How long should my blogs be and how often should I post them?

You’ve got a shiny new website with perfectly crafted landing pages that nail who you are and what your business does – drawing in your prospects.

But in order to climb the search engines and be seen, you’ll need to keep producing useful content. And that means you’ll need to decide how much time you’re willing to invest in your blog.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to help you plan your posts. However, we can give you valuable stats and explanations to help you understand why businesses blog so often – and how you can find the right balance to get the most out of your own website.

More posts means more traffic

If you’re posting quality content a few times a month, that’s a good start and it’ll mean over a long enough period of time your website should start to draw in some healthy traffic.

But, in reality, you’re only doing the bare minimum – there’s a lot more you can gain if you push it a step further.

According to Hubspot’s analysis of over 13,000 customers, companies that post 16 or more blog posts per month were getting almost 3.5 times as much traffic as companies that were posting 4 times per month or fewer.

On top of that, those companies posting 16 times a month or more were also getting around 4.5 times as many leads – which means their boost in traffic was turning into potential opportunities for their business.

The Hubspot analysis also suggested that companies with a higher number of total blog posts saw more traffic than those with a lower number. And after around  400 total posts the growth in traffic started to accelerate.

More posts means more opportunities

A healthy number of total posts and a high frequency in which you post allows for more chances for promotion and interaction.

Any single person probably won’t be interested in every single topic you cover. And they won’t be searching for every keyword, either.

Each post you create is a fishing line cast out into the internet – so when you cast out different fishing lines more often, you’re dramatically increasing the chances that someone will bite.

Serious bloggers are most likely serious marketers

If a business is uploading blog posts more than 4 times a week, there’s a good chance that they’re active in lots of other areas too – such as social media marketing, email marketing, industry groups and networking events.

Although blogging has certainly given lots of businesses a boost, some of that boost might also be related to their overall marketing efforts beyond just blog posts.

Blogging will get better with practice

Creating great content isn’t easy and isn’t something that comes naturally to most people. Those that have been posting for some time will probably cringe when they look back at their very early blog posts.

But, with enough posts behind them or after a short time creating high-frequency posts a company that’s blogging will have a clearer understanding of:

  • Their audience and how they react to content
  • Their industry and the topics they cover
  • The kind of structure, readability, and flow that holds the attention of their audience

On top of this, companies that have hundreds of blog posts behind them will be forced to start creating content around niche subjects, advanced tips or cutting-edge developments.

They’ve already blown through the generic and predictable topics that blog-owners often start out with – and that means they’ll naturally have to start moving to topics that are less common.

What does this mean for your company?

It means you should blog as often as you can reasonably manage – without putting your budget or the quality of content in jeopardy.

Longer posts perform better

According to SEO experts Yoast, a blog post should be at the very least 300 words in length in order to rank well in search engines.

However, this is a bare minimum and if you’ve come across a 300-word blog post, you’ll know that it can look meagre and generally lacking in substance.

The type of blog length is no more than a one-minute read and means that if it’s meant to be anything more than a news update or brief answer to a specific question than it’s likely to be deeply unsatisfying to the reader.

Why do longer-form posts perform better?

  1. There’s more room for valuable information

Searchers are usually looking for answers and they want them to be satisfying, complete and authoritative answers.

If someone wants to know ‘How to change your car battery’ or they’re looking for ‘A guide to hiking Snowdon mountain’, a 300-word blog post won’t suffice. These topics are too broad and require too much detail to be covered in such a short space.

If you don’t want your visitors to retreat back to Google to ask further questions, you need to give them everything they want in your blog post – and that usually means creating a piece of content that’s long enough to satisfy them.

  1. Provide more evidence for Google

The more you produce content about a particular topic, the more likely you are to use keywords that are relevant to someone’s search.

Similarly, you’ll also have more room to use those keywords in a natural way, as there’s no need to artificially force them in like you might need to with a shorter blog.

The deeper you go into a particular topic, the more likely you are to naturally use long-tail keywords (keywords with multiple parts, like ‘automatic hybrid cars in the UK’, as opposed to just ‘automatic cars’).

What does that mean for you?

It means you should aim to make every post longer than 300 words and not restrict the length of your posts (unless you’re waffling ). If you’ve got a lot of interesting and valuable information to say on a topic, then go for it.

On the other hand, don’t make the mistake of thinking that every single post has to be 2,500-words or more. The length of your post should match up to the breadth, depth, and importance of the topic you’re covering.

Quantity is easy – quality takes skill and care

Frequency and length of a blog are important things to consider.

But when you’re trying to stay focused on delivering long posts on a strict schedule, it can be easy to put the quality of your writing second.

Whether or not a post is seen as high-quality depends on the industry and the topic, the reader’s current levels of knowledge and expectations for the post, and your writer’s own individual style.

It’s difficult to measure quality. However, there are a few universal standards that we can apply to any topic.

A high-quality blog post should be:

  • Relevant to a specific audience, problem, or need
  • Full and complete enough to cover the topic to a level that satisfies the reader’s curiosity
  • Filled with concrete, useful, up-to-date information
  • Easy to read, despite giving out large amounts of information

If you’re following the above criteria when writing your blog posts, they will as a consequence become longer.

Although, there’s a balance to be found.

If you attempt to produce content that is short and simple to read, it’s not going to be packed full of useful information. And if you try to write a short blog post that is crammed full of valuable information, it most likely won’t be easy to read.

You might have a number of reasons why you can’t churn out regular long-form blog posts. It could be time, confidence, lack of interest in writing or maybe the challenge is a non-existent budget to pay a writer to produce this content.

If you’re not feeling experienced enough or if the cost is too steep, you can begin with long-form posts that are on the shorter end of the spectrum – around 1000 words.

If you do have the time, passion and budget to create high-quality, easily digested content, then give longer pieces a shot. But if you’re going to go long, you’ll need to work hard to keep your readers’ interest from start to finish. To do this always make sure your blog posts are:

  • Well-structured – broken up into manageable sections and separated by informative, eye-catching sub-headers
  • Faultlessly composed, with perfect spelling and grammar (the free app Grammarly can help with this)
  • Lively and varied: a personal and upbeat tone of voice, diverse vocabulary and varied sentence structures, and a healthy mix of industry terms and colloquial expressions

Length and frequency

It won’t come as a surprise that there isn’t one right answer for everyone. But what should be of interest is how you can ensure your blog posts give people the most value.

For many, that does mean long, in-depth posts that are published regularly and often. But that doesn’t mean there’s a particular length or frequency that works perfectly for all.

You’ll need to balance your time and budget against your skills and the demands of your particular industry and audience.

Another option is adopting a mixed approach. This could mean you produce one 3000 word post a month, which provides readers with satisfying, in-depth answers to the big questions they’re looking for.

These longer posts will be the ones that do most of the hard work for you: attracting large amounts of searchers and demonstrating your expertise and value on topics that remain relevant for years to come. You’ll be able to update them and add to them as new information becomes available – or as your readers come up with new questions on the topic.

Along with this, you could create short and light blog posts to answer simple questions or report industry news or business updates.

If you follow this approach, you’ll have both sides covered. You’ll have lots of weekly posts to promote across your social media channels and demonstrate that your website and company is active – but you’ll still have some hefty posts once in a while to help you climb up higher in the search engines.

Original post created by Ed Palmer on the UK Domain.

© Nominet UK 2019