This is a topic I discuss all the time with clients, colleagues and friends.
I don’t think there is a right answer to the question.
If you’re like me you pay attention to best practices, but you like to break those best practices from time to time. Nothing innovative comes from following best practices exactly. Sometimes you have to break the rules to do something remarkable.
With blogging, we’ve stumbled on a few good processes that include specific word counts. Here is what we’ve found that works for clients.
The average blog post we write for GBW and for GBW clients is 500 words.
Why is 500 the number?
Over the years I’ve read quite a few blog posts. Some of those have been 200 words. Some have even been 5,000+ words.
But on average it seemed the posts I liked to read the most were about 500 words. I could scan the page and not feel intimated by the topic. Usually I was at work or working and just taking some time out to do something different. I needed something interested to read in a couple minutes.
500 seemed to fit the bill for that.
It gives people enough content to become interested and to take action on if necessary.
You can do that with less and you can do it with more, but on average we see that 500 works well.
Blogging Goals & Ideal Reader
The 500 average also seems to do well to achieve our blogging goals. In most cases we’re looking to increase sales and profit for our clients. We do that by generating the right kind of traffic. We target a specific person or reader and get them to discover the blog posts via search and social.
To do that we need to create things that are interesting, entertaining and enlightening. 500 words has accomplished that for the most part.
Now, with some clients we focus on shorter articles that aren’t as big in scope. These posts are about 200-300 words each.
With other clients we go into a lot of depth on certain topics. These posts stretch over 1,000 and reach 2,000+ on some occasions.
The length of your post depends on what your blogging goals are and who your ideal reader is.
We’ve also used hybrid solutions.
We’ll do weekly or monthly posts that go into depth on certain topics. These will be 1,000 words or so. Then on other days during the week we’ll just share one simple, but useful tip. Those posts will be about 200 words.
We find that 500 words well for our blogging word count.
If you’re looking for a place to start that is a good range. Use it as a guideline. Let the topic you’re right about determine the length. If it’s getting a lot longer than that see if you can cut it down or turn it into a series of posts.
Look at your goals and your ideal reader. See what other blogs they’re reading and the blogs you like reading.
You should be able to tell from that research if 500, 200 or 1,000+ will work.
These word counts don’t necessarily have any impact on SEO or things of that nature. They might in some cases, but we don’t like to think only about SEO when we’re writing content. We think about the ideal reader for each post and what they want to read.
Sometimes that the usual 500 word post. Sometimes it’s a short 200 word post. And other times it’s a post that 5,000 words.
Find your sweet spot and use the process to make a lot of great content, but from time to time experiment with different word counts.
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