Hello blogger. OMG! This is probably the single most asked question I see in all sorts of blogging/content-based Facebook groups all over.
“How long should a blog post be? How many words should I write?”
Here’s a precise answer for you.
Your post length should be precisely long enough to thoroughly answer the reason your target audience is reading your page, based on the topic and purpose of your post.
It could be 800 words. It could be 6,000 words! The sweet spot is that place right where you’ve written enough to thoroughly connect the dots for your reader.
The magic number necessary to give the reader, who likely landed on your site through social media or organic search, the feeling they got exactly what they clicked for.
But there is more to the story isn’t there? You know it, deep down. You can feel it. The answer can’t possibly be that simple.
If you do even a little research you’ll find statistics out there like this:
- According to their findings, 3,000 – 10,000-word content gets the most shares. (neilpatel.com)
- Crazy Egg saw its homepage conversion rate increase by more than 30 percent with the use of long-form content. (constant-content.com)
- According to numerous studies over the last ten years, Google’s algorithm prefers more content when going head to head on shorter content posts helping blog posts with over 1,000 words do better on average and driving up the average significantly. (hookagency.com)
- HubSpot took this information and figured out that according to the average reading speed of native English-speaking adults of 300 words per minute, this means that the ideal blog post length is 2,100 words. (blogtyrant.com)
Well, well… it’s clear what data says. Create long posts.
Is that really what people want?
Here’s the catch-22, when you ask people what they want I guarantee you they say short posts. They’re tired of the long posts that are long just because the data says to create long posts — even if the intent/purpose of the post doesn’t warrant it.
Do you hear that? They’re tired of it. They don’t want to read it (oddly enough they do want to listen/watch it though).
They want the answer immediately so they can read just the 20% necessary to get what they came for.
What is your post about? What is the intent?
This is where you can guess what I am going to say next. What are you writing for? Are you a blogger just looking to write because you have a train of thought you want to get out? Are you a marketer who needs to build an audience for sales? Maybe brand awareness?
Content Marketing (2,500+)
If you are doing content marketing because you need a top-of-funnel audience (hopefully with a low bounce rate) that will come to your site from a search term in Google — then you’ve got your work cut out for you.
You likely have competition (or you will if you become successful). You’re going head-to-head with the world. It’s on your back. Be ready for the blood, sweat, and tears. You need to work really hard and never stop — especially when you’re in that “ghost town” phase where nobody is reading anything you’re writing.
You absolutely must build those content creation muscles and an interesting writing style to grab attention — then do it over and over (hundreds, or thousands of times).
According to Neil Patel, there’s a lot of words you have to write almost every time you create (plus all the “wonderful” keyword research that comes with the job).
However, their findings were a bit different and found that just over 2,450 words were the sweet spot. (neilpatel.com)
And then you have search engine optimization to worry about. It’s literally a full-time workload you have to figure out how to condense into a couple of hours if you’re soloing it. But it could be worth it in a lucrative field.
Your posts will have to be long enough to beat the competition (but you also need to be writing for your reader). This is a fine art to nail just right. I wish you luck!
Blogging just be a blogger (1+)
Actually, you have it good. If you are blogging to share a journal of your day, or as a way to improve your writing perhaps — you get to write just to write.
No pressure to win. Your competition is yourself.
You probably don’t even care about the search engine results page (SERPs for all the cool kids). You don’t need SEO cheat sheets — and you may not even care about the user experience.
The words are your experience. Writing purity.
Your posts can be as long or as short as you want.
Something in-between (800-2,000+)
Here’s where I think you are. You’re not the elite content marketer playing around with the highest competition keywords.
You have something important to share, or maybe you’re teaching/sharing your knowledge to build your own personal brand awareness.
You also have aspirations of perhaps someday the content you create now earns enough you could do make it your day job and fulfill your dreams of working for yourself.
You might wake up with cold sweats from the nightmare of keyword research, search engine optimization, and user experience — and all the work that goes into that.
But your life doesn’t depend on it like a content marketer’s might. So you can relax a little. Maybe write a little less, but still very, very focused nonetheless.
I mean, you can’t totally slack otherwise you end up writing forever and not growing enough to eventually earn decent revenue from all your hard work. And that sucks.
While you don’t get to be as laid-back as a regular blogger sharing their thoughts, you do have more breathing room to spend your time on other aspects of a winning website (design, performance, etc) — and, ugh, spend time on social media.
Your posts will likely land somewhere between 800-2,500 words depending on the topic and target audience.
But there’s more to a “great post” isn’t there?
More Than Just Your Words
Of course, just sitting down and belting out hundreds or thousands of words won’t usually be enough. Though, again, this depends on the topic.
But chances are you should add some formatting and other things like:
- Original research
And so on. You get the point. More than just your words, a great post will engage your reader specific to the given topic.
But you know what that means. More work. It means you aren’t done when the writing is done.
Sorry, did someone say being successful writing posts online was easy? Maybe it’s easy to impress your social media friends, but as GaryVee would say “the market doesn’t care about your feelings.”
But Requiring More is a Good Thing
I get it. After a grueling 2,500 words articulated writing session the last thing you want to do is flip on the mic and record. Or the camera. Or craft images, gather statistics… it’s a painful endurance challenge sometimes.
But that’s what makes it so rewarding.
If you can muster the strength to push through and do it all, consistently, while continuously improving over time — you’re going to be the winner.
You’re in the 20% who can do this. Your sphere of competition is smaller. Shoot, even if you’re in the last place of the 20% you’re still beating 80% of the others who try.
Yep. You betcha it’s hard work. But at least it rewards those who persevere.
In this guide, I explained word length for the magical posts you’re creating. I think you can tell the answer is a bit of a grey area. In some niches, you can probably write less and still win.
But when you move up into more and more competitive niches, the workload increases, the word count begins to tick upward quickly.
It all depends on what you want, the topic, and what your audience expects.
Adapt to that, be consistent, never give up, and you’ll likely come out the other side successful. And even if your website doesn’t bring in riches, the creative muscles you built will be the trophy you can bring to your next try.
That said, let me leave you with a couple more statistics just for good measure.
- According to Hubspot, companies who published more than 16 posts per month, saw traffic increase 3.5x more than those who only published up to 4 posts per month. (blog.strategic-ic.co.uk)
- Especially when you consider that over 91 percent of content gets no traffic from Google. (seocopywriting.com)
Good luck and take care!