If you are in the process of creating content for your affiliate website, you will probably be asking yourself a lot of questions like, “How long does it take to write a blog post?”
Related questions might look something like these:
- Is my product review guide too long?
- Should I write a 3,000 word post because I see it’s the average length for my industry, even if 1,500 will do?
- Am I spending too much time researching and not enough time actually writing blog posts?
When you are approaching your affiliate business with the end goal of building an authority site, these are important questions to consider.
Because the writing process and content management is the most time-intensive part of building your site.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
Obviously, there’s a middle ground here – you don’t need to make sacrifices like producing less content, or farming it all out to cheap, low-performing writers.
It is all a matter of working smarter instead of harder so that you can take back the most productive hours of your day, and still be happy with the quality of writing that makes it onto your blog.
Before we get too much into the details of our favorite blog post management tips, we should make it clear that the amount of time it takes to write a post will vary between different writers, niches, and the style of blog content that is being produced.
However, we can say that if you are taking 5+ hours for a 1,000-word post, you could probably be using your time more efficiently. Read on to discover our strategies for producing content and how to get the most out of your own writing.
On Word Count
There has been ample research done on what the ideal blog post length is in the marketing industry. This changes year-to-year thanks to constantly evolving SEO trends, although content has generally been skewing towards longer, more informative posts.
We’ll cover this research in-depth, but first, I want to quote an article by Neil Patel to give you something to keep in mind as you read this article.
“There’s one thing I always want to make clear regarding word count. It only matters if the content is good. Word count is not a standalone ranking factor. Word count only has merit if the content quality is high!”
I really like what Neil Patel has to say here, especially about how “word count is not a standalone ranking factor.” This is important because it is easy to over-inflate the value of word count in SEO.
When you are planning/preparing your blog posts, you should be making a lot of decisions about what to include your content before you even think about word count. This includes factors like:
- Multimedia: Well-done infographics and high-quality (and ethically sourced) images have a big impact on SEO, and will keep your readers engaged with your blog post.
- Cross-promotion: Think about how can you use a companion YouTube video or social media to promote your content.
- Meta Data & Bot Accessibility: The nuts and bolts of on-page SEO must be where they need to be. Check out this guide by the Moz SEO blog. We also recommend using a WordPress plugin like Yoast.
Our goal for you is to make it easier to decide content length for blog posts, allowing you to free up time for other, more important things.
Short vs. Long Word Count
There are plenty of blogging and resources and guides out there that will sing the benefits of longer-form content for SEO.
But you can’t disconnect this trend from what we know about how people are consuming blog posts online!
We can say with confidence that:
- Many online users are looking to solve problems, and they want to do this quickly. Because there is so much content available online, if you can’t answer their question quickly, they will leave the site and find their answer somewhere else.
- People are increasingly time-poor and are prone to being distracted. This makes it harder to get them to read longer-form posts.
Marketer Tim Brown from Minneapolis-based Hook Agency has done a lot of research into this, and recently surveyed other marketing professionals about their preferred post length. What he found was that 68% of respondents believed that 200-700 words was ideal for blog posts on their website, with only 28% feeling that 2000+ words was the way to go.
Brown also says most of the respondents did mention employing a variety of strategies while writing a post to make a long post seem shorter, like using bullet points and easy-to-scan headlines, but lengthy posts are still pretty daunting for a lot of internet users.
So what gives? Is the long-format blog trend just a bunch of content propaganda?
We should review some other studies just to be sure.
Finding the Right Word Count
Research from HubSpot can get us closer to our magic number for writing a blog post.
HubSpot is a reputable source for marketing data because they have a large amount of their client’s data they can use, in addition to their own blog.
According to HubSpot data, the ideal blog post length for SEO in 2020 is between 2,100-2,400 words.
So why is this figure so much higher than the survey that we just looked at?
Well, HubSpot based this on their most-read blog posts in 2019. Keep in mind that this is in the marketing niche, where readers may be more prepared to read long-form blogs instead of looking for a quick answer to their question.
This is also a valuable lesson in building authority through trust. You will need to determine the ideal word count for your niche so you can determine how to write a blog for your site.
