What's the best blog post length? The answer “whatever length it needs to be” really isn’t helpful when you’re looking for blog length or word count guidelines to work within. My first ever blog post was 50 words. And it took me 2 and a half hours to write those 50 words. If the guidelines said 100 words, I'd have spent 5 hours writing those hundred words! When you're starting to blog you want someone to give you the magic number of words. Sadly, there is no magic word count, no optimum length. No golden number that will make your blogging easier. However, we can use the outlining structure to work out what our basic blog post length is and then add in the value!
A basic blog post structure
- A headline that gets clicked
- Heart Opening Paragraph
- Main points and evidence
- And a compelling call to action
If you think of a sentence having 8-10 words, a paragraph having four sentences, and a blog post as outlined in the list above having six paragraphs, then your blog post length could be as little as 240 words, not including the headline and call to action. 240 words won't even give you the green light when you optimise your blog post!
Not only is the short post hard to optimise, but it also won't be enough to give your reader the value they’re looking for. There has to be more juicy content in your post to delight your audience. Research by Neil Patel indicates that to get on the front page of Google you are looking at a 2,000-word post! However, experience has shown me you can do just as good with well thought out content that's 600-1000 words, and none of it will be fluff or filler!
Things that Impact Blog Post Length
Be careful with those headlines…
A blog post titled “Finding inner peace” isn’t nowhere near as impactful as “7 tips to calm a chattering mind.” Finding inner peace is the headline that's not focused and not meaningful so your content could easily wander into 3,000 words.
The blog post needs to cover your topic completely or just touch on one facet of it. That means you can write content that’s deep such as the 365 business blogging tips or something lighter. For example, in a “7 tips to calm a chattering mind” blog post, you might create a list post using meditation as one tip and give a paragraph or two about what it is and how it works to empty the mind.
Or you could just bullet point the ways to make your mind quiet and add in a beginning and a conclusion. You could try writing them both ways to see which method resonates the most with your ideal reader.
If you find that the topic is so deep that you could write about it forever, it could be that you have a book in the making or a series of blog posts. You don’t have to write 10,000 words “ultimate guides to” style posts every time you create a blog post. If you do, you’ll soon come to hate blogging as it’s becoming too time-consuming. Deep topics can impact your blog post length.
I'll be daring and say there's no such thing as a shallow topic, just a topic you don't know well enough. In terms of content, think about what you as a reader would expect and hope to see if you were looking for information on a topic. Would you want one paragraph that just said “If you’re looking for peace and quiet, you can try the stress relief supplements sold on Amazon that cost 2.99? Everyone says they’re good for stress and a quiet mind.”
If you clicked and saw that as the blog post how would you feel? Would you feel that your needs had been met? Or would you feel someone is just selling to you, without trying to romance you even a little bit? Those 31 words… They're better as a call to action than a blog post in its entirety!
Some business owners write in this style and wonder why their blogging doesn't work.
I know my first blog posts weren't much longer than the 31-word example. My first blog posts were micro-adverts. But it's where I started, and I've grown from there and you will too. What a reader really wants is someone to talk a little about their experience and a lot about the reader's needs. The reader wants to feel heard, to feel understood, to feel a connection. Ernest Hemmingway managed to do that in his legendary six-word story “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.”
Those 6 words put you through the emotional wringer, but I don't think any of us would've purchased the baby shoes.
No matter how many words you need to format your content properly!
No one wants to land on a blog post and drown in a sea of text. Those paragraphs that are 30 lines deep are off-putting and overwhelming to the eye. You will lose readers instantly. Newspapers learned this centuries ago; they have columns and short paragraphs for a reason.
Readers need to be able to read and absorb the information without your message getting lost.
- Keep your paragraphs short
- Use neat and tidy sentences wherever possible
- Use subheadings to make the post scannable
If you think your blog post is too short, ask yourself what problem does it solve? If it doesn’t solve a problem ask what message does it send? If it’s not sending the right message, then you might find your blog post is the wrong length.
Remember, there is no magic number, no golden formula for perfect blog post length. You just need the number of words to make your reader feel valued. This comes with creating your content and sharing it on a regular basis.
Thanks for the great post
Wonderful again. Thanks so much, really useful tips.
Thanks Wendy 🙂
I wonder about this all the time. Too short and the reader feels cheated, too long and they don’t finish it. Either way, they might not come back.
But then again, there’s Seth Godin who can get away with 8 word posts. But, when you are the master, you can do what you want.
Exactly, when you’re the master, you can do what you want 🙂
My SEO plugin tells me I should write 300 words or more.. Sometimes this is hard with picture tutorials.
Yes, they can be hard to optimise Eliza. Remember, not every post needs to be optimised though 🙂
Makes sense. I find the “anatomy of a blog post” part especially useful.
Good and useful post. Good point to always bare in mind.
