Editor’s Note: This post was written by Ken Myers, a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.
When it comes to blogging, it seems everyone has a “guaranteed” way to generate more traffic to your site. Some search engine optimization experts will tell you the short and sweet detail oriented posts work best. Others believe than posts with more than 2,000 words attract more readers. In reality, both of these methods are correct – depending on your topic and writing abilities.
Longer Blog Posts – A long post, more stuffed with words, could easily turn into the random ramblings of the author. Often times, inexperienced writers will try to fit as much information as they can into a single post which usually ruins a perfectly good article. Unless you can maintain the topic throughout the entire post, you could easily lose the interest of your readers. You want to encourage your visitors to view the entire page, not get lost half-way down from boredom.
Shorter Developments – Short posts can be just as easily underdeveloped as they could provide less information than what the reader is hoping for. Some SEO experts believe that it is the number of posts you have on a site that drives the traffic. This could be true provided all of those short articles are loaded with valuable information. In reality, not all subjects can be described in less than 300 words.
Providing Informative Content Rules – When it comes to encourage more visitors to stay and read your material, it’s all about your content and whether or not it’s informative. When most people look up information on the Internet, they are looking for specific facts that they didn’t know before. If your readers don’t feel informed after leaving your site, there is little chance they will return. If you can deliver this valuable information in less than 300 words, then that particular page will drive a great deal of traffic. However, this means the rest of your site has to produce the same informative quality with each succeeding post in order to be successful.
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The One-Hit-Wonder – It’s quite common for an entire website to have a single “one-hit-wonder” blog post. This is where one post receives so much attention that it carries the visitor ratio of the site. Not all of these will work to your advantage, though. Sure those visitors found a single page of a site to be valuable, but they may not actually explore the rest of the pages in many cases.
Support the Information – Each paragraph and sentence has to be constructed to support the topic. Anything else is merely fluff that will discourage the reader from continuing. Trying to force yourself to write a longer blog post when a shorter one will do can surely damage the effect you’re trying to create. Fluff can get in the way of the facts causing your readers to become uninterested in reading the rest of the post. This isn’t saying that you can’t add a bit of your own personality to the material, just keep in mind that straying from the topic too often can lead to the visitor going elsewhere.
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Know Your Grammatical Capabilities – Proper grammar can be ultimately important when comparing short blog posts to longer ones. If you don’t have good grammar backing up the facts, then it doesn’t matter how many words are in the article. In fact, a longer article full of grammatical and spelling errors could easily become a distraction causing your readers to move on to a new site. You don’t have to be an English major in college, but you should have a basic grasp of proper sentence structure and spell-check.
Sizing for the Facts – Providing facts will play a role in how long a blog post should be as well. Sometimes, the facts can be cut down to short and effective articles. Others may require additional information in order to promote greater understanding. It all depends on your blog’s niche and the topic you’re choosing for that particular post. As mentioned above, your readers need to feel informed when leaving your site. Too little information could leave them confused while too much could frustrate a reader. It’s the “Goldilocks Syndrome” for content when your posts need to be just right in order to be ultimately successful, but how do you know what will be a hit with your readers?
Data and Analytics – As long as you provide detailed facts and are to the point, your success will hinge on trial and error. You’re not going to be able to satisfy 100-percent of the people 100-percent of the time, and you need to monitor which posts are the most productive. If you find that certain material is being accepted more than others, then you need to find the reason and build a strategy for future content based on what drives that post to succeed.
In the grand scheme of search engines, the success of your blog depends on many factors. No one can really tell you that one length of a post will work better than others. It all depends on what is relevant to the individuals looking for that information. Short or long, your blog can be successful as long as you can engage the visitors and provide information they didn’t know beforehand.