It doesn't matter how long your blog is. What matters is the girth… I mean quality of your writing.
Jokes aside, it does actually kinda matter how long your blog posts are if you want to make money from your blog. In an ideal world, you could just write whatever you want and everything would work out, but there are rules to the road in Search Engine Land, and there definitely is an ideal word count for blog posts.
Unfortunately, there's isn't just a single, precise answer that'll can be applied to everything. OK, if you really want a quick-fix response, then I'd say 2000 words is the answer you're looking for. However, there's a lot of nuance worth exploring if you want to get serious about your blogging, so let's get into it.
Table of Contents
- Is There A Perfect Length For Blog Posts?
- Should You Write 500 or 5000 words?
Is There A Perfect Length For Blog Posts?
No, there is no perfect word count for a blog post.
The Rules Are Changing All The Time
Something to keep in mind before you set your mind to any specific word count for your blog posts is that the rules change all the time, so what works in 2022 may not work in 2032. In fact, the rules have changed a lot since I got started in 2012!
Back in my day, the minimum word count for blog posts was always quoted as 300-500 words. These days, there's no way I'd even waste my time publishing something like that. It would be impossible to rank.
After Google nuked a ton of sites from that era, “long form blogging” was the thing, and it was recommended that you should publish at least 3000 words for any blog post to destroy your competition with value. It wasn't long before everyone figured out that reading long blog posts all the time sucks.
Now, we seem to have settled somewhere in the middle, but who knows what the narrative is going to be in a decade. Having lived through multiple blogging eras, most of my advice on the debate around ideal blog post length is pretty much make it good and do what you think is best.
But seriously, that's the best you can do.
One of the reasons my blogs from a decade ago didn't survive until 2022 is that I followed standard SEO advice from that era. Short blog posts. Tons of backlinks. Article spinning and syndication. All the stuff people warn you against now was standard advice back then. If you want your blog to be around for decades, you just can't engage in SEO tricks.
The only thing that's going to work decade after decade is to make it the best you can for the reader. Update occasionally to include new information or cut out old information, and improve the quality as your own skills improve.
Every Search Term Is Unique
Part of the reason there is no specific word count is that every search term is different, and every potential answer deserves a different kind of writeup. One type of search engine query might require only 1500 words for a complete answer, while another could take 3000 words and a supplemental video.
For example, let's say someone is searching for some handyman related content. They need to replace a toilet seat and replace a garbage disposal.
Replacing a toilet seat easy. You take the measurement of the bowl, buy the seat, unscrew the old one, then screw in the new one. Even after a brief explanation of different seat types like soft close and round bowl vs elongated bowl, it's like a 1500 word blog post – max. There are two screws to put the whole thing together.
Maybe with some troubleshooting advice included in the blog post you could push it to 2000 words, but it's really not a complicated topic. Attempting to write 3000 words about it is overkill.
Installing a new garbage disposal, on the other hand, is a big deal. There are many different brands, sizes, and ranges of quality. There's electricity under the sink to account for. There are possible cabinet structural conditions to think about. You might run into mold or other complicated water issues. For something like this, 3000 words is probably a minimum, and you'll definitely need images and video to accompany the article.
So you can see how to “similar” topics can actually have quite different requirements for word counts.
Know Who Your Niche Audience Is
It's also important to know who you're writing for. When people ask about how long a blog post should be, they are usually asking for advice about how to rank in search engines. They want to know what's the perfect word count to satisfy Google and get a high rank for their keyword.
What that doesn't account for is what your audience actually wants to read. There are usually multiple types of audiences even within one niche.
For example, “how to go shipwreck diving” written for beginners would be a totally different article than the same title, but written for experienced divers. A beginner wants to know the basics of how it work and where to book a tour. A advanced diver wants to know details about equipment required and dangers to avoid.
Even something like “how to brew your own IPA” could be done in 1500 words with basic instructions on how to buy a beer kit, or an extensive deep dive about types of IPAs (there are more than 20), malt options, yeast variety options, fermentation temperature guide and timeline, dry hopping options, and so on. In fact, there are entire books written about how to brew IPAs, so a blog about the topic could get quite detailed if you really wanted to be.
Should you write 1500 words or 3000? It depends on your audience.
Should You Write 500 or 5000 words?
The following word count recommendations are approximations and anecdotes based on my personal experience blogging for a decade. Hard data is nice, but as I mentioned above, the rules change all the time. Unless you plan on going back and editing your content every couple of years to fit the new-new SEO guides, then I recommend you get used to the idea of writing until you're done.
What does it mean to “write until you're done”?
It means that you should have a concept for an article before you publish, and write it completely to your satisfaction. It's a difficult concept to grasp for newbies, but basically because there is no specific formula for guaranteed rankings in search engines, you need to just complete each topic to the best of your ability. If you can't write good content, then word count isn't going to save you.
500-1000 Words: News Topics
The minimum I'd ever write for any piece of content would be 500 to 1000 words, and only in the specific situation of being a Breaking News topic. For daily, or even hourly news topics, a short and to the point article can definitely rank.
