When working with clients we get asked a lot of questions about blogging and one of the most common is “how long is a blog post supposed to be?” or “how much should I write?”
And I’m going to give you some good news here and say: ‘it depends’.
OK, so that sounds like a bit of a politicians answer but there really is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to how many words go into a blog. You simply write as much as you can as often as you can.
The key is to be consistent. If you can only do one post a week, make sure you write one post a week. If in the time you allocate to blogging you can get to around 300 words then make sure you write around 300 words each time.
But there are other considerations too, such as how technical the post is, how long it takes to get to the point or main message, whether you can include key words in the post (more on that in a minute) and so on.
So let’s try and address some of those:
If you’re in a technical industry then it may take at least a few hundred words to get a message across along with supporting information. If your target audience is used to that then you should have no problem with writing longer posts.
If the message a complex one then it may take you longer to explain what you mean. Again, if your audience is used to it then that’s OK.
And what about key words or key phrases? Well key words/phrases are terms that you’d like the search engines to pick out of the post and give the post a listing for. It’s important to try and include these key terms as much as you can while keeping the language natural and grammar good.
This post has been written with the key phrase ‘how long is a blog post’ in mind (OK, so I cheated by including it again just there). But you’ll find it included in other places in the post. Google’s robots will take a look at the text on the page, calculate which phrases happen frequently, examine the context that surrounds the phrases and then give the page a ranking as it sees fit.
So, so hopefully you’ve got that but let me throw something else into the mix: Can your post be too long?
The short answer is ‘no’. But that comes with a caveat: your post has to be engaging and interesting if it’s going to be long. You need to make sure it’s easy to read and understand if you’re writing long posts. (Have a look at our post on ‘Why you should write in plain English‘ for more thoughts on this.)
However, there is a way round it: you should look for a way to break the post down into 2 or more separate posts. You can write the whole piece, break it down into smaller chunks and then publish them as a series spread across several days.
Now, you might be thinking “that’s great but is there an overall rule of thumb for blog post length?”
The answer again is ‘no’. If you write daily then you can write short posts. See Seth Godin’s blog as an example. Seth is a successful businessman and blogger and writes almost every day. Sometimes he writes short posts and sometimes they’re long. But they always aim to make a point. Seth obviously sees blogging as important and makes the time for it each day.
The influential blog writer Chris Brogan writes less frequently but writes fairly long posts.
From our point of view we aim to write posts with a minimum of 350 words. Anything above 800 (ish) words and we look to split it into two posts. This post will be just over 700 words.
So the answer to the question ‘How long is a blog post meant to be?’ it’s all down to how important blogging is to you and how much time you choose to dedicate.
Hopefully that helps with your blogging efforts. If you write a blog on your business page then let us know about it in the comments below.