📚 This post is part of my business blogging guide.
How many words do you need to produce a good blog post? How can you tell what’s the right length for your blog?
I’ve been blogging regularly since the end of 2015, and I wanted to know what length of post was best to aim for to that my articles could have the maximum impact. I like taking action based on evidence, so I did some digging. Here’s what I found out.
- Long blogs tend to perform better than short ones
- The 2000–3000 word sweetspot
- Is there one right blog length for everyone?
- Should I make my short blogs longer?
- How do I check the length of a blog post?
- How to find the best length for blog posts on your site
- Let’s wrap up
Long blogs tend to perform better than short ones
Analysis of 1343 B2B blogging articles 2017–2018:
✅ Long posts (3000+ words) get the most engagement
✅ Twitter users are most likely to tweet articles that are 1000–2000 words
✅ Reddit users don't engage with content shorter than 2000 words#blogging via @buzzsumo pic.twitter.com/ODOKe6aVnY
— John Espirian (@espirian) June 26, 2018
This is quite a blow to those who claim that attention spans are getting shorter. I think the truth is that people are just quicker at spotting poor content. When they find something good and interesting and relevant, they’ll stick around.
The 2000–3000 word sweetspot
I wanted to gather my own stats so I decided to analyse the last 12 months of data from my blog.
From June 2016 to June 2017, I published 50 articles.
The results of my analysis show that my posts that are 2000–3000 words long outperform everything else I produce, and are shared 3 times more than my shortest pieces.
Here are my stats for shares on social media, which is a good indicator of the popularity and value of the content.
This doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to rush off and make sure everything I publish is 2000–3000 words long, though. If I can get my point across in 1000 words, it would be stupid to add another 1000+ words of filler just to make up the numbers.
The golden rule here should be that you write as much as you need to – and no more.
Is there one right blog length for everyone?
I don’t think so. The prevailing wisdom is that longer blogs perform better, and I would generally go along with that. But if you look back at my graph above, you’ll see there’s a category for superlong posts of 3000–10000 words long. These posts aren’t as well shared as my 2000–3000-word posts.
Even though 2000–3000-word posts seem to perform best for me, that’s no guarantee that the same will be true for other bloggers.
For example, a 500-word blog post that contains a lot of video or infographics would be considered short in terms of word count, but it might pack in enough value to perform very well.
Should I make my short blogs longer?
Only if you have more useful information to add. If you’ve written everything you wanted to get across, your content is probably fine as it is.
Longer blogs tend to perform well in Google search rankings because they rank for more keywords and offer more comprehensive responses to people’s questions. But that doesn’t mean that short content is bad or useless.
Give me a short blog that answers my question and I’ll take that any day over a long rambling one where I have to go hunting for the info I want.
How do I check the length of a blog post?
It’s easy to see how many words you’re writing when you use a word processor (MS Word and other programs keep a running counter at the bottom of the document), but what about when the content is published on your website? How do you check how many words are on any given page?
Good news: there’s a free tool called Web Page Word Counter that does the job.
How to find the best length for blog posts on your site
I think the only way to know what truly works is to analyse your own blog performance and to use that data to understand what your audience prefer.
To gather more data, you could poll your mailing list subscribers to ask for their thoughts on the best blog length. But that assumes you have a mailing list (many bloggers don’t) and that any answers would correlate with actual behaviour in the real world.
Let’s wrap up
I’ve found that 2000–3000-word posts seem to work best on my blog, but that doesn’t mean that this will be the case for your blog.
All the evidence I’ve found suggests that longer blogs seem to perform best, so bear that in mind if you’re writing short blogs that aren’t receiving much attention.
How long are your blogs? Are you happy with how they’re performing? And are you thinking about making them longer (or shorter)? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
Continue the business blogging guide
This post is part of my definitive business blogging guide.
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Who wrote this?
John Espirian – the relentlessly helpful technical copywriter
I write B2B web content, blogs, user guides and case studies – all aimed at explaining how your products, services and processes work. I also offer LinkedIn profile critiquing and rewriting.
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- What Is The Ideal Blog Post Length? – by Natalie Hailey