Revisiting The Perfect Blog Post Length Dilemma

Blog Post LengthHow many times have you debated about the optimal length of a good blog post topic?

When I started out in 2006, I was more worried about finding the perfect length for SEO optimized articles rather than writing kick ass blog posts.

Beginners and sometimes even experienced bloggers are worried about the perfect blog post length. Recently when I sent out a guest post to a blogger, she came back to me with this reply “While I do like your guest post, I am a bit worried about the post length. It’s only 638 words long. Can you make it 1000 words and resend it?”

Well, I appreciate her reply but why are you asking me to clock a particular word length? Do you think it will add value only if it’s certain words long?

The Long Blog Post

Different people may have different opinion about what a long blog post is. But in this article I’ll refer to articles that are typically 1000 words or more as long blog posts.

Some people consider long posts as authoritative articles since they have a lot to say.

I agree that a complete, authentic piece of article would be fairly long, but the question is, how long?

Advantages of long posts

  • Appears to be well researched and authentic
  • Most likely to get links from other sites
  • People bookmark them since they can’t read it in one stretch. So you get traffic if they do it on delicious or other social media sites
  • You can bring in a lot of ideas into a single article
  • Your readers just need to refer one post rather than hunt for different posts within your site itself

That’s a lot of value if you ask me.

Disadvantages of long posts

  • Extremely time consuming and difficult to write
  • People don’t read the full article 99 % of the time. If you write the article with affiliate links here and there, it mostly won’t be seen at all
  • Too much information can confuse your readers
  • You may lose track of the focus of the article if it gets too long
  • When people bookmark it and read later, they do not get the intended flow and so the message is difficult to convey properly

Who uses long posts?

Well, the best example of long posts will be Steve Pavlina. You can also check out Glen from Viperchill.com who posts long, but quality articles. Most of the time, I do write long articles myself. My first article on Conversion Champ was 6000+ words!

The Short Blog Post

These are article typically less than thousand words long. I’m not sure if people will accept my theory of a 999 word article being a “short” blog post. However, let’s assume that number to be true.

Advantages for short posts

  • Convey a single idea effectively to your reader
  • Your reader does not get bored (Exceptions are there though)
  • Ability to create lot of content which means more articles for search engines to index
  • Better for SEO (Still a very debatable topic)
  • Good for affiliate linking
  • Easy to write a single short blog post

Disadvantages

  • Not seen as the “ultimate” post/authority post to refer to in case someone needs to learn about what you have to say
  • Readers might need to refer different articles to get all the information they require
  • Won’t get you many links from other blogs

Who uses short posts?

Seth Godin is the first person who comes to my mind when I think short posts. He’s famous for his short, but excellent articles.

The age old debate of post length continues

The post you want to write should not be based on certain number of words.

Make it as long as you want to be or as short as you want to be. Be flexible.

If you want to be consistent, then you will end up writing articles which are filled with fluff just to make up for the word count. Sometimes, you may have to limit your article length and cut out several ideas from your article.

Instead of counting words, write. Use a program like dark room (for Windows PC and is FREE) or writeroom (for Apple computers but paid) to write without distractions. It won’t give you word count. So you don’t worry about reaching your threshold.

If you still cannot decide, why not experiment? See how your readers respond to the articles. You’ll be amazed to see that quality articles, no matter how long or how short they are, are always valued more that ”X word articles”.

My Personal Experience

Over the past several years, the thing I have noticed is that a combination of short and long articles works best for your site.

Long article tends to gather the most links and lower number of comments while short articles tend to be more entertaining and likely to get more comments.

With the Google Panda update, sites with more content seem to be favored. So is long form content finally winning over short form content?

Over to You:

Am I wrong in assuming that blog posts need to be “as long as they need to be”? In your experience, which works best for you? Let me know in the comments.