Ideal Blog Post Length: Five Disturbing Signs That Tell You to Write Shorter Posts
Look, I understand.
You just happened to read an article regarding the ideal blog post length, and the post was written by a blogging guru, one of the A-list bloggers that you follow.
And since this A-Lister told you to write long-form posts, at least 2,000 words long, it made sense to you. You wanted to give this advice a try.
Yes, you can write, and creating content is a no-brainer to you. But as you start traveling the long-form journey, certain things begin to disturb you.
My Story Could Be Your Story
What I just described was based on my personal blogging experience. I have been blogging since 2010, and during this time, I have seen many “what’s hot” moments in the blogging world.
There are also these evergreen questions that keep some bloggers up at night, year after year. And one of these questions is, “What is the ideal blog post length?”
When you think of it, it’s understandable.
After all, you’d like to have your content rank high on the search results. And sure, it has been said many times before that Google favors long-form content over shorter content.
You are just doing what you were told to do.
So Here is What Was (and is) Disturbing Me About Long-Form Content
I can create long and detailed content if I want to. And I wanted to produce this type of content for almost two years.
Everything was fine until I needed a break from blogging.
What happened, unfortunately, was that writing long-form content, post after post started to take its toll. And out of the blue, content creation started to become sickening to me. So I stopped writing.
It took me a month or two to recover from the long-form overdose, and during that time, I understood how I needed to change my workflow.
When I did some in-depth analysis on why I didn’t write blog posts anymore, some extra disturbing things came up:
- The turnaround time. Writing, editing, and publishing a long-form post takes a lot of time. Sometimes, I was able to publish just one article in two weeks on this blog. My goal was to publish one or two posts per week. And oh, did I mention that over 80% of the content on this blog is written on a bus while I’m commuting? Since I don’t have the luxury of just sitting down, writing a post, and publishing it in one go, producing one article may take days.
- Competitors. I wish it were only me who was writing long posts. In that case, I would be ahead of the game. The problem is, you and I have tens or more bloggers, already creating keyword-optimized long-form content. Everyone is already doing this. So, how the heck are we going to compete with them? Sorry, we can’t.
- My piece will get forgotten - soon. What do you think will happen to your 5,000-word post once it’s not on your blog’s homepage anymore? It’s gone! Not literally, but out of your reader’s sight anyway. Of course, you can set up the archive page on WordPress for some extra mileage (even build some backlinks). But unless the blog content is super-exciting to you, you’re less likely to browse the blog archives. I know I don’t.
- You are writing for search engines. It’s funny how conflicting the advice can be. Other bloggers often say that you should write for your readers but not for search engines. Then, in the next sentence, they advise you to write long posts because Google likes that.
If you write long-form posts because of Google, then you are writing for search engines. Aren’t you?
Now, I’m not saying that there is no place for long-form content, or that you shouldn’t create long stuff. Heck, if you are into it, then go for it!
But don’t bother with long-form stuff unless you have a content team, an ad budget, or you can spend 40 hours per week blogging. For the record, I don’t have any of these things.
However, if you work full-time like me, and you’d like to keep your sanity (and your full-time blogging dreams alive), choose the shorter route.
Why I Write Shorter Posts?
Just recently, I experienced something that I hadn’t experienced for a long, long time: It felt good to write a blog post. At first, I didn’t quite know why, but I then realized that these certain elements had finally fallen into place:
- Writing a post, from planning to publishing, took just a couple of days.
- The writing was far from tedious. It was fun.
- I felt I was able to get more done than before.
Best of all, when I looked at the blog post length, it was approximately 1,200 words.
1,200 - can you believe that?
For someone who had written posts up to 5,000 words, producing 1,200 words was a massive relief like a stone had fallen off my shoulders. That’s how good it felt.
So right now, when I’m publishing posts, I try to hit anywhere between 600 to 1,200 words. Yes, I will slip now and then, and there will be longer posts for sure. But I try to do my best to keep them at 1,200 maximum. I promise.
There is still one final thing I’d like to mention regarding 1,200-word posts.
In a post with that length, you can almost always tell what you want to say, without wasting your reader’s time. You can have the facts, figures, and everything packed into that word count - without burning yourself (or your reader) out.
As simple as that.
Ideal Blog Post Length: The Conclusion
This post was my take to the pressing question that a lot of bloggers have: what is the ideal length for a blog post? So if you can answer your reader’s questions with shorter posts, like Jeff Goins, Greg Jarrow, or Michael Hyatt, then that’s fine.
Here is the deal: I don’t want to set an appointment on my calendar to read a post. If I want to read long-form content, I buy a Kindle book.
Over to you now: What is your ideal blog post length? Share that golden information in the comment area!