I was working on a blog post last week. (Normal activity for me, except that this time it had included eating a blueberry pie on the side.) You see, I was spending about an extra 45 minutes just trying to “shorten” up my blog post because I feel that today’s busy internet users just won’t take time to read a long blog post.
After finishing my blueberry pie (with 10.5 million calories), I decided to do my own research on the best length for a blog post.
My main questions were: How many words does the average blogger use? Are short blog posts better than longer ones? Or vice versa?
My research was a real eye-opener!
I discovered Neil’s post on QuickSprout, “How Content Length Affects Rankings and Conversions,” which revealed that his conversions fell when he tested a shorter copy on his homepage. The original copy converted 7.6% better than the new shorter version.
He did some digging and discovered that in most cases longer copies do convert better and also helped with rankings in the search engines as well.
Neil made some really valid points from his research; three that I want to mention are…
- Content rich sites get more links.
- The social web prefers content rich sites (longer content is shared more frequently.)
- People are now using longer word search queries (which means longer content yields higher chances for you to gain traffic from long-tailed keywords in the search engines.
*Note: I found it intriguing that 71.8% of Quick Sprout’s search traffic was due to long tail keywords!
Neil does advise that you have to write really great content. You can’t just ramble on (which is why I didn’t expand on the topic of my blueberry pie, even though I really wanted too. :)). You also need to test, as a shorter copy may convert well too.
Marcus Sheridan from The Sales Lion also shares his insight by writing this post, “5 Reasons why Long Content and Blog Posts are Once Again the Future of Content Marketing.” He states that 90% of his most shared posts are more than 1200 words.
One of Marcus’ reader commented that, “long form content will deliver multiple long tail keyword phrase rankings.”
So my feelings are, if you’re needing to build more seo traffic from the search engines, this can help. But, the question lies here: what are you going to do with that reader once he gets to your blog? Are you going to be able to get him on your list? Are you going to keep his interest to the end of the post and present him with some type of call to action?
Traffic is just traffic unless you have specific plans for that traffic.
On the other side of the coin…
Stephen Hughes‘ post on Geekless Tech points out several Liabilities of a Long Post. For one, the time to create longer content slows down the churning out of frequent posts. Another factor is that these longer blog posts often get “bookmarked” to be read later…which as you know rarely gets read later.
(*Side note: Check out the comments left on Stephen’s post above. Many bloggers confessed the length of their average and longest blog posts. I was shocked at some of the answers…but it gave me some insight on how many words many bloggers use while blogging.)
Jon Morrow has pretty much pinpointed the answer to this whole topic. His post on Copyblogger, “Do Long Blog Posts Scare Away Readers?”
“A long post isn’t wrong. A short post isn’t wrong. In fact, the length of a post has nothing to do with how good or bad it is.
Here’s what matters:
- Writing something that’s interesting
- Taking out everything that’s not interesting
I see it this way…
Don’t worry about the length, just worry about sharing good information. Although longer content might increase your chances to get traffic from the search engines on long-tailed keywords, this doesn’t necessarily mean those people who land on your page are going to prefer reading the whole lengthy post. (Sales pages; however, might require more length.)
1. Make sure to choose a topic that’s of real interest to your readers. Topic choice is more important than content length. On the other hand, make sure you’re ready to give them a good dose of content worth their time. Too short can be a disappointment as well.
2. Get to the point and don’t ramble on. Keep out the fluff. If it takes a little longer to cover your topic, then use the space. Keep it concise as possible.
3. Start out on the right foot. Seeing that many people now have little patience to read lengthy content, I would make sure to grasp your readers’ attention immediately with good headlines and a good introductory paragraph.
If you’re an affiliate marketer, make sure to include your referral link somewhere early within the post as well as a call to action at the end. Use bullets, numbers and short paragraphs to break up your content. People are attracted to visual stimulation, so use good pictures.
Please do share my post, while you’re here and leave me a comment. 🙂
More on the WEB about this topic…
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Does the length of a blog post really matter? Read on to discover words should you write to keep Google happy…