Blog Posts – How Long (Or Short) Should They Be?
Many people are now blogging on the Internet, and have been doing for many years. At one time, having your own space on the Internet was the reserve of multi million pound corporations or enthusiastic IT professionals. Even when web hosting became more accessible and affordable, the issue that not everyone could program a website was still the overriding factor. However, when blogging platforms took off, scores of companies ready to host them sprung up and have them set up for you with no technical knowledge required.
Nowadays, blogs can be installed with a few clicks from most web hosting providers by using auto installers such as Fantastico De Luxe or Softaculous – which are either provided as standard or available for an additional add on fee for month (just to throw in some shameless advertising 😉 – DPS Computing’s Linux web hosting packages include Softaculous 100% free of charge!).
And for as long as blogs have been around there has been a number of questions floating around based on a common theme – how long do my blog posts have to be? How short a blog post can I get away with? Is it better to write a long blog post or a short blog post? Is it better to post many short blog posts per day versus one large blog post a day? Basically, all the questions boiling down to the issue of length – blog length that is!
Considering this question has been around a while, some might consider it strange that there has yet to be a definitive answer to it. The reason why there isn’t a definitive, universally agreed upon answer? Well that’s because its a very hard question to answer – and it all probability far too generic.
We’ll try to cover these questions and our answers followed by the justification of our answers. Of course there will be people and pages that agree with us, and those that have an alternative view. As has already been said, there isn’t a truly definitive answer. However, we’ve based our answers on fact and knowledge, so you won’t go too far wrong by taking them into consideration when asking yourself questions about the length of your blog posts.
How long do my blog posts have to be?
Well, quite simply they don’t have to be any particular length. There’s no rules set in stone about the length of blog posts. Perhaps a better question to ask would be ‘how long should my blog posts be?’. And the answer to this one isn’t easy.
Our best advice is your blog posts should be as long as they need to be. We know what you’re thinking now – ‘very helpful indeed!’ ;). But hold on a sec, it’s more helpful than you may first realise. What we mean by this answer is that you shouldn’t, for example, start a blog post and think ‘this blog post needs to be 465 words long’.
Once you’ve decided on a topic to blog about – and you’ve decided it is a) worthy of blogging about and b) in keeping with the topics and themes of your blog – you should go ahead a right a concise yet informative article. Go into detail, while remaining concise. Put yourself in your visitors shoes. Read the article back to yourself at the end. If you were the one asking a question about the topic of your blog post would you understand the answers given in your article?
At the end of writing your blog post, sure you’ll have a word count. Is it all that important. Well not from the ‘my blog post needs x words in it’ point of view. The one thing to consider relating to word count is, is the blog post that you are writing ‘blog-worthy’ (by the way, if ‘blog-worthy’ hasn’t been coined yet, we are duly coining it here – with all appropriate references to be made to this article in the future blog-worthy Wikipedia entries! ;)).
What do we mean by blog-worthy and how does it relate to word count. Well, if you’re word count is really low (we’re talking 50-150 words – if it’s not even 50 words its definitely not blog-worthy – I mean, come on, 50 words is barely a sentence!!) you need to ask yourself a couple of questions:
1. Is the topic viable? In other words, is the topic notable enough that it deserves your time and effort creating it? Should it be part of another, more general blog post?
2. Is your knowledge of the topic sufficient to right a blog post that is worth reading?
Usually if you’ve got a really low word count, one of these two things are the culprit. Unviable topic or insufficient knowledge. Either way, it’s a good idea to abandon blog post now! Or broaden the topic, or conduct some more research (as appropriate).
How short a blog post can I get away with?
Well. You can ‘get away with’ a blog post of 1 word. It all depends on your definition of ‘get away with’. If by ‘get away with’ you mean make a valid blog post, then you’ll be able to do this with a title and a word in the body of the blog and that’s it (in most blogging software).
Is this a good idea? Definitely not. When was the last blog post of one word that you read that blew you away? For example:
‘Cheese’. Now you wouldn’t find that an interesting blog post now would you? You might do if it was an entire 1,000 word blog post on your favourite cheese, but not just with the word ‘cheese’. Get the idea?
Now, if we take the meaning of ‘get away with’ to mean ‘get away with to a decent / acceptable standard’ that’s a whole different ballpark! There’s many numbers banded about – the most popular being 300 words. And we’d probably agree that anything less than 250ish words probably means that the post falls into one of the previous two questions above in the previous answer.
We usually have a minimum of 300 words on our blog posts – but as stated previously, we don’t have word count rules – the blog post flows, the words get written and then we see how long it is. We write our blog posts to be useful, informative and concise – not to fit a certain word count criteria!
But don’t forget, when thinking about the answer to this question, remember to think about the two golden questions to ask yourself (from the section above – viability and self-knowledge!).
Is it better to write a long blog post or a short blog post?
Well, neither is better. As we’ve said before and we’ll say again, don’t write a long blog post. Don’t write a short blog post. Write a quality blog post.
Is it better to post many short blog posts per day versus one large blog post a day?
Some say, that search engines such as Google encourage shorter blog posts by now taking into account the ‘recency effect’ – i.e. how often is the website updated and when was the last time it was updated. The reasoning behind this is that you can be more ‘recent’ by posting shorter blog posts, multiple times, without it taking any more of your time up.
This is true. But equally, in the same way, you could post multiple large blog posts a day – and we think that the extra content (and probably extra usefulness!) will lead to more traffic for your website.
Just remember you can never blog too many high quality posts. Our concise answer to this would be to blog as often as possible and let the content of the post dictate the length – i.e. no arbitrary word count aims!
Size doesn’t matter! For the most part. Don’t let size dictate your blog posts. Let the quality do that. Blogging isn’t supposed to be a chore – although I’m sure some people will think it is from time to time! Hopefully you’re blog is set around a topic that you know extremely well and have an excellent interest in – these two things combined will ensure the best mixture for the perfect blog!
As long as your article is 250+ words (in our opinion), you can’t go far wrong (size wise). Remember the golden rules and golden questions – you won’t go far wrong if you do! :).