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Post Length – How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

Posted By Darren Rowse 18th of February 2006 Writing Content 0 Comments

We might as well continue exploring the topic of writing good content with a topic that has been debated by bloggers rather hotly over the years, the length of the optimum post. There are a number of ways of looking at it:

  • Reader Attention Span – It is pretty well documented that the typical web reader has a short attention span when it comes to reading content online. My own little investigation into length of stay on blogs found that average blog readers stay 96 seconds per blog (I’ve seen other more scientific tests that show similar results). What ever the number – it’s generally not long. As a result many web-masters purposely keep their content length down to a level that is readable in short grabs.
  • SEO – There is a fairly strong opinion among those considered experts in Search Engine Optimization that both extremely short and extremely long web pages are not ranked as highly as pages that are of a reasonable length. Of course no one really knows how many words are ideal – but the general opinion seems to be that a page of at least 250 words are probably a reasonable length. Similarly, many advise keeping pages under 1000 words.
  • Quantity of Posts – One theory that goes around is that shorter posts allow you to write more posts and that more posts are better for generating readership with RSS and in Search Engines. While I don’t know their strategy personally, some believe this is what sites like Engadget and Gizmodo do with their high number of short posts which make up the majority of their content.
  • Topic/Genre – The type of post that you’re writing will often determine it’s length. For example when writing a review of a product you’ll generally write a longer post than when you write a news related post where you link to something someone else has written.
  • Comprehensive Coverage of the Topic – Ultimately this has to be the main criteria that bloggers go with. I can’t remember who advised this but at some point in the last year I read someone saying that you should write enough to comprehensively cover your topic and then stop. Long posts for the sake of them are not a wise move – but so are short ones that don’t cover the topic well.

In the end you need to find your own way on this. Here at ProBlogger I tend to mix it up a fair bit. I try to write at least one longer post per day that gives readers a bit of meat to chew on (whether it be a tips post, a review post, a rant etc) but I also throw in ‘newsy’ posts throughout the day.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. “Reader Attention Spam” — that’s a good one ;-)

  2. Capelinks, you beat me to it!

  3. “Reader Attention Spam”… freudian slip? ;)

  4. I think length also has to do with how you break it up. You don’t want long paragraphs without visual breaks like headings or lists, people just aren’t going to have the patience to figure out what you’re doing. This is especially true if you use san serif fonts since the reader has to do more “work” when they read.

  5. doh – fixed.

  6. Darren,

    First of all I wan’t to thank you for your site. You’ve shared some great links and advise that have helped me a lot while starting my blogging addiction.

    You mentioned that posts are typically shorter if one is writing about news. I disagree, news agencies already provide such a brief news articles that it would be almost criminal not to “open them up” for readers. With this I mean revealing the biases and covering the backgrounds of the story .

    I’m slowly finding my blogging niche with this subject, along with briefly linking my readers to usefull sites and web applications or softwares. So, I agree on your way to mix the length of posts. I also think that if I’d only write about in depth, serious stuff, it would depress both me and my readers.

    Thanks again,


  7. Sampsa – I should qualify what I was saying – what I’ve found is that when I write a review of a topic I find that posts can end up being many thousands of words long (if it’s a comprehensive one), where as when I (and most other bloggers that I know) write newsy/link posts that they tend to be shorter, even with my own comments added.

    I agree that there is a place fo bloggers to open stories up and go deeper than the agencies do – but in comparison to a comprehensive review they are usually shorter.]

    I think your strategy of mixing it up is a good one and will definately keep your readers attention better.

  8. Aha, I switched from long informative posts to short compyling ones, the formula works better and i’m even enjoying not having to go into all of the little technical stuff =)


  9. […] Post Length – How Long Should a Blog Post Be? […]

  10. The average visit length is an interesting statistic though I wonder if it could be further dissected. Is this average pretty steady across all users or does is it skewed by a large number of over-caffeinated click-mokeys?

