This infographic shared by Social Media Today, The Ideal Length for Everything Online, shares a wealth of valuable information. For example, tweets less than 100 characters have a better chance of being shared; they can be retweeted without modification. Don’t use spaces or numbers with hashtags. Optimum blog headlines are six words in length. Good stuff. But, 1600 is the best length for a blog post? Really? The number is based on the following, “74% of posts that are read are under 3 minutes, 94% are under 6 minutes.” So…if the average English reading human reads at a rate of 300 words per minute then 300 WPM x 6 minutes = 1800 words. Do you see the flaw in the math? A 300 word post and a 1600 word post are both under six minutes. Of that 94% of posts under six minutes, how many are one minute, three, or four?
How long should a Blog Post be?
The best answer to that questions is as long as it needs to be and not a word more. Here’s how Hubspot answered this question.
“When you’re done talking about the subject at hand, and you’ve edited your content to be as useful and economic as it can be, your blog post is exactly as long as it should be. This could mean you have a blog post that’s 2,000+ words (like this one here) or one that’s less than 100 words (like this one here).” — How long should your Blog Post be?
1600 Words isn’t Science
In this Buffer post from March, 2014, The Ideal Length of Everything According to Science they share the 1600 word conclusion, but add the following, “Of course, as with any of these ideal lengths, the answers you find here could very well be taken as “it depends,” since research varies from site to site. …Upworthy found little correlation between length and attention when they tested Medium’s hypothesis for themselves.” Buffer concluded, “What it does mean is that it’s worth writing however much you really need. Don’t feel constrained by presumed short attention spans. If you put in the effort, so will your audience.”
And don’t feel constrained by a 1600 pseudo-science recommendation.
What is too long?
In many cases 1600 words may be too long, but not in all cases—see Hubspot’s quote. Sometimes it takes 1600 words or more to make a point, and when it does, have at it. But don’t word-stuff posts to hit an arbitrary quota. Because, in many instances, 1600 words is too long.
- More than half of online data is consumed via mobile. Common sense should inform that shorter, to the point posts, fare better on mobile.
- People may not have short attention spans, but their time is limited. They’re bombarded with information, assaulted with media, and distracted by interruptions. If you want to make a point you’d better beat the next ping.
- People don’t always read an entire blog—they scan the H2’s and bullet points. And the longer the post, the more likely folks are to begin scanning.
What is the Best Blog Post Length?
There are too many variables. It depends on the subject matter, industry, and corporate voice. The number of images shared will change the time it takes to consume the information. Does it include video? What’s its purpose, is it a short and sweet promotional call to action, a case study, or a DIY post? The best length will vary by purpose; it should never be an arbitrary number, large or small, that is touted as optimum. Do you blog? Do you count the words? (This post is 583 words.)