Finding the right blog length: How different sectors compare

By Charlie Britten
30 Jun 2020

Finding the right blog length: How different sectors compare

Getting the blog length right is not just a matter of SEO. It also needs to be industry appropriate.

The length of your blogs is a key editorial issue you need to consider. Longer blogs tend to be better for SEO, but how long is too long? How short is too short? Does the answer depend on your industry? 

We have previously carried out research on legal blogs to establish the optimal length for blogs. While there were many variations between different areas, it was notable that around 600 words or more was broadly the range most firms chose. An exception was business law blogs, where the average length was notably longer. In that instance, around 900-1,000 words was an appropriate figure.

A comparison of different sectors

In this survey, the study sought to compare the kind of blog lengths seen in entirely different sectors. In each case, three websites were selected, and three blogs picked randomly, with their lengths compared.

The sectors chosen were as follows:

  • Coaching and mentoring 
  • FMCG
  • Recruitment
  • Fashion
  • IT
  • Real estate
  • Finance and accounting
  • E-Commerce

Coaching and mentoring

In this sector, the following three sites were chosen, and their article lengths were as follows:

Lorraine Kelly

Article 1:  1,329
Article 2:  1,565
Article 3:  1,011

Learning solutions

Article 1:  724
Article 2:  659
Article 3:  2,162

Bright HR

Article 1:  626
Article 2:  678
Article 3:  671

Overall average: 1,047

The above figures show a very wide variation in lengths, with only one of the nine articles coming close to the average. In fact, there appear to be two modes: Either average-length articles in the 650-725 range, or very long pieces of more than 1,000 words. Notably, two of the three have stuck firmly to one approach or the other.

All this makes clear conclusions hard to reach, except that there are no articles shorter than 650 words. This was not true for any other category in this survey, although our Real Estate survey articles included one shorter piece amid some very long articles.

Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)

The following FMCG sites were chosen and their blog lengths were as follows:

FMCG Central

Article 1:  131
Article 2:  238
Article 3:  627

FMCG Blogspot

Article 1:  369
Article 2:  423
Article 3:  457

Euromonitor

Article 1:  2087
Article 2:  1908
Article 3:  898

Overall average: 793

Once again, the average figure bore no resemblance to most blog lengths, which ranged hugely from 131 to 2,087. The fact that two of the three sites wrote short blogs and the other very long ones suggests there is no consensus view on how long blogs should be.

Recruitment 

The following recruitment blog sites were included, and their blog lengths were as follows:

Love Recruitment  

Article 1:  1,262
Article 2:  1,658
Article 3:  3,191

Morgan Hunt  

Article 1:   519
Article 2:   382
Article 3:   885

Michael Page:  

Article 1:   968
Article 2:   892
Article 3:   952

Average 1,190

The lengths were again hugely varied, from under 400 to over 3,000. Overall, however, the fact that seven out of nine were over 800 words in length may suggest this is an area where longer blogs are appropriate. Few will have the time or patience to read a blog of more than 3,000 words.

Fashion

The following sites and blog lengths were recorded in the fashionsector.

Fashion Foi Gras  
Article 1:  976
Article 2:  763
Article 3:  641  

Menswear Style  

Article 1:  642
Article 2:  447
Article 3:  1,312  

In the Frow  

Article 1:  1,055
Article 2:  862
Article 3:  628   

Average: 814

Although only a couple of the articles were close to the average length, there is a clear trend for most to be over 600 and less than 1,000. This shows less variation than most other sectors.

IT

The following IT blogs and lengths were studied:

Computer Weekly

Article 1:  842
Article 2:  718
Article 3:  464

ZD Net:  

Article 1:  562
Article 2:  596
Article 3:  949

ARS Technica

Article 1:  776
Article 2:  545
Article 3:  1,223

Average 742

Like fashion, this sector showed more stability and consistency in blog lengths, with just one below 500 words and one above 1,000. Nonetheless, there was a fair degree of variation in lengths in individual sites.

Real Estate

Property UK  

Article 1:  1,102
Article 2:  1,131
Article 3:  1,247

Progressive property blog

Article 1:  3,408
Article 2:  3,937
Article 3:  4,009

Foxton’s  

Article 1:  716
Article 2:  737
Article 3:  503

Average: 1,866

The Real Estate sector has easily the longest blogs, with the only one in this study to exceed 4,000 words. The 503-word Foxton’s blog is an outlier in a sector where very long blogs appear to be the norm. Nonetheless, there is still much variation between sites, as the shortest Progressive Property blog is more than 2,100 words longer than the lengthiest produced by either of the other two.

Finance and accounting

The finance and accounting sites and blog lengths were as follows:

Accounting web  

Article 1:  999
Article 2:  526
Article 3:  660

Accounts and Legal  

Article 1:  1,873
Article 2:  1,238
Article 3:   853

Inform Accounting:

Article 1:  234
Article 2:  550
Article 3:  547

Average: 831

The average is not dissimilar to the IT and Fashion sectors. The articles of 1,873 and 234 words may be seen as outliers, although only one piece was very close to the average length. Nonetheless, the majority were between 500 and 1,000 word in length.

E-Commerce

Finally, the following are the E-Commercesector blogs and their numbers

Trusted Shops

Article 1:  1,487
Article 2:  918
Article 3:  1,823

Thought Shift

Article 1:  877
Article 2:  328
Article 3:  787

Tamebay

Article 1:  444
Article 2:  331
Article 3:  381

Average: 819

The E-Commerce sector has produced some very varied figures for blog lengths, with only two of the nine being close to the average. While the average figure is similar to those for fashion, IT and real estate, the fact that is this sample contains three of the seven articles shorter than 400 words shows the impact on the average of a couple of articles well in excess of 1,000 words.

 

Analysis and conclusions

The above figures indicate that for several of these categories, the average blog is around 700-850 words, while a minority have much longer averages.

However, as can be seen from the very different blog lengths, the overall picture is much less clear. That means any analysis must consider why there is such variation.  

Sometimes blog lengths can vary widely because a site is publishing pieces written by different authors. However, this is not necessarily a full explanation; much will depend on whether the writers are given clear instructions concerning the word count and how strictly editors enforce it.

Our advice is that the average blog length should be 600-750 for all the above categories except three: Coaching and mentoring, Real Estate and Recruitment. For these, the longer average figures suggest 900-1,000 would be better. However, for improved readability and to help retain reader attention, very long blogs should be avoided.