Since the majority of customers find a new business through the internet, it’s important to rule the search engine rankings. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to establish credibility with search engines and boost organic engagement. About 80% of content marketers still consider blogging to be a successful driver of internet traffic, even as other forms of content come and go.
As a content writer, businesses of all sizes depend on your writing skills. But what are the rules when it comes to blogging? How long should a blog post be for the best results? In this post, we answer these burning questions.
5 Factors To Consider for the Ideal Blog Post Length
Blog post length, average word count, and other metrics vary based on industry, intent, and other factors. The short answer is that there's no one-size-fits-all approach. You can determine the best length for blog posts by considering the following factors.
Focus on Quality of Content Over Quantity
When 56% of consumers report they’ve made a purchase after reading a company’s blog, you have good reason to pay attention to quality. For the best blog post writing, make sure to offer high-quality, valuable content to your readers.
High-quality content draws the right audience to your website. It’s more engaging and helps you build rapport with potential customers. Consider these benefits of writing high-quality content:
- Users will stay on your website longer.
- Users are more likely to share the post, increasing your website traffic.
- You generate more backlinks as others use your blog post as a resource.
- Quality content ranks higher in search engines.
While you can generate 500-word blog posts more quickly and frequently, you may want to consider creating fewer posts with a higher word count and more in-depth information.
Consider the Depth of the Subject Matter
Some topics need more in-depth information than others. If you’re working for clients in a field dealing with complex issues and subject matter, you may need to write long articles to educate and engage the audience. Your audience will likely find a long-form piece that delves deeply into a topic more useful than a short article that merely scratches the surface without any clarifying information.
For example, if your client specializes in tax accounting for small businesses, their readers may need help understanding the various tax issues, loopholes, regulations, and more. In this case, you could write a 3,000-word blog post addressing relevant changes to the tax code in the next year and how they impact your client's audience. Or you might write a shorter post about the benefits of good tax software.
Take Search Engine Optimization Into Consideration
A blog post should be at least 300 words to show up in search engine rankings. However, websites are ranked more by authority than by word count. Posting a number of high-quality blog posts will help establish your site or your client’s site as a high-authority result for various search rankings. Instead of stressing over word count, aim to create informative content that resonates with your target audience.
However, note that the average blog post length of first-page Google search results ranges from about 1,400 to 1,500 words.
Understand the User Intent Behind Their Search
User intent helps determine how long should a blog be. The ideal word count for your posts will vary based on what your readers are looking for. If your readers need a quick answer to an easy question, for example, you can write a shorter post.
But if they are looking for in-depth information, such as a how-to guide, the perfect blog post length will likely be longer. Before you start writing, consider what your audience is looking for and craft a post that speaks to their interest.
Consider Evergreen Content vs. Timely Content
Evergreen content refers to topics that will be relevant for a long time. Timely content is more specific and focused on current events. You may be tempted to look through the day’s trending topics and tie your blog posts into the news to maximize your social shares.
But evergreen content stays relevant to your audience for a longer period of time. It has the potential to trend for the long term, driving readers to your blog again and again. This type of content offers broader reach as more people are likely to share it or backlink it in their own blogs, increasing your organic reach.
5 Types of Content and Their Average Word Count
Now that you’re convinced that you should be writing high-quality content, you may be stuck on where to start. Here are some common types of content and their average length.
Lists offer a great way to present information, comparing and contrasting multiple items. Numbered lists are clean and easy to read, offering a clear breakdown of your points. You can use them to write a step-by-step guide or offer the top features of a product.
You may also use numbered lists to compare a client's product to those of competitors, highlighting the features that make the product stand out. Or you can shift away from marketing and create fun seasonal lists that engage your audience. Numbered lists are usually about 2,500 words long.
If you’re exploring a topic in-depth, aim for a longer article. In-depth guides help establish your credibility in your readers’ minds. They are also good for generating leads because you can use them to educate your audience and address how your client's business can meet their needs.
When written well, these posts can improve a website’s ranking factor as a relevant answer to a query. Make sure to include relevant keywords and do more research than you would for a shorter post. This type of post should showcase your knowledge and skill, so take the time to research your topic. The average in-depth guide is about 2,500 words.
How-To Blog Posts
You can write how-to blog posts for multiple topics. If your client sells complex products or services, a how-to guide can serve as a tutorial to walk customers through the process of using them. Beyond serving as a user manual for your audience, how-to blog posts can also be engaging.
