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The Goldilocks Zone: Finding the Perfect Length for Blog Posts

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One of the most common questions bloggers have is how long to make their posts. In this presentation, you will examine the needs of your personal or professional blog, as well as your writing style, and weigh them against how length affects share-ability and search rankings.
Look for video from Asheville WordCamp 2015

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The Goldilocks Zone: Finding the Perfect Length for Blog Posts

  1. 1. + The Goldilocks Zone: Finding the Perfect Length for Blog Posts Sarah Giavedoni & Jim MacKenzie StuffMonstersLike.com
  2. 2. + Jim and Sarah Part-time Bloggers since 2010 Stuff Monsters Like – 2010 Incredible Vanishing Paperweight – 2011 POP Books Blog – 2011 Asheville Blogger Society – 2011 TWWW (Tumblr) – 2013 + Facebook + Twitter + Podcast + Corporate Blogging
  3. 3. + We have a wide variety of interests…
  4. 4. + Review from 2014: How to Keep Writing AfterYou’ve Run out of Ideas n Keep Notes n Ask Questions n Become an Expert n Think Broadly n Celebrate the Small Victories
  5. 5. + We’ve all heard the blog myths: “No one on the internet has the attention span for anything more than 300 words.” “When it comes to blog posts, shorter is better.” “Blog posts should ALWAYS be above 500 words, because that’s what Google wants to see.”
  6. 6. + But, what do the experts say?
  7. 7. + Longer is Better for Rankings IDEAL: 1500 Words “SERPIQ recently completed an analysis of the top 10 search results for more than 20,000 keywords and revealed a surprising pattern.The length of content on the page had a direct correlation to the placement of the search results.” —CoSchedule.com
  8. 8. + Longer is Better for Shares “We analyzed the top 10% most shared articles… On average, long-form content actually gets shared more than short-form content… The longer the content, the more shares it gets, with 3,000-10,000 word pieces getting the most average shares (8,859 total average shares). Not surprisingly, there was a lot more short-form content being written. How much more? There were 16 times more content with less than 1,000 words than there were content with 2,000+ words.” —BuzzSumo IDEAL: 3,000+ Words
  9. 9. + But Shorter may be Better for Comments IDEAL: 275 Words “Shorter is usually better, especially if your post is focused on asking your readers’ questions and generating discussion.” —TheWritePractice.com
  10. 10. + Well, that wasn’t helpful…
  11. 11. + What Would Seth Godin Do?
  12. 12. + Clawing your way to the bottom “Trading in your standards in order to gain short-term attention or profit isn't as easy as it looks. Once-great media brands that now traffic in cheesecake and quick clicks didn't get there by mistake. Respected brands that rushed to deliver low price at all costs had to figure out which corners to cut, and fooled themselves into thinking they could get away with it forever. “As the bottom gets more and more crowded, it's harder than ever to be more short-sighted than everyone else. If you're going to need to work that hard at it, might as well put the effort into racing to the top instead…” —Posted by Seth Godin on November 06, 2014
  13. 13. + PENGUIN!! :-o
  14. 14. + Four Main Factors to Consider: n Usefulness n Share-ability n Rankings n Content Lifespan
  15. 15. + Usefulness “WRITE ENOUGH TO BE USEFUL,THEN STOP”
  16. 16. + DIY Posts
  17. 17. + Share-ability WHAT INSPIRES ACTION FROMYOUR READERS?
  18. 18. + io9 Prompts
  19. 19. + Rankings ABOUT MORE THAN LENGTH…
  20. 20. + Search Engine Ranking Factors n  Click through rates n  Length of time on site n  Quality keywords n  Mobile-friendliness n  Backlinks n  Site Architecture n  Social shares n  Etc…
  21. 21. + Content Lifespan THE CNN vs. NEWYORKER APPROACH
  22. 22. + Topical News vs. Social Commentary 1,245 Words 374 Words
  23. 23. + LONG vs. SHORT?
  24. 24. + Long-form Posts n  Keeps readers on site n  Easier to naturally use keywords more often n  Ranks higher in Google n  More social shares n  Asserts your authority n  Increases likelihood of quality backlinks n  Provides value n  Massive time and effort n  More time required from readers n  May be too overwhelming n  Runs the risk of being less focused PROS CONS
  25. 25. + Short-form Posts n  Takes less time n  More easily written n  Easily digestible n  More likely to generate comments n  Easier to keep a consistent schedule n  Topics may not be comprehensive enough for readers n  Harder to include keywords naturally n  Doesn’t establish credibility the way a long-form post can n  Quality of writing is more apparent PROS CONS
  26. 26. + How Do You Change WhatYou Have? Making Long Posts Shorter n  Divide into a series n  Check your thesis n  Edit, edit, edit n  Consider building graphics to help you tell the story Making Short Posts Longer n  Add a personal narrative n  Refer back to old posts n  Reformat to just make it look longer n  Add images, graphics, and video
  27. 27. +
  28. 28. + YOUR AUDIENCE!
  29. 29. + In Conclusion Instead, consider these BIG THREE as you write: n  Your topic n  Your blog n  Your readers IT’S NOT THE LENGTH, IT’S WHAT YOU DO WITH IT
  30. 30. + Slide References n  Slide 7: http://coschedule.com/blog/long-form-content/ n  Slide 8: http://okdork.com/2014/04/21/why-content-goes-viral-what-analyzing-100-millions-articles- taught-us/ n  Slide 9: http://thewritepractice.com/blog-post-length/ n  Slide 12: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/11/clawing-your-way-to-the-bottom.html n  Slide 13: http://searchengineland.com/google-says-penguin-shift-continuous-updates-210580 n  Slide 16: http://solarburrito.com/build-your-own-solar-power-generator/ n  Slide 18: http://io9.com/whats-the-greatest-fight-scene-of-all-time-1719351767 n  Slide 20: http://www.searchmetrics.com/wp-content/uploads/seo-ranking-factors-2014.png n  Slide 22: http://pitchfork.com/thepitch/808-amy-winehouse-kurt-cobain-and-the-gendering-of- martyrdom/?utm_source=digg&utm_medium=email n  Slide 22: http://ashevilleblog.com/an-evening-with-grits-soul-at-isis-upstairs-lounge-on-wed-812/ n  Slide 28: http://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/
  31. 31. + Additional Reading n  http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/08/ problogger-faq-how-long-should-posts-be/ n  http://boingboing.net/2015/07/16/escaping-the-new-media- cargo-c.html Our Other Sites: n  https://incrediblevanishingpaperweight.wordpress.com n  http://thepopproject.org/blog n  http://ashevillezombiewalk.com n  http://thomaswolfewaswrong.tumblr.com
  32. 32. + Be in Touch! Sarah Giavedoni and Jim MacKenzie StuffMonstersLike.com @MonsterStuff @VanishingPaper

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