There’s a great debate happening in the content marketing world, and today you’ll get to see the tip of the iceberg. It’s the question everyone who ever blogs ever is wondering: How long should blog posts be?
There’s a strong argument for both sides of the length question (that posts should be short-form vs. posts should be long-form). We’re tackling both sides of the issue. We also have our own opinion on the question, which we’ll reveal at the end of the post. If you’re antsy, scroll to the bottom. Otherwise, let’s go!
How long should blog posts be?
The general argument for the shorter blog post states that there’s too much content out there on the Web already for you to effectively grab your audience’s attention with a long post. People are used to reading many, short articles in an hour. They’re reading on their mobile devices and won’t be distraction-free long enough to finish. If you create a long blog post, readers are likely to click off before getting to the end of your content.
Think of posts around 300-1,000 words. For SEO purposes, posts should be no shorter than 300 words. And, once you hit 1,000 words, you’re diving into long-form posts.
- Easier to make time for – 400 words vs. 1,500 words
- Less research required
- More topics to cover in individual posts (can break up a complicated topic into multiple posts, for example)
The swing back to long-form content has been relatively recent. In a study conducted early 2014, it was found that long-form content actually gets shared more than short-term. The number really jumps at the 2,000-3,000 word mark. Check it out in the graph to the right.
The same study found that there were 16 times more content with less than 1,000 words than there were content with 2,000+ words. Meaning…the content-counter is saturated. There’s many, many bloggers writing shorter blogs. Not too many writers take the time to write a 2,000+ word blog, so that’s a market that might just be open for you to dip your toe into. Click here if you want to read more about the study we’ve referenced here.
- There’s less competition in this category, so it’ll be easier to stand out
- People are more likely to email content that is intellectually stimulating. Yes, they like to share hilarious memes of cats. To promote discussions within your industry, though, the meatier, the better.
So then, how long should blog posts be?
Now comes the time for our own opinion. How long should blog posts be? They should be as long as they need to be to appropriately cover the topic. Is that cheating a little bit? Sure, but it’s the truth.
The study also found that some of the most popular content on the Internet are lists and infographics. If you’re creating a list, you’re probably not going to hit 2,000 words. But, if you’re writing out a how-to article (one of the other most popular types of content on the Web), you might go well beyond 2,000 words. Use your best judgement.
Now for the elephant in the room. What if you just don’t have the time to dedicate to 2,000-word blog posts? Well then, don’t write long-form blog posts. Writing something is better than writing nothing. If you’re stuck between a) writing a short blog post and b) not writing a long blog post, choose a). And, when your team of writers expands, perhaps you can consider working long-form blog posts into your regular content.