Finding the ideal blog length: Are longer blog posts better?

By Melanie Graham

Blog length. It’s a common question and highly debated topic in the content space. Should we be limiting posts to 500 words or less, or striving for closer to 1,500-2,000?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as one, standard number.

These days, it seems bloggers are leaning more toward long-form posts, according to a recent study by Orbit Media. The survey, which Orbit has conducted annually for the last four years, asked more than 1,300 bloggers to weigh in on topics like process, promotion and content.

One of the takeaways from the survey is that blog content seems to be getting longer, but most of it still falls under 1,000 words. Of the bloggers surveyed, 25 percent are writing posts between 1,000 and 1,500 words, but nearly 46 percent are writing posts between 500 and 1,000 words. Fewer than 10 percent of bloggers surveyed are writing posts under 500 words.

According to Orbit, this works out to an average blog post of 1,142 words, which is 41 percent more words than the average blog post was three years ago.

Orbit’s study isn’t the only data pointing to longer blog posts. Hubspot estimates the ideal post length around 2,100 words. This is based on average reading speed and Medium’s optimal blog post reading time of seven minutes, as well as research into Hubspot’s own blog traffic. Some sources have also said longer blog length can improve search results (SEO) and the number of overall shares.

But let’s forget about all that for a second.

When it comes down to it, blog post length should be dictated by your audience and content area, and not about what the average blogger is doing. After all, is the average blogger a hospital or healthcare organization? Probably not.

Read more: How to tackle content development in 5 stages

Instead of worrying about the average blog length and some magic number, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is my audience?
  • What is the goal of my content?
  • Does this topic need a long-form post?
  • What does the content look like in similar blogs?

When you’re thinking about content length, look at what your audience is searching for and the topics or questions they want covered. If your blog is aimed at a general consumer audience seeking answers to simple medical questions like, “What are the symptoms of strep throat?”, you probably don’t need a 2,000-word article detailing the illness.

That said, if your audience (such as researchers or physicians) is focused on complicated medical or science topics, your blog may benefit from longer-form content. If the content is engaging and useful, it won’t matter if the post is 500 or 1,500 words.

The experts over at Moz seem to agree. They recommend looking at the search results for the keywords you’re focused on. What do the average blog lengths look like for those search results?

Moz also recommends reading through the content in your keyword area. Could the posts be more concise? Could they use more detail? Your blog may have an opportunity to better explain some of these topics.

Read more: 4 tips for creating a better hospital blog

Now that we’ve presented a few different opinions — what do you think? How do you approach blog length? Is there an ideal word count that works for you? Share your ideas with us in the comments section below or shoot us an email.

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