This is something that I have been questioning for some time know, I was making sure that I was shooting for about 300. Thanks Sarah
I can usually manage a decent length post, but I have a tendency to write long sentences. Having the Yoast analytics is making me very aware of this problem and I’m going back in and trying to break up my sentences. I’m don’t think, though, that my ideal is to write posts that are easily readable by 11-13 year olds, which Yoast seems to be recommending.
I’ve read other places to keep blog post short & sweet. Is there a magic number of words to stick to?? Or any format to break up a blog post so it gets read??
Great points – I love your point about the effective title. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what we would look for as the reader – thanks for making it so clear!
I like to do a variety of post lengths, some will be the long and deeply researched topics and some will be a lot lighter. Personally i find this refreshes both myself and the readers to some extent. It doesn’t always have to be a semi novel and sometimes the shorter posts seem to get comments more often than the longer ones for me. Todays is a short one 🙂
If I do end up with a high word count, I try to split up the post with subheadings as much as possible (just as mentioned in above)
I find myself scanning long blog posts to find what I am looking for! So I know my readers are doing the same!
Also, bulletin points are my best friends 🙂
I wish there was a magic number, but I see no difference in views with my short or long posts
Great advice again! I definitely tend to write posts which are too long as opposed to too short and it seems I’m using ‘difficult’ words (as the Yoast plugin tells me!). So, it’s a great exercise to be able to be aware of this and develop the anti-waffling muscle 🙂
Another very useful post. I seem to have arrived ta a point where my post length naturally falls into 450 – 650 words. When I started blogging, I struggled to get to 300 because I had some weird idea about what a blog post had to be. Now I have “my chops down” as jazz musicians say, and I instinctively know where it ends. Some days finding the right ending is tricky – other days it’s a breeze. I shall stop now before his turns into a post!
This is awesome! I have struggled a lot with length and whether it is too short and too long. Love this post.
Haha, I’m back here reading this post again and even second time around, I found it really useful.
Awesome tips, I’m still trying to find a happy medium and this is very helpful.
Great post, thanks for sharing! I’ve found that the less I worry about the length, the more I’m able to write. When I first set up my blog I sat there for hours looking at the screen, not only wondering what to write about but how long it should be too. It paralysed me and I hardly wrote anything for months on end. Now I’m writing every day thanks to your challenge! It’s interesting the tricks our own inner critic plays on us 🙂
Great post Sarah… so much information… but slowly I know it will all sink in. One question keep coming up for images…. what is good to write in here? Thanks Barbara
This is cool, each person has to see their own audience. Like for me, if it is a decor post it is prefered to be more image filled; but if it’s a relationship post then a lot more writting… In these cases I usually have to cut down a bit because I end up writting over 4 pages.
Thanks Sarah for more great advice. This has been huge topic of debate for me at the start of my blogging journey. I was advised that my first attempts were far too long at around 1000 words and more suitable for articles. I was set a target of between 350 to 500 words which I found so frustrating and difficult to meet that I gave up blogging for several months.
Having thought long and hard about my dilemma I came to the following conclusion. It a question of about balancing 3 important factors. 1) what your idea readers want/need/expect. 2) what the subject matter demands and 3) your writing style. If your readers and the subject warrant 350 words and your style is not short and pithy you’re going to struggle. Fortunately in my case everything points to longer more detailed blogs so it’s onward and upward from now on!
This post has really helped me to realise that it’s not necessarily the length of the blog, but the message that’s important. My blogs all seem to vary in length – but I will stop panicing now. 🙂
Yes! Stop panicking and just focus on your reader. Blog post length will vary. When I started out I struggled to write 50 words, and now I average about 800-1000 per post. Just go with the flow 🙂
I think that some of my headline are weak and I often forget to add a Call To Action. I’m working on that. Thanks so much for the useful tips.
These are great points. I think small paragraphs and subheads are the most important aspects of any blog post. Even when I’m writing long posts, I try and break the content up with headlines and photographs.
My aim is to write posts of at least 400 words . And yes, Yoast is a great help. (I’m taking a break from 30 Day Blogging Challenge for a day or two though I do plan to catch up later.)
(By the way, I get this error message every day after posting my comment and have to repost – is there any way to avoid it?
The cache may have been out of date. Use this link to view a fresh version How Long Should a Blog Post be?
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Great advice! I particularly like that you pointed out that our posts don’t have to be 10,000 page complete guides. Sometimes it’s so tempting to fill every hole and leave no stone unturned.
Yes, there needs to be room for conversation because if there isn’t you’ll just get a spate of “great post” type comments, and whilst there good for your ego, they don’t add a lot to the conversation.
Thanks again Sarah. I tend toward longer posts. That’s why for this challenge, I chose a micro-niche topic of gratitude so that I could write and write on one of my favourite things yet offer the content in bite size chunks for my readers. Loving the challenge. Suzanne
really like this as it confirms what i am trying to do and get across, i always try to break things up with a few relevant images too.
