What’s the ‘ideal’ length of a blog post in 2022? See the difference between a blog post that’s 600, 1,200, 2,000 and 3,000+ words (with examples)

Not sure how long your blog post should be? Here are some actual examples of “short and lean” versus “long and meaty”.

Photo by @wayhomestudio via Freepik
  1. According to a 2019 HubSpot study of their 50 most-read blog posts, the ideal blog post length for SEO should be 2,100–2,400 words, but they also posit that there are different ideal lengths for different post types. For example, the average length of a very detailed post that’s designed to be an in-depth guide, is about 4,000 words. List posts should be about 2,300–2,600 words (although this would depend on the topic) and “How-to” blog posts should be 1,700–2,100 words.
  2. According to Orbit Media’s 7th Annual Blogging Survey based on data gathered in late 2020, blog posts have been getting increasingly longer every year, with the current average blog post length (1,269 words) up 57% since 2014. Where in previous years shorter blog posts typically performed best, longer blog posts fare a lot better now, with the majority of bloggers who write 3,000+ word articles reporting “strong results”, according to the study.
  3. According to research from Ahref, long blog posts get a higher rate of backlinks (links from one website to another), which is a factor that contributes to a blog post’s ranking on Google. The longer the post, the more other websites seem to refer to it, presumably because it is impressive and contains valuable content or data.
Content length impact on blog post performance based on average monthly unique pageviews (Source: SEMrush’s 2019 State of Content Marketing Report)
Content length impact on blog post performance based on average monthly unique pageviews (Source: SEMrush’s 2019 State of Content Marketing Report)

What to consider when deciding on content length for your blog posts

Deciding on a particular word count in advance usually guides the writer’s approach to writing the blog post — including estimating the time required to write it and the most effective way to achieve the post’s primary objective within that timeframe — so before you can decide on the ideal length for your blog post, you first need to know your purpose for publishing it.

  1. To discuss a particular topic so that the reader comes away with a basic takeaway or information, or a desire to learn more about the subject (or about you or your brand) — all of which could be done in a short post.
  2. To dive a bit deeper into a particular subject by providing examples, introducing relevant research or telling a story that strengthens brand awareness. For this, you’d probably be looking at around 1,000–1,500 words, give or take.
  3. To position yourself or your brand as an authority in your niche with an educational resource (or ‘thought leadership’ piece) that provides context, explores a topic thoroughly, includes reference to research or data, and offers in-depth analysis, insights and practical lessons or benefits.

Let’s look at the examples:

For the purpose of this post, I wrote a companion blog post titled “Why Leveling Up Crappy Copy Should Be a Top Priority For Brands and Businesses in 2021”, only I didn’t just write it once, I wrote four different versions of it so you can see how they differ at 600, 1,200, 2,000 and 3,000+ words.

  • An intro paragraph that introduces the subject of the post and a talking point that the reader will hopefully find interesting enough to want to read more about in the next few paragraphs.
  • A ‘breakout quote’ with a punchy, thought-provoking statement that will hopefully linger in the readers’ minds even after they’ve finished reading. It might even be impactful enough to encourage them to share the post in social media so that their friends or colleagues might also benefit from reading it.
  • At least one visual within the body of the post (except for the 600-word version) — partly to give the eye a ‘rest’ from all that text, and also to encourage shareability.
  • A concluding paragraph that sums up the gist of the post and gives the readers something to think about or act on once they’ve finished reading it.
  • Elaborates (over five short paragraphs) on the argument that poorly-written copy gives readers either a bad impression of your brand, or no lasting impression at all (meaning, it is forgettable) — which in a content-saturated web is akin to business-promotion suicide at worst, and an unfortunate waste of time and effort at best.
  • The final three paragraphs build up to a call-to-action that encourages readers to do something about any of their own content if it is sub-par, by investing in professionally written high-quality copy instead.
  • Does everything the 600-word version does, but in more detail:
    It includes sub-headlines that indicate what each section of the post is about. Since most readers skim blog posts rather than read them in their entirety, if they can’t be bothered reading the whole post but can see clearly defined sections that deal with a particular point thanks to the sub-headline, they might at least read the parts of the post that interest them most since they are able to locate them easily.
Content formats that are skimmed vs. paid attention to. Source: HubSpot Content Trends Survey, Q3 2017
Content formats that are skimmed vs. paid attention to. Source: HubSpot Content Trends Survey, Q3 2017
  • It introduces a talking point that wasn’t covered in the 600-word version, about “what makes copy great”. This ‘tips’ section is educational, so it offers more value to the reader than the 600-word version which didn’t allow for the extra value due to the constraints of the word limit.
Long-form content generates more backlinks than short blog posts. Source: Backlinko Content Study 2019
Long-form content generates more backlinks than short blog posts. Source: Backlinko Content Study 2019

So, which word length should you choose for your blog posts?

As you can see from the four examples of varying lengths, each version of the post deals with the same topic, but the writer (that’s me!) is able to include more useful talking points and insights (i.e. extra value for the reader) the longer it is. The decision to create a post that’s short versus long and vice versa depends on how you want your reader to feel about the subject matter or what action (if any) you’d like them to take. If it’s a B2C post designed to entertain or build brand awareness rather than educate, it could be fine as a 600 or 1,200-word post. But if it’s a B2B post designed to teach something or discuss a subject that’s more complex, it makes sense that you wouldn’t be able to do it justice or convey the content successfully in less than 2,000+ or 3,000+ words.

What makes copy “great” and why crappy content can cripple your business? Find out in my blog post Why Levelling Up Crappy Copy Should Be a Top Priority for Brands and Businesses
What makes copy “great” and why crappy content can cripple your business? Find out in my blog post Why Levelling Up Crappy Copy Should Be a Top Priority for Brands and Businesses

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Noya Lizor

Freelance copywriter who loves pushing the envelope. For more of my insights and musings, follow me on LinkedIn: https://bit.ly/3nuHDVF