Blogs come in all shapes, sizes, and topics, but most people only pay conscious attention to the third. Serving as a company speakerbox to help solve problems, answer questions, and differentiate your brand, your blog is the anchor point for your entire content strategy.
But what many marketers don’t realize is the length of your blog is equally important as the content within.
Blog writing is an art that takes time, energy, and know-how to master (even though some companies make it look too easy). Part of that skill comes from knowing how long your blog posts need to be in order to benefit your readers and give you the results you expect. This mini-guide can help you solve the blog length mystery that’s plaguing your digital content strategy.
Should I choose a long blog post or short blog post?
It’s a valid question, and one you most definitely need to answer if you want to get the most out of your blogging strategy. But it’s not as easy as saying long is better than short or vice versa.
However, in one study from serpIQ Google’s first ten results were each over 2,000 words.
Wordstream used to post blogs shorter than 1,000 words before switching to long-form content. When they invested in longer posts, their traffic nearly tripled their on-site time.
Content marketing guru Neil Patel consistently writes posts that hit above the 4,000-word mark. In addition, he believes that 2,000-word posts should be a minimum goal for a number of reasons:
- Most blogs posts are 500 words or fewer, which gives you an opportunity to stand out
- Longer posts attract more backlinks and organic Google traffic for a longer period of time, which makes them more valuable to your strategy
- You seem more trustworthy by providing a comprehensive article
- Long-form posts are easier to repurpose
The content experts and their hard evidence have built a strong case for long-form content, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the idea of short blog posts entirely. Things like time, budget, resources, and audience play a big role in the type of content you produce. For example, long form posts take longer and cost more to write, not to mention they’re usually more difficult to write.
It’s a tough call, and only you can make it. But you don’t have to make it blindly.
Short Blog Posts – What You Need to Know
Short blog posts range anywhere from 300 to 600 words, and usually focus on a single idea. These posts usually take the form of brief overviews about a subject or quick tips that don’t require much explanation.
And just for a frame of reference, you’ve read about 460 words since starting this article.
Let’s look at some of the key benefits and downsides of short blog posts:
The Pros of Short Blog Posts
- They’re easy to outsource
- Readers can finish them quickly
- They take less time to write
- They’re cheaper, which means you can buy more of them
- You can devote an entire post to one keyword for better SEO
- You have more to share on social media and your website
The Cons of Short Blog Posts
- They don’t allow for much detail
- You typically need to post something new daily
- They’re not attractive for backlinking
- They might not rank as high on Google
Short blog posts are, by no means, an ideal option for everyone. Some of the internet’s most blogs, such as Seth Godin and IFL Science, are making it work well for them, but that’s because short and sweet fit their strategy. Unique, catchy, pithy content isn’t a guaranteed winner.
Long Blog Posts – What You Need to Know
Long-form blog posts are usually upwards of 1,000 words and typically focus on more in-depth topics. These posts can take many forms, such as how-to guides and problem-solving, but they typically serve to position you as an authority on a subject.
And for another frame of reference, this post would be considered a long-form article, clocking in at around 1,000 words.
Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from long-form posts:
The Pros of Long Blog Posts
- You can use more keywords within the content to improve organic search rankings
- You appear as more authoritative on your blog subject
- You stand a better chance of obtaining backlinks
- Readers stay engaged on your blog longer
- You can provide more coverage on a topic
- Your content might be perceived as more valuable to its readers
The Cons of Long Blog Posts
- They’re harder to write, edit, and prepare for publishing
- They take more time to write
- They cost more to outsource
- Readers may not have the attention span to read your article completely
In most cases, the drawbacks of writing longer blog posts can easily be eliminated. Partnering with a reputable blogging company can free up your time from researching, writing, and editing, which could help you save more money than if you were to do it yourself.
And as for readers possibly not finishing your article, studies show that the majority of people who read blogs online typically skim the content for the information they came looking for. Buffer shows that 55% of website visitors spend 15 seconds or less reading an article. So chances are, they aren’t finishing your short posts, either.
It’s important to consider your audience’s needs before making decisions about your blogging strategy. If your audience seeks high quality, insightful, resourceful material, then you absolutely should find it in your budget to include long-form blog posts in your strategy.
In addition, you can also A/B test blog posts of varying lengths to see which ones earn the most attention from your audience. This gives you real data to work from, rather than copying what your competitors are doing or working from a “really good guess.”
If you still aren’t sure what the ideal length of your blog posts should be, talk to us about your goals and we’ll help you find your sweet spot.