially boosting its ranking. If your blog generates income through ads or affiliate links, longer content provides more opportunities to display promotions, potentially increasing your earnings.
- More Words Equal Greater Social Shares and Backlinks. Evidence suggests that long-form content, specifically between 1,000 – 2,000 words, generates 77% more backlinks and 56% more social shares than content falling short of 1,000 words. This boost significantly enhances your authority as a writer, whether you’re guest posting or writing for your own blog. The logic behind this may be that longer posts tend to offer more value, prompting readers to share the content or link to it as a reference.
- Long-form content boosts SEO. Search engines strive to organise and present reliable, well-researched information to their vast user base. As a result, a 300-word blog post is unlikely to provide enough depth on a topic to rank well. For optimal SEO performance, favour long-form content that shows value and authority.
Remember, ranking for popular search terms can significantly increase your traffic, leading to more conversions and business opportunities. While crafting an extra 700 words may seem daunting, the potential returns make the effort worthwhile.
The challenges of long-form blog posts
While in-depth, long-form blog posts can be a powerful means of delivering comprehensive information on a topic, they do come with their own set of challenges. Here are a few potential downsides to consider:
- Long-form blog posts demand considerable time. Creating long-form blog posts can be a time-intensive process, not only for you but also for your readers. They necessitate extensive research, writing, and editing. This can significantly consume your time, especially if you’re not accustomed to crafting long-form content. For readers, lengthy posts may seem overwhelming and potentially result in loss of interest before they reach the end. This is especially likely if your content lacks proper organisation or cannot maintain engagement.
- Long-form content may not encourage sharing. Compared to short-form content like infographics or videos, which are often easier to share on social media, long-form blog posts may face limited exposure. The extensive nature of long-form blog content can make it challenging to promote and consume in its entirety on social platforms. This may reduce its viral potential. While this shouldn’t prompt you to completely abandon your long-form strategy, it’s a factor to bear in mind as you plan your content.
- Staying on topic can be difficult. Writing long-form can lead to unnecessary diversions, introducing irrelevant topics that dilute your main message. This can create less cohesive and less effective content. To counter this, draft a clear outline before you write to help maintain focus and ensure your content is well-structured. Avoid introducing unrelated topics unless they directly contribute to your central argument.
As we wrap up our discussion on the “ideal length of a blog post”, it’s clear that it’s a fine balance between the reader’s attention span, the complexity of your topic, and your goal for the optimal blog post length. Here’s some final pointers to help you strike that balance and craft the perfect piece of content.
Understand your audience
Knowing who your readers are, and what they are seeking from your content, is critical. If your audience consists primarily of industry professionals seeking in-depth information, a longer, comprehensive blog post might be fitting. If, however, you’re writing for casual readers or those seeking quick answers, then a shorter, more digestible post might be better. Here’s where our page on the Psychology of Writing can provide some valuable insights.
Edit. Edit. Edit. We’re not talking about aimless reduction, though, just to meet a word limit. Make sure every word, sentence, and paragraph serves a purpose and contributes to your overall narrative. Remove fluff, but also ensure you’re not sacrificing important details or context.
Blogging is a continuous feedback loop
As we mentioned in the beginning, content creation is a dynamic process. Analysing your previous posts, understanding what worked (and what didn’t), and incorporating those insights into future posts is invaluable.
When it comes down to it, the ideal length of a blog is a bit of a misnomer. It’s less about an absolute number and more about understanding your audience, your purpose, and your content. And remember:
“In content creation, the only constant is the pursuit of value.”
We hope this exploration of ideal blog post length has provided you with some valuable insights and food for thought as you continue to craft and hone your content strategy. As always, Well Versed is here to help you connect with your audience with the help of great stories.
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