Q. How long should my blog posts be?
A. That’s a common question. My short answer is: Short.
Q. How short is short?
A. Let me count the ways.
Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill and Woodrow Wilson all get credit for saying, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” All of them realized that it’s difficult to write short.
When you write a blog post, take the time to write it short. Limit yourself to 300 words almost always. Dare yourself to stick to 200 words sometimes.
Because short is quick, and everyone everywhere is in a hurry. Because short on a screen requires scrolling. Because the idea is to catch people’s attention by getting directly to the point. Because readers can scan a short treatise and learn from it.
Want supporting evidence? Jakob Nielsen, who researches and evaluates user interfaces, says that typical webpage visitors “read at most 28 percent of the words during an average visit. 20 percent is more likely.”
Last December, Medium.com, a blogging site, said that the best posts take 7 minutes to read. That’s about 1,400 to 1,750 words. If you know anyone who is willing to wait 7 minutes for a bus, watch 7 minutes of commercials between tv shows or devote 7 minutes to reading a blog post, I want to meet her/him. S/he has the patience of Job.
Happily, Medium.com ends by saying, “Great posts perform well regardless of length, and bad posts certainly don’t get better when you stretch them out.”
So write tight. Try to stay under 300 words. (This post contains 265 words.)