If you’re searching for clear cut guidance on the ideal length for your blog posts, this answer probably won’t make you happy, but it’s the truth.
There is no right “length” of an article. Whether you’re measuring that length by word count, number of images, or size of page, there isn’t some magic number to aim for.
Some publications require a minimum article length for submission, but that’s generally just for consistency across all of their articles, not because it’s the “right” length.
You’ll find articles that might be 20,000 words long that perform well (though most publishers prefer to split them up into multiple parts), and other blog posts that are only 300 words yet still cover a topic thoroughly.
If you still want a number to aim for, we asked Jodi Harris of Content Marketing Institute to give her opinion:
“Not long ago, the standard length for blog posts was around 500 words. Today, we are realizing this is just not enough to provide distinct value for your readers. According to the latest study from Orbit Media, a typical blog post is now almost 900 words — 10% longer than it was just a year ago. However, if you are looking to optimize your content to rank better on search engines, you are better off aiming for 1,000-1,500 words.”
Ultimately, an article should be as long as necessary to cover a topic authoritatively, not a word longer.
Authoritative means interesting enough to cause sharing and fit into your overall content strategy.
Everyone has different content hierarchies (or pyramids) based on how they choose to brand themselves that roll up into the mission of what their company or client stands for.
The broader the scope, the more you need to say about it to be authoritative.
Here’s an example:
You want to write about puppy adoption. Great! Now, you have three different sizes to consider when narrowing down your topic: small, medium, and large.
A small topic would be focusing on your local animal shelter’s strategy for puppy adoption. This might consist of interviewing the person in charge of the shelter, people who have adopted from the shelter before, etc.
You could even focus on one specific puppy’s journey throughout the adoption process, highlighting the ups and downs that they might encounter.
A medium topic would be highlighting multiple shelters across your state to determine the differences between them (processes, market, treatment, etc.)
At this point, you might find a specific problem that you’d like to write about and comment on how different shelters are addressing it.
A large topic could be multiple angles on how animal shelters are being influenced by local governments, pulling from many small and medium topics to create your final product.
How do I know which category applies to my blog posts?
Google’s “intitle:” search allows you to visualize the competitiveness, which approximates the size of the topic:
17,300 results for “Las Vegas animal shelter”
7,100,000 results for “Differences in animal shelters in Nevada”
14,400,000 results for “Government intervention in animal shelters”
You’ll want to write blog posts that actually deserve to be at the top of the search results for whatever topic you’re covering. The more results competing for it on Google, the higher the bar.
You’re not doing this to rank on Google, necessarily (although that helps). You’re just using Google as a research tool for your content marketing efforts.
It’s also important to remember that the way you write an article depends on the expectations of your audience. If you’re writing for BuzzFeed, you would write in a listicle format (“The Top 10 Dustin Lines From Stranger Things”), with lots of pictures and keep it lightweight. But for Scientific American, you’d use more “grown-up” language and keep it text-heavy.
Look at your web analytics to see which pieces of your content perform best. Maybe you’re better at short updates and funny memes, or perhaps your videos do better than text. Let the data tell you what’s working best for you and stick with that.
Have you found a “sweet spot” for the length of your blog posts?