There’s been a debate ever since blogging became mainstream about how long blog posts should be. Many bloggers may read one or two discussions on it, and try to conform to that – never revisiting the issue again for as long as they blog. This can be a mistake.
For a definitive answer, the following are three things to consider when you’re trying to decide how long your blog posts should be.
Bloggers usually blog for a while before they think about an intangibles like setting a tone for their blog. However, if you’re serious about making money from blogging, then you are going to have to eventually turn your attention to this.
Tone is important to how long your blog posts will be because they determine how you talk to your audience, not just what you talk about.
When Long Blog Posts are Apropos
For example, Christine over at Self Made Chick tends to have long posts. They sometimes run to a few thousand words. They are rarely the somewhat industry accepted standard of 250-600 words. But, the tone of her blog is help, hope and inspiration for those who want to “ditch cubicle life” as she puts it, and start a home business of their own.
My blog posts tend to be on the long side as well – 750-1,000. I draw a lot upon my own experience, so when I talk to my readers I’m usually giving a blow-by-blow account of what happened with this client or that client. Rarely can this be accomplished in 400 words or less.
When Short Blog Posts are Apropos
In contrast, if you wrote a blog about stock picking, your posts might just discuss what happened with a particular stock of the day. These can be short, informative posts with links out to more ind-depth sources. Your readers will come to see what the stock of the day is, grab your insight, then move on.
2. POSTING FREQUENCY:
The loose, industry-accepted rule seems to be that the more frequently you post, the shorter your posts should be – and vice versa.
Many people don’t have time to read mini books everyday, so shorter posts if you post every day would seem to make sense. And, you tend to garner more search engine juice as well, because you are constantly adding new content.
However, don’t be afraid to turn this industry-accepted wisdom on its head. Ultimately, readers come to appreciate and frequent a blog because it provides value to them. The value that it provides to Reader A can be completely different from the value it provides to Reader B. And, you will probably never know what that value is. This is part of the reason building a popular blog is tricky.
You will never know what need you’re fulfilling for every one of your readers. But, by keeping some things consistent (like posting frequency and tone), you can – over time – start to make some educated guesses.
3. POSTING SCHEDULE:
This piggybacks on the last point. Readers like consistency. If you’re going to post only three times a week, let your readers know that.
What does a posting schedule have to do with post length? Simply put, you can better self edit. In a post listed here entitled 10 Questions Every Blogger Should Ask Themselves Before Posting, the author writes, “One of my high school English teachers once told me that writing is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, suggesting that a good writer starts with a quick burst of creativity and spends the rest of their time refining and editing those initial ideas.”
Once you have a posting schedule, you can settle into writing “routine posts” — of a certain length. Referencing the first point listed here, the flow of your “tone/cadence” won’t be interrupted when you consistently write posts of a certain length.
I found this out quite by accident. I tend to be a wordy writer, mostly because I write from first-hand experience. Even before all of these rules around posting length came on the scene, my posts were consistently longer than the 250-600 words most recommend today.
I write until I get my story across. And, that’s usually accomplished in 700-1,200 words. Regular readers of my blog know to settle in and grab a good cup of Joe because at least three times a week, they’re going to be told a story. And, most have come to appreciate that.
Many bloggers are afraid of breaking the “rules” because they want to succeed so bad. Conformism is a social more many are afraid to break across many spectrums; not just in business. But, sometimes success comes when you break all the rules.
So, the next time you’re wondering how long your blog post should be, take these three factors into consideration – and do what works best for you.