Find Your Ideal Blog Length [Tool] — People First Content

When you’re planning a content strategy for your blog, you probably have a lot of questions running through your head.
“How often should I post to my blog?”
“How long should blog posts be?”

You could spend valuable time and energy learning from your mistakes,

Or…

You can skip that and get right to competing with the top-performing blogs in your industry.

We’ve done the hard part crunching the numbers and isolated the optimal length and post frequency for blogs. So just plug in your information and get to it!

Blogging for SEO Tool
Use this tool on our website, linked above!

Blogging for SEO: Data and Explanation

We really can’t overstate how helpful blogging is for SEO. Blogs increase your website’s search engine ranking and get your content in front of potential customers.

It’s also a great way to build your authority and credibility online, which increases your chances of ranking higher in search engines. In addition, blogging provides an opportunity to share links back to your website, which can help improve its rankings in search engines and increase traffic.

But there are more than a few rules and best practices that dictate how effective your blog is at improving your position on SERPs (search engine result pages). Beyond just the do’s and don’ts of writing content for SEO, many other things can increase your blog’s efficacy.

These have to do with your overall content strategy. Namely, how much you post and how long your blog posts are. If you look for guidelines online, most places say, “It depends…” in response to those questions.

Luckily, according to data, it mainly depends on a few key metrics and goals that are all quantifiable. Accordingly, we combined those into our “Blog Word Count and Frequency” tool.

Of course, we would never ask you to take those numbers on faith, so we’ll explain why these are the most critical metrics and the logic behind them.

How Long Should Blog Posts Be?

This is probably the most significant stumbling block people come across when planning their blog strategy.

You may know that the minimum recommended blog length is 300 words. Any less than that, and Google will likely penalize you for thin content. But that leaves you without an upper limit.

Why your blog posts should have a word count

Some say write as much as you need about a topic. But that’s impractical for a few reasons:

  • If you’re outsourcing your content writing, you want to be able to tell the content writer the word count (or at least a ballpark).
  • People’s attention spans do not always match the sheer amount of information available on a topic.
  • Your word count can affect how in-depth you go with specific topics. Books exist for a reason. Sure, someone might be able to write 50,000 plus words on a subject, but that’s not sustainable if you’re blogging for SEO.

So if you’d like a little stability in your content writing, having an average word limit for your content is very helpful. It can help you figure out if you should break up a topic into smaller parts, as well as help you allocate the time and resources you need.

Because, as any college student rushing to hit a deadline will tell you, writing 1 page and writing 10 pages on a subject are entirely different situations.

Factors that influence word count

Now that we’ve established why having an average word count is necessary, let’s go through what elements affect how long your blog should be.

Estimates have changed through the years as writing trends and expectations have changed.

HubSpot currently puts the ideal blog post length at 2,100 to 2,400 words.

But even HubSpot says this average isn’t a hard and fast rule. They broke down their top-performing content by content type for a more granular approach.

These numbers are something to consider when planning your content strategy.

However, we went with a different approach because this data doesn’t tell the whole story.

Why your industry matters for calculating your blog’s word count

2,400 words may not seem long compared to a novel. But 2,400 words is about 10 double-spaced pages. And frankly, you don’t always want to scan through 10 pages to find the answer to your question. Even reading quickly, that’s 15 minutes of your time.

HubSpot readers are there to learn about complex marketing topics full of statistics and research. So it makes sense that their content is in long form.

But frankly, depending on your industry, your topics may not need to be 10 pages long. How-to articles, for example, highly depend on the industry. While their top-performing how-to content is 1,700 to 2,100 words long, trying to stretch a how-to piece about applying lipstick to 10 pages will result in a lot of fluff.

That’s why your industry matters when figuring out ideal blog post lengths.

So while HubSpot’s top performing posts averaged that length, that will not hold for everyone.

How blogging goals impact your blog word count

The second important metric to consider is what you’re trying to accomplish with your blog. When planning, you should always keep your purpose in creating a blog.

  • Are you trying to drive traffic to your site?
  • Do you want more backlinks?
  • Do you want your content shared on social media?

If you say all of the above, you’ll want to cover your bases and hit the top-recommended word count for your industry.

But doing well on all three is more feasible for some than others.

For one thing, some content is just more shareable. For example, you could post a great tech article and only receive a few shares. That’s because people aren’t rushing to share that information online. In that case, you’ll probably want to focus on driving traffic to your site.

