How long should my blog post or article be?

Top-down view of a man's hands as he writes a blog on a laptop, with a notepad, coffee and plant on the table

Choosing the right length for your blog post will maximise your results, helping you to attract more new clients and sales.

However, the best word count will depend on what you are trying to achieve, what you are trying to communicate and who you are speaking to. The first step is clarifying your goals.

What are your goals?

Before you begin writing, you need to define your goals. Think about why you are writing the blog post and how you will measure its success. For example, do you want to boost SEO so you show up in more searches, announce a new product, stay top-of-mind with past customers or generate discussion?

You may have more than one objective but it’s helpful to choose one main goal per article. It will pave the way for clearer, more effective communication and better position you to achieve your goals.

To get you started, here are the top three reasons our clients come to us for blog content and our word count recommendations for each.

1. I want to boost SEO

You may have heard of companies that have magically “exploded” online overnight after launching a website. This is incredibly rare and in most cases, building up your SEO and sales is a gradual process. It’s just not enough to set up a website and assume enquiries or sales will come flooding in.

So how do you make sure your ideal client can find you?

A targeted SEO strategy will help your website show up in search results of your ideal client. It will tell Google who your business is relevant to, allowing it to showcase you to more of the right people (instead of the timewasters or tyre kickers).

Depending on your audience, this might mean using long-tail keywords. These are keywords or keyphrases that are more specific than more commonly used keywords. They’re often used to target people who are more ready to buy or are just better suited to your niche. It can also help to attract people who see the value in paying that little bit extra for quality, rather than simply hunting for the lowest price.

The verdict:

The more text you have, the more clues you can leave for Google to understand what your article is about. You can also weave in more keywords by addressing more topics. This will allow the article to show up in more searches. However, this doesn’t mean publishing long-winded articles will rocket you to the top of search results. You need to balance length with keeping it interesting and maintaining your audience’s attention span.

All search engines are designed to provide the best answers to people’s queries. They determine which articles do this by analysing the content and also user behaviour, for example, how long people spend on the website and if they share it with their friends.

For these reasons, your blog post should always be more than 300 words. For anything less Google will struggle to understand what your article is about. It also won’t take people long enough to read it for Google to deem it as “useful content”.

For a good chance of SEO ranking, aim for your blog post to be 1,000 words or more. Depending on the topic and reading pace, this should take your reader between three and 10 minutes to read. It may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that most readers will scan through your sub headers to find what they are looking for. After they have found the answer they were searching for, whether they then keep reading will come down to the quality of your content.

2. I want to build my brand or share company news

Consumers really are spoilt for choice and sharing the stories behind your brand and products will help you stand out. It’s how your customers may first form their opinions of your business and build emotional links with your company.

This doesn’t mean it’s essential to broadcast every single morning coffee run (unless it’s relevant to your business and brand story). However, providing a behind-the-scenes look at who you are and what you do can kickstart relationships. Don’t let milestones, product launches and collaborations go past without publicising them. This might be that extra bit of information your next client needs to click “add to cart”.

The verdict:

If you are sharing company news, such as a new product, team member or a collaboration you need to firstly cover off all the essentials. These are the always-reliable “who, what, when, where, why and how”. Once you have done this, anticipate what questions your readers might have and answer them. For example, what will this new person be doing and how will this improve their customer experience?

If you just want to get across these essentials, aim for a blog post of around 400-500 words.

However, if you are looking to create more brand-building content, consider how you can weave in storytelling. For example, rather than just telling your audience that a new product is available, can you share the inspiration behind its design? Is there a personal story you could share that people may relate to?

Remember, storytelling will help build an emotional response. This will in turn improve recall of your content, making your readers more likely to bring it up in conversations or share it with their friends.

In this instance, the recommended word count will depend on the story you have to tell. Every single sentence must serve a purpose and it’s important you don’t get off-track. Consider upwards of 600 words. Anything less and it will be hard to build enough of a story to elicit an emotional response.

3. I just want to sell more products or my service

What business owner doesn’t want to maximise their revenue?

A blog is an incredibly valuable marketing tool, but the more subtle you are, the better. Your blog needs to be a useful resource for your audience. Remember, if they were looking for a hard sell, they could head straight to your online store or reach out for a quote.

Chances are they are browsing your blog because they are researching and haven’t yet made up their mind. Your blog is a great opportunity to create a real point of difference. It can communicate your unique brand voice and expertise.

Alternatively, they might be reading your content because they already love your brand. They may come to you because they love what you do and agree with your ethos. In this instance, writing articles which feed into their interests or passion will help build loyalty. It will cement that strong relationship and keep them coming back for more.

The verdict

Unfortunately, there is no magic number. This will depend on your audience’s motivation for reading your blog, what action you want them to take and the topic.

If you want to build your reputation, consider writing a mix of 500-word “tips or advice” articles and explanatory pieces of 800-words or more which demonstrate your expertise and understanding of issues your customers face.

What other factors do I need to consider?

The ideal word count will also depend on how your audience will be consuming your content. Will they be scrolling through it while Netflix plays in the background, conducting an in-depth analysis on their computer or simply filling in time on their commute home? This will give you vital clues on how long they will be willing to devote to reading your content and how much time you should invest in writing it.

In addition, think about who your audience is and how dense the topic is. Will they see the issues you are exploring as complex and should you take the time to explain key terms? Or should they already have enough background knowledge and you can simply dive in?

Another key way to pinpoint the best article length is through analytics. Present your audience with a mixture of shorter and longer form content and then jump into Google Analytics to see what works, and what doesn’t.

Always pay attention to your customer

Remember, every business and market is unique. Just because a particular word count has worked in the past or for your competitors’ blog, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. As with any business initiative, you will need to continually observe your customers and re-evaluate your strategies. It’s essential you are providing your customers with what resonates best with them.

To speak with the Good News Travels team about the right blog post word count for your niche and objectives, contact us.