  11. […] This post here by Darren of Problogger made me think. There are millions of people who read blogs and in that thousands who actually read blogs. So, does the size of the blog play a major role in it’s popularity? I believe yes. […]

  12. In my experience, it seems like my more lengthy articles get much more search engine traffic on one blog.

  13. One of my blogs receives much more traffic on the lengthy posts from search engines.

  14. […] Say Something New When we write, we don’t need to continue to repeat and rehash old arguments. One thing I think that plagues the Religious community is a lack of creativity – let your blogs be a place where you try to take something old and make it new – or even better yet try to come up with some new perspective on an issue.  I remember a professor telling us when I was at Malone, that when we write,  write as though you are coming up with something new, something fresh, and write it with passion.  Its not always the case that you will say something new, and if you use an idea that has been used before you’d better cite it, but its not hard to come up with a unique perspective on this or that topic.  Make your writing interesting and creative, don’t be like the preacher that recycles his or her 52 sermons every year, saying the same thing over and over and over… Keep It Short Enough to Read and Use Clear Titles and Headlines I rarely read long articles, of which this post is one really long article.  I don’t have time to read more than 1,500 words from one person in a day, one reason for this is because I try to read about 25-50 blogs on a given day.  This is normal for many people these days, so help them out keep your posts at a readable length, and use clear titles and plenty of subtitles that will help the reader skim.  See Related: Using Titles Effectively Scannable Content Clues of an Amateur Blogger Writing Headlines that get Results […]

  15. Many people forget is that blogging is a style of writing with it’s own flow – in much the same way as haiku poetry.

    IMHO, a blog post that is over 500 words is too long and needs to be scaled back. (There are exceptions to this, but that’s my rule-of-thumb.)

  16. […] Here’s what some others say about post length. To sum-up, shoot for around 250 words and avoid going over 1000. Ultimately, you’ll have to find your own sweet spot and watch your site statistics. (This post is 177 words long.) […]

  17. Blogs And The Public Intellectual…

    Aaron Barlow in his post Let Me Put That In Context, on TPM Cafe, observes:

    Perhaps one of the ……

  18. Here’s what I do. Lets say I have 500 words article. Usually, I just take the 100 – 200 words of the article and post it into my blog. Then I ask the reader of my blog to click a link if they like to read the rest of the article.

    By doing this, we can avoid the issue of duplicate content.

    And it works like a charm.

  19. The first 7 days of blogging…

    Thousands of blogs are being created every week and many of them are making critical mistakes within the first week of starting. If you are thinking about starting a blog here are some things that you should think about and do within the first 7 days o…

  20. […] Numerosas líneas podrían redactarse acerca del asunto del presente “post”. Tantas, que su profusa extensión sobrepasaría los límites de un post arquetípico, por lo que daré por buena la atracción de lectores derivada del altilocuente título y me centraré en las cuestiones prácticas que nos atañen. […]

  21. […] Liz asked me how long a blog post should be. ProBlogger has an answer of sorts here. […]

  22. This was a great site. I needed to find something for my Homework and This site helped me out so much! Thanx alot!!!!

  23. A post’s length varies according to it’s purpose. If it is an informational post, regarding a detailed theme it’s only normal that it is a long one, as where it it merely a response to a question, such as this one, it shouldn’t be longer than 250 up to a maximum of 400 words. Of course, this is a personal opinion and it may be argued.

  24. I am definitely in the camp of less is more. I believe you should be able to explain any idea with three to five sentences (no run-ons, please). The real determining factor for length has more to do with subject matter than anything else. Of course you want to be brief and to the point, but if you introduce a side thought in your blog, it needs to be supported. As a rule I try to keep my posts under 1000 words but no shorter than 250. On occasion I will go longer than 1000, but it was necessary to give a clear description or definition.

  25. Asako says: 07/30/2007 at 3:56 pm

    Reading comments, I am probably an exception that I like a blog site with longer posts. What is the average length of posts on problogger? I really like this site, because each post has high quality, is very well thought out, and complete. As far as I find the title I am looking for, it is for sure that I will get everything I want to read on that topic within one post. Particularly, on this kind of topic, it is good to have a long high quality article.