These keywords tend to be ultra-low competition, especially in niche markets because there just isn't that many content producers out there who have the time and resources to publish multiple times daily. Sure, you have big news sites like CNN or Fox, but they are general news organizations, not “niche” news. You might never outcompete the big guys in this arena, but spot #2 or #3 is still worth aiming for.
Not all niches work well with breaking news, but if you are in one that does, you may be sitting on a gold mine of untapped traffic. Let's look at some examples.
My beer site is not good for breaking news topics. There is simply not that much happening in the world of beer on a daily basis, and if something does happen, it's not urgent. There's a festival here or there, and a new beer launched often enough, but it's not something where hordes of people are looking this stuff up.
Contrast that with something like crypto markets, and there are multiple high profile events per day that could be considered newsworthy.
Home & garden topics? Probably not worth having a news section on your blog. Electrical vehicles? You could probably have some sort of news section worth publishing multiple times per week. It really depends on the niche.
News topics come and go. If you can rank high on page one of search results of a trending topic, you could get a massive influx of traffic temporarily. String together multiple temporary boosts, and now you've got some nice, steady traffic flow.
When you publish, speed is key, and since it's a brand new news item, there probably isn't a lot to go into in terms of in depth discussion. That's why shorter content is acceptable here. I've seen very short articles rank well in niches that I'm interested in. Just cover the basics – Who What Where When Why and How, then link off to additional resources (hopefully already published internally on your site).
However, I would definitely structure these types of blog posts with the long term in mind. You never know when a short term news item is going to turn into a long term news item. This leaves you the opportunity to expand, improve, and evergreen-ize the post later without too much hassle.
1000-2000 Words: Q&A Information
For topics with short answers, then I think the 1k-2k range is fine to work with, but I would be careful around the low 1000-word range. The trouble with a thousand words, at least for me, is that I've personally not seen good results with low effort articles like that.
Basically, a topic deserves to have a full article, or it doesn't. If you really can't eek out 1500 words of awesome, informative, worthwhile text then you probably shouldn't be writing an article about it (with the exception of newsworthy topics as described above). On the other hand, if it's worth writing about, then it shouldn't be that hard to write an article of decent length.
My frustration with Google here is that sometimes they really force bloggers into a box, and that's how we get shitty results like most recipe blogs produce. Literally everybody hates reading a 1500 blog post before a recipe. We just want freakin' the recipe, man! Google wants content though, so recipe bloggers are forced to pump out garbage so they can rank.
I don't have a solution for the recipe thing. Just bitching. What I am saying is that you shouldn't aim for the lowest possible word count for your blog posts. Think about the topic and write what's appropriate for the reader. This is probably the greyest area for me in terms of finding a perfect word count. For most blogs posts, 1500 really is a minimum for me, so I try to find some kind of supplemental information to hit that goal. Usually a simple FAQ at the bottom of the page can bump you up another 500 words or so if you really need the extra words.
The Shortest Blog Post I Currently Have Ranked
I just checked, and there is one blog post I have ranked for one of my niche sites and it's only 737 words. In fact, it's ranked #2 for its intended term. The catch is, it only gets 1 visitor per day, even at the #2 spot, so it's not like this is anything to brag about. You certainly can write tiny little posts for keywords with zero competition, but they'll likely get zero traffic too.
1500-2500 / 2000-3000 Words: Ideal Short / Long
Pretty much everything I publish these days is 1500-3000 words. 3k words is pushing it a little the the long side, so for general blog posts I pretty much aim for 1500-2500 words, with 2k words being in the ideal center.
A great example article format is the listicle, which is a list of the top number of items in a specific category, like Top 10 Vintage Cassette Players or 15 Grilled Vegetable Recipes For The Keto Diet.
These types of articles are meant to be consumed quickly. Nobody is going to sit down with a cup of coffee and read these for 30 minutes. The should also be complete, accurate, and high quality articles, but also keep in mind that the majority of your readers will probably skim it in 30 seconds or less.
With an introduction of 300 words, then 10 items in a list (200 words per item), plus a 200 word conclusion, that's already 2500 words in an article right there. Even if you reduce it to 100 words per item, that's still a 1500 word article. 100 words is barely anything at all (just a few sentences), so that would be a maximum low-effort description of each item in your list. It's really hard to write less than 1500 words here.
Basic information articles do well on this length as well. With three sections of 500 words each, then a short introduction and conclusion, that's 2k words right there. Again, it's super hard to not hit your target word count. If you're getting less that 1500 words, have another look at the quality of content you're producing. Don't write fluff, but be complete and thorough.
As you scale up to more competitive keywords and more in-depth topics, or at least topics you have more to say about, then up to 3000 words is fine in my opinion. Much more than 3000 words and you start to get into the territory of “Man, I gotta save this article for later”.
