I am a big fan of Buffer. Though (let me sheepishly admit) I am still a non-paying Buffer user, I can’t stop marvelling at the unique service it provides. No I am not talking about the free Buffer app that makes it breezily simple and exciting to share contents on the social media. It’s great, no doubt there.
I am in fact referring to the unique content suggestions that the Buffer app provides (image below). In one word, it is gallant. How else would I have known and read some great articles… like a few on what should be the ideal length of blog posts?
These days it is not unusual to come across some of the well-written articles where it quickly becomes apparent that there is a trend now to create voluminous posts. It occurs to me that there is perhaps a growing feeling that unless the posts are sufficiently lengthy they stand little chance of being favoured by the readers (or ranking well in search results).
Is that true? Has the readers’ reading taste changed all of a sudden? Above all, does content length actually matter to your blog posts?
These are some issues close to the heart of small blog owners. Here let us see what some experts have to say on the length of blog articles.
In April 2012 Kevin did some tests on content length. He found that the average content length of top 6 search results was more than 2300 words (see image below), while the top 2 results crossed 2450 words. What is singularly striking is that all the 10 results have more than 2000 words in them. Incidentally, Kevin found that the more a domain ages, the more is the word count in the posts.
Casey studied 3800 posts on Moz blog in October 2009. Stressing on number of linking domains to determine if a post is popular throughout the net, he found that large posts seem to attract more links than posts with 900 words or less. Posts having 1800 to 3000 words will attract more than 15 times more ILDs (In Linking Domains) than a post with less than 600 words. The maximum number of ILDs (>20) was for posts between 2733 and 3035 words.
Corey is a bit evasive. She says your blog post is exactly what it should be. That means the post could be as big as 2000+ words or as small as less than 100 words. She concedes though that it is more difficult to write short posts (because every word counts) than long ones where you can afford to be less choosy with your words.
Jon Morrow more or less echoes Corey’s points. He points out that the length of a post has nothing to do with how good or bad it is. How true! And he doesn’t like writers who don’t seem to know when to shut up. Ouch!
Neil stresses that a host of factors affect the length of your post, and that includes substance, style, frequency, format, purpose, audience, and medium used. He confirms that in his blog of all the posts that are more than 1500 words receive 68% more tweets and 22% more Facebook likes than the articles with fewer than 1500 words. Neil suggests, “If you’re looking for numbers, a post that is above 1500 words seems to be in the zone of ideal length. I’d shoot for that if I were you.”
Kevan touches upon several resources to analyse ideal content length. Quoting the study by Medium Data Lab that the optimal post is equivalent to 7 minutes reading he concludes that the ideal post length should be about 1600 words. The length of the ‘7 minutes’ post in Medium is around 980 words, but it has 15 graphs in them. And therefore, as Kevin observes, a photo-heavy post could bring the average word-length to around 1000.
Well, this article is all of 780 words. I dearly wanted to make it long… at least past 1200 words if not more. But I ran out of inputs on experts who I could quote for this topic. Does that make a difference? I guess not. As I size up this article before releasing it I have that burp-emitting feeling that I have told what I wanted to. There isn’t much to add except that you cannot possibly stretch something beyond a point. Lest… it gets snapped.
What do you think?