Blogging has exploded in popularity over the last few years. Individual writers write blogs daily on nearly every subject, from traveling to investments. Businesses have started blogs in conjunction with their websites as a way to keep their goods or services relevant. Blogs keep an audience entertained, invested in a particular site or subject and help a blogger or business to reach out to their consumers and fans. Personal blogs on fashion, makeup, politics and movies have transformed everyday people into well-known experts or internet celebrities. Many people start blogs as a hobby or an outlet.
Some start them specifically to monetize, promote themselves or products and spin their blog into other industry opportunities. New and established bloggers want to know how to attract an audience, keep readers coming back and convert those readers into loyal fans. Questions relating to reader acquisition and retention often come up when discussing how to run a blog. A common concern among bloggers is how long each new blog post should be.
The Blog Reader’s Habits
Content, tone and length are important elements to any writer and bloggers are no exception. The length of the post can determine if someone dives in to read or clicks off of the page. Some blog guests scroll down to preview the length before investing in reading the post.
There are readers who love long posts if the subject interests them. Most modern readers; however, have a criminally short attention span. The availability of information on the internet can be overwhelming and frustrating for the average web surfer. Most people aren’t interested in reading large chunks of texts online and skip long passages rather than plow through them. Guests visit blogs to read a quick, informative piece on a subject that interests them. They rarely expect the depth and investment of a feature article or essay.
An Ideal Post
Keeping these habits and expectations in mind, short, to the point posts are best. There has been much discussion about how long or short a blog post should be. Many scoff at the idea of setting a word limit, but bloggers still seek guidelines. Blogs that mainly use photos tend to focus on the images and require less words. Blogs that tell inspirational stories tend to run long. With these exceptions, the ideal length for an informative blog posts is between two and five hundred words. This length broken up into smaller paragraphs on the page works well.
Why is this the perfect length for blog posts? While two hundred words barely seems like enough, that minimum achieves several goals for bloggers to keep in mind. It is long enough to be informative, give specific detail and description and pique interest. The longer five hundred word posts can do the aforementioned and offer more detail.
A two to five hundred word post is also short enough to read in a few minutes. This fact is more important than most bloggers realize. Readers want information in spurts instead of taking it in all at once. The blog is a fitting vehicle for this type of information relay. Visually this length looks substantial enough to cover a subject, yet isn’t too overwhelming on the page.
Can Good Things Can Come in Short Packages?
Keeping a blog post brief is also important because many people read blogs on their mobile phones or e-readers. The size of the screen doesn’t lend itself to long posts that readers have to keep scrolling down to read. Obviously this is still an easy task, yet impatient people still consider it a hassle. Mobile users want to be able to read a post and scroll down to read or make comments quickly. Some blog guests discover content through social media.
A blog’s regular readers may tweet or like a post, causing a friend to click through. Coming from Twitter’s one hundred and forty characters and the quick updates on Facebook, a long post can seem jarring. Friends may also discuss posts if the subject is relevant. Summarizing a shorter post with one or two points is much easier than trying to sum up a one thousand word, mutli point post. Like it or not this generation wants commentary and news in quick doses.
The Series, or Posts: The Sequel
Sometimes a subject needs in depth explanation and the blogger needs to get across several key points.
If a post starts to get longer and longer, splitting the post into a series or multiple parts is a great approach. Series tend to bring readers back to the blog and encourage more comments and conversations. Blog series postings often become the most popular, talked about posts and become liked and tweeted by readers. If a series post is popular it increases hits and links specifically because there are several shorter posts to read. Series also make the next blog topic a no brainer!
Where’s My Content?
In addition to these elements, bloggers must also contend with frequency of postings. Post too little and readers will become frustrated with the lack of interesting content. Post too much and readers will miss posts or bloggers will burn out and view the blog as a chore. As a rule bloggers should post frequently on subjects of interest to them and their established readers. A study done by UC Irvine revealed that most blog readers visit their favorite blogs at least once per day. Frequent posts can seem daunting, but no blog post needs to be a dissertation. Some bloggers mainly post photos and add minimal words to describe the scene. This method works well with makeup and fashion bloggers. Bloggers who write on these subjects may find shorter one hundred word or less posts better for their audience.
Pace Your Blog
While some subjects are timely and require in depth posts over a shorter period most subjects do not. Political blogs covering an election or blogs about the movie of the moment may have longer posts to cover the relevant information. New bloggers often feel pressure to do it all at once. Instead they should pace themselves.
An important realization for bloggers is that they have plenty of time to dive into their topic. Most blogs focus on one specific topic and can cover it from various angles. This is the perfect strategy for in depth discussion and exploration over time. In a few months time the average blogger will have written and covered more material than a typical book on the same subject. The blog platform lends itself to discovery, growth and new information over time. This is an even better reason to shorten blog posts and give readers information in bites.
Rules Are Meant to be Broken
Depending on the blog subject longer or shorter post may be warranted. What word count makes a perfect post length will continue to be debated for as long as blogs are popular and relevant. If a blogger writes beautiful descriptions and paints a lively scene, posts will naturally run longer. If the blog mainly consist of pictures or product descriptions shorter posts will work. The real perfect answer is to write the amount of words that will help convey key points to the readers. If readers are interested and learning new or interesting information each post will be the perfect length.