I’ve got two questions for today’s video and they’re both linked to each other.
The first question is, how long should a blog article be? There are a few key things I want to cover in that, and the second question which is linked is, my articles seem to be quite short…how can I make them longer? Underpinning that is how can I make them longer with them being needlessly longer?
How long should a blog article be?
In general, I would say as short as it needs to be. One of the things we have to appreciate when we’re writing blogs is our readers’ time. We want a bit of brevity there, you don’t want to be filling it up with filler content to make it as long as possible, but you also have to consider Google as well. Google suggests that something like 300 words on a page is considered to be a decent piece of content.
At a very basic level, let’s keep it as short as it needs to be for our readers, but also let’s make sure it’s more than 300 words for Google.
Somewhere in the middle of all of that we have to figure out how long is too long and all the rest of it. Look at stories from Neil Patel, who’s written 5000 plus word articles and resources, and what we know to be true is that longer form content tends to outperform the shorter form content. I think the sweet spot is somewhere between 1000 and 1200 words, something like that, and the articles we write are somewhere between 800 and 12 or 1400 words.
I think again we want to make sure that the brevity is there, that we’re not wasting people’s time by just filling it with as much as content as possible, so a really good blog is usually focused on one topic or one question or one problem, and then that makes sure it can be contained at least in some capacity.
I guess there’s all of that, and trying to think to ourselves, well, how do we create a longer form piece of content?
I think one of the biggest mistakes people make – for example they’re taking a question they’ve been asked before and they want to answer it in their blogs – they simply just answer that question without really explaining how that problem might crop up, and I think from one question you can create quite a nice piece of content for your blog article.
It’s about not just scratching the surface, but actually digging a little bit deeper, so you can take what on the surface might seem like quite a short piece of content, and make it much longer by doing into more depth.
That’s what we try to do, to try to keep our content quite long, but not any longer than it needs to be, so I’m going to give you an example. We published an article for one of our clients about how to choose a removals company. I think you could potentially keep that quite short and just say something like, if you’re planning on moving, these are the things you need to look out for, include a bullet list and maybe a small conclusion, keeping it quite short.
What we did was we said, here are eight questions that you need to ask yourself when hiring a removals company, and there’s quite a nice opening section in there, just to explain why you should ask these questions, then we go to list each of the questions, but also taking the time to explain why you would want to ask this question.
You could take quite a short answer, but actually go really deep into it and make it a valuable, useful and helpful piece of content. That comes back to my first point, how long should a blog article be; it needs to be long enough to be helpful and valuable and useful to people. A 300 word article I can’t imagine being hugely helpful in general, although I’m sure there are really short pieces of content out there that are massively helpful, but my point is this. Google are going to reward you for a really useful, valuable piece of content, and it’ll perform better over time.
I think that if it’s a thousand words, if it’s 1200 words and it’s a really useful piece of content that people are going to read, bookmark, share, get utility from, then Google’s going to be far more likely to reward you for that piece of content.
I’ve talked before about getting a piece of content that people and the search engines love as well, and it’s about getting that balance without annoying your readers and filling it up with content.
Another piece of information that’s worthwhile sharing as well is that there’s no point putting the answer to a question right at the bottom of an article to force people to read it. I think it needs to be written in a way that really adds value to the reader, I think that is the number one goal, isn’t it?
I hope that helps you. In summary I guess it really is about finding that sweet spot in the length, that it’s not too long, not too short, it ticks the boxes, it’s useful and helpful and a valuable piece of content for your readers.
Please tweet any questions to me @chrismar101 or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget to be awesome.
About Chris Marr
Chris is the leading voice of the growing Content Marketing movement in the UK. His pioneering work has helped countless organisations grow through content marketing. His drive comes from a desire to help people break free from the world of interruption marketing.