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Ideal Blog Post Length – How To Find Your Happy Medium
One of my best friends reached out to me recently. She told me she’s starting a blog of her own. I knew she had a hundred questions, and I also knew that one thing she needs to know is: how long should a blog post be?
So, I told her: it should be as long as it needs to be.
But it’s also not that simple.
Ideal Blog Post Length – Remember To Have Good SEO
No matter what you post, it’s important to keep in mind how will impact your SEO. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is what Google uses to determine what websites have quality content. Website with quality content rank higher in search engines. When you rank higher, the more likely you are to receive organic traffic.
For reference, organic traffic is traffic that comes to your website through a search engine. A person types a question, and clicks one of the offered links.
And to have good SEO, especially in Google’s eyes, a blog post should be at least 300 words.*
300 words is NOT a lot.
From the beginning of this post to that last sentence, I wrote about 180 words. That’s more halfway to 300 and I haven’t scratched the surface of what I’m talking about in this post. 300 really should be the BARE minimum of any post you right.
How long do my posts tend to be? In the first 10 pieces of content I put up on QuestFor47.com, I averaged 2,015 words per post. That’s WAY more than 300. Now, don’t get intimidated. I am a writer. Words are my deal. It’s easy for me to take a post and make it long.
But even if you’re not a strong writer, it’s not impossible to come up with a quality post that’s more than 300 words long. Keep reading.
*Word count is one of MANY aspects to having good SEO. It’s not ALL about length. I will be going in greater detail how to grow your blog traffic through SEO in another post. Click here to sign up for the email list. That way, you’ll get first word of when I post!
Ideal Blog Post Length – Have A Plan
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
When writing a blog post, you must have a plan or framework in place. And planning to write a blog post doesn’t have to be hard. You already know what you want to write about. That’s step one: pick your topic.
Break it down. 2,000 words is a lot to write in one blog post, which is why I never set out to write a blog post with a certain length in mind. Every time I write a blog post, even this one, my word length is an accident. An afterthought. Not anywhere on my list of priorities. Don’t put it on yours.
Once you have that topic, start jotting down the things you want to include. Are you writing about ethically sourced chocolate? Start with why it’s important to buy chocolate that’s ethically sourced. Then make some notes on places to go where that chocolate is sourced ethically. Think about how “ethically sourced” can apply to both the people doing the work of harvesting the chocolate AND the environment the chocolate grows in.
Oh gosh, now I want some chocolate!
What next? Expand on them. Maybe add a personal story or two throughout to give your readers context. Before you know it, you’ll have more than you thought you’d come up with when you were staring down that blank document. Ideas tend to breed more ideas, which is why you just need to start.
And on that note…
Ideal Blog Post Length – Don’t Get Intimidated
Staring down at a blank document can be SO intimidating. I write novels in my limited spare time, so I know how hard it can be to start from scratch, from absolute zero. My current baby of a manuscript is over 94,000 words long, written over the span of two very long years. Yes, it was scary to start.
That said, there are a couple ways I get around that angst.
In the context of QuestFor47.com, the first thing I do is I come up with an idea, like I explained above. Ideas come so easy to me. I have a running list of things that I want to talk about on this website. In fact, most of those ideas come when I’m writing other blog posts.
When I’m writing a post and I get a new idea, I open up a fresh page in my Scrivener file, jot down the topic, and a note or two. Then, I go back to the post I was in the middle of. Don’t abandon the post you’re working on in favor of a shiny new idea.* If that happens, you’ll never finish ANY of your posts. Take down a couple notes, and then back off. The inspiration for that new post isn’t going anywhere. You already know you want to write about it.
That trick is helpful, because I can come up with a TON of ideas for new posts. When you know what you want to write about, the well is never dry. When I am ready to tackle one of posts I thought of while writing another, I already have an idea or two waiting for me.
*Want more thoughts on overcoming that Shiny New Idea? Check out this video from author V.E. Schwab. It’s not necessarily about blogging, but girl knows what she’s talking about.
Ideal Blog Post Length – Here’s Another Trick
The other thing I do? I don’t start in a document where I can see a word count.
Just looking at a word count, especially when it’s low, can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to blogging. Don’t let it. So, sometimes I get around that fear by starting out the post in Note in my phone. No word counts there, and what I end up with always seems longer than what I think it’s going to be, once I move it from that Note to the Scrivener document.
I just keep adding to it to that running Notes document I have in my phone. It’s always with me, so if I ever think of a line or two or a topic to include in a post, I write it down. That’s because I don’t want to forget anything, but not in the sense of what I want to write about. I just want to make sure that I remember to write EVERYTHING I want to write about.
And, since it’s on my phone, I can look at the other notes I have. That also helps with the inspiration, because maybe something I wrote a few days or weeks ago applies to the post I’m thinking about. It really spurs me on to keep writing. And when I’m done, all it takes is a quick copy and pages to get it into the document I’m drafting in.
Ideal Blog Post Length – It’s Not Just About The Word Count
Always remember that it’s not just about the word count.
Sure, that’s part of it, but what’s MOST important is the content. As I said at the beginning of the post, QUALITY content is key. Make sure that whatever you’re offering to your readers is something that they can learn from. Think to yourself, “Am I teaching my readers something they don’t know?” Or, “Am I showing them a new perspective to something they think they know?”
Don’t try to add things that you think *might* relate, just because you’re trying to stretch your length. That leads to a disjointed post that your readers are not likely to finish. It comes off like a ramble, and rambles are way too wordy. Keep your sentences short and sweet. That’s another trick that will help you as you go along. I’m not saying you have to count the words in every sentence as you write them, but keep it short and sweet and easy to read.
If you get to a point where you’re not sure if you’re done, then stop. Stop, and take a break. Leave it for a day or two. When you come back to it, you’ll probably see something you missed. Don’t just write it and post it once you think it’s done. It’s probably not.
Start With An Idea
Have you just started your side hustle and are trying to figure out what content to include? Download the FREE Blog Startup Checklist, which features the 5 things you need to do before you launch your blog. Not only that, but it comes with 50 ideas to inspire your way to your next blog posts. The rule of thumb is to have between 15-20 pieces of content up before you launch, so get writing!
Don’t forget to get hosting (plus a free domain) for as little as $3.95/month through Siteground. You can read why I choose Siteground to host my websites in my post, 6 Reasons I Host My Side Hustle On Siteground (And You Should Too).
Ready to write an awesome blog post that your audience will devour?
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I enjoyed this post. When I first started blogging 2 years ago, people were saying 500-1000 words was best. And I tried to adhere to that. About that same time, people were also starting to come around to it should be “as long as it needs to be.” In the six months or so, I’ve definitely shifted that way. Like you, I’m a writer and I find I have so much to say that putting a limit on the words is stifling. Most of my posts now end up in the 2,000 word range. Thanks!
As long as you’re providing value, it doesn’t matter how long the post is (though, I personally do feel they should be in the 1000+ word range). Don’t limit yourself, but if you do feel something is getting too long, totally try splitting it up into a Part One Part Two Part Three, etc. series! That’s a great way to not worry about word counts AND encourage your readers to keep checking in on your posts