  26. Darren,
    I don’t know yet if this is a good tactic, but Ive been putting my posts through a word counter and starting each new post with the word count. Those who have a short attention span can click an ad and go.


    I do write longer posts, but around the 3,000 word mark, I break them up into smaller chunks. A good reader can readily handle 3,000 words in 5 minutes or so and what I write won’t appeal to those who have trouble choosing a crayon from a box of four.

    I did just post a topic titled “What Color Was Noah?” that was about 5,700 words long on my religion blog. I broke it up into three pieces along lines that appeared to be natural divisions. I also took advantage of the tag to put ~20-50 words out there so potential readers can get some idea of the content.

    I can remember when i was on dial-up and had to choose wisely before I clicked anything. Dial-up is still fairly common … my own son has it because he seldom uses the internet and his wife is basically only interested in snagging business e-mails. So I try to keep graphics down and to let my readers know what’s “behind door number two” before they click.

  27. What is the font that should look good .Will bold letters help?

  28. I prefer shorter posts with links to more information. Implant an idea, then give easy access to more information if the reader wishes it.

  29. Thank you so much for valuable piece of advise, I was looking for the answer today, and found it on your blog. Great JOB, brother…

  30. thanx for that mate found it very useful

    i try and mix the lengths of my posts

  31. I am collecting some details on how to write an effective blog with in a short span and i find this particular blog has much more tips and tricks. more over easily understandable

    Thanks for the blogger

  32. A blog post should be, as a general rule of thumb, around 4oo words. The issue with this general rule that most bloggers observe is that if your topic calls for fewer words, fewer words are acceptable. On the other hand, if your post needs more words to make sense, etc., then more words are okay also. If your site has articles on it, I would suggest that if a post is more than 750 words, make it an article.

  33. I’m a new blogger and have found this site very useful…thank you! As for the topic at hand, I will always remember the English teacher who taught me the “skirt rule”. A woman’s skirt should be long enough to cover the topic but short enough to keep it interesting. The same goes for a blog post!

  34. Hi!
    My posts are usually 300-400 words. I know some people make it 1000s but thats not for me right now. 5000 word posts are for deep details and dedicated readers imo.

    Its good to know I CAN write long articles though.

  35. I LOVE “THE RANT” BLOG!! Keep it short and sweet ;)



  36. Guillaume says: 02/14/2009 at 2:42 am

    Hello Darren and thanks for your blog

    To go further into that :
    I am planning to launch my first blog in March and I know that the ideas that I want to express will require posts with far more than 500 words (it will be about personal development).
    I thought I could break the longest posts into several short ones. in my opinion the advantages would be :
    1. Not to overwhelm the reader
    2. Post more regularly without increasing the effort
    3. Fidelize the reader as he will (hopefully) be looking forward coming back the next day to have the end of the post.

    Do you think that’s a good idea?
    Thanks in advance for the answers

  37. A great blog with useful information. The length of a blog post depends on the article. It shouldn’t be padded out to get more keywords for search engines. As long as you write the post for the reader then thats fine. Some will be short and to the point and some will need to explain the details. If its a helpful post about something I want to learn I personally love the longer posts crammed with as much information as possible, but equally short sharp and to the point is good as well.

  38. I agree, short and to the point should be most blog posts. If we wanted to read a two or three page post we would just read books.

  39. As a former journalist, I stick to newspaper style, even for Web content, i.e.
    1) Well-crafted headline;
    2) First paragraph is most important (as it may be all anyone gets to/through);
    3) Newspaper columns were roughly 700 words and were well-read (Perhaps shorter for WWW for reasons mentioned above;
    4) Short paragraphs;
    5) Excellent images tweaked in Photoshop specifically for the Web.

  40. This is the question that eats mind of most of the bloggers. Everyone says write long content to rank high in Google search.

    I did a little study by writing two posts more than 2000 words and found that the article which was formatted correctly and optimized well, ranked within just 5 hours of publishing.

    But another post which was not optimized was not able to rank even in the first three pages.

    So I must say, when not just the length but the engaging content, quality of information and optimization work together, we attract the best results.

    Thanks for sharing.

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