If you own a blog, and regularly update it, I’m sure you follow the advice most people give: to provide content that is valuable and relevant to your readers, right?
You don’t want to simply update for the sake of updating.
You need to use your blog posts to provide people with value, so they won’t turn around and leave.
You need to build a relationship with the people following you.
Funny though, how nobody ever talks about how long or short an optimum blog post should be.
Other blogs won’t help. Different people will create blog posts of different lengths. You’ll see some bloggers with blog posts of around 250-500 words per post, and others with posts of over 1000 words.
So what’s the optimum length for a post, then?
Which is better for your readers?
Long or short?
Well, while longer posts can provide you with more detailed information and help stimulate discussion and debates on a topic, shorter posts can also be good and just as informative.
There are a few things you should consider when it comes to post length:
1. Attention Span
The typical web surfer has a pretty short attention span when it comes to reading online content.
Studies have shown that the average blog readers only stay on a blog for about 96 seconds.
Also, if the post if too long, readers tend to “scan”, looking for the main points and highlights of the post.
That’s why most bloggers keep their posts readable by using bulleted points and numbered lists.
Like my blog posts. Like this post you’re reading right now.
2. Comprehensive Coverage
The best advice I ever received when it comes to blog posts was this:-
“Write just enough to comprehensively cover your topic, then stop.”
Long blog posts just for the sake of it are not a good idea – your readers will know when you know what you’re writing about, and when you’re writing bullshit in an attempt to sound smart.
On the other hand, if you write a short post, you run the risk of not covering everything you need to – there might not be enough information in a short post to satisfy your readers.
The longer the length of a post, the more time you need to put into writing it.
You may not have the time to consistently write long blog posts every single week.
If so, shorter blog posts are fine.
Also, if your posts are shorter, you get the chance to post more often, which can help to keep your readers interested and encourage them to stick around.
On the other hand, some readers don’t check your blog every day.
They may be busy with their own things, so they might only check once every week or every few weeks.
If so, it would be a bit of a turn-off for them to check in and see that you have a bunch of posts waiting for them. You don’t want to lose your readers.
Sometimes, the topic of your post will determine post length.
Like if you’re writing a product review, you might write a longer post than if you were writing an informative post, like this one.
If you know more about a topic, you might be tempted to write more as well.
Of course, you might also be tempted to wander away from your topic, instead of maintaining a tight focus, but don’t. Your readers will thank you for staying on track.
5. Quantity of posts
One theory is that if you write shorter posts, then you can write more posts.
Having more posts is good for generating readership with RSS and getting a better search engine ranking.
So in conclusion, the length of your blog posts is really up to you.
If you can write a short but comprehensive post, then do so.
If you feel you have a lot of value to share, and need to write around 1000 words, then you can do that, too.
At the end of the day, it’s still about delivering value to your readers, so long or short, the length of your posts is up to you.