How to write a blog series: How long should it be?

Deciding how long each post should be in your blog series can be a tough choice. One thing that’s key in your series is consistency. If you run all of your posts really short and then the last one is extra long, you may lose out your audience at the big finale. Nobody wants that. Alternatively, if you run all your blog posts too long, you may need to split them up.

How long is too long?

One of my favorite authors, Michael Hyatt, says that it’s a good idea to make your posts about as close to 500 words as you can get them. Some go shorter (Seth Godin comes to mind) and some go longer.

It’s important to keep your posts short and readable. Paragraphs should be short as well – no more than 3-4 sentences is best. If you’re consistently hitting a high number of sentences or words, you’re putting in too much detail and probably repeating yourself. Shorter paragraphs make it easier to drive the point home more quickly.

What about “Lists” posts?

One of the most popular formats for a blog post is a numbered list of some sort. Popular content-driven sites like Buzzfeed are notorious for this. But used in the right way, they can be great blog posts because they can be updated and recycled pretty easily, and seem to grab a large number of visits.

The trick is to make sure you don’t make your list outrageously long. I recall recently reading about “50 tips and tricks to make Photoshop even better”. While it ranks as great clickbait (a headline that compels clicks), who is really going to read a list of 50 of anything? Probably half of your content in that post is not getting seen.

How long should the entire series be?

What about the series itself? How long is appropriate? Well honestly, it depends on a few things that are very difficult, if not impossible to control. The primary one is reader interest. It’s important to shake things up once in awhile, so the question is, “how long can you hold their interest?”

It’s important to crank out a series in a series in a timely fashion that will allow your reader to absorb, respond and get back to it in the next installment.

Leave room to grow and prune.

About now, I’m crossing into the 670-word mark, well over the limit I mentioned earlier. Even so, I think it’s always better to overdo it at first and then go back and prune your post, rather than try to shove out an uninteresting post in the name of time or sticking to your schedule. In spite of all of this, quality content is still king.

If you find yourself having to remove a large chunk of your post, what should you do with it? If it’s important enough to you, and centers around some subplot of your blog post, you may want to recycle it and stick it out next week, or save it to use as some exclusive content in some other area. Use your imagination, and you can make sure that each post in your series is the best one they’ve seen yet.