If you’re new to blogging for your business, or even if you’ve been blogging for a while, you may be asking yourself what is the ideal length for a blog post? There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question except for this: Your blog posts should be as long as you need them to be. I’ve always been of the “less is more” school. Partly because I’ve read so many studies over the years that show that people don’t actually “read” on the web, but instead they scan. And, I’ll admit it; I’m also a bit impatient. I like to read online content that gets to the point quickly and succinctly…and that tends to be how I write, too.
Recently, however, I’ve come across a number of articles that indicate that there is actually a correlation between the length of a blog post and how much it is shared. This is in contrast to the school of thought that people don’t “read” on the web. Check out this chart based upon research by a popular online journal:*
The Ideal Length For A Blog Post
This chart clearly shows that the length of the blog post is in direct correlation with how many Social Media shares it gets. And the more a piece of content is shared, the more links go to the blog post, which helps the entire website gain more authority in terms of Search Engines visibility. That’s all good, right? So, if we use this as our guide, all bloggers should be aiming for every one of their posts to be at least 1,500 words long. And taking this a step further, other research indicates that a blog post should also take seven minutes to read (which translates into approximately 1,600 words).
Now, the “seven minutes to read a blog post” idea does make sense. The more a reader is engaged in an article, the more likely he or she will be to actually finish reading the entire piece of content. And at the end be even more motivated to share it across the web.
But who wants to sit at a desk all day trying to extend a blog post from 500 words to 1,600 words just to get more shares and links? And what if you just don’t need 1,600 words to get your point across? Tweets and shares are great, but there are other, even more important factors to consider when planning and creating your content.
The purpose of your blog: A journalist covering an election for a political blog will most likely easily churn out 1,600 words or more without even thinking about it. But a blogger who helps single moms become more organized by answering their submitted questions, may not need 1,600 words to get her point across. These two types of blogs have very different purposes and the content should reflect that.
Your writing style: If your style is scholarly and you love using a lot of research and examples, then you’re likely to reach that sweet spot of 1,600 words without a bit of trouble. But if you are the type of writer that likes to give great advice that’s quick and digestible (like the single mom blogger) then you should stick to what you feel comfortable with.
Your readers: Do they want, and expect, in-depth content from you, or do you find that they respond best to quick answers and blurbs? After all, your readers are your biggest fans. They follow you for a reason…they love the way you write! Keep them in mind (and actually picture them reading your blog) during the entire process. The bottom line is this: don’t attempt to extend the length of your blog posts just to get more shares across the web. Stay true to your blog’s purpose, your style, and your readers, and the shares will come.
By the way, this post has 658 words. Works for me! What’s your opinion?
Here are some other helpful posts about blogging:
15 Easy Ways To Come Up With Powerful Blog Topics
Use These Magic Words For Irresistible Blog Headlines
*Chart from QuickSprout