May 2, 2014

You know what drives me crazy? When people/experts/gurus tell other people how to do their jobs. Yes, there are general guidelines to consider. I share many of those too. But the conversation around "ideal" blog post length is one that gets under my skin.

These so-called experts don't know anything about your business. They don't know anything about your customers. They don't know what you've already tried.

So how can they tell you that your blog posts should be no more than 500 words? Or that they should be over 100o words? Or whatever current trend they're spewing out this month?

They can't.

They can do studies to find out what works best in general. And there are some great studies out there that I have read and even considered their advice.

Yes, SEO rankings and search engines prefer longer length posts. Yes, a lot of people prefer to quickly skim short posts and gather information in rapid doses. But then, a lot of people like to stop and read a story. Others want information listed quick and easy... So how do you know what length your blog posts should be?

Here's what works for me: I just write.

Yup, plain and simple. (Ok, not really that simple. But close enough).

I write. I write what I have to say. I write to get the point across. Sometimes I include a story or situation that led to that post. Sometimes I just get right to the point. Sometimes I go off on a tangent. Sometimes I rant. Sometimes I list facts and details.

I don't count words. I don't look at page length. I don't worry about how long other people's posts are. Because none of that matters!

I'm serious. It doesn't matter.

If you can get the same information across in 400 words that I share in 800, it doesn't make one better than the other. Yours is more succinct. Good for you! Mine is more conversational. Good for me! Neither one is better. Well, unless your grammar sucks, you can't prove your point, and you went totally off topic - then mine is better 😉

But I hope you see my point. Different people write differently. Different people read and digest information differently. Trying to cookie cutter your blog posts into one standard format alienates a wide range of readers and makes blogging boring for you.

Make blogging fun. Mix it up. Write the occasional short post, the occasional really long post, and a bunch of in-the-middle posts. Stop worrying about the overall blog post length and start worrying about what you actually have to say!

Over to you... Do you worry about blog post length?

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Hi Jenn, Generally I agree with what you say, and I think blogging can be fun. But, are you blogging for fun, or do you want results- that is what I ask clients. If you want results, there are guidelines about what is working best for people right now and that seems to be highly informative blog posts that take a LOT of time to write and tend to be pretty long.

    I see your frustration, sometimes you want to write what you want to write, but that isn’t what a business blog is about, it’s about getting the best results, and through testing we can usually see what is working by looking at analytics.

    Anyone can be the exception to the rule, but I’d still rather know what is working for people so I can skip the learning curve and implement the same changes that make a difference.


    1. Mary, you bring up a great point! Yes, when formatting a business blog, it is imperative to have a strategy behind the posts and post schedule. The content, structure, and general best practices should all be considered. But the customer and audience base will also play a big factor. If you’re writing a beauty blog, a 1200 word blog post may be way too long for the content at hand. In this case, a 500-800 word post may be more than sufficient to reach the target audience.
      I definitely agree that we should learn from those who have gone before us and learn from their experiences. But I do believe that blogging should reflect each individual business and brand first and foremost.

  2. Love it Jenn! I tend to vary my posts depending on my subject matter. As you say, it really matters what I am trying to get across. I have never (I think) written one under 500 words, but most of mine end up in the 700-1000 word length category. For me, the engagement is really more related to the subject matter than the length of my posts. It is more about what strikes a chord with my readers.

    1. Thanks Kim! I completely agree with your process. I think you’re approaching it in exactly the right way for how you want to proceed and what you’re trying to achieve.

  3. This is so true, what is the point to increase the number of words just to get the love from search engine, the best strategy is to keep it as per requirement.

  4. I totally agree Jenn. I know longer posts are meant to be better for SEO but people have short attention spans online and I rarely read a long post all the way through. However, I always seem to get to the bottom of yours because they’re quite short. I like that style to be honest!

    1. Thanks Carmen! I’m glad you always get through mine. And I’m glad you think they’re “quite short” 🙂 I know I tend to be wordy and sometimes my posts run longer than they need to be. But that’s how I write and I’ve embraced that!
      And, yes, a 2000 word post may be great for SEO but if no one is reading all the way through, how good is it really, right?

  5. I am so with you on this Jenn. I like to make sure I am doing things right so I have been tied up by trying to have over X number of words and a picture and Header text…

    Then I go to the likes of Seth Godin and he does not follow the rules, not even on WordPress! (I’m a big fan of WordPress).

    So I say write what you want to write! Have fun and make it interesting, put a picture in it, and keep it over 300 words!

    Ok, a little humor there, but if you are having fun with your blog you will do what you “should” to succeed.

    1. Thanks Chip! I’m so glad you see this the same way. While there are plenty of guidelines to help beginners, the reality is that most successful bloggers are doing their own thing – and that’s what makes them successful. They aren’t adhering to the generic rules of the masses.
      As you said, when it comes to length, and even style, do what makes it fun for you and your audience.

  6. Hello Jenn,

    I agree! I just write too. Some of my blog posts are longer than others. I have been trying to keep my worrying to minimum lately so I can’t be worrying about my blog posts too! Blogging is supposed to be fun! That’s why I enjoy it so much. I don’t like to make things complicated it takes all the fun out of it. I say keep it simple and just write! Thanks for sharing this with us!

    1. I agree, Maketta. Keep your worrying to a minimum! Focus on what you want to write and getting your message across. The rest will take care of itself.

  7. Great post, and I agree 100% with you. Being a fairly new blogger (7 months), I decided from the beginning I wasn’t going to be a “cookie cutter”, “Stepford Wife” type of blogger. I’m in the beauty niche, specifically nail polish, and most blogs are similiar in nature; however, by trying to be different in my approach, and writing how ever much I want to write, I feel it does set me apart from the crowd a bit. The bottom line is be yourself, and enjoy what you’re doing.

    1. Good for you Stacey! Do what makes you “you” and stand out from the crowd 🙂 And I wish you all the success as you continue to grow you blog and your business!

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