Just when we thought our attention spans couldn’t get any shorter, along came micro-blogging. In 140 characters or less, people can tell readers all about how great dinner tasted or what they think of the latest political scandal. So why, in the breakneck social networking world, would people take the time to read 300 to 500 words in a blog?
The answer has a little to do with search engine algorithms. According to Hubspot, businesses that blog see 55 percent more traffic than those that don’t. They rank higher in search engine results and give visitors a reason to stick around in the form of fresh content. But a bad blog can scare off visitors, prompting them to click away at first glance.
Nothing can scare blog readers away like a long page of unbroken paragraphs. As a general rule, experts suggest keeping blog posts short and to the point. 300 words is probably too short. 1000 words is probably too long.
Before you post your next (or first) blog, here are a few tips to make it snappy.
- Use photos. Photos are for more than illustrating a point. As demonstrated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), photos can break up large chunks of check, increasing interest and giving the blog an overall tone that is more friendly.
- Use multiple writers. The White House blog is a good example of the power of multiple voices on one blog. These different perspectives keep things fresh and give visitors a well-rounded view of your business.
- Find your audience. Know your target audience and write directly to them. Fashion blogs like the one at Zappos do this well, writing directly for the fans of their brand. This also gives you a chance to work in coverage of your latest specials, targeted directly to the people who are most likely to buy.
- Break it up. The Android blog uses not only photos to break up text, but also subheadings. These subheadings work to make copy seem less daunting by interspersing bold text with regular text.
- Add a call to action. Engaging readers is one thing, but engaging them to do something can lead to results. End each blog with an invