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How Long Should a Blog Post Really Be?

Nothing riles my rancor more than reading disinformation spread by so-called “experts” who don’t know what they’re talking about. There’s a widely held view out there that the length of a blog post should be limited to only about 300 words maximum. Others might stretch that to 500 words or less but the general concensus is readers suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (notice the tongue in my cheek) and can’t focus long enough to read anything longer.

Makes sense .. right?

Hmm .. I have to admit that I’ve always had a problem with this point of view. First of all rigid opinions about how long a post should be insults the majority of us who don’t have an attention issue. Secondly, I believe in a conversational style of blog post writing which doesn’t lend well to short, pithy posts.

Don’t get me wrong because I’m a firm believer in brevity. In fact, when I practiced law I had it down to an art form.

But we still had to make our case so why should blogging be any different? Then of course there are the different types of posts to consider, such as tutorials for example which by their very nature can require a lot more than just a few words.

So how is it possible (I ask myself) can we adequately illustrate and support our opines with such a narrow-minded point of view?

Blogging is supposed to be an electronic medium for publishing our hopes, thoughts, dreams and aspirations .. isn’t it?

So who has the right to put a lid on it? Why so harsh?

Please forgive me if I sound cynical but I see a lot of holes in their argument that require a little more investigation.

How It All Started.. 

I recall it was certain marketers who first started the myth for short posts. After all they have the most to gain from pithy posts crafted with just the right amount of carefully chosen keywords.

The so-called blog gurus of today are actually just marketers who have created an artificial (and self-serving) celebrity niche for themselves, and they would prefer us all to believe that blogging is only about making money.

It’s been my unpleasant experience that bloggers who hold to this point of view (i.e. short posts) generally fall into this category and are only interested in clogging the airwaves with junk content to get a good position with the SERPS.

That is their excuse for writing garbage posts full of ads and affiliate links, and apparently they don’t want to have to work all that hard for their money. But I don’t buy into it (no pun intended).

(On a personal note I admit to being a little peed-off when I’m link-baited by a killer title only to find an incomplete or plagiarized thought at the other end. Some marketers more than others are guilty of this and you know who they are.)

Disclaimer: Not that I have anything against marketers or making money from blogging so long as it’s done ethically and follows good blogging practices. Believe it or not I like to make money too.

Having said that the way I see it is..

Blog Writing TricksThere is no absolute rule for how long a blog post can be. But if you feel that your readers can’t hold their attention then maybe it’s because you need to brush up on your writing skills.

With tricks like making your paragraphs shorter, highlighting your main points with bold, different-sized fonts, italics, adding images, headings or a sense of humor can go a long way to break up the monotony and hold your audience’s attention.

Music is Entertainment and Writing Should Be No Different..

I’m reminded of the Beatles and Beethoven’s music (yes I compare the two) who (besides writing great tunes) hold my attention because they never bore me.

If you listen closely you will notice there is very little repetitiveness in their music.

Beethoven can have several musical themes going on at the same time that he weaves throughout a symphony.

The Beatles used similar tricks (although not as sophisticated as Beethoven). Like playing with the left and right channels (in those days it was only stereo) separating their voices or instruments for maximum contrast and effect.

If they repeated a lyric or chorus they would change-up the music, harmonies, rhythm or ad-lib a little to keep it interesting.

So don’t be boring. Yeah, yeah, yeah..

Counting Words is like Counting Calories ..  because .. it doesn’t .. work ..

Most of us aren’t word-smiths like the great poets of yesteryear. Keep it interesting with a few simple techniques.

You will be able to communicate more effectively and get your point across without being restricted to only a specific number of words .. so stop counting.

Blog purists like to knock Twitter for it’s 140 character limitation. They argue that it’s not possible to express an opinion or hold a conversation without dumbing-it-down with incomprehensible abbreviations or incomplete thoughts.

I think there’s some truth to that.

What’s the Bottom Line? How Long Should a Blog Post Really Be? 

As for me, I would rather uphold standards and try to better myself as a communicator than give in to strict limitations or dumbing-down the conversation. I reject any opinions that try to tell me how long a post should be.

So go ahead and write to your hearts content. You have my blessing, but be reasonable and don’t go to the other extreme either. Stay on topic and edit ruthlessly. Your readers will thank you for it.

They don’t call writing an art form for nothing. Don’t be lazy and put a little effort into your posts and leave the short blurbs for Twitter and Facebook. 

How well did I do? Was this post too long?

P.s.: This post is exactly 971 words and 5461 characters (yes, I actually counted). :-)

Written January 14th, 2010 by | 55 Comments | Filed under: Blog Tips, Featured Tips, Writing Blog Content , , , ,

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There are 55 Comments so far to “How Long Should a Blog Post Really Be?”

  1. I would like to see the tests that were run that said a blog post should only be 300 to 500 words.

    I would think that they should be long enough to get your information or story told.

    Sheila

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 7:50 pm said...

    @Sheila, exactly ..

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    Reply by: David Lindsay at 1:59 pm said...

    Me too Sheila. It’s probably a self-fulfilling dictat. “People can’t concentrate for long these days,” the wisdom runs ” so write short posts.” Writing short posts leads to readers losing the ability to concentrate for long. It’s what Hollywood producers said when they introduced shorter scenes into films and now youngsters become bored if nothing happens for a matter of seconds. If bloggers write some longer posts as long as they are interesting, then people will read them.
    PS. ADD and short concentration span aren’t the same, BlogBloke

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 4:04 pm said...

    @David Lindsay, the ADD reference was my way of injecting a little tongue-in-cheek humor to make my point. Which is if you write to entertain then you won’t be encumbered with the need to write short posts or count words.

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  2. I have long dissed this view -
    I believe that if you have a strong opening - and if your visitor is truly interested - he’ll read to the end.

    Most bloggers I know write long posts and I like what they write. That should be convincing enough for me.

    Jakob Neilsen uses the term “Internet Pollution” or “Polluting the Internet” whenever someone posts garbage or a ‘filler post’.

    I’m taking that concept seriously actually - I’m removing all such ‘filler’ posts from my blog - they may still be around on the internet - but should I be held responsible for it I ask ?

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 9:46 pm said...

    Hi Jaffer .. perhaps in some way Twitter and Facebook have helped the cause of Blogging because it is now easier to separate the pseudo-bloggers from the real deal.

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    Reply by: Jaffer at 7:07 am said...

    @BLOGBloke,
    That’s true - I was thinking too that if I twitter and keep in touch with my friends via comments and e-mail - why the heck should I be apologizing and giving a reason or two - they know already !

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  3. Calling All BLOKESTERS! I want to hear from you .. please let me know what you think http://www.blogbloke.com/how-long-blog-p...

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    Reply by: 99graphicdesign at 6:39 pm said...

    @BLOGBloke cater to add because more people have it than you know make read more buttons for others

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  4. I think blog posts need to be as long as they need to be.

    Having said that, I think that if a blogger is new or has a business blog that they’re looking to see if they can keep up with, trying to write something every day or every couple of days is fairly important. Therefore, if they initially try to write shorter posts, that makes some sense. If they can write longer posts, that’s okay as well.

    Most of the time I tend to write longer posts on my “fun” blog, but on my business blog the posts tend to be shorter. I get to the point, then move off. That’s because I also write a bi-weekly newsletter, and that’s where I use the longer posts.

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 10:29 pm said...

    @Mitch .. “I think blog posts need to be as long as they need to be.”

    I agree and have no problem mixing it up so long as the content is quality and original. But cookie-cutter posts that are designed to link-bait innocent readers with junk content get my knickers in a knot.

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  5. I think blog posts need to be as long as they need to be. Having said that, I think that if a blogger is new o… http://www.blogbloke.com/how-long-blog-p...

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    Reply by: LisaKiftTherapy at 12:51 am said...

    @BLOGBloke Feeling better these days?

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 12:59 am said...

    @LisaKiftTherapy .. I have good and bad days .. thanks for asking ..

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    Reply by: LisaKiftTherapy at 11:00 am said...

    @BLOGBloke Hang in there!

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  6. When I was still a new blogger, I prefer reading short blog posts because I want to visit and read as many blogs as possible. Now it doesn’t matter anymore - there are some topics that should go at length too. You are right about writing without counting all the number of words.

    I know, too, that not all internet marketers limit their posts to just 300 or 500 words!

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 9:06 am said...

    @Gem … there are ok marketers, and then there are … care to mention any names ;-)

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  7. Well. It must be all about getting the message out. The article is finished when u have covered all nessesary subjects. personally i don´t like a series of articles, but like to read the whole story in one article. If its any good and well written, there will always be people reading it.

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 8:46 am said...

    @AKP .. agreed and well said ..

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  8. A blog post only has to be as long or as short as it needs to be. Period. There is no magic length, number of words, number of sentences or number of paragraphs.

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 9:46 pm said...

    @Grant Griffiths .. write on ;-)

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  9. I agree that there is no rule on how long a blog post should be. As long as it gets to say what it is meant to say I think it is good. Mine are usually 500 words or more.

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  10. I think the most important part is to help the readers and solve their problems by providing genuine solution.And if it’s done in less than 300 words who cares,the bottom line should be the reader is happy.I, myself sometimes cut my post in points. I’m still new in this arena and learning new things everyday.

