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When I analysed the most tweeted blog posts ever, I found that Twitter users like posts that are around 1,100 words long. When I wrote the most important blogging analysis ever, I found that the average length of popular posts was 1,600 words. This was quite surprising to a lot of readers and is a figure far higher than most people are producing.
In the comments for one of these posts, someone gave me the idea of analysing different industries to see the average post length in each, so they could gauge how long their articles should be. I’m not a blogger who will guess numbers and just throw stats out there, so I decided to do an in-depth analysis. I picked 3 posts from 5 blogs in 8 different niches (confused yet?) and noted the word count for each.
I tried to pick some of the biggest sites in each niche as it’s pointless using unsuccessful blogs as your guide. For two of the niches I didn’t know the top sites personally, so I relied on Technorati and The New York Times for recommendations.
Before I share the exact data, I’ll share what this post is really about: the results. I love doing tests like this as I apply them to my own endeavours, but as I do write for an internet marketing blog, it makes sense to share them with you guys as well.
Out of the 8 different industries I monitored, here is the average post length for 5 top blogs in each niche:
I picked 3 random posts from every site, so there are a total of 15 blog posts making up the stats for each industry. Some people might prefer a larger sample, but I prefer to look at the successful sites rather than a niche as a whole.
As you can see, Celebrity Gossip, Web News and Gadget blogs tend to post short articles. However, don’t forget that these blogs are known to post multiple times per day and I know one of them publishes more than 20 posts, daily. Sites in industries like Marketing, Finance and Personal Development post less (1-7 times per week) but write much longer articles.
If your niche isn’t here then look at successful sites to see the types of posts that other bloggers are writing and how long their articles are on average. In some cases, a blog would write a 1,000 word post and then a 300 word post, which is why I worked with averages. Don’t think that you have to stick to a specific length, I just believe it’s useful to know how much the top players in each industry are writing.
I was going to put all of this into a table, but I think a screenshot should suffice. If you want to use this data for your own analysis of sorts, feel free to take it. You don’t have to link back here; it’s all yours. I put together this data manually but it didn’t actually take that long. Doing this made me realise how much more productive a bigger screen (I’ve just purchased a 27″ iMac) is making me.
It makes sense to think that if the big guys are writing posts of a certain length, then you should do the same to be one. Yet, one piece of advice most successful bloggers give is to do something different and stand out from the crowd. There is no doubt I pushed up the average post length of the marketing niche, but I don’t think that hurts me. I believe one of the best things about this site is that I post long in-depth articles that nobody else is willing to write.
Similarly, when sites like Engadget and Gizmodo are writing 200 word posts, you can find ArsTechnica writing articles that are thousands of words long and they are one of the biggest websites online. Remember that the only rule in blogging is that there are no rules.
My advice is this: write as much as you want to write. Your blog is your home, and your empire, and to some it’s even their baby. If you want to make your blog a profitable entity, then you may need to do some things (initially) that don’t align with you internally. However, if you keep carving out articles that add value, it doesn’t really matter how long they are. You will find someone who loves what you have to say, and loves the length of your content.
I believe this post works as a great guide to give you an idea of how much you should be writing – there isn’t much room in the personal development niche for blogs writing 100 word articles – but go with your own instinct and desires after that. Sticking to set numbers takes the flow away from your articles and the fun away from blogging.
If you have any other stats posts ideas you would like me to spend far too much time on, please let me know in the comments.