This is the latest installment of Dear WordCount, an advice column that answers your questions about writing, blogging and running a freelance business.
Someone sent me a great guest post but it’s way too long, close to 2,000 words. What length do you recommend for posts?
2,000 words is really, really long for a blog post. In most cases, 1,000 is too long.
Having said that, when it comes to posts, there isn’t a perfect length. A lot depends on the subject, the person you’re interviewing (if it’s an interview), and the format. I’ve written posts that were less than 200 words – the haiku posts we do in the annual blogathon are good examples of that. On the other hand, I’ve written posts that were more than 1,000 words when I interviewed someone really interesting, like the CEO of Suite 101, a content farm. The posts I write as wrap ups of my monthly Twitter chats tend to be long because readers specifically request all the links, apps, tech tools and resources that people mention during the chats.
I recommend mixing up lengths so that some days your posts are longer and some days they’re shorter. But err on the side of shorter. For one, you won’t dread writing them, especially on days when you aren’t in the mood or are pressed for time. Besides, readers like variety, not only in what you write about, but in the formats and lengths you use.
As your blogging and writing skills improve you’ll be able to make your point in fewer words. And you can always save space by linking back to older posts or out to posts on other sites to define a word or elaborate on a point instead of writing it all over again.
What do you think is the right length for a blog post?