Blog posts: how long is too long or too short?

blog posts,how long,blogging,writing,how many words,content marketing,inbound marketing

Short enough to be interesting
but long enough to cover
the subject matter…

How long or short should a blog post be? How long is a piece of string? Here are some reasonable thoughts on how to decide whether you should go for long blog posts or short ones.

This reminds me of the very old and very sexist joke where some notable or other is asked how long the perfect speech should be. The response? “Like a lady’s skirt: short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the subject matter.”

(For a list of the top 10 most helpful articles on blogging for business as chosen by our readers, click here)

I’ve been searching around the web recently to find out what the gurus think on this issue and surprise, surprise, opinions vary. On the one hand people say that blog posts of 200-300 words are about as much as people want to read these days, given the vast information overload that the web dumps upon us every day.
At the same time, we’re told that Google values much longer posts because they want to condone in-depth information quality, and stack such posts up higher into the pop charts.

So how long should your blog posts be?

As you know – and thank Heavens for it – Google these days is more focused on quality rather than cr*p bristling with keywords. Google is also becoming very much more friendly towards blogs and blog posts that provide useful, genuine information for their readerships, irrespective of length.

Consequently my advice is to write to a length that a) works for the messages you want to convey and b) is about right for the time you believe your readers want to spend reading your posts.

If you want to debate the issue…

Here’s a cute infographic produced by the delightful Fairy BlogMother, which outlines the pros and cons quite nicely…

Long or short - which is better for writing blog posts?

Alice’s further advice…

Here is Alice’s article where she shares her views on the right length for blog posts. I admire what she says. Do you?

blog,writing,news,blogging,business,Suzan St Maur,howtowritebetter.net,how to write betterBear in mind that this is a very short blog post for HTWB. How does that grab you?

And please share your thoughts on what you feel is the right length of blog post for you.

photo credit: TGlamorpuss Photo via photopin cc

Comments

comments

Thoughts

  1. Some of the discussion from Facebook …

    Gareth Sear: I think it should be a mix of long and short but always focused on your target customers to help with their needs. Make sure it forms part of your overall content strategy. Words and pictures, q and a, white papers, info graphics, video. Rich content.

    Suzan St Maur: I think you’re right, Gareth. Variety is the spice of life and all that. I really think Google are being naive in a way, to encourage people to write lengthy posts when the vast majority of readers just haven’t got the time to read them. Would you agree with that?

    Stephen Bray: Google’s problem is that they’re fighting an uphill battle to ensure searchers get to quality content. They know that fly by night types are more likely to write less than those with real knowledge. The problem is, however, that good writers with real knowledge can say more with less words

    Suzan St Maur: Good point, Stephen. My own feeling is that you should be guided by a) what your readers want and have time for, and b) the nature of the blog’s topic. A longer blog will keep readers’ attention if it’s both interesting and visually varied, using images, video, etc. as Gareth has suggested.

Trackbacks

  1. […] In this blog post, Suzan really does a great job in bringing to lights some of the good and bad qualities of writing long blog posts vs. writing short blog posts. […]

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