Remember that article by Neil Patel that I mentioned earlier? He gives several ideal blog post lengths for niches like retail, tech, and finance. Consider this number a great starting point, but don’t forget to do your own research (which we touch on later in the article).
Is There Even a Right Answer?
So after looking at a few studies, it starts to look like word counts for blog posts can be all over the map. However, that doesn’t mean we aren’t any closer to finding out how long it should take to write a blog post.
The thing is, it is impossible to nail down an exact number or range for blog posts. That would be too easy.
If you prefer to know exactly where the lines are painted on the highway before you get behind the wheel, we can still help you out.
Any blog posts under 300-400 words are generally not preferred by Google. So try to write more than this, even if you are telling a simple message.
Anything over 5,000 words is probably overkill unless you want to write for a niche that is detail-oriented, story-driven, or has readers with a lot of time on their hands. I can think of a recent blog post that I read that covered Google’s most recent SEO update that was in the range of 7,000 words.
But this made sense for the niche, and even if I didn’t read the whole post, I will return to it many times for reference.
But as a general rule, about 2,000 – 3,000 words is a healthy target for a post.
Calculating Writing Time
Before we touch on how to determine the word count for your next blog post, let’s look at how writing time typically looks.
Let’s use the example of 2,400 words from the HubSpot study, and assume that we are pursuing the services of an experienced online blog writer.
So, how long should this take?
I think that I can use myself as an example.
As a writer specializing in affiliate marketing, I feel pretty comfortable about most of the topics I am writing about.
If I get into a good rhythm, I can churn out about 800 words per hour. So if I was having a really good day and writing about something I already know plenty about, a blog this length would take me 3 hours to write.
However, we need to factor in a few other things here.
Most blogs require time for research, editing, publishing, and some time for bathroom breaks (or any other idle time spent staring into space or whatever else is part of your “creative process”).
It’s best to be honest about how your (or your writer’s) time is used, so let’s add another hour to this figure and settle on 2,400 words – this means a 2400 word blog post takes 4 hours to write and publish.
This gives us a rate of about 600 words per hour, which can then be applied to blog posts of other lengths.
The same HubSpot blog post length guide also provides some nifty data that you can use to know approximately how many words to use for different types of blog posts like “how-to” and listicles.
But keep in mind that when deciding how long your blog post should take to write, there are a few other methods you should be using.
Checking out how your competitors write blog posts is the simple (and free) way to do this.
If I am trying to find the ideal blog post length for my next article in the home bike maintenance space, I can see the current top ten ranking “how to change a bike tire” posts. I can plug the URL’s from these websites into WordCounter’s web page tool, and take the average from the data.
However, this method can be a bit cumbersome and take more time than you have to spare.
Remember, as an affiliate marketer, always look for an easier way!
Surfer SEO Tool
Surfer SEO is an awesome tool that most affiliate marketers should seriously consider using for their blog post management. In fact, I am writing this post in Surfer SEO right now!
Here’s how it works: after selecting a target keyword, Surfer spits out an ideal word count for your post based on high-performing posts that are already ranking on Google.
In addition to this, it will give you tips for “important terms to use,” and blog post structure. Essentially, it is an easier and more accurate way to conduct competitor analysis, which makes writing a blog post a breeze.
It is a paid tool, but they have some reasonably-priced options for smaller websites. Plus, in terms of the monthly cost compared to the time it takes to get this information manually, Surfer is a clear winner.
How to Write Your Blogs Faster
So, let’s say that you have a knack for writing and a passion for your niche.
But for whatever reason, you don’t have the time to spend 4 hours on a blog post right now. Maybe you are putting more energy into building your brand’s social media presence, or you are running your whole operation in addition to your full-time job, and know there are only so many hours in a day.
Does this mean that your affiliate marketing dreams are going to bite the dust?
Not so fast! There are plenty of ways to write your next post more efficiently, and take back those precious hours and minutes.
Blog Post Templating
One of the things that you really should spend less time on is blog post structure! The next time you write a blog post, utilize a template to shave hours off your weekly writing schedule.
