Does Size Matter? A Look at Longer Blog Posts

longer-postsHow long should a blog post be?

In the past year, content specialists have cited the benefits of longer blog posts. By longer, they typically mean more than 2,000 words in length.

According to experts, longer posts solve a lot of problems that web owners and small businesses face. Apparently, longer posts can improve your site’s search engine rankings, engage more readers, and generally drive more traffic to your site.

It sounds like the solution to all your problems, right?

Many website owners have jumped on the long blog post bandwagon, some without thinking about it. Are they right in doing so?

In this post, I’ll take a closer look at longer blog posts and their effectiveness. My goal is to provide the information you need to make and informed decision. At the end, I invite you to share your own experiences.

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How Often Should You Post to Your Blog?

blog-frequency

One of the questions clients often ask me is how often they should post to their blogs.

In the past, I’ve tried to answer this question according to the client’s goals. That’s the right way to answer the question, but unfortunately clients don’t hear my whole answer. All they hear is a number.

So I’m changing my answer. The new answer is…as often as possible. (But make sure that everything you post is of high quality.) At least, that’s the short answer.

Let me explain.

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Are Blog Comments Necessary?

blog-comment2Like many bloggers, I was surprised and concerned this week to read Copyblogger‘s notice that they were turning blog comments off. (See Sonia Simone, Why We’re Removing Comments on Copyblogger.)

The post sparked many echo posts discussing the decision. Some bloggers praised the decision while others questioned it.

If you’re not in the writing or blogging field, you may not realize that Copyblogger is one of the largest and most prominent blogs on the topics of web content, blogging, and writing. Hundreds of writers and would-be writers turn to Copyblogger every day for advice.

So, not only are we losing comments on Copyblogger, there’s the potential that other bloggers will follow their example. Which led me to ask whether blog comments are necessary.

Personally, I can see both sides of this issue. My opinion is that the pros of having comments on your blog outweigh the cons. I won’t remove them from WritingThoughts, at least not for now.

In this post, I address the pros and cons of blog comments. I also invite you to share your own opinion about blog comments. (Yes, share your thoughts in the comments here).

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Tighten Your Web Writing in 6 Easy Steps

Tighten-writingWhen it comes to writing for the web, you have to grab your reader’s attention quickly.

In many cases, you have just seconds before they click away.

That’s why shorter is better. Shorter paragraphs. Shorter sentences. Shorter words.

A newbie mistake when it comes to online content is to write like you’re trying to impress your eighth grade English teacher. If you’re writing for your eighth grade English teacher, you’re doing it wrong.

Your eighth grade teacher may have liked big words and complex sentences, but your readers won’t.

In this post, I share six easy steps to help you tighten your online content. If you liked this post, you may also like Five Proofreading Tips That You Can Use Right Now By Yourself.

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Why Writing Content Is Harder Than You Think (and What to Do to Make It Easier)

writing-misperceptionsFor as long as I’ve been writing, the people around me have mistakenly thought that writing was easy–an afterthought.

Non-writing colleagues always seem to believe that good writing is something that can be slapped together at the last minute.

When I was a technical writer, software development teams often left manual writing or online help writing tasks until last. Likewise, as a marketing writer I was expected to pull together complicated pieces in very little time. And of course, there’s blogging–often with daily deadlines.

Yet written materials are an important part of any business–a part worth spending time on. And that’s never been truer than now, in our content-hungry Internet environment. Writing definitely shouldn’t be left until the last minute.

For more examples of misperceptions about writing, read 5 Wrong Ideas About Freelance Writers.

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Why Blogs Fail

blog-failureThese days it seems you either believe in blogging as a business tool, or you don’t. A lot of so-called experts are saying that blogging is dead.

Well, the truth is, they’ve been saying that for years. It’s no more true today, that it was five years ago.

But people will keep saying that blogs are dead as long as some blogs fail.

If you’ve been reading blogs for a while, you can probably think of some popular blogs that no longer exist and so can I. There are still others that you and I can visit, but that haven’t had new content for years.

With so much evidence of blogging failure, it’s easy to see why some may think blogging is dead. However, there are good reasons why blogs fail. And you can prevent it from happening to you.

In this post, I’ll share seven reasons why blogs fail.

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4 Fun Tools to Check Your Writing

Grammar - issues and sign series for education.Most of us can’t afford to hire a personal editor or writing coach to review everything we write. Yet, most of us want to improve our writing skills when we get the chance.

That’s why when we writers run across a tool that claims to be able to analyze our writing or otherwise challenge us, we pay attention.

Playing with words and sentences is almost like recreation for some of us. Of course, many non-writers would rather have their teeth pulled than play with grammar apps. But that’s why we’re here, isn’t it?

In this post I list not one, but four, apps to analyze or challenge your writing skills.

Of course, no app or tool is substitute for a human review of your writing. But if you decide to play with the tools in this post you’ll have fun. You might even learn something about how you write.

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Is Writing Fast Really a Good Idea?

Pen and watch on notebook with room for text

Recently, I’ve seen another flurry of posts and even eBooks that claim to teach writers how to write more quickly. (Out of respect for the authors, who are some of my most admired professional colleagues, I’ve decided not to link to those posts and resources here.)

I have to ask myself, is speedier writing really what we need? I’ve discussed this topic before in my post WritingThoughts versus The Five Minute Article Writers. While the latest advocates for speed writing may not be claiming you can write an article or blog post in five minutes, some of the reasons behind the need for speed are the same.

In this post, I take a fresh look at the idea of quick writing. I’ll look at what’s wrong with the idea of focusing on speed when writing. I’ll also explain when writing faster is a good idea.

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App Review: Grammar Pop Game

Grammar AppI love using words. That love of words is one of the reasons that I became a writer.

But the way that you put words together is important. Grammar is sort of a dirty word for some creatives, and I totally understand that. However, if you’re going to break the rules in your writing, you first need to understand what the rules are. That’s where grammar comes in.

Using bad grammar because you don’t know what you’re doing just makes you look, well…bad.

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2 Thorny Content Problems, 1 Simple Solution

thorny-content

We’re only a month into 2014, and already there have been some hot debates about the future of online content. Most significantly, two posts about content rocked and, if the responses are any indication, angered the online writing community.

First, we read Mark W. Schaeffer’s Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy on his excellent blog at Schaefer Marketing Solutions. The post received nearly 400 comments and over 70 responses on other blogs. If you didn’t read the post, my summary of Mark’s point is this: there’s too much content out there and it’s impossible to get noticed anymore so content isn’t a sustainable marketing strategy.

Next, we heard from Matt Cutts on a seemingly unrelated topic, The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO on the important blog, Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO. (If you’re not aware of who Matt Cutts is, he’s the head of Google’s Webspam team.) Like the other post, Matt’s post generated a firestorm of comments and responses–over 400 comments and multiple responses. If you didn’t read the post, my summary of Matt’s point is this: Google may soon begin cracking down on spammy guest posts that focus mainly on link-building.

In this post, I’ll examine these two seemingly separate content problems and explain how they’re related. Finally, I’ll propose one common solution for both problems.

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