By 2020, research suggests that there will be a staggering 31 million bloggers in the United States alone.
When you’re just starting, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed with the process. How long should an article be? How often should you post? What kind of content do your readers want?
Honing down on the perfect blog content length can provide you with an invaluable framework for your website. Let’s get into what you need to know!
Establish Your Posting Frequency
Before you even begin worrying about post length, you need to figure out how often you intend to post. And if you’re looking for a perfect, one-size-fits-all answer, we’re sorry to have to burst your bubble.
Like with most things in life, the frequency of posting depends on numerous variables including:
- the type of content you post
- your availability (how much you want to devote to your site!)
- your blog niche
- your blogging goals (are you aiming to monetize?)
Your frequency should be both consistent and predictable. In other words, readers should know when new content will arrive.
If you need help with this process, here is a good resource for creating a content calendar.
Defining Your Strategy
First, you should identify what suits you best. How much time do you want to spend writing, editing, and posting new content? Moreover, how much time can you reasonably commit each day, week, or month?
What kind of content do you intend to post? Will you be sharing detailed, definitive how-to guides? Or are you interested in posting simple, informative pieces? If you plan on sharing longer articles heavy on the research, you’ll need more time.
Finally, what are your main goals? Are you looking to increase your traffic? Become a leading authority in your niche? Acquire more conversions.
Committing To The Strategy
Designate a posting schedule that you feel comfortable with. Stick with that schedule for at least three months before reassessing.
This commitment serves two purposes. One, it keeps you accountable and on track to post regular content. With this in mind, you can use various tools to create content calendars ahead of time.
Second, it builds trust within your audience because they’ll know how and when to expect new articles. Audience trust is essential. You need it if you plan on retaining readers and buying or selling products.
How Long Should An Article Be?
First things first, make sure that you have at least 300 words per article. This is the minimum amount you need for search engines to recognize your blog. This length allows you to integrate keyword research and optimize your content.
After the minimum length considerations, the research becomes more nuanced. According to Forbes, posts with more than 1500 words receive 22% more Facebook likes and 68% more tweets. Furthermore, most posts on the top 10 Google search results have at least 2000 words.
Google’s web crawler access every item of page content. If your post has 2000 words, you’re likely using a rich combination of both primary and secondary keywords. The combination of these words reinforces the targeted keyword.
Furthermore, you’re probably addressing multiple topics. The more topics you address, the more chances you have in turning up for numerous search results.
The “Variety” Approach
Even though Google may ‘prefer’ longer posts, you don’t need to tally up 1500 words before hitting the publish button.
In fact, it might be smarter to focus on taking a mix-and-match approach. This approach means including some content that is around 500 words, some that are around 1000, and some longer-form articles that exceed 2000 words.
Remember that consistency tends to matter more than word count. If you focus on consistency first, the word count will follow.
The Art of Long-Form Content
May seem like a silly question, but it’s a common one. How do you, well, make your articles longer without adding useless information? Moreover, why is it important?
Remember that longer content means people on your page longer! This typically translates to more page views, which translates to more traffic, which converts to boosts in your SEO.
The more people spend on your site, the more likely you are to build audience trust. That’s a win-win in every situation.
Choose An Appropriate Topic
When writing long-form content, you need to vet your topic carefully. You don’t want to throw a bunch of words onto the site without thinking about their relevance.
Expert bloggers first start by identifying relevant keywords for their target audience. In other words, what are your people looking to learn about? What kinds of questions are they searching?
What’s the current competition look like? Can you do it better than them?
Optimize Your Content
Writing well matters, but you also need to take care of logistics. This means having a great hook, enticing conclusion, and a killer call-to-action (CTA).
You should also embed inbound and outbound links naturally throughout your blog. Both of these links improve your credibility, which improves your SEO naturally.
Don’t forget to add sharing buttons. Make it easy for your audience to share your article on their favorite social media platform.
Integrate Video Content
We all know that video is in high demand right now, and we also know that user attention spans are dropping like crazy.
One of the best ways to create the best content possible for your audience (now matter how long or short), is to create alternative methods for them to consume such content. Best of all, this can easily be done through short videos that can be integrated right into your blog content, and according to mysimpleshow, video usage within content can increase people’s understanding of a product or service by upwards of 74%.
Storytelling can also play an important role in how well your video content is portrayed to an audience. A reported by simpleshow, there are a few key data points and methods that should be focused on before creating your first video. These methods/steps include:
- Choose your main character wisely
- Give them a supporting cast
- Ensure there is a clear beginning, middle and end
- Keep it short and sweet
- Don’t do lists (unless it’s a list about not doing lists…)
Having these metrics and user points in place before creating your video will greatly improve user interest, engagement, and competition through the life of your video usage.
Even though length matters, you can certainly overdo a good thing. Longer articles can be hard to read. Research suggests that less than half of people sharing sites actually read content beyond the headline.
It’s no surprise that most of us have dangerously low attention spans. With so many mediums competing for our attention, content needs to be truly captivating to keep our minds engaged. Otherwise, we’ll just click over to the next link.
Avoid Large Blocks of Text
Despite what your high school English teacher may have preached, readers prefer short and concise paragraphs. We’re talking 2-3 sentences max. The longer the section, the more you risk people glossing over your text.
Instead of lengthy paragraphs, focus on implementing H2 and H3 headers. Break up ideas with bullet points or numbers.
For especially long articles, place an index or table of contents at the beginning to organize your thoughts.
Create Killer Headlines & Titles
As mentioned, most people skim articles. That means that your title and headline carry significant weight for capturing a reader’s attention.
Stick with well-known, favorite headline formulas. These include:
- X Number of Reasons Why…
- The Definitive Guide To…
- How To ___ Once and For All…
- What Everyone Needs To Know About…
- Warning! Do You Need…
- We Examined X Number of People And This Is What We Learned…
- Here’s Why You Need…
Your title should always include your targeted keyword. Additionally, one of your subheaders should also include your targeted keyword. Make sure this keyword is also in your introduction and conclusion paragraphs.
Write For Your Readers
If you want to improve your readability, you need to stop writing for you. Instead, focus on the people reading your stuff!
Who’s your audience? Spend some time identifying your target crowd. This includes focusing on details like:
- age and gender
- socioeconomic status
- common problems they face
- common solutions they use
When you understand your audience, you can improve blog engagement. That’s because even though you won’t be writing for everyone, you’ll be writing for the people who matter the most.
Own Your Style
Like to curse? Want to use snarky sarcasm? Your blog is your platform for letting your authenticity shine!
Above all, be yourself. The more you hone in on finding “your voice,” the more your readers will grow to love the unique thoughts you have to offer.
Not sure what kind of voice you have? Reflect on how you want people to feel when they read your content.
Do you want to evoke a sense of fear and concern? Or do you want to create a feeling of happiness or excitement? Use these primary emotions to help guide your writing.
Quality Trumps Quantity
No matter your word count, if you don’t deliver dynamic and enticing content, your blog length is irrelevant.
While substance matters, if you need to add extraneous fluff and redundant paragraphs to “fill the space,” you’re wasting both you and your audience’s time.
Use as many words as needed to get your point across succinctly. And remember that getting your point across goes beyond just the written word. What about using images or videos or infographics?
So, how long should an article be? Like most questions, the answers vary. It depends on your niche, your audience, and your dedication to the blog itself.
Just don’t sacrifice the quality of your content for extra words. People care about dynamic ideas- not a number on a screen!
Are you interested in learning more about taking your blog to the next level? We’ve got you covered. Check out our professional services today!