I am a big fan of Backlink.io’s blog post templates, which show how to write common post types like “myth debunkers” and case studies. These are tried and true formats that are designed to excel with readers and SEO.
When you start to learn how to write for blogs, you will realize that an important lesson to learn is simply not to get carried away. The pressure to write the best content can easily monopolize your time, so it is important to search for ways to streamline your writing process.
- Research with an egg timer: Don’t get pulled down internet rabbit holes. Set limits on how much time you research before you start to actually write your blog post.
- Write, then edit: Don’t think too much about writing while you write. It is much more efficient to finish a draft, then do all of your editing at once, rather than to spend time trying to think of the perfect word.
- Outline: Part of your scheduling and research process should be figuring out what your message will be. Establish an outline before you begin to write.
If you follow experienced affiliate marketers, you start to get the feeling that even after you take the time to design templates and improve processes, the most sustainable and effective option for growing your site through content is to ensure that you are doing as little writing as possible.
Don’t get us wrong, if you are experienced in your niche and have a lot of value to give your audience, you shouldn’t stop writing altogether. Trust still plays an important role here, and ensuring that your site has your identity is still important.
However, you need to create a lot of content to rank well on Google. Here’s how you can accomplish this with a little help.
Going directly to freelancers is the obvious choice for many affiliate marketers when looking for help writing for blogs.
There are plenty of online marketplaces that have sprung up to fill this need, but in our experience, Upwork is the best choice. Typically, the quality of writers on this site is better than competitors like Fiverr or iWriter.
Although Upwork is designed to make it easy for you to find good writing talent, there are still some handy tricks that you can use to optimize your outsourcing process.
Brady from BrandBuilders made a step-by-step video explaining this recently, and here are some of the most important points that he made:
- Explain what your affiliate site is about in detail, and make your ideal outcome very clear. Also, ensure that you offer a set rate, not a range based on experience or other factors.
Give Them The Tools to Succeed
- Provide detailed content briefs and instructions that make it easy for your writer to give you the content you want. Provide actionable feedback to the writer, but don’t micromanage their writing style.
Hire Fast and Fire Fast
- There are plenty of reasons why you might fire a writer. If you see the same issues coming up repeatedly, or they aren’t the right fit in terms of tone or style, don’t hesitate to let them go. There are plenty of other writers out there to choose from, and you can always train someone else to fit your desired style.
Managed Content Outsourcing
Outsourcing blog content to freelancers can work for many affiliate marketers, but plenty of others run into trouble along the way for reasons like these,
- A small number of specialized blog writers in your niche
- Difficulty keeping the same writers for long periods
And most importantly…
- It takes too much time to hire and manage your writers.
It seems like we always talk about ways to save time on this blog, and this is because a lack of time is the most significant issue that entrepreneurs and online affiliate marketers run into.
Content creation can easily take too much of your precious time.
Thankfully, there is a way around this.
Managed content creation is a service offered by many providers (including BrandBuilders). It is meant to take care of the most time-consuming aspects of content strategy, like sourcing writers, proofreading, and publishing SEO-optimized content.
For affiliate marketers looking to be as efficient as possible in their business, we recommend that you at least try out a content creation service.
The reason for this is that, aside from saving time for your online business, these services can provide an important element: quality.
Content services companies find strong, experienced people to write for them, and this is typically difficult to guarantee on your own. Just as important, it allows for consistency. Even if you find yourself too busy to write during the week, you’ll still progress on your blog goals. That’s worth its weight in gold!
How Long Does it Take to Write a Blog Post Wrap-up
We hope this article has answered the question “how long does it take to write a blog post?”
Even though there isn’t a magic marketing crystal ball that can tell you how long your next article should be, there are plenty of resources that you can use for writing a blog that checks all the SEO boxes and is just the right length for your readers.
If you find yourself thinking that you don’t want to spend your time telling a freelancer how to write a blog post, then our Premium Content packages might be for you. We have a la carte selections from 10,000 to 500,000+ monthly words.
Get in touch with our team to find out more, and as always, keep an eye on the BrandBuilders blog and YouTube channel for more resources to help you on your affiliate marketing journey!