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  11. I agree that there is no specific rule for how long a blog post should be. But the important thing is that it should be informative.

    I know so many Internet marketer who limit themselves up to 500 words only. But I dont thinks it will be good for SEO.

    Thanks for sharing this informative post. Keep it up.

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  12. I tend lean towards around the 500 word mark. Anything over this has got to just be killer material to keep the reader engaged.

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  13. Entirely depends on what you’re trying to achieve.
    If you blog just for profits/ad revenue/quantity of visitors then it would be time effective to limit your blog posts to certain word count.
    If you blog because you want to broadcast a message, opinion, experience to the world, your posts should be as long or as short as they have to be, as we care about our message not about rankings.

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  14. A fine line between long enough to provide detail but not so long as to cause the reader to lose interest.

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  15. I found this article useful in a paper I am writing at university. Hopefully, I will get an A now!

    Thanks,

    Bernice Franklin

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  16. If posts are informative and interesting, readers won’t even notice the length!

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  17. I feel that blog posts can really be any length, from quite short to very long. However, my personal preference are blog posts that are not too long. There is so much to read today, that I appreciate it when someone writes a concise post and gets to the point.

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  18. Focus shouldn’t be on how long or short your posts are, the focus should be on saying what needs to be said as quickly and succinctly as possible. Posts that drone on and take paragraphs to get to the point lose their readers.

    I read a lot all day, like most people online, so I want something that helps me think and is information that I can use but I also want to get through it quickly so it needs to be easy to read and offers writing that is interesting enough to ‘keep’ me reading.

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  19. As long as you stick to the topic in which your writing then i would say theres no problem with writing blog posts as longs as you want them to be. If you dont have much of a topic to talk about, i would stick to around 600 words.

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  20. I do believe that one should write until his/her point is made clearly and concisely, then stop there. I personally have been struggling to write certain amount of words even after I’d made my point and that is so mentally tiresome. This post have made me realize that I should just write until I get my point or thoughts across and that is what I will do from now on, even if it 20 or a thousand words.
    Thank you.

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 1:55 pm said...

    Thanks for dropping by!

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  21. New Post @BLOGBloke: How Long Should a Blog Post Really Be? http://www.blogbloke.com/how-long-blog-post/

  22. How Long Should a Blog Post Really Be? http://bit.ly/9333PQ nice post

  23. How Long Should a Blog Post Really Be? http://bit.ly/9333PQ nice post

  24. How Long Should a Blog Post Really Be? http://bit.ly/9333PQ nice post

  25. Ok .. finished editing the new post .. hope you like it http://bit.ly/9333PQ

  26. RT @BLOGBloke

    Ok .. finished editing the new post .. hope you like it http://bit.ly/9333PQ

  27. I would like to see the tests that were run that said a blog post should only be 300 to 500 words.

    I would thin… http://bit.ly/4SjyAn

  28. @Sheila, exactly .. http://bit.ly/4SjyAn

  29. […] How Long Should a Blog Post Really Be? http://www.blogbloke.com/how-long-blog-post – view page – cached There seems to be a widely held view out there that blog posts should be limited to only about 300 words maximum. Others say 500 words […] […]

  30. Calling All BLOKESTERS! I want to hear from you .. please let me know what you think http://bit.ly/4SjyAn

  31. Hi Jaffer .. perhaps in some way Twitter and Facebook have helped the cause of Blogging becau… http://bit.ly/4SjyAn

  32. Me too Sheila. It's probably a self-fulfilling dictat. "People can't concentrate for long these days," the wisdom r… http://bit.ly/4SjyAn

  33. RT @BLOGBloke Me too Sheila. It's probably a self-fulfilling dictat. "People can't concentrate for long these days, http://bit.ly/4SjyAn

  34. @David Lindsay, the ADD reference was meant to inject a little tongue-in-cheek humor for one of my points I was mak… http://bit.ly/4SjyAn

  35. I think blog posts need to be as long as they need to be.

    Having said that, I think that if a blogger is new o… http://bit.ly/4SjyAn

  36. @Mitch .. "I think blog posts need to be as long as they need to be."

    I agree and have no problem mixing it up s… http://bit.ly/4SjyAn

  37. When I was still a new blogger, I prefer reading short blog posts because I want to visit and read as many blogs as… http://bit.ly/4SjyAn

  38. @Gem .. there are ok marketers, and then there are … ;-) http://bit.ly/4SjyAn

  39. How long a post really be? http://bit.ly/6twLAW

  40. @Grant Griffiths .. write on ;-) http://bit.ly/4SjyAn

  41. How Long Should a Blog Post Really Be? http://bit.ly/9333PQ

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