It would seem that people who go online to look for content to read have a bias towards short form blog posts and articles. After all, it’s a well-established fact that people don’t do as much reading online as they do scanning. They read the first sentence or two of the first paragraph, than a couple of words less of each further paragraph. Up to the point when they give up on the post completely. It’s also a well-established fact that people who read content online have short attention spans.
The problem with these well-established facts is that they are not completely true. People actively seek out and enjoy reading long form content as well as short form content online. They still have enough attention to read through 2,000 words of well-written and relevant content. And are motivated to perform different actions depending on the length of the content they read, and search engine rankings are influenced by length of content.
As you can see, the matter of length of your blog posts can’t be solved by a cookie cutter solution such as “shorter is better”. You have to choose the length according to what you want your blog post to achieve. And to do that, you need to know which lengths are better for which purposes.
Why Write Long Posts?
The really long blog posts, the ones which have upwards of 1,500 words, have a major advantage over all other lengths, and that’s – space. In a 2,500-word long blog post a writer will have plenty of space to thoroughly present a topic or a problem, bring up a couple of solutions, and then back them up with solid research.
Some readers will appreciate reading content that goes into detail about the things they’re interested in, which is why the success of the very long blog post is completely dependent on the writer’s ability to identify a topic people are actively looking for online. If this is done well, the blog post will get more than just the attention of readers. It will also attract the attention of search engines. Long blog posts will bring increased traffic to your blog through better search engine rankings, even though they will be less likely to spark a conversation in the comments section, or get a lot of shares over social networks.
Why Stick to the Middle?
The mid-length blog posts are the posts that have more than 600 words but fewer than 1,500. This length is the middle ground for the usefulness of content – it still allows the writer plenty of space to address hot topics. But it’s also short enough not to take up too much of the reader’s time.
Blog posts of this length are most likely to share over social media. The fact that they’re not very long doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be of the best quality possible. And they also have to address relevant topics. They will probably facilitate some reader engagement in the form of comments. They won’t be that bad for search engine rankings either.
Why Do It Quick and Dirty?
The very short blog posts are shorter than 300 words. The regular short blog posts are between 300 and 600 words long. They do different things for your blog, because they make readers behave differently.
The very short blog posts are great if there’s a need to have a lot of comment on a blog post. They’re not good for anything else – too little value for shares, too little value for search engine rankings. But they will engage readers. Think of it this way – is it really possible to address any topic in a meaningful way in less than 300 words? It’s not, and everything that’s left out will end up being written in the comments by readers who read the post. The very short post is a bait to start a conversation.
The regular short blog posts are more similar to medium length posts. They don’t have enough space to allow the writer to establish themselves as an authority on any topic. So no search engine rankings benefits should be expected – but they will get a good balance of both social media shares and comments.
It’s clear that the best way to choose the length of your next blog post would be by identifying what are the areas in which the blog isn’t performing well. If it’s failing to engage readers into a conversation, then a short blog post would do the trick. Also if it’s failing on the social media sharing front, throw in a mid-length article and see what happens. And if it’s not getting enough traffic from search engines, write a really long, well researched blog post. And remember, try to give as much value as you can in your blog posts no matter the length. Always choose a topic people can relate to.