When I hand over a new website to a customer and show them how to write a blog post the question I am asked the most is how long should my blog posts be? I worry about that question myself every time I sit down to post on my own website – I’m thinking about it now of course. And there it is – the problem. I’m worried about how long this post should be, whereas I should be 100% focused on how to help people be more successful online. And if this blog post helps it doesn’t matter if it is 100 words long or 2000 words. There’s that quotation isn’t there that says something like “quality over quantity”.
Of course, you might be thinking that what I’ve just said is a cop out – an excuse for writing short posts. Well it really isn’t. As you will see later, the data does support the case for longer blog posts. But I support the argument that it is better to write a post that gives value than a blog post that is as long as War and Peace but is only full of hot air.
But first of all let me give you some broad guidelines to consider about how many words you should write in your next blog post.
P.s. I’m not going to look at the word count for this post until I’ve finished writing – do you think I can do that? See if you can resist the next time you blog.
Anyway, Joost de Valk is the person behind one of the most popular WordPress SEO plugins, Yoast SEO. This plugin has a handy feature that let’s you know, as you are writing, how you are doing with optimising your post for the search engines. This plugin recommends that your post should be at least 300 words. And many people hit that 300 word mark and take their hands off the keyboard.
On the other hand, Neil Patel, one of the most successful bloggers, entrepreneurs and an online marketing experts, declares, after looking at the effectiveness of various length blog posts, that if you write a post of 2000 plus words you will get many more people reading it than a post of only 300 words. Patel’s conclusion goes further and says that the longer posts will also get more response from your audience than shorter posts (“I’m not going to check the word count”).
Now I can feel your pain. You, like me if I’m honest, are thinking that there’s no way you can write posts every week that are over 2000 words long. Well, I suspect that for most small businesses that would be a challenge – I like challenges though, do you?
If you know me at all you will know that I like facts. And for that reason I am thinking that there must be some value in producing (or paying a copywriter) evergreen content. I can think of many topics that I can write about that will be relevant in 6 months, 12 months or even 5 years time. So in these cases, writing a blog post that is closer to 2000 words that 300 words would give value to your audience and bring a return in your investment when your blog audience grows naturally online (“I’m still not going to check the word count”).
So what is the best strategy then? I would suggest that you write a collection of longer posts that are centred on your core services or products. Of course, longer doesn’t mean that you pad out the sentences until that word count reaches 2000. There is absolutely no point doing that because Google’s algorithm is sophisticated enough to spot waffle. And of course, your readers will know that you are rambling on too. Whether you sit down for a week and write all of your evergreen content or spread the writing over a longer period is up to you. You can write these longer posts in a batch and schedule them to be published weekly if you want.
So, does size matter? The data suggests that it does. In practice though you need a strategy for developing your evergreen content that you write once, and other than sharing on social media, you shouldn’t have to visit again for awhile. And then, intersperse these longer posts, with shorter posts that still help your readers.
So to answer the question – “how long should my blog post be” I would say it’s better to write something that is interesting and of value and about 500 words, rather than the alternative of writing nothing because you can’t face that 2000 word horizon.
However, I’ve now added a list in my blog planning tool called “Evergreen Content” – 2000 plus word blog posts that stand the test of time. Perhaps that is something you can think about too when you have a moment.
Can I look at the word count now please?