This is beautiful! I have struggled with how much to write in a single post and this piece helps me to understand this subject a little bit more. As I write future blogs am looking to make sure that the post solves a problem or passes a good message to the readers. ultimately, a good post should add value to the readers.
Can’t wait to see them Nkechi, I’ve loved your posts so far – very friendly 🙂
Thanks so much for the info. A lot of my blogs I write on Ezine 1st, and then I load them onto our Blog/ Website. On Ezine there is a min amount of words that I need to write, so they are longer than they would have been on Blog. Is this okay, or not a good idea?
It’s not really a good idea Patricia, and may get you in trouble with Ezine who like original content.
Thanks for this post. I often wonder how long a post should be. I’m still working on using my headlines correctly. I rarely use an h3 heading. Is that odd? Any helpful tips are greatly appreciated!
I rarely use it Lindsey, the H2 header is my fave, I think I use one just a touch too much 😉
For me I keep mine at min 300 words because Yoast gets upset if it’s not lol
I really appreciate the great tips and information in this article. They’re going to be a big help for organizing my thoights when writing.
Length is not a problem for me, but headlines and the call to action are more challenging. Thank you for an interesting post – yet again.
This was very interesting. Thanks for this. It’s got me thinking about how long each post should be.
This I will have to keep revisiting as I tend to go on and on and on. This and the speedy writing…
I love your line: ‘All of the discussion about length is basically common sense, which we all know isn’t so common anymore.’ So very true!
I can see though that this month I will be getting into my writing habit, and next month learning how to make it a business blog. One thing at a time, as that makes sense to me.
I love the tip about the title. I have to say until now I never thought about the lenght of my posts. My blog is more about pictures so as photographer I dont mind when people only look at my photos and dont read what I write about it. On the other hand it is nice to have real readers who actually read the whole post and react in coment or in message. I do have few regular readers and they always brighten up my day. I have been blogging about 10 months and it is still mostly about my pleasure and enjoyment that I have when I blog, when I take pictures and write about it. I have no idea how to find out if ” my blog works” as you mention in this article. Well, it works for me because I love blogging, I simly love doing it. I guess there is lots of to learn to make it work for my readers…
I love that it works for you Petra, as you enjoy it so therefore it works! All too often people don’t enjoy blogging and then start looking for the mythical technique that makes blogging work for them. You have it in your photos already 🙂
Thank you for your exceptional educating and inspiring information!!
I struggle with writing posts that are too long, so this is a great article for me. I am enjoying the Edit Flow plugin which lets me set the post length, then keeps track of it for me as I write. Very helpful for “training!” Thanks for all you do, Sarah.
Really good take aways from this post. Will keep post focused and help with writing. Especially about implementing your own thoughts and experiences. Thank you.
Great post. Another layer to blogging. Your posts are making a real difference. Thanks
Great post. Using lots of images and just a bit of text is a common mistake new bloggers make.
When I write a blog post, I basically write until I run out of things to say. That may be 475 words or 800. Maybe I talk too much? But I struggle with one thing. I haven’t been blogging too long and I don’t have many (or any?) regular readers yet. So when I read that your blog posts should meet the expectations of your readers, I don’t know how to figure that out. How do you know what your readers want?
Hi Hollie, sometimes that’s the best way to write a post. Write what needs to be said, and that’s long enough.
Over time things change. My first blog post was 50 words. Those 50 words took 2.5 hours to write. I know! Who knew these things took so long. The chances are this comment will be longer than my first blog post! You will change, and grow and so will your writing. Embrace it as part of the learning experience. As your audience grows you can adapt. Unlike print media, nothing online is set in stone 🙂
Having the Yoast plugin has definitely helped my post length and style (I like getting lots of green lights). I need to work on making sure my posts solve a problem in some way though.
Ho Keely, I think in your case the problem you solve is the perfect nail design. For women who are fashion conscious, the right nail design is important. Perhaps some posts on designs for specific events? ie the 10 best wedding nails, or the 10 best Christmas nails. This time of year wedding and bridesmaids nails are going to be at the top of people’s minds.
“If you think your blog post is too short, ask yourself what problem does it solve? If it doesn’t solve a problem ask what message does it send? If it’s not sending the right message, then you might find your blog post is the wrong length.”
This is such great advice Sarah. I usually aim for my posts to be a minimum of 500 words but occasionally I get to the point really quickly and feel like it’s still valuable so will remember these words.
Blog post length is something I too struggle with so this piece is invaluable. I usually end up writing roughy 500 words and the longer posts are the ones with bullet points or lists! Thanks Sarah for this informative post.
I know we have an ideal client who we’re writing for, but I find that these clients may be at different stages too. So sometimes the length or style of blog post will need to attract a different ‘niche’ of the ideal client.
Useful reminder about what the problem the post is solving, or message it’s giving. I often just write what seems right without that focus. On reflection, with a little bit more thought, there’d be a better way of chunking & creating 2 or 3 posts from the one I’ve created.