One of the questions that are often asked by bloggers is how long a blog post should be to be effective. Blog content can be any length, but when you are posting online, you always need to ask what length or number of words will be best to optimize your content for the search engines as well as to appeal to your target audience.
Remember that the search engines are how people will find your content. But it is up to you to write content that will keep them interested enough to read it and engage with your content. So always keep in mind the quality first. Then consider how the search engines will find your content.
So how long should your posts be?
Like the proverbial question that students have asked teachers for decades, “How long should it be?” this question should be answered by considering some important factors. Only you know how much information you need to include to create the blog post. The length is not as important as keeping the content of high quality, according to Google and you will get better rankings for a short, high-quality piece than a longer low-quality piece.
Factors to Consider When Planning Blog Content
Below are some things to consider when thinking about the length of each post. Following this, we discuss some tips on how to find topics to write about as well as how to make sure you connect with your target audience.
1. How Much Information?
One of the most important factors to consider when deciding on the length of a post is how much information you have to share in the post. This will vary according to the type of content it is. Some things can be covered in only a few paragraphs while others take awhile to compose due to their complex nature or technical aspects.
2. Factual or Opinion Piece?
Think about whether your content is based more on facts or opinions. If you plan to talk about your opinion on something as it relates to your business, this is a good opportunity to show people that you are knowledgeable in your niche area or industry. Just be careful not to brag too much and just tell people what you think. Then spend the rest of the article pointing to factual information that backs up your claims. People often do read a blog for more opinions than facts. They know every blogger has an opinion on what they think about a topic. But they also expect to see some evidence or supporting data that back up the ideas. This adds to the value of the piece.
3. Purpose of content
Think about the purpose of your content and what you want your readers to do after reading it. Are you writing the content simply to educate or inform them about a topic? If so, there is no call to action needed. But if you want to use it as an opportunity to get them to take action based on your information, you can include a call to action at the end.
4. Call to Action planned
If you do have a call to action planned, you should think about where you want to present it. The usual place to put the CTA is at the end of the article. But you can also include links to your CTA link in the middle of an article if you want to increase your level of engagement with your audience. Be direct in your call to action statement by saying things like, “Click this link to get started,” or “Go here to sign up.” The earlier call to action statements that you put in the middle of the article can be anchored with the name of the site as a teaser or for those that you think may not read through the entire article.
5. Research-based or academic?
Consider whether your content is research or academic based. Content that is based on academic research or case studies tends to be longer simply because it is more technical or academic. Terminology tends to include longer more complex words, as well. This decreases the readability for average readers so be sure to use this sparingly or offer explanations for complex text in other ways such as infographics or visual images.
6. Informational or advertorial?
If you hope to use your blog post to attract customers who will purchase from you, don’t make it too long. Instead, give the reasons the product is good and discuss it conversationally. Then cut to the chase and show them how to purchase your product or service from your site.
7. How many posts you do in a week
One factor you should consider when trying to decide how long to make your posts is how often you post. The saying, “Less is more” comes to mind here. If you post several times per week, it may not be necessary to make extremely long posts. But if you have a particularly complicated topic, it may be essential to make some longer posts to explain a process. Think about what your post is about and how much explanation is required to get the point across. But, if you do post many times per week, consider shorter posts (around 500 words or less) several times per week rather than one longer (1500 words) post once per week.
Google’s View on Post Length
Google has stated different times that the average post length that will help you in the searches is around 500 words. This is considered a short article though, and there may be times you need to increase the words. In the past, there used to be an obsession among bloggers and website owners was to get their keyword percentage in without getting lost in the search engines. There is still a keyword density checker you can use to test your keyword density against the number of words in your blog.
However, Google now states that they do not go by this as the criteria for placing posts in the searches. Using your keyword one or two times in about 500 words is usually enough to capture the attention of Google to get your site listed high enough to do you some good with your audience. If you do want to use the keyword density tools, go ahead and try it. There are several out there. It might still be a good idea to avoid having too high of a percentage of usage of your keywords.
White Hats Only
One significant thing to remember when posting any blog content is the fact that you should always be transparent with your information. Never stretch the truth to gain readers or use false information. This is a great way to lower your credibility with real people, regardless of how well it does in Google searches. Be honest and use white hat techniques and no keyword stuffing. The overt use of a keyword too many times will get you lowered in the searches fast. The best rule for the use of keywords is to use them in the text naturally and only a few times (2 or 3) per 500 words. This is enough to get it noticed by Google while maintaining the high quality of your text without being pushy.
Varying Post Length
One great idea to make sure you maintain your ranking in Google while also maintaining good quality is to vary your post length. Make it a habit of writing some content that is 500 words, some that is 1000, and some that is 1500 or more. It is understood that any content over 2000 words will start to lose ranking since the shorter content is considered to get better ranking. But there are exceptions and people will read longer content if it is on a topic they are interested in.
Base your decision on blog length on these basic principles while always considering how much time you have to make the posts, whether you are using an automatic blog poster, and what you have to say. Don’t ever create a post with filler content. Always make sure you offer something of value. It’s better to say nothing for a week or so and save it up for a great post than to talk “much ado about nothing” every day!
If you want to learn more about blog length based on a research study, Coschedule conducted a research study on this that you can download.
The average blog post, for the record, is around 1600 words which equate to a 7-minute read. This is probably the level you want to shoot for in order to capture the attention of searchers while providing a more in-depth article than shorter articles can do.
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Today is the best day to start a blog. After all, you have a lot to say!