Content is the heart of the Internet, and the effectiveness of your content can make or break your blog. If you are new to internet writing in general, there are a few important rules you need to know.
Internet writing is a bit different from the writing you did in high school or college. The mechanics (grammar and spelling) are the same, but the audience is different. Some of the rules have changed.
There are two audiences on the internet: search engines and your readers. Your blog’s content needs to be interesting and useful to readers in order to keep them on your site. At the same time, it needs to be structured so that search engines can help readers find it, and rank it high enough so that you get substantial traffic.
What worked for term papers will not necessarily work for blog posts and articles. Proper format and strategic use of keywords are the two most important factors in creating effective blog content.
Keeping It Brief
Brevity is a term you will hear quite often from blogging and internet experts, and for good reason: People have very short attention spans online.
Readers click through sites quickly, so you need to get and keep people’s attention by providing meaningful content in as few words as possible, while still making it engaging and informative. So how long should your blog posts be?
There really is no absolute word count. The general recommendation is that posts should be somewhere between 400 and 800 words.
Search engines don’t seem to like articles much shorter than 300 words. This is probably not an arbitrary cutoff. It’s just difficult to provide much depth or information in so few words. When Google can’t find many relevant words in the text, the post won’t rank that high.
Don’t be overly concerned with finding the optimal length at first. When you start creating blog posts, it’s more important to format your paragraphs correctly. It’s better to use several small paragraphs instead of one large one. Blocks of text are harder to read on a computer monitor than on paper, so paragraphs should be no more than a few sentences long. Readers need the white space between paragraphs in order to keep reading.
In academic writing, you may have been taught that short paragraphs were “thin” and that you should make paragraphs longer. In internet writing, thinness does not refer to length, but to the amount of information the text contains. Keep paragraphs short, but make sure that each one makes a point. Readers tend to scan through content, and you need to make sure they keep finding points of interest.
This also keeps people on your blog. Not only do large, uninterrupted text blocks look unattractive, but they can also make readers hit the back button. You don’t want people to go back to the search results, so make your posts as easy to read as possible.
Obviously, some topics will require more coverage than others, and you will find it easy to write long posts. Just remember that after 500 or 600 words, readers are not paying as much attention as they were in the beginning of the post. The most important material should be in the first 450 words.
If you find that your posts are frequently in the 800 to 1,000-word range, you can always make a two-part post. This can keep people looking forward to the upcoming post, and your writing will already be done.
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