Tutorials do great with multi-thousand word articles because people really do want to sit down and read it so they don't skip any important steps. With a tutorial, aside from the actual step-by-step process, you've also got to cover the preparation of the material, troubleshooting, and many other “what about's” involved in making things. Explaining a process in written form is no small task!
3000-5000 Words: Pillar Content
For “structural” content for your blog, e.g. content which will become a vital resource to your readers, then I find that 3000-5000 is a comfortable word count to aim for. These take a while to write, and longer to edit, so take your time. You'll be using this resource throughout the lifetime of your site, which could be multiple years, or even decades.
Honestly, for pillar content, I don't even try to rank for specific keywords. The keywords exist, sure, but they are usually dominated by big players and honestly it's not really worth my time to stress about it. I'll shoot my shot, but that's not the real goal. The real goal is to create a resource on my site so I don't have to link to someone else's.
This is an opportunity to offer my own opinion on deep topics in my niche and develop my brand personality.
To be honest though, sometimes when I really get into a topic I end up getting into this range even for simple keywords and I'm not sure how I feel about it.
For example, this article you're reading now is talking about blog post length, which should probably fit into the 1500-2500 word range. Yet, as I write, I'm already knocking at the door of 2500 words, and will probably end up with more than 3000 (narrator: he did end up with more than 3200 words)
I don't think there's anything wrong with writing more, as long as its quality content and not fluff. I'll definitely go back and edit this before publishing to cut out anything superfluous.
What About 5000+ Words?
Personally, I rarely write articles which are more than 5000 words. It's just too much. Considering that I am primary caretaker of my son, a 5k-word article, plus editing, images, etc takes me an entire week from genesis to hitting that publish button. It really has to be worth the time to get that done. I do it from time to time, but I really have to consider my goal is. Is it worth the time?
Again, I'm not sure how I feel about this content length. Though it may appear like “more is better”, sometimes I feel like it's overkill.
For super-mega-ultimate-once-in-a-lifetime resources on your blog, I guess it's okay, but at that point, you have to ask yourself if you're actually benefitting the reader, or if you're just doing it as an attempt to dominate the SERPs.
How many “niche” topics can you really write 5000 words about? You might be including too much information and going off topic. An article about how to fertilize your grass doesn't need to include extensive research about the biochemistry of grass and the lifecycle of ants. Focus. If you are still struggling break it down into fewer words, then whatever you're writing about may be too broad. You might want to break it down into multiple articles if you can find good keywords.
I've seen some people recommend “longer is better” as a way of dominating the SERPs, e.g. if page 1 of Google is full of “top 10” and “top 14”, then you write a “top 59” list. To be honest, I have seen some positive results with this. The question is whether the juice is worth the squeeze. Since we're talking about “ideal” length, what does ideal actually mean?
Writing article takes a long time. Outsourcing it takes a lot of money. A 5000 word article at $0.05 per word is $250. How long until you make that money back? Is this an affiliate article or a just a listicle to bring in ad revenue? You'll have to decide individually what's at stake and what you're willing to spend, but I've found that it's tough to find a budget or the time to write this stuff in terms of getting good ROI.
How Long Should Product Reviews Be?
Product reviews are an interesting topic because they are so lucrative if you can rank them. Finding the perfect format for a product review really is the holy grail of affiliate marketing, because if you can get just a few good rankings for affiliate products and convert at a halfway decent rate, a couple of blog posts could be your entire income.
I'll be honest here – I haven't found the perfect format yet, let alone the perfect length.
Part of me wants to say longer is better. Write the most complete review out there, and it'll be the best one.
Another part of me says ain't nobody got time fo' dat, and readers will rarely read the whole thing. My highest points of conversion are usually the first and last links on a page. Really, you should be limiting your reviews to about 2000-3000 words because that's what people want to read, and if you can't fit it in that word count, you are just stuffing your review full of unnecessary shit.
Product reviews is a tough one, and I can't really offer good advice here in terms of how long they should be. Probably somewhere between 2000 and 5000 words.
A great example of how to structure a simple blog post is contained in this article you just read. It's pretty much a microcosm of how I think about blogging and content creation.
The original question was, “How long should a blog post be?”. The answer was, “2000 words”. However, that isn't precisely the exact perfect answer. There was a lot of nuance to cover about topic selection, article and blog organization, writing styles, and potential ranges of word counts based on the type of content you're producing.
By attempting to answer the original question in a more complete manner, a simple one sentence response was expanded to a deeply informational 3000 word article that can help any new blogger calibrate their compass for content creation. I could have done it differently and pared it down to 1500 words for a quick-read, but I felt like that was already covered by other websites currently ranked for the term. This is my, unique take among the many voices on this topic.
This same type of principle can be applied to any topic. “Is the sky blue?” or “who invented the first computer”, or whatever type of product review you're printing has a variety of possible content lengths to aim for depending on your brand, your audience, and your voice.
Whatever the length of your blog post, always keep the human reader in mind for the core composition of your writing, and just use SEO as an optimization strategy to give you an edge over your competitors; not the other way around.