For example, if you're writing a blog post to drive web traffic for a client that runs a coffee shop, you might consider the following how-to posts:
- How to come up with new drink recipes
- The step-by-step guide to making cold brew
- How to choose the best coffee beans
Like in-depth guides, how-to posts tend to be longer, averaging 1,500 to 2,000 words.
Whether you’re writing blog content for your personal blog or a business, product reviews remain a popular topic. If you’re blogging for a company, consider partnering with a related business and reviewing their products on the company blog.
Starting a personal blog? Reviewing products is a great way to establish your credibility and share your experiences with your readers. Readers are more likely to trust an online review than an advertisement. If you build a bigger following, you might have brands approaching you for product reviews — just make sure you disclose which posts are sponsored.
Aim for about 1,000 words per product review.
Likely inspired by the op-eds of classic newspapers and magazines, opinion-based blog posts allow you to share your spin on any topic. If you’re writing for a coffee shop, you might consider light-hearted opinion posts on the best and worst seasonal flavors.
Or you could use your blog as a chance to share your take on fair trade and other industry practices. Opinion pieces average about 800 words. Keep it short.
Long-Form Content vs. Short-Form Content
Short-form content usually refers to any blog post with fewer than 1,000 words. But it may also refer to other types of content, such as social media posts, product descriptions, and other copy on your website. Long-form content refers to blog posts longer than 1,000 words, but it can also refer to white papers, case studies, or e-books.
Long-form content allows you to go in-depth, covering topics from various angles and adding as much detail as possible. It's good for building your brand, establishing your authority, and creating a relationship with your audience.
However, your target audience may not have the time to read a 2,500-word blog post in depth. For this reason, you can use short-form content to share the most important facts and reel in new audience members. You will likely use a blend of long-form and short-form content on your blog.
You may write 2,500-word blog posts to provide your readers with insights, but you could supplement that post with a snippet on social media containing the highlights. Your short post would be the attention grabber that piques a reader’s interest so they could come back and read the article in its longer form.
But some people don’t want to read long articles. For them, a simple synopsis on social media or your website may be enough to entice them to share your piece in its entirety.
Your reader’s needs also depend on where they are on their journey. Readers at the beginning stages of the customer journey may not know about the company you're writing for. They may not even have a clear understanding of their needs.
Long-form content allows you to engage these readers and answer their questions in depth. You can highlight the benefits a company offers to its customers and help them understand why it's the best brand available to meet their needs.
On the other hand, customers at the end of their journey may already know about a company. They have likely done a lot of research on the company and its competitors and are looking for a nudge to buy. In these cases, short-form content such as tip sheets or an outline of product features may be enough.
To determine the best length for a blog post, consider your overall goals for the post and the user’s intent.
Key Takeaways: Does an Optimal Blog Post Length Actually Exist?
In conclusion, the answer to “How long is a blog post?” is a resounding, “it depends.” For your blog, the optimal length could be 750 words for one topic and 3,500 for another. Before sitting down to write, consider asking yourself, “How long does it take to write a blog post?” which means that you shouldn’t tackle a complex topic unless you have time to do some research and really answer the topic in depth.
Instead of trying to stick to a specific word count, aim to write high-quality content that engages and entertains your readers. You want to create value and keep people coming back for more. Trying to stick to a specific blog post length can easily lead to writing content with a lot of fluff and filler that isn’t relevant to your readers.
In general, long-form content results in more social shares. But nobody is going to share a 2,500-word post if it’s boring. Instead of aiming for the most words, take some time to find your voice and establish your writing style.
Think about the topics that are most relevant to your readers and start creating short-form and long-form content that appeals to their needs. After some time, your analytics will show you which topics and blog posts are most successful with your audience. You will eventually hit a sweet spot.
Strike a balance in your blog writing that speaks to both potential customers who may not have heard of a business and loyal customers to the brand.
Apply To Be a Writer With Compose.ly Today
Instead of trying to determine the ideal blog length every time you create a post, write for Compose.ly and let the clients decide it for you. Our blog writing services allow our skilled writers to write about a variety of short- and long-form content for multiple clients.
You don’t have to plan for a topic or a length. Simply become familiar with your clients and their goals and write great posts that appeal to their readers.
If you’re a great writer, apply today.