How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

325-350 words…or not. Actually, there is no such thing as the RIGHT length for a blog post. But here are some things you may want to consider.

Long_Text260x200Blog Posts Can Be ShortShort or LongLong

Let’s look at two of my favorite blogs: Dosh Dosh (no longer around) and Boing Boing.  Now, immediately you may notice that they have something in common…they are both extremely popular blogs.  Both have daily readers in the thousands and a dedicated crowd of regular followers (much like Blogging Startup…well, maybe not thousands).  But one thing any reader of both blogs will quickly realize: they differ dramatically in post length.  Boing Boing is known for short post of two to 20 sentences highlighting a video, oddity, website or product.  While Dosh Dosh, on the other hand, typically publishes lengthy articles, often more than 3000 words.  Despite taking opposite strategies for post length, both blogs are among the most successful on the Internet.

Write Enough to Get Your Point Across

…but no more.  Back to our examples, Dosh Dosh is often sharing indepth strategies for optimizing your use of the Internet.  A short article would not allow for the detailed information needed to implement much of what is shared.  On the other hand, Boing Boing is just trying to grab your attention long enough to point out something interesting.  Extra words and length writing would only distract the reader from the interesting thing.

Length of Posts Will, In Part, Determine How Often You Post

It stands to reason that if you are writing lengthy posts, you will probably be publishing on your blog less frequently than if you wrote short articles.  Dosh Dosh publishes a few times each month…although he hasn’t published anything since May 18th.  Where are you, Maki?  On the other hand, Boing Boing puts out new posts several times each day.  Just this Friday, July 17th, Boing Boing published 20 posts on topics ranging from raging toilets to baking cookies on a hot car dashboard.  Of course, it helps that Boing Boing has fiddy-seven ninety writers for the blog.

Write With Reader Expectations in Mind

If Boing Boing started publishing 3500 word thesises (or is it thesi…ah, forget it) articles, the readers would quickly lose interest and move on.  And Dosh Dosh equally disappoint fans with Five Bulleted Ideas for Ad Placement.  Hand-in-hand with writing enough to get your point across is writing in a length that readers expect.  Once you’ve set a pattern for your blog, thing seriously before making a change.

Consider Breaking Really Long Posts Into Two or More

If you have a lot of information to share, giveStranger_Fortune300x150 thought to writing a series of posts.  At the very least, break up the long article with sub-headings, short paragraphs, bulleted/numbered lists, and possibly publish on multiple pages.  The idea is to make your longer articles easy to read.

Don’t Allow SEO Concerns Affect the Length of Posts

Some have written that longer posts do better for SEO, possibly just the result of more frequent occurrence of keywords.  Well, don’t you dare write longer just to improve your SEO.  What about your readers?  If you write too long for your subject, readers will move on.  And you certainly won’t merit those all important backlinks if readers find your writing too lengthy.  Again, the rule is “write enough to get your point across…and no more”.

Finally, If You Still Are Unsure About Post Length…TEST

Of course, you already track your blog traffic with a fully functional and easy to read analytics program like, say, Google Analytics…right?  So you can see exactly what your readers are, um, reading.  You can learn how long they hang out on your blog and how many pages they visit.  There are amazing facts that you can learn from reviewing your blog stats on a regular basis.  SO, if you want to find out if short or long posts bring (and keep) more readers, run a test.  For a month, keep your posts short.  Everything you right must be under some predetermined word count.  Then, a month later, post nothing but longer posts.  Now review your analytics to see just what gets read the most.  Of course, you could devise a much more detailed and effective test using goals within Google Analytics, but that is an entirely different post.

So, that’s it.  I think I’ve said enough so, now it’s time to stop writing.

[PhotoCredit:Emborg & Misocrazy]