Have you ever wondered whether it is better to write long or short articles on your blog? It’s an important question because a lot of new bloggers seem to be a bit misinformed about which one is best.
In this post I want to show you a quick summary of the debate and then leave you with a bunch of resources and ideas that will hopefully help you discover what works on your blog.
As always, there is not one hard-and-fast answer that can be applied to every single situation. That being said, I know what I’ll be focusing on in the future.
NOTE: This article appeared in a different form previously but became so out of date I deleted it and started again. Some of the comments below might not make much sense without that bit of information!
Long vs short articles on blogs: the evidence
More and more over the past few years we hear people say things like “attention spans are shorter than ever” and that “people only want bite-sized information”.
And while that might hold some truth, the evidence suggests that longer articles perform better in almost every single metric. Sales pages, blog posts, news articles, etc. – all of them do better when they are longer.
So why is that?
Well, let’s take a look at some of the evidence.
An article by Word Stream talks about their results after switching to articles longer than 1,200 words.
Kiss Metrics talks about the benefits of long form content on things like time on site, etc. and shares examples from others as well as their own content.
This interesting graph from SerpIQ shows a potential relationship between post length and rankings on Google. That i something we should all be paying attention to and studying in our own niches.
Here’s an example from Neil Patel on how 2,000+ word articles are really the best way to go when it comes to ranking for almost any topic.
All of that being said, here is some data from Nielsen Norman Group that says something slightly different about long form content that is mostly centered around the cost of how long it takes you to create more detailed stuff.
Doing our own research and tests
One of the best things to do is to run some tests and do some research for yourself.
For example, take a look at the front page of Google for your main keywords and do a short study to see what is ranking well. I did this for my own blog and found that the shortest article was around 2,300 words and the longest was close to 6,000 words. There were no short articles at all.
Once you’ve done that, it’s a good idea to do some testing where you write a longer post and then compare it to a shorter post. Take a look at things like the amount of shares it gets, how well it ranks on Google over time, how many backlinks it attracts, how many subscribers you get, etc.
This kinds of tests can be a little bit ineffective because it’s difficult to get enough data to make a definitive conclusion either way. But, most of the time, you’ll get a feeling about what works for your niche.
It’s not all about size…
Something that is very important to remember here is that the length of the post is not all that matters. It’s also extremely important to address these other factors:
- Uniqueness and usefulness
Take a look at the front page of Google again and you’ll notice that each listing has something different about it. This is because Google wants a variety of solutions for readers. Try and add something different like videos, quizzes, tools, etc.
- Accuracy and citations
Articles that are well-researched and have many links to authority articles and citations are favored by Google and are more likely to attract links from other blogs in turn.
- Promotion method
There is absolutely no point in spending days (or even weeks!) writing a brilliant long form article if it doesn’t get seen by anyone. Learning how to promote a blog post is just as important as knowing how to write one.
If you can find a balance between writing long, useful articles and also knowing how to promote them effectively you will perfect set to build a successful blog that lasts a long time into the future.
What has worked for you?
If you have any examples of whether long or short content has worked better for you I’d really love to hear about it. It’s something that I’m always curious about and would love to see any posts that you’ve written or discovered that have done particularly well.