Top performing content in traffic, number of backlinks, and shares on social media generally (although not always) have different recommendations for word count. So consider your goals when deciding on an average word count.

This combination is why we chose Neil Patel’s research on top-performing content as the basis for our calculator.

Blogging for SEO Top Performing Content by Industry and Goal

Data: Neil Patel’s study

This chart breaks down the relationship between industry and performance.

Patel looked at the content with the top 10% of traffic, social media shares, and backlinks to determine what content performs the best for each metric.

If your business isn’t represented, don’t worry. We averaged all the numbers to give you a ballpark figure.

Factors That Affect How Often You Should Post to Your Blog

Now that you know how long your blog posts should be, it’s time to think about how often you should post.

Goal: brand awareness vs. traffic

This is one of the more significant divisions in how much you should post because it affects the type of content you’ll be focusing on.

When your primary goal is to increase traffic (i.e., get more people to click on your website), you should post as much as is sustainable. Your content should be optimized for search engines and focus on specific topics, with more data and fast facts. More content will also give you a better chance of being noticed by search engines.

If your goal is brand awareness, slow down to really consider quality over quantity.

If you aren’t focused much on SEO, your content should prioritize value to your customers and brand voice. While it may not draw as much organic traffic, it will help you develop your brand.

How much you’ve already posted

HubSpot published some astonishing data, saying that around 70% of their traffic on any given month comes from older content.

This makes sense because even if Google prioritizes newer content, a large backlog of evergreen content will balance that out.

The tipping point for blog content seems to be around 400 posts. Until then, put most of your effort into producing more content than updating old content. Then you can scale back the production of new content to keep your content updated and relevant. This ultimately saves time and maximizes your blog’s effectiveness.

This figure holds true even if your goal is brand awareness. A handful of well-written posts probably won’t do much for your image. But 400+ will.

Impact of Total Blog Posts on Inbound Traffic

Image source: HubSpot

B2B or B2C

One last important metric for traffic value is whether your business is business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). There is a significant jump for both at 11 or more blogs per month. However, it’s even more critical if your B2B since there is barely an increase from 0 until you hit 11 posts.

Impact of Monthly Blog Posts on Inbound Traffic for B2B vs B2C

The metric is not included in the calculator because if you select your goal as wanting to increase traffic, it will already be at least 11 posts a month.

Limiting factors

Now HubSpot has found that the more you can post, the better. But if you’re a small business, you’ll want to figure out the sweet spot, so you don’t get overwhelmed by content demands.

And if you’re a larger business, you need to know how much content will overwhelm your audience.

So while you can ideally post as much as possible, there are a couple of critical limiting factors.

1. Consistency is key

The primary criteria for how often you should post is how much you can sustainably produce. Inconsistency isn’t good for blogs.

It’s pretty standard for people to check a blog regularly. And if they’re following your blog, they will come to expect a certain amount of content. It’s whiplash if they’re inundated with content for one week and then left with nothing the next.

So make sure you’re only committing to what you can sustain and posting regularly.

2. Quality over quantity

You also don’t want to go overboard. While it’s not entirely a case of less is more, you don’t want to waste your time or money on creating too much content.

And think from your audience’s perspective. Most people are constantly bombarded with content. So, they will just click away if something doesn’t stand out.

If you think someone is going to carve out hours of their week to stay on top of the content you produce, you have another thing coming.

It’s much better to focus your time on fewer pieces of higher quality than to churn out a lot of content that’s full of fluff. One quality lead is worth more than a bunch of impressions that don’t go anywhere.

3. Business size

Smaller businesses generally have fewer resources to put toward content generation than large enterprises. So while larger companies might have an in-house team to hit those ideal figures, smaller ones may find themselves scrambling.

The best thing to do in this situation is to outsource your business writing. That way, you don’t have to worry about your company size affecting your traffic or brand awareness.

Start Blogging for SEO

In an ideal world, we could all post as much and as often as we wanted. But that approach is neither practical nor sustainable. That’s why we crunched the numbers to help you optimize your blogging calendar based on your unique situation.

If you’re looking to outsource your content creation, look no further! People First Content is here to help you create a blog that will generate leads and conversions. So schedule a call to get started!

Originally published at https://www.peoplefirstcontent.com.

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