Another key to successful blogging is to write like Goldilocks: not too long, and not too short, but just right. But how long is that?
Although writers often grumble at my answer, I’ve never heard one complaint from a reader. Readers are who we need to please: posts should be 200 to 300 words long. That’s right, just a couple hundred words. Shorter is okay, but aim for at least 100. Longer is risky, but definitely keep it under 500. I get nervous if my posts pass 300 and edit ruthlessly when they approach 400. Having penned 1,500 posts, I’ve only exceeded 500 words once – because I was asked.
Here’s why we need 200 to 300 word posts:
Attention Span: Readers have short attention spans. They’re likely to become distracted half way through a lengthy post – and bail. Or they might never even start.
Time: When a reader has ten things to do and only enough time for five, they make choices. A shorter post has a better chance of being read.
Quality: It’s easy to write a long post; it’s harder to write a short one. Long posts often ramble; short posts make every word count. Rabbit trails get deleted; extraneous phrases have no place in the land where brevity is king.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Search engines need a couple hundred words to form an opinion. Anything under 200 and there’s not enough to evaluate. Yes, some successful bloggers write short posts, but they don’t rely on SEO.
Consider This: USA Today found success with shorter articles because that’s what people wanted. By the way, this post is 294 words.
How long are your posts? Does the thought of writing less make you cringe?
Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!