Does Size Matter in a Blog Post? Absolutely. Business Blogger Jen Miller explains when and why word count varies in blog posts and how it can make a difference in how a website performs. Learn how to better manage your blogging and website content, all in under 10 minutes.
Hi, It’s Jen Miller and on Today’s show, episode #7 of be seen blogging, we’re talking about Long Posts vs. Short Posts – The Performance Test. As someone who has been producing website content for over a decade, I have some definite opinions on what works well.
I mainly write for other people, on their business or leadership blogs, so incorporate a variety of styles and lengths and I really feel the key is in setting the right tone. If you have an engaging style, people will enjoy reading your posts and return, regardless of the length. However since it’s a question I do get often, I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the topic of word count.
Before getting too deep on the word count question there are a few things you should know. One is that Readers may visit your website at any time. The second is that Search engines will likely crawl the site every 3-5 days. This means that consistent blog posting wins, regardless of length. Posting twice per week generally ensures that viewers AND search engines will have something new when they visit your website and that keeps both coming back.
For many of our clients our goal is to deliver twice weekly posts to keep their website current.Each post needs to be optimized with at least one keyword phrase to define the topic so it can be recognized by both the reader and the search engines and I like posts to be at least 200 words. On the internet you’ll see many sites with posts that are 10x that length but you’ll also see others like Seth Godin who regularly publishes blog posts under 100 words, that perform well, too. The point in a blog post is to use your words to deliver your message, however many words that message requires.
The benefit to a longer post is that you can use more words to clarify and explain, share case studies or use outside material and quotes. A longer post also supports the use of more images which can enhance engagement. If long articles highlight research, they can be highly valuable. When a post is long simply to fill the page for the sake of word count, that is a mistake. Many website visitors read posts and pages on mobile devices and higher bounce rates can occur when the length of the post material doesn’t justify the content. I’ve heard colleagues mention that they skim or only read the block quotes on posts. Both of those tendencies mean your readers leave your site at a speedy rate and most likely are not digesting the content on your site. I’ve found that emails actually get more clicks than longer blog posts, making me believe that the inbox is actually the best place for long form content.
On the other hand a shorter post may tease information, leading to a viewer seeking more posts on similar topics. Shorter posts can result in more contact form inquiries, too, as readers want details. Shorter posts also look great with video embeds so can be a great way to show yourself speaking to your audience or sharing something related that you found valuable.
Another benefit of a shorter post is for the writer. Exhausting a topic in one blog post can make it hard to write a follow up piece but when you introduce individual concepts in a series of posts (simply by breaking up the same content), you produce more posts and allow each to energize the rest. Plus, let’s face it, our society is used to quick thinking and response. We’ve been trained to have shorter attention spans, accept more interruptions, and read on our devices. All of these drive up the appeal of shorter content.
If you look towards traditional media, you’ll see a mix of long and short form articles. When I send news releases to newspapers and magazines, the recommendation from editors is to keep it to less than 350 words and typically I see 150 word releases get published in their entirety. You’ll also notice that images matter in these publications, sometimes sharing way more of the story than the written words do.
Your posts should ultimately be a mix of long and short content,as well. They should reflect you and what your message requires. Share your passion and deliver valuable, actionable information. Use bullet points, block text and headings so that even if your post is long it doesn’t FEEL that way. Read through your post out loud and think about what is redundant or if you are missing a key point. If your post takes longer than 5 minutes to read, consider how you might be able to shorten it up while still delivering the same thoughts or if the series concept I shared makes sense for that post.
Keep your headlines short, too – under 7 words seems to work best for me. Get clever with how you introduce each post to create titles that really introduce the topic and have fun.
Blogging is about self expression, using your voice to share what you know. Yes, it’s work and it requires consistency, but ultimately it really is fun. So mix it up, using a variety of sizes and don’t worry too much about long posts vs short posts. The answer is that all are important!
I’m Jen Miller and I’ve enjoyed sharing with you today on Be Seen Blogging. Please let me know your questions at NeedSomeoneToBlog.com or reach out to me on Twitter at jenblogs4u. Like the show, I’d love to see your review. Thank you for spending part of your time today with me. Talk to you next week!