Effective online content writing is a balancing act that can take awhile to perfect. There are so many factors that go into making readable and enjoyable content.
You want your posts to be informative, but you don’t want to give away too much information. You want to find the perfect amount of playful and fun language that’s counterbalanced by just the right of formality.
On top of it all, you want to make sure that you’re using the right marketing and SEO practices.
To put it lightly, there’s a lot going on when you delve into online content writing. So much so that it can feel downright intimidating when you get started writing for the first time.
We’ll talk about ways to improve your content a little later in this post, but for right now we’re going to focus on one aspect of online content writing that people often forget about: length.
Your ultimate goals
Before we dive into what we think the perfect length for a blog post is, let’s focus on what you think the ultimate goal of your content is.
Do you write blog posts for purely promotional reasons? You may want to inform and entertain your audience, but your main purpose is to spread the word about your business or product.
Do you write blog posts for SEO reasons? You make sure that every post you write has been optimized with keywords and is interlinked to perfection. You know that promoting your business or products are good. But you’re blogging solely to help with your ranking and fit in
You know that promoting your business or products are good. But you’re blogging solely to help with your ranking and fit in natural sounding keywords that are tricky to get into your website without it sounding spammy.
Are you a rare breed that simply wants to get noticed? You want to move beyond simple discovery and promotion, you want to be known as an authority in your profession.
That’s why you blog and share your expertise online. You share blog posts on your social media accounts to establish your industry expertise and build a sense of trust with your followers.
After you define your main goals, it should be easier to determine just how long your posts should be.
Both sides of the argument
When it comes to online content writing and length, there are two main arguments you run into: the case for shorter content and the case for long content.
We’re going to play devil’s advocate for a bit and take some time to explore both arguments. To start things off, let’s focus on why some people swear by the benefits of short online content
Short content helps keep people’s attention
Some marketers will tell you that shorter is better when it comes to online content writing. They’ll point to statistics about the average person’s attention span and claim that long form content will only bore your readers and lead to higher bounce rates.
People have been saying that the internet has permanently shrunken our attention spans and that the average marketer only has a few seconds to grab the readers attention.
You when you pair that with the belief that people just don’t like to read much anymore, it seems like you have a solid case for wanting to publish shorter content.
Some may even argue that the shortening of attention spans may have lead to people publishing more visual content. Infographics and videos with text overlays have become wildly popular. This is why people say that when it comes to online content writing, less is more.
Long content gives the reader more information
When was the last time you read something that was 300 words or less that you felt like you truly learned something from it?
We’re not talking about being entertained or finding out a new tidbit of trivia or a fact. We mean that you read a short form of content and was able to learn a new concept or were swayed to use a new product or service.
Some people think there’s a backlash forming against digestible and short content that has become popular online.
Short content is easy to scan, but it may not be an effective way to communicate nuanced concepts. Some people may want shorter content, but are those people in your target audience?
You may not want casual readers that are looking to be entertained or just want something simple to share. Your target audience may be yearning for content that’s informative, reliable, and can solve their needs.
It’s also worth mentioning how long-form content can be very beneficial for SEO purposes. It can be hard to fit keywords into a 200-word blog post without it coming across as spammy. If you’re blogging for SEO purposes, longer content could be the way to go.
The perfect length for online content writing
We’ve examined both sides of the length argument when it comes to online content writing. Now it’s time to answer the question of what the ideal length of a blog post should be.
The answer is simple: there is no right answer. The answer will change depending on what your ultimate content marketing goals are.
If you’re blogging to improve your SEO rankings and to help steer people towards certain pages on your website, long form content is absolutely the way to go. You’ll be able to include the right amount of keywords without having to result to stuffing.
If you’re doing online content writing so you can have something that’s easy to share, your posts aren’t going to be very long. You want something that will immediately grab your reader’s attention and entice them to read more.
Length will always be an important part of online content writing. But the most important thing to focus on is to ensure that your ultimate message and goals are present in everything you publish.
Tips for creating the content you truly need
Length is an important factor in every piece of content you write, but it isn’t the only thing you should focus on when you’re writing.
A lot of things go into making a successful blog post, there’s no one factor that’s going to guarantee that your piece is going to be a success.
So many people that do online content writing get bogged down with trying to meet a certain word count or length that they miss. We’re going to give you some tips to ensure that your head is in the right place when you’re writing.
Instead of thinking about length, think about your true message
It’s time to stop worrying if your post is the perfect length. Focus on what you want your content to say, not on how long it is.
Getting your message across is the only thing you should be worrying about when you delve into online content writing. Focus on your end goal when you’re writing and nothing else.
As long as your post is informative and has a clear message, you don’t have to worry about length.
Make sure that you’re saying something, not selling something
If you’re worried about producing ineffective content don’t worry about the length. If you want to know what truly makes people uninterested in reading or sharing your content, write a sales pitch instead of a blog post.
Blog posts that sound like they’re trying to heavily push a product or service don’t benefit the reader. They don’t get to learn anything new or even feel like they’re being entertained, they’re just being told to buy, buy, buy.
There’s far too much content out there that’s trying to push a sales angle, and those types of posts don’t benefit the publisher or the target audience.
Instead of outright pushing a product or service, why not describe the problem that what you’re trying to sell can solve? Instead of telling people about your latest sale, find a fun way to describe the items on sale in your post.
Your reader should always walk away with something, whether that’s a new bit of information or simply feeling entertained.
Use the right format to make content scannable
When most people talk about the problems with long content, they’re assuming that you’re writing in the “old” way.
Pick up any book on your shelf and take a look at the pages. It’s safe to assume that none of them are formatted like this post.
They don’t have line breaks after 2-3 sentences, just long paragraphs that seem to go on forever.
Long paragraphs aren’t scannable or easy to read, and they look very unappealing online. That’s why people that specialize in online content writing rarely format their posts that way.
Savvy marketers will break up text whenever they can to make everything easier to read. It makes information easy to pick up on and digest, and it can make a long blog post seem shorter.
Don’t believe that a few line breaks can make content more readable? Well as of right now you’ve read 1400+ words, and we bet you didn’t even notice because of the way we formatted this post!
Wrapping it up
There’s no big secret when it comes to length and online content writing. Everything depends on your target audience, your message, and how you want to grab people’s attention.
Some people reading this may agree, others may be shaking their heads.
Do you think that there’s a universal right length for online content writing? Tell us about it in the comments! Better yet, feel free to drop us a line if you want to talk about your online content strategy.