037 Revealed: The Perfect Blog Post Length

Here’s a million dollar question: is there a magical blog post length? In other words, should you aim for a word-count sweet spot?

The answer is no, there is not an ideal word count for a blog post. But there’s is an ideal number of questions you need to ask yourself before you write.

And that magic number, my friend, is 13.

Ask yourself these 13 questions and you’ll discover how long your article should be, whether it will be interesting, and if you even have the time to write a good article.

In this 8-minute episode you’ll discover:

  • The first thing you must understand before writing
  • Why thinking you have to write could be killing your readership (this is for anyone who hates writing)
  • The mistake most web writers make about mobile
  • What to say when people tell you your article has to be short
  • Google’s idea of the perfect blog post length
  • Question 13 amounts to a majestic, fool-proof way of seducing readers

Revealed: The Perfect Blog Post Length

Demian Farnworth: Howdy friend, this is Rough Draft, your daily dose of essential web writing advice. I am Demian Farnworth, the Chief Content Writer for Copyblogger Media.

And thank you for spending the next few minutes of your life with me.

So, this is episode 37, and it’s brought to you by Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network, which is built on the Rainmaker Platform — a platform that empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform.

And here’s the thing: you can try the Rainmaker Platform for 14 days, free of charge. Take it for a test drive. See if it works for you. And if it doesn’t, you can cancel at anytime with the click of a big, easy to find button.

To get started, jump over to RainmakerPlatform.com. That’s RainmakerPlatform.com.

Now, onto the show.

The First Thing You Must Understand Before Writing

So: here’s a million dollar question: is there a magical blog post length? I mean, should you aim for a word-count sweet spot?

In short, the answer is no, there is not an ideal word count for a blog post. But there is an ideal number of questions you need to ask yourself before you write.

And that magic number, my friend is 13.

  1. Do you have a highly technical readership?Longer, nuanced blog posts in the range of 1,000 words or more won’t hurt. If entertainment or celebrity gossip is your thing, brevity is beautiful.
  2. How often do you plan on blogging?Everyday? Then keep your posts to a minimum. Once a week? Then the 500 to 750 word range is ideal. Once a month? Then pull a Kevin Kelly and write an essay.(And yes, I read every word of what he writes.)
  3. What are you reporting on?The depth of the story will dictate the length. A complex product will need more words than a simple product.
  4. How much time do you have?If you have less than a day to write a blog post, then shorter is better. But no matter how much time you have, get started early so you have plenty of time to rewrite and refine.
  5. Are you working with mobile?By the way, you are working with mobile. Whether you like it or not. Studies tell us more and more people are using their mobile devices (phones and tablets) to consume and buy online.Write in such a way they can read it on a smaller device.
  6. Here’s a good one: Do you even like to write?If you don’t, you should use the medium you are most comfortable with, in this case audio or video.But say you want to blog, then keep it short. That way you keep your pain and your readers pain to a minimum. (Yes, we can tell when someone does not like to write.)
  7. What are you are trying to accomplish?Are you trying to convince people to do something? Or are you simply telling them about lessons you learn from the latest conference you went to?Persuasion takes more time to hit someone’s hot buttons. Entertainment, not so much.
  8. Can you summarize your main point in one or two sentences?If you can’t, then you probably don’t know what you are talking about. And if that’s the case, writing a clear, concise and compelling blog post is going to be tough sledding.Wait until you understand what you are trying to say. Or rewrite like mad.
  9. Can you make it shorter?Only about ten percent of visitors will read an entire article. That’s a fact. But don’t let that bother you. What’s important is that they get the core meaning upfront.
  10. Would you read you own blog post?If you’re answer is no, then something is wrong, namely it’s just not interesting. Making your point more clear or concise will never overcome a boring topic. Ditch it in favor of something compelling.
  11. Is there someone who can read it over for you?Second eyes will work wonders on bad spelling, verbal fat, and boring topics. Humble yourself and ask for help.
  12. Can you even write between 200 and 350 words on the topic?If you lose steam on a post after the first 50 words, then maybe you don’t have a good story. Or enough research. Leave it alone and hit the books again and let it simmer.
  13. What problem are you trying to solve?Compelling, information-rich blogs identify a need, agitate that need and then provide a solution. It’s totally audience centric. And a majestic way to seduce readers.

In the end, it really comes down to this: It doesn’t matter how long or short your blog post is. The question is Is it interesting?

See, common wisdom tells us that a blog post should be as long as it takes to get your point across. And of course it should be as short as you can possibly get given the time you have. In other words, do take the time to omit needless words.

But like all things in life, there is no simple answer to this question about the magical length of an article.

Google’s Idea of the Perfect Blog Post Length

SEO pundits point out that it needs to be a minimum length. Some argue for 200 words. Others for 350.

I recommend 350. That’s about one page of copy. But I’ve seen Google rank shorter articles on certain keywords.

Regardless if you are churning out a 100 or 2,000 word article, in the end, you will have have to be a ruthless editor of your own work. You will have to make it interesting to the reader.

Your task is to get to your point. And get to it quick. Which is the topic of the next episode where America’s greatest living playwright will send you a personal memo on nine editing rules that could make your copy gripping, irresistible, and darn-hard to ignore …

Until then. Take care.