One question new bloggers often ask is how long a blog post needs to be to be informative and credible. Unfortunately, giving a word count answer isn’t really possible, unless you’re just trying to play the SEO game (then, the answer is at least 350 or so). But even then, that’s not what you’re here to learn.
Basically, like any piece of writing, a blog post needs to be as long, or as short, as it needs to be to deliver the content intended. So, what exactly does this mean, and what does this look like, practically? Read on below to find out.
If You Can’t Be Great, It’s Better to be Long
While you might not be able to make content with the same production quality as a major online-publisher, bloggers shouldn’t shy away from long-form content. However, on the flip-side, unwieldy posts that go on and on and on with no purpose are never going to do you any favors.
Going in-depth and covering a topic properly doesn’t always require thousands of words, especially if you have chosen a rather narrow topic within your niche to explore. But if you find that you have completely covered your topic in just a few sentences, you may want to take a step back to see where you can go deeper, or discuss the topic more.
Take your time to consider different approaches to your topic, you can:
- Think about how an image or two, or examples, might help the post,
- Consider adding more to the introduction or conclusion,
- Rework a couple sentences into headlines or topic sentences,
- Re-outline the post so that what you’ve written is part of a larger discussion/post.
Basically, unless you have a really good reason for a blog post being just a couple sentences, you need to give readers something worthwhile — especially if readers are in anyway notified automatically when you put up a new post.
A good rule of thumb for any blog post requires reading it aloud and timing yourself. If it takes you less than two minutes to read at a reasonable pace, you might want to consider adding more to it. Also, reading your post aloud is a great way to proofread, and is highly recommended anyway.
What If There’s Nothing More to Say?
If you think there is truly nothing more to say beyond what you’ve written, try to put yourself in the shoes of different types of readers. First, consider the reader who runs a Google search for your exact headline. Will they be disappointed by the fact that your post feels light on content? Or, will they be happy to have found a direct answer? Next, consider the reader who is returning to your blog after not having visited for a month, or since your last newsletter or email update. What are they going to think?
While it may feel instinctual to want to focus on this first reader who organically found your blog via a search, you’re ignoring the more important audience member, the returning visitor or subscriber. Fortunately, there’s another way to impress and please those readers on the hunt for topical information: Make ever single post tl;dr friendly. If you’re curious about what that means, don’t worry, the next section explains it.
Tl;dr Every Post
While you may want to imagine your readers navigating directly to your blog from their bookmarks bar, then pouring over every single syllable of your glorious wordsmithing, in all reality, they’re probably voraciously consuming your content then moving on without feeling gluttonous at all. And if a new reader gets to your site via a search, you want to make sure they can access the information they are looking for quickly and easily.
Tl;dr, in case you are unaware, means “too long, didn’t read.” It is one of those web-acronyms that have sprung up thanks to Reddit. Basically, a tl;dr is a short summary of a post written for people who will not read a long post.
For this reason, blog posts should be tl;dr friendly. That means using headings that are descriptive, while having clear introductions and conclusions to please those readers who are just skimming the web). It also doesn’t hurt to use bold, italics, or underlining, when you want to make sure that readers don’t miss words or phrases you want emphasized.
Note: Your blog is not Reddit. You do not need to actually put in a tl;dr summary, but making sure that content designed to be informative (rather than entertaining) is easy to scan, will make your posts more useful to readers.
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