Ideal Blog Post Length: Your Mileage May Vary

Written by Nick Leffler | 4 Comments | 6 min read

Home » The Online Presence Blog » Business » Ideal Blog Post Length: Your Mileage May Vary

Last week I wrote about why you must have a business blog. Keeping with that theme, I want to make it clear what the ideal blog post length is for your posts. There’s many different answers out there and it can have an effect on how your blog posts do in search engines and on social media.

There’s a lot of conflicting recommendations out there for how long your blog post should be. Hopefully this post will clear up some of the inconsistencies and allow you to breathe easy when you’re writing your next post.

I’m going to start with the standard recommendation for the ideal blog post length. This is the most commonly seen recommendation you’ll see and is also the shortest recommended length.

Standard Recommendation

Almost everywhere you look to find out the ideal length for a blog post you’ll find that 300 words is the minimum recommendation. This is the minimum recommendation by several SEO experts and is even the built-in minimum in the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress. If you’re below 300 words then you won’t get a green dot for the blog post length recommendation.

Even though this is the standard recognized minimum length by most SEO experts, it isn’t the ideal length for a blog post. In fact, this shouldn’t be seen as a recommendation at all. The 300 words standard length is more of a loose guideline that shouldn’t be paid too much attention.

Going beyond the standard recommendation for the ideal blog post length is sometimes necessary. You can go with the ideal length according to data or my personal recommendation. I’m going to start with the ideal length according to data.

Ideal Length

While you’re reading this section and pulling information out, always keep in mind that data doesn’t lie but the interpretation of data does.

Data doesn't lie but the interpretation of data does. Click To Tweet

If your only goal for your blog post is to rank #1 on Google then you’re going to have a hard time reaching that goal. It is helpful to know that the average #1 ranked page on Google has 2,416 words according to data from the create better content than your competitors infographic I previously wrote about. That’s a lot of words though!

For your blog the ideal length will be determined by your audience and your topic. Saying there is one ideal length is like saying there is one right time to post to social media. It depends on who your audience is and what your business does more than generalized data.

Some recommend 1,600 words while others 400. Your blogging niche will dictate how long your posts are and how they’re written. If your audience is high school students then you would write a different length blog post than if your audience is college graduates.

The length of your blog post also helps decide how sharable it is. Sometimes there’s a balance between search engine rankability and sharability on social networks.

An Exact Number

If I am going to give you a single number, the ideal blog post length in time is 7 minutes. Maybe not the number you were hoping to get? Let me break it down into approximate word count for you.

The average adult reads 250 to 300 words per minute which means the ideal blog post length in words is 1,750 to 2,100 words.

This number is backed by research from Medium who analysed data across their blog posts. The data focuses on attention and not the number of clicks or even words of the article. The data looked at how many seconds the ideal post was viewed.

Any longer than 7 minutes and attention drifted off. The 7 minute post captured the most total reading time according to Medium’s data.

According to data, the ideal blog post length is 1,750 to 2,100 words. Click To Tweet

Not every post needs to be 7 minutes in reading time and thinking it does won’t help you reach your goals. There’s more pragmatic advice out there for what your goal should be. I’m going to give you the most pragmatic advice I can and my goal with it is to free you from the shackles of numbers.

My Real Recommendation

I’ve covered the smallest number for words your blog post should be and a range of numbers that’s ideal for readers. If your blog niche lends itself to articles of the longer type, that’s great. Some blog topics and audiences don’t lend themselves to these longer posts though.

If your blog doesn’t lend itself to thousands of words, don’t worry. My recommendation is to write blog posts that are within your ability and requirements. If you can cover your blog topic sufficiently in 100 words then go for it. There are a lot of great bloggers that don’t write long posts and do well. One of the top marketers, Seth Godin, writes micro posts and his posts are shared wide and far on social media and linked to also.

My Experience

A website I manage posts 3 micro blog posts every day. These blog posts consist of no words at all, just a video. The words that make up the blog post are entirely contained in the title and in the meta description.

Three posts per day means a large quantity of posts which has translated into high amounts of traffic, even higher than this blog. Quantity doesn’t always mean quality so this is something you have to balance with your own content and audience.

If your blog adds value and you covered your topic, that's all you need to focus on. Click To Tweet

If a blog post adds value for your visitors then search engines will recognize that. Even saying you must reach 300 words to have an effective post isn’t true.

I gave you the best advice I can about the ideal blog post length now you can decide what to do with it.

You Decide

The reason I say your mileage may vary is because there is no number I can give that will work for you. Your writing ability, your audience’s reading ability, and your topic will determine how long your blog post should be.

Freeing you from dwelling on length is the best advice I can give.

Every post you write will be a different length and it may never fall within any of the recommendations. If it takes you 100 words to cover the topic you’re writing about, then 100 words is the best length. If it takes you 3,000 words to cover the topic, that’s how long it should be.

Even businesses within one industry will need a different average post length than another industry.

Free yourself from arbitrary numbers. Make your goal writing quality content that covers the topic well for your audience.

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Author Bio:

mm

Nick Leffler

Nick Leffler is the owner of Exprance, a Sacramento web design and digital marketing agency which helps businesses reach their customer online. Nick has grown his online presence with a small marketing budget by blogging, organic social media posting, and email marketing.

4 Comments

  1. Barakha Rao on September 4, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Great content you have here. When I write a blog post, I just focus on three things. Those are – my readers, type of post and the message. There has been a controversy concerning long-form content and short-form content. While some say and prefer to publish short posts of about 500~600 words article, others love publishing 1000~3000 words blog posts.

    In fact, my article are more of long form, ranging from 1000~3000 words. However, although, long form content performs well on search engine, according to Google, you need to find out what works best for you, short or long. What content length does your target market love to read? Your result will help you create content that will engage your audience.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing such a resourceful post, I really understand the fact that the length and frequency totally depend on your own abilities, the niche and your readers preferences. However from an SEO point of view, what do you suggest how often should a new blogger post on their blog?

    • mm Nick Leffler on September 4, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      Definitely. What works for me won’t necessarily work for you. In everything internet the only definite rule is that testing and finding your specific sweet spot is the only way to succeed.

      So, it all comes down to testing.

      That also goes for how much is the optimal amount of blogging. It also depends on the industry and the audience. For local companies it might not be necessary to blog at all or very rarely at the most while for an internet only business that release on solid search rankings across an entire country it might be necessary to blog every day. To get a solid basis for SEO though I do recommend blogging at least once a week for a few years to build an audience. Depending on resources that may be maintainable but if not then optimize to better take advantage of the audience you’ve built.

      Every situation is so unique, a custom plan is always the most useful.

  2. Vik on June 8, 2018 at 3:42 am

    Totally agree with you nick keeping an eye on the searcher intent and then writing the article is what I also believe in. What you said is totally correct if one can write the whole piece of content in 100 words then that is the perfect length and if the reader is getting the solution with 3000 words then that is the perfect length.

    • mm Nick Leffler on June 10, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      Absolutely Vik. It’s similar to the color thing that was a trend for a while. Seems like everyone was talking about orange converting better than red converting better than blue. Well, analysis are definitely going to tell you something, they have to, but whether that actually means anything is another story.

      The fact that xx% of number 1 ranked pages on Google have more than 2,000 words is absolutely irrelevant. #1 isn’t always the goal though, at least not for the keywords that they’re analyzing. Sometimes you want #1 rank for a keyword that absolutely doesn’t matter how many words your page is.

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