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How long should my blog posts be?

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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

Evidence from respected sources such as BuzzSumo, OkDork and Mark Schaefer suggests that longer content outperforms shorter content.

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.

Analysis of 50 blog posts on espirian.co.uk (June 2016 to June 2017)

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.

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.

How to get a free report on your blog’s performance

A manual analysis of your blog would take ages, so I’ve set up a service for creating a report on your blog’s performance over the past 12 months. Check it out:

Order a free blog performance report

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.

And if you want to know exactly how well your content has been performing, order a free performance report and see how the data stacks up.

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.

Thanks for reading,

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