Good question! Sophie here to answer a valid query that many business owners ask us, especially as it effects your time spent writing the blog and your ROI. There isn’t a magic one-cures-all formula, but the length of a blog post can be determined by the following 3 factors:
1. Who is your audience?
Find out what influences your audience and where are they active online. This is one of the first things you should understand and establish before starting a blog (for more on this, we explain how in Part 1 of Start Your Blog Today).
Knowing who your audience is, how they spend their time and what they value is key to your blog’s success. Taking the time to research your audience’s behavior and interests are essential to dictating your style of content and the length of content.
The types of social platforms your readers hang out on and the other blogs they read indicates how they collect knowledge about what’s going on and what their favorite brands are up to. It also signifies how much time they dedicate to reading and how they choose to read content.
Real Life Examples:
- If other businesses (B2B) are your readers, they will be looking for how they might work with you, how you’ve collaborated with other clients, or the types of results that might come out of hiring you. For example, this blog by A Savvy Event showcases a collaboration between themselves and several other vendors in their market. While it does apply it consumers (brides), it also appeals to wedding planners or event partners that they might work with in the future. For this kind of blog post, you can use little text and heavy imagery; stick to under 300 words.
- If busy moms are your readers, keep in mind that they have limited attention, and are looking for highly scan-able content. Blogs for moms should include quick tips using bullet points, call out quotes, or bolded titles. These tactics allow for easy scanning that get the point across quicker more than long copy. For example, this blog by Amy Williams on Founding Moms is short and easily read. Take a tip from them, blogs targeting a mom-on-the-go should be between 450 – 600 words.
- If you have a brand that targets men, our best practices research shows that men like to keep up to date through curated platforms like Flipboard or by how-to tutorials. For men’s audiences, include great step-by-step visuals or tutorial video in your blog post will grab their attention.
2. What is the subject matter?
Another factor determining the blog post depends on what information readers will get out of it:
- If readers are trying to find an answer to a problem then they will want a step-by-step explanation (ideally with visual content to explain the instructions). These can be quite a bit longer, because readers are going to want every detail when they’re trying to learn something new. For example, this post by Courtney Seiter from Buffer gives a detailed lesson on how readers can leverage Twitter cards as a part of their social media strategy. Blog posts on step-by-step explanations can be anywhere from 1,000 to even 2,500 words (with heavy visuals).
- If the subject matter crucial to business, finance, health or matters of the heart, readers are more likely to read more closely, and therefore invest more time. Blog posts on crucial topics can be about 1,000 words, since readers will want thorough explanations.
- On the other hand, if the subject matter is on a lighter note such as sharing your design inspiration or alerting customers of new products then pictures tell these stories more effectively and require less copy. Blog posts on inspirations or product announcements should be short, about 400 – 600 words.
ProTip: Make your imagery sharable to encourage your readers to pin or promote on Facebook. Remember to edit to four or five pictures that tell the story efficiently.
3. How long are people spending on your blog?
A third factor you’re going to want to know is how long your readers spend on average reading your blog. Dive into your Google Analytics on a regular basis to monitor your audience’s behavior in terms of how long they are staying and how many pages they read. There isn’t much point writing a long in-depth blog post every week if your user’s average time on site is less than a couple of minutes.
ProTip: You can re-think the structure of your posts to make them easier to read, allow people to scan read them by using bullet points. Or break up long blogs posts into blog series throughout a week or month.
Also, add internal links to blog posts directing your readers to other areas of your website or your product pages, keeping them on the site and most importantly, turning your readers into a potential customers.
How long do your blogs tend to be? Do you think your readers are getting through the whole thing? (Oh and for the record, this “Best Practices” blog post is 837 words).
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