Trigger Warning: It’s unpopular opinion time.
They say quantity doesn’t equal quality, but when it comes to your blog posts and/or book reviews, that’s more often than not bullshit.
Despite having several opinions on the matter, while researching for this post, I stumbled accross a lot of complicated stat and keyword based articles regarding the subject. And guess what? They’re needlessly complicated and none actually talk about the human aspect of the matter. So let me break it down in angsty, teenage sarcasm and explain why shorter blog posts are not attracting as many people and not search engines. I will address statistic based arguments as well at the bottom of this post, broken down into simpler terms so you can spend more time blogging intelligently, and less time trying to figure the intelligent part.
So let’s face one stone cold fact about blogging:
Blogging is only for people who have something to add to the conversation.
We’ve all been here: Starting our book review with a couple of our previous notes and post prep. You fight yourself on whether to allow your post to drag on for that precious wordcount, or if you keep it short and sweet, because people are coming to you to find books to read, not waste their time reading your content instead. Right?
The truth is, being able to convey something that is interesting, new, and will blow your mind in a short amount of words is an art form and only for intelligent people. Most of us don’t really have time to be artists or smart geeks. It’s just how it goes.
In consequence, the most you’re going to be able to get out of keeping it short and concise is a good premise summary, your general opinion on whether you liked it or not and if it is worth buying. Theoretically, this is fine and what a book blog should ideally look like… Except that’s what more than 50K book bloggers out there do as well. Because it’s not something that takes a lot of brain power per se to type, the truth is anyone can do it ! Many think this is the beauty of blogging, an average Joe can do it, but do remember that’s another 49,999 average Joes you’re competing with…
You need to bring in new opinions, new provoking discussions, new food for thought so your readers can leave your blog and take something with them. This is why I’m so adamant on my book analysis and rants. It’s not for everyone, but it’s my style and it’s what I’m bringing to the table.
However, short blog posts don’t just stop on book blogging, but rather this goes out to everyone. So let’s take a few moment to educate ourselves on what’s happening with your concise-post blog and how to optimize yourself.
If you’re a blog who’s niche centers around short blog posts, you’re probably lame.
Who writes short blog posts? Mmm… Daily life bloggers? You know, those people who didn’t make it into Reality TV and instead record they’re lives for posterity on a blog. Check the grand majority of their follower counts, it’s low. No one really cares about your life unless you’re a celebrity or a personality.
Travel blogs need to travel in the first place, which takes money, and the grand majority of us bloggers are broke, so.
Seth Godin? Haha, newsflash people, Seth Godin is a genius and you probably aren’t, but that’s ok. The grand majority of us truly aren’t either. The thing is, blogs that focus on short posts are either boring, simply because people don’t like stories that don’t include near death experiences, accidents, explosions or how to become a millionaire in ten days, or one of a kind gems. You need to stop— You’re not Seth Godin, he’s the exception to the rule. But you’re the rule incarnate.
Readers find longer content to be of a higher quality, and are most likely share and bookmark it in the promise of looking smart.
As a blogger, you’re making a promise to your reader that your content is inherently better, otherwise you’re asking for charity and not readers. The basic premise should be to deliver quality content so people have a reason to visit your blog instead of the countless others. So why give out something anyone out there could do?
In order to acquire credibility, no one who just got into blogging should be writing less than 1,500 words per post. You want to sound as smart as you can as fast as you can, it builds credibility and come back followers. Don’t split posts just to post more often, get intricate subjects and go in depth with them. Book blogging gives you excellent options for this, considering a book is in its smallest is 50,000 words long. It’s a lot of material to work with, and everyone always has a different take on their experiences with books!
Most bloggers just don’t write long content.
This doesn’t make it the standard, it only sets up wrong expectations.
A lot of bloggers have the mistaken idea that the more frequent you post, the more exposure you get. While this is true for more seasoned bloggers who have a wide base, doubling our content as amateur bloggers just isn’t worth it in the long run. At this point, it is more effective to write content people value as worthwhile. Shorter posts don’t do that to you.
Bloggers are simply not writing much, a lot of bloggers out there are lazy. But you’re not. Write more, stand out from others. It speaks about effort as well.
You’re not Buzzfeed. You’re not Millionare’s Digest.
Taking from my point above, churning out content just for the sake of churning out content isn’t the way to go. You need to trust your readers are intelligent and smart people, looking to be educated or to hear your opinions. You don’t need to draw people in with the promise of a quick read (Those popular 1 minute read/ 3 minute read titles).
I don’t know about the rest out there, but I don’t find any of these corporations neither authentic nor genuine.
Don’t strive to be like them.
Because first of all, strive to be you. Genuine, opinionated you who people know exist. You’re tangible, you’re real and that makes you relateable. There’s nothing relateable in multi million dollar companies who have stopped caring about the quality of their content and instead focus on only click bait and frequent entertainment.
And because second of all, companies like those know what they’re doing. The truth is neither you and I know exactly what we’re doing (yet). They have huge teams behind them, backing them 24/7 and churning out content like machines. Meanwhile, you’re probably only you, a few other co-bloggers or friends at most. Do the best you can
Supporting your claim has impact.
If you disagreed with my title and then ended up clicking this article because of that, then you surely were curious to see if my arguments for this subject held any weight. If you agreed with me, then you probably want me to back your beliefs with my opinions and facts. If I only provided you with bare bones content then you wouldn’t feel satisfied with your experience here.
That is exactly how I feel about most book review sites out there that only make you aware of the book they’re trying to advertise. Where’s the cleverly elaborated opinion? Where’s the backing to the reason of why I should read this book? Where’s the controversial point of view that’s going to draw me in into reading or? Or simply, why aren’t you enticing discussion to build your community?
Google said so.
And in Jon Morrow’s words: Giving Google what it wants is smart.
Most articles out there will go on to explain that longer articles are favorable because SEO (Search Engine Optimization, to make it short, the algorithm that decides how high your blog will appear in a search result without paying to be bumped higher) ranks articles with more content higher on the search engine. Think of it, which of these two options would google rather hook you up with: The one that engages you for two minutes, or the one that engages you for twenty?
Data shows that the average word count of the top ten ranking pages on Google is found between 2,350 and 2,425 words. Google wants to provide a great service experience and substantial information that caters to a need. This is why longer content it valued when you wish to rank organically in Google searches.
But the fact is, while it makes sense to an extent, don’t get too hung up on this point. Before you go on believing everything you read on a blog that sounds fancy, make sure you always ask yourself: What set of keywords does this apply to? and Is correlation the same as causation?
Studying your target search engine keywords is crucial, specially when you’re a SEO driven blogger. But do remember, and I can’t stress this enough, not to give a fuck about it unless you’re in any way relevant. I see many, many bloggers stressing their search engine results when they are still very little in size. Search Engine Optimization isn’t just based on your keywords or word count, because interaction and link backs to your site have a lot to say in the matter. Correlation is never equal to causation, a lot more comes to weigh in when it comes to your spot on Google other than blog post length. What’s worse is that because of the same amount of book blogs out there, it’s unlikely you will be making it on the Top 10 results of your search engine results for “Prodigy Mary Lu book review”.
Still, this doesn’t mean you can’t work hard toward the goal. Longer blog posts are barely the first step into an uphill battle. But it doesn’t mean you’re not going to make it.
Do you still wish to persevere with short content?
In that case simply keep it BRIEF which this helpful advice to remember from Copy Hackers.
Now its up to you to educate me.
Tell me in the comments, what is your average wordcount length on blog posts and how often do you post? Is it working for you? Tell me why you think that is ! I’d love to hear your experience.