What is the Perfect Post Length

One of the most popular questions for a beginning blogger is, what is the minimum and maximum length that a blog post should be? When beginning to write or blog on the web, there are a lot of questions on what the do’s and don’ts are in blogging. Don’t allow the title of the article fool you, because there is no such thing as a perfect blog post length.

When you begin to blog, one thing to keep in the back of your mind is that most people who do read blogs typically do not have a lot of patience to read huge posts. A second tip to always remember when blogging is to always be passionate, be unique, and always make you content actionable. It will keep your reader entertain, no matter how many words you end up with in your blog post.

What Does Your Audience Have To Do With It?

Above all, it will totally depend on the type of audience. This is why blogging best practices for word count varies. It shouldn’t matter if it takes you 250 words to get your point across or 1400, as long as you keep your audience entertained and engaged. However, there are a few guidelines to consider when it comes to word count, and
finally publishing the blog to the desired audience.

The Ideal Word Count For Blogs

Mike Sall of Medium Data Labs, has done some investigating on this debate and created an article entitled, The Optimal Post is Seven Minutes. The math that Medium used to obtain this data is from the time spent in seconds, in comparison to the word count of the post. Medium’s final analysis for your blog post is 7 minutes, with 1600 words. If you look at the screen shot from Medium Data Labs you will notice that the greater majority of posts range from under a minute, and up to seven minutes.

A graph representing the average minute length of all posts.

Mike Sall really has some good insight on writing posts though, regardless of the math.

Great posts perform well regardless of length, and bad posts certainly don’t get better when you stretch them out. What it does mean is that it’s worth writing however much you really need. Don’t feel constrained by presumed short attention spans. If you put in the effort, so will your audience. It’s just math.

This idea is very convincing, however, experts in blogging feel that 600 minimum to 1000 maximum is an appropriate guideline for content length (words). Whereas, other professional bloggers believe that your blog posts should be very short, direct to the point, and be around 300 to 500 word count. Again, it’s up to you.

Why is a blog’s word count important to you? What are some techniques to keep in mind when starting a blog?

Susan Gunelius, the president and CEO of Keysplash Creative Inc. and the author of the article entitled, The Secrets of Blog Post Length, How Long Should My Blog Posts Be? Gunelius’ has a great point of view when she suggests that you should make your blog post scannable, and if a blog is over 1000 words, Gunelius’ recommends breaking it up into a series of article posts. Here is a summary of Gunelius’ seven guidelines for making blogs scannable.

  1. Pay Particular Attention To Titles: Gunelius’ has a valid point here because one of the first things she feels visitors will notice is your blog titles. She points out that bloggers should try to make valid clear and concise titles over clever ones. Another reason for having clear and concise titles is because search engines weigh your titles heavier than the content in your blog. This is what is referred to as Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
  2. Use Appropriate Headings: Gunelius’ feels that headings are important because it make your blog post more scannable with the use of headings. The author stresses that you should make your headings very relevant, clear and SEO friendly.
  3. Use Bulleted And Numbered Lists: It is a great practice in your blogs to break up longer blocks of text into short and concise lists. Once again this will make your post way more scannable for you audience.
  4. Use Bold and Italics When Appropriate: The use of bold and italics can have a great effect when it comes to drawing attention to particular content in your blogs. Do not get carried away with bold and italics because it will make you blog look cluttered and it could create a ping pong effect when your audience is reading your blogs.
  5. Use Links: When adding links into your blog it should be for the purpose of leading your audience to more information on the topic of the blog. If you use too many links in a blog post it could hinder the readability of your posts. Links are great, but Susan recommends that you don’t overuse them.
  6. Use Images: Images are a resourceful multimodal way of communicating to your audience as well. As Susan points out, they are also a great way of breaking up heavy textual blog posts. Just like in the other five steps mention above, there is a theme – Don’t overdue them. When working with images though, you need to make sure that you have permission to use an image if it is not yours originally. There are some great websites out there that offer free photos to use for visual content in your blog posts. If you plan on using photos, you will want to visit Lorelle VanFossen’s plagiarism, copyright and fair use laws, before actually putting these images into your blogs.
  7. Write In Short Paragraphs: When you keep your paragraphs short to about two to three sentences each, you will make the blog post more reader friendly by breaking up heavy text paragraphs. This is very important in regards to adding white space and making blogs look visually better.

So as you can see, there are a wide range of opinions concerning the topic on word count of blog posts. From Mediums mathematical formula for finding out how long a reader is engaged in a post, in comparison to how long the post actually is (word count). To Susan Gunelius’ view on the matter, that the secret with word count is really up to you.

With the information presented, I strongly feel that the word count of a blog is irrelevant. For example, going back to what Matt Sall and Susan Gunelius explained, even though we have all these facts backed by research, it is really about meeting the audience’s needs, and constructing a really great blog.

In conclusion, I believe that Matt Sall’s analysis about blog length is fantastic, “Great posts perform well regardless of length, and bad posts certainly don’t get better when you stretch them out.”

ClarkWP Magazine hopes that you enjoyed this post, and please keep in mind that word counts are provided as guidelines only and should never be seen as rules.

If you would like to inquire more about WordPress, be sure to checkout ClarkWP’s tutorials section. There is also an extensive amount of information regarding WordPress at the official WordPress support site.

Adam Duthie is a student currently enrolled at Clark College, following his passion in web design/development, and writing for the web. Adam takes great pride in all of his work and writings.

In Adam’s free time, he loves spending time with his new found Ohana, because on August 12, 2012, his biological daughter Nicole, found him on Facebook, which drastically changed his life for the better. Aside from being a loving boyfriend and a new inspiring Dad, Adam loves to go golfing, where he feels piece at mind.


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