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Revisiting The Perfect Blog Post Length Dilemma

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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.

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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.



By

Adarsh Thampy is an entrepreneur, passionate content marketer and blogs at the content marketing blog. You can also follow him on Twitter @conversionchamp

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    19 Comments

    • Shubham Gupta

      Hi Adarsh, 1000+ words article may contain a good amount of information of the topic you are writing but readers can feel bored to see the length of the article. 1000+ words article is highly desirable by most of the bloggers but only on blogging niche. And not on Technology of android. You explained every point well and I must say that 600-700 is the perfect length/perfect of a good article.Thanks

    • Danica Green | Paper Shopping Bags

      From a reader's perspective, I think the length of a blog post doesn't matter as long as the blogger was able to deliver the message that they want to tell the readers.

    • Kyle Kam

      I'm not usually amazed or convinced when a blog post is long or contains 1000+ words. My basis for a perfect blog post depends on its content. If the post contains originality and quality information, I'll consider it as a great blog post.

    • JamesW

      Great post, personally I like short blog posts, and I must admit that I almost skipped some parts of this blog post of yours but I didn't. 🙂
      If blog post can be short and explain the topic well then it's the best solution.

    • Ricky Nair

      This is actually tough discussion. The perfect blog post length is very difficult to understand because if you write a short one its not seo-friendly and if you go for a lengthy one then it might not get read fully.

      I think the best way to look into this matter is to write quality post without worrying about the length of the post…

    • Bhupendra

      Hi Adarsh,
      Nice post on Blog Post Length, Yes it true that short post is good for SEO but i think some time short post never gives reader satisfaction.In my opinion normal post must have more than 500 words

      • Adarsh Thampy

        Bhupendra,

        Short posts are no longer good for SEO. At least after the panda updates. There are exceptions though. But info packed content will win all the way.

    • Plaban

      I think articles should not cross 1000+ limit. Visitors usually skip long posts. After Google panda updates blogs with short and low quality posts got affected most. So I think most of the articles should range between 500-1000 words.

      • Adarsh Thampy

        I am not sure about any numbers. I am strong believer of "posts should be as long as it needs to be. Nothing more, nothing less".

        But, each person is different. So expect different opinions!

    • Eapen

      Nice article Adarsh! A comprehensive article has to be long (without those fluff or fillers), no doubt about it! But you can also make it a compact one if you know how to structure the sentences in a shorter way. From my personal experience a 1000+ worded article cannot be categorized as a long one. That's the ideal length to effectively communicate an idea to ones audience, provided you structure it with sub-headings and bullet points. And less than 500 words would be too short.

      But no matter what length a post is, it must be informative, engaging and interesting to read. As per my opinion the ideal length for a post is anywhere between 750 to 1000 words. But it differs from person to person, the way he uses the wordings and sentence structure.

      Size does matters!

      • Adarsh Thampy

        Eapen,

        I have to disagree with you somewhat on "1000+ worded article cannot be categorized as a long one" and "less than 500 words would be too short".

        Some ideas can just be said better in 100 words rather than taking 500+ words. A lot of people successfully do this as well.

        But you are spot on when you say "But no matter what length a post is, it must be informative, engaging and interesting to read." That's the whole idea. Make it as long or as short as you want, but make it interesting and convey the whole message.

        Thanks for chiming in!

        • Eapen

          As I said it is totally my view on article length. It might be a different case with others 🙂 But I really don't think you can convey anything effectively and comprehensively in 100 words, unless it's an article title. Can you give me an example of that. And one can convey an idea in a 500 worded article, by summarizing the points, that's why i call it short, which i don't think would be as effective as a longer article which is 2000 or 3000 words long.

          • Adarsh Thampy

            Seth Godins blog is a perfect example of how to do short, yet effective posts!

            • Eapen

              But not everyone can be Seth Godin or Jay Abraham or Dr.Mani or Mark Joyner 🙁 They are legends!

              • Adarsh Thampy

                True.

                But it works for them. So it should technically work for others as well if they do it right.

                But then again, what guarantee is there that it will work constantly if you write 5000+ words for each post? 🙂

                The best thing to do is just write as much as we need to!

      • Constantin Druc

        Size doesn't matter as long as you write what I want to know. I don't need any poems, I want informations.

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