The Myths About Size

Okay, I admit that the title was purposely devised to capture your attention through the use of sexual innuendo. And, now that you are here, I will tell you honestly, it won’t be as entertaining as a robust discussion of the truths and myths of phallus size or its affect on the male ego.

This is an attempt to centralize and distill some of the truths and myths concerning the length of blog posts. There is a ton of information regarding this topic available to anyone who wants to look for it. The problem is that few seem to fully agree and not all the information is given by people you could easily categorize as experts. Even experts, in varying fields, have differing opinions as their recommendations are usually steeped in what works for their specific method and style of writing. A journalism major, a novelist, and a wildly successful blogger see appropriate length in the limited view of their domain of writing. I am hoping to simplify this information and make it more useful to the new writer or blogger.

Let’s start by stating that writing, such as poetry (both free form and strict form) and prose, cannot be delineated by length without curtailing the creativity and impact of what is written. We will also forego the other exceptions like quotes, fables, and the like. There are also the fun and challenging endeavors of writing to a specified length. Can you write an impactful statement in six words? Can you cover a topic in five-hundred words or less? These are not the subject of this entry.

I am specifically talking about stories, editorials, testimonials, book reviews, etc. that are the exchange of information, hopefully done in an entertaining and enticing way. These entries are where the artist takes a back seat to the writer. All writers are artists, but not all artists are writers. There is a freedom in artistic license which does not directly correlate to editorial writing, where subject, structure, grammar, and punctuation all come into play for the writer.

So, here is the simple truth as I see it:

0 – 55 words

Twitter has recently increased the limit of their character count to 280 characters. Using average word length (5.1 characters per word per a research paper analyzing word length using Google Books), that equates to about 55 words. If your complete idea can be captured with that kind of brevity, Twitter, Snap Chat, Facebook, Instagram and the like may be the best place for it. You can post entries of this length on your blog, but their length is horrible for SEO and not well-suited to driving and capturing traffic for your blog site.

75 – 300 words

Super-short posts of this length are best for readability and generating discussion, especially if the subject is powerful and/or divisive. They rarely get many shares on social media, and they’re horrible for SEO, but if you want a lot of comments, write short posts! Keep in mind, that your brevity must elicit strong emotions in the readers to push them past the hurdle of writing a comment.

300 – 600 words

This is what is most often considered the standard length for blog posts by the “experts”. And it is a good middle ground. It keeps to a good readability. With the average adult reading speed of 300 words per minute, your posts will only require your reader to be engaged for a minute or two. With our attention deficit prone society, this is an easy read for most anyone. It will fair well for comments and social media shares, but it is much too short to provide good SEO. If you are only looking for new readers that come from your blogging community, this works fine. But it will not help readers find you through the usual search engines. The length is not enough for the common algorithms to accurately search and categorize the article.

600 – 1000 words

This is the length of professional journalism, with newsprint leaning toward the lower end of that spectrum. Most news articles and editorials fall in the 750-word range. This length is fair for getting links, comments, and social media shares. The readability will increase to anywhere from 2 to 3.5 minutes, requiring the reader to remain engaged for a longer period of time. This will require some intelligent use of writing techniques and tricks that will capture the readers attention and effortlessly lead them to the conclusion of the article. This is not a new skill to writers, but it does require more thought and some careful editing to keep the story engaging.

1000 – 1500 words

You’ll get fewer comments at this length but more shares on social media, especially if you write a post that solves a common problem or provides insight into a common issue. That being said, there are written posts this long that have gotten 100+ comments, so it really depends on the topic and your audience. But at this length, you are really starting to tickle the interest of the big search engines.

2450 words

Seems scary doesn’t it? To some bloggers this will seem like a small novel. But the highest-ranking articles on Google are most often 2450 words. If you want to rank well on search engines (and thus get thousands of new readers per month), this is the best length to write. However, make sure you write about a topic that people are actually searching for. It would be a shame to write a book-length blog post on a topic no one ever searches for! Again, solving a common problem or dealing with a common issue will help in getting people to click on your site over the others their search returns for consideration.

That is as simple as I think I can make it. As with all things “blog”, this is a very individual metric that should be chosen to suit your style of writing and aligned with your own vision for your blog. If there are certain goals or achievements you seek for yourself, then this may help in recognizing what length is most suited to help you meet those hopes and goals.

If the muse moves you, don’t be afraid to write posts that are 2,000 words or more. At the same time, don’t feel bad if you want to write a post that’s just 200 words long. Keep in mind what your chosen post length will likely bring to your blog, and vary your lengths so you can best serve your readers. But most of all, remember to have fun!

P.S.: If you have gotten this far and are still reading, keep in mind that this article is nearly twice the 600-word length the “experts” consider a standard length for blog posts. Yet here you are. And with that length I can hope for a much greater response of new readers as it will be more easily referenced and listed by the big search engines. (1168 words)

4 Responses to “The Myths About Size”
  1. I think the information you’ve shared has merit. However, word count will always be of a lower priority to me than choosing to fully express myself in certain posts. I usually look at word count when I am finished writing, but more from curiosity than for any other reason. I do hope that this information will help bloggers, though!

    • Brad Osborne says:

      I do the same thing. I write to completion and then do a word count. I am not even sure why I do a word count other than curiosity, as I will not edit it for length anyway. I have long eschewed the concept of the “standard” length for a blog post. Good writing and impactful content does not rest on the length of any article. If I can’t keep the reader’s attention to the end of an entry, it will likely have nothing to do with the length. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. I’ve generally tried to stay away from the 2450 words. When I start getting that long, I can get two to four smaller posts out of it. I have no idea how one article of 2450 ranks in SEO vs. 4 articles of 600 words?????????/

    • Brad Osborne says:

      I rarely have a post of that length either as with poetry and my weekly series ‘Friday’s Phrase’ my average post length is approximately 700 words. But I can assure you that length matters to SEO. It is simply a function of how the algorithms work. Thanks for your comment!

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