Sep 7, 2009

How long should a blog post be?

This post is dedicated to those that blog and those thinking about blogging.

How long should a blog post be?
This is a question that may be on your mind. It's been on mine recently. I've conducted some research and there are varying opinions. Some folks say posts should average 500 words . But, there are some other folks who think otherwise too.

Jon Morrow from Copyblogger talks about tight writing and how some of their most popular posts are longer then 1000 words. Douglas Karr has an interesting article with some analysis on this topic as well.

I think varying opinions is a good thing. Why? Well, there should be no magic bullet when it comes to "average" blog post length. In fact, blogs in general should be unique and reflect the personal preferences of the blogger as well as their current and prospective audience.

But wait a minute, is there more to this question?

This one question leads to a whack load of others! Including:

  • If I was just starting out blogging where would I start? Where could I learn about how to blog?
  • If I want to get better at blogging where should I go?

  • What innovative things are people doing with their blogs?

  • Is brevity important when it comes to blog posts like it is with Twitter?

  • How long should it take to write a blog post?

  • Should you balance blog posts based on length to accommodate those that like to read short bursts of content and longer essay types of posts?

  • What happens if you're not that great a writer, but want to blog? Should your posts be shorter to start? You may have interesting things to say while getting your blogging chops figured out, so why not start writing?

  • Is it arrogant for a blogger to think that his/her posts length don't matter?

  • There are "A" lister bloggers who have a devoted group of followers already but what about those just starting out?

Time to explore this in more depth through conversation and a blog post series.

The blog post length question for me leads to a broader conversation about a blogging publishing framework, examples, best practices etc . Things like (to name a few):

  • Blog posts - how often, length and types of posts.

  • Writing styles - first person, third person, serious, fun, corporate, personal.

  • Categories and tags - how to define, use, manage and classify posts.

  • Blog types - single author, multi-author.

Long live and love the blog.

The blog, in my own personal opinion, is one of the most promising channels to express yourself, educate, inform, engage and create conversation. Whether you're a company, an artist, a hobbyist or just someone who has something to say…you now have an outlet!

I think we are just scratching the surface when it comes to blogging. There are so many things we can and are doing with blogs, it makes sense to share how we are using blogs to benefit our readers and ourselves.

So, with that in mind, I'm creating a feature series of posts that explores blogging both personally and professionally. I'm going to share things like:

  • What I'm learning about blogging through my own experiences and whatever else turns up in my travels.

  • Interviews with bloggers asking why and how they blog.

I'm not sure what to name the series but I'd like to think that it becomes an ongoing and updating "how to" of blogging with real world examples. As the number of posts accumulate it may end up being a nice resource for you to refer to over time. (That's the beauty of tagging!).

Got questions, got answers, got ideas?
Leave a comment below with your question, your thoughts and ideas and links to sites and posts that you think will help us all learn more about blogging.

By the way, this post is 654 words in length and took an hour and forty seven minutes to draft, edit, cross link and publish.


  1. It is a very tough situation. How long should the post be so that you can demonstrate your knowledge (e.g. make you a blogger worth reading) yet hold the readers attention when you know they will have plenty of other posts in their reader?

    What insights do you hold back without making yourself look stupid but which will help cerate a conversation because people don’t feel that you have told them everything?

    Also, I often don’t read long posts on a blog that posts twice a day or even everyday … no one has that much important shit to say and often they are just posting for the sake of posting.

    I certainly don’t have the answer but these things weigh on my mind as well.

  2. @Daniel Oyston: Great insights, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think blogs can fit nicely between tweets and more formal communications pieces like case studies, whitepapers, ebooks and articles.