What is the best length for a blog post?

This next stat is one of the most useful pieces of information you will ever read when it comes to writing a blog posts:

Online 79% of people skim read according to Nielsen  an authority online readability.

This article is in answer to this question: How do users read on the web?

The answer, if you haven’t time to click through is, they don’t. People don’t read web pages word by word. They scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences.

This piece of information dates back to 1997. Yet has not changed and is even more relevant today as more is being written online than ever.

As readers we are faced with information overload, anything we don’t want to read, we discard and move on.

As bloggers we face a lot of competition to be read.

I have come across many potentially great blog posts that just fall off a cliff. They start off interesting and relevant, yet as you read on, they end up just one big block of text, stretching the whole page like one big magic eye picture. (Stare long enough and your eyes start to see things, seriously!) Others are too short and I’m not sure what the point was.

So, I’m gone. And so will many other would- be readers. This is something I have learnt from being in marketing and writing for websites at work, yet isn’t always obvious when you start writing a blog.

So what’s best a long or a short post?

250 – 600 words is generally seen as the industry standard. Avoid being too brief. This makes it hard when Google tries to find you and “index” your site. According to content authority and author Ann Hadley the optimum length for a Google friendly blog post is 1,500 words*

Writing a blog post, is not the same as writing an essay for college, or an article for print. As the research says, it needs to be scannable and with key bits of interest throughout that draw in the reader at different places to keep their interest.

So in answer to the question. Both are good as long as they are scannable. The only rule- they should be as long as necessary, but no longer. Give someone as much information as they need, as long as your post warrants it.

Quick blog structure checklist

  • Inverted Pyramid style. This means you most juicy interesting pieces at the top of your post. I.e If you are doing a product review show us what it can do, and your opinion at the top. Price and stockist can go at the end.
  • Edit. Edit. Edit. Can you trim it down to make easier to read?
  • Break up your text. Don’t be afraid of whitespace!
  • Use bullets and headers to make it scannable
  • Pepper with links to other articles to show the reader what else you have written. This is a best practice web SEO trick.

What has been your experiences? What would stop you reading a long blog post?

* Ann Hadley “Everybody Writes”

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