pencil ruler lengthHave you ever wondered how long your content should be? Is there any data that could be used to create guidelines for content length?

Whether you’re publishing an article, blog post, Facebook update, tweet, or any other type of content, Kevin Lee of Buffer did the research and determined the ideal length for every type of online content, and it’s all backed by real data.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and depending on your audience and your budgetary and time constraints, you might not want to follow these guidelines. For example, according to the research, the ideal blog post length takes seven minutes to consume (i.e., approximately 1,600 words). Depending on your audience, that length might be too long or too short. I know I rarely read a 1,600 word blog post. I don’t have time! I’d click away and look for content about the same topic on another site that can give me the information I need in a couple of paragraphs. How about you?

With that in mind, you should use your web analytics tool to determine which content length works best for your specific audience. However, the data provides a great place to start. Follow the guidelines (when you can, it’s certainly not a requirement), and test to determine the sweet spot for your audience. Here are a few highlights about character length from Kevin’s research:

  • Ideal tweet length: 100 characters
  • Ideal Facebook post length: less than 40 characters
  • Ideal Google+ headline length: less than 60 characters
  • Ideal email subject line length: 28-39 characters
  • Ideal title tag length: 55 characters
  • Ideal domain name length: 8 characters

You can follow the link at the top of this article to learn more ideal content lengths from headlines to presentations and more! Kevin also includes a lot of details about why each of these ideal lengths work so well. It’s worth a read!

Once you determine the ideal length for your content, you need to decide when to publish it and when to promote it using email and social media. Follow the links below for the most recent research:

As you consider all of these “best” statistics related to content length and publishing and promotion times, don’t forget the most important thing you need to do is publish high-quality content. You could follow all of the guidelines and publish the perfect length of content at exactly the right time, but if your content quality isn’t high and that content isn’t relevant to the people who actually see it, they’ll click through once and never do so again (or they might not click at all).

Again, these are guidelines for experimenting—sort of like the Pirate Code, and as we learned from Captain Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, “The code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.”

Image: Zsuzsanna Kilian