One of the most frequently asked questions among would-be business bloggers concerns the length of their posts.
The quick and easy answer to give is that a blog post should contain as many words as are necessary to get your point across. No more, and no less.
The reality, as with just about anything concerning content creation and digital marketing, is a little bit more complicated than that, however.
Complicating matters even further is the fact that there are so many different opinions regarding the optimal length of a blog post.
Just a few years ago, the most oft-cited figure was 500-700 words for a typical blog post.
Today, however, there’s a much stronger emphasis on long-form content, which is typically defined by articles of at least 2,000 words.
So, What Is the Perfect Length?
The optimal length for a blog post depends on a multitude of variables, but there is one rule that applies across the board: padding out an article with a load of superfluous fluff is never a good idea.
Realising this crucial fact, let’s look at some of the deciding factors that influence the optimal length of a blog post:
If, for example, your main goal with a given piece of content is to build authority, then longer, more in-depth articles typically do a far better job than a simple, shallow article such as a listicle.
Similarly, longer articles tend to do better in Google. On the other hand, shorter articles, particularly those in the form of short, discussion-based posts, tend to attract more comments.
Some subjects are not as expansive than others, while some are inherently complex and require a high degree of explanation for them to become more meaningful.
For example, if you’re writing a guide on how to start a business blog, you’re not going to be able to fit much into just a few hundred words and still make it useful.
Your Target Audience
Attention spans might be notoriously short, particularly among those using mobile devices.
If your target audience falls into this category, then they’ll probably be more into fleeting interactions rather than getting bogged down in in-depth content.
For businesses dealing with everyday products and services, shorter blog content tends to be preferable.
What Is Everyone Else Doing?
Some bloggers get by just fine with an average post length of 500 words or less, while others stick to an average of more than twice that and manage to do very well for themselves.
While carrying out a little competitive research is always valuable, it’s important to remember that your brand is a unique entity with its own style and distinct target audience.
Another rule that applies to most business blogs is that average post length is not even a particularly important consideration.
Often, a mix of blog posts of widely varying lengths is optimal, particularly when you’re just starting out, and you want to figure out what your audience prefers.
Here are some ideas to get you started on the right track:
Less than 300 Words
Posts of 300 words or less tend to be ideal for generating discussion via the comments, but they are not so likely to get many shares on social media, and they do very little for search engine optimisation.
500 to 700 Words
500 to 700 words has long been the gold standard for the typical blog post, but this is generally too short for content designed to build authority or increase search engine rankings.
700 to 1,500 Words
700 to 1,500-word posts almost reach the realm of long-form content, in that they tend to be long enough to properly solve a problem, build authority and offer genuinely valuable content. It’s also more likely to be sharable.
More than 1,500 Words
Upwards of 1,500 words tends to be the sweet spot for more in-depth content, particularly of the type that people search for. In fact, Google seems to have a preference for articles of around 2,500 words.
It’s important to realise that content length is just a by-product of adding value, and it’s extremely variable depending on a multitude of different factors.
What is much more important is that you don’t try to restrict yourself to content of a certain length, since doing so will lead to making the grave mistake of prioritising quantity over quality.
Instead, you need to feel comfortable writing the length you want and getting your point across in the exact number of words that are necessary.
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