How Long Should Your Blog Posts Be?

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How many words should be in the ideal blog post? How long should a blog post be? These are questions I’m frequently asked and while the temptation is there to say ‘How long is a piece of string?’ or ‘As long as it needs to be’, that isn’t particularly helpful. Do you find yourself looking at what you’ve written and wondering if it is too concise or too wordy?

Remember it can be harder to write a short post than a long one but for the reader, the more the post is to the point, the easier to extract the information required.  I admit I tend to be somewhat wordy and being asked to submit an article that is 100 or 200 words long is always a challenge – I’d much prefer to write 500 words!

When I am creating content for a client’s blog, I tend to tell them that the average word length of each post will be 400 words. That doesn’t mean that I try to add on another hundred words to a post that is 300 words or cut down a 600 word post.  The post is as long or as short as it need to be but I have found that 400 words works well as an average.

Lists or ‘How to’ blog posts work well as short posts and help to condense the information. However, if you need to go into detail to explain something, then detailed paragraphs might be required under each sub-heading.

Long posts require techniques to keep the reader interested.  Remember, people don’t read blog posts, they tend to scan them so asking them to sit down and really engage with a long post can be a big ask. There fore, the content has to be strong and compelling. If your posts are usually 250-600 words and you’ve written a mammoth 1500-2500 post, then informing your regular readers of its length will prepare them and they won’t abandon it after 800 words. You can be jovial and suggest they pour themselves a cup of tea before they get started, for example. If they like your content, they will bookmark it to read later if they don’t have the time at that moment.

How To Keep Attention in Longer Posts:

  • Use the headline and the first paragraph to entice them to read more and to answer the question ‘What is in it for me?’. What information will you provide that they need?
  • Use subheadings to break up the text into relevant sections
  • Use images to give the eyes something visual to rest on for a moment. Images will also hook the reader to keep going.
  • Break up the text by highlighting important words or phrases
What is your experience from reading blog posts? Do you prefer long or short posts? My posts this week have varied considerably in length with the Public Speaking post being very long. I could have edited it considerably but deliberately left it with a more chatty, conversational tone as I wanted to impart the atmosphere of the event and the quality of the speakers I had observed.
Incidentally – this post has 519 words and the Public Speaking one totals at 1972 words  :)
Image: Free Digital Photos
Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Blogs, For Beginners, How to Blog
  • Donna OShaughnessy

    Excellent post Lorna about posts. You nailed it ! I will never read a long post on a blog with no paragraphs, no photos. I expect that if I am going to take the time to read it ,they best take the time to do it well. Your posts…I always read.

    • Lorna

      Thank you Donna, what a lovely compliment to wake up to on a Friday morning. I didn’t realise you were reading this blog too as well as IF :) Hope you have a lovely weekend, Lorna

  • Brendan Cullen

    “Remember, people don’t read blog posts” ?

    • Lorna

      Hi Brendan, yes, they tend to scan, particularly those who would look at many posts in a day. If something is particularly good or insightful or they want to learn from it, they will slow down and ‘read’ it. I’d argue I only ‘read’ posts that have instructions I need to follow, otherwise it is scan it quickly to get the gist of it and to enjoy it.

      • Brendan Cullen

        I decide based on the title whether or not to read the blog. If I do decide to, and If its body then doesn’t engage me, I stop. I never scan. That makes me a minority?

        • Lorna

          I agree, the headline and first paragraph are what make me decide whether to continue too. I’m not sure if you are in a minority or not :) I tend to read books and articles quite quickly so maybe I scan them too! Many website designers and those working in social media etc would agree though that most people tend to scan rather than read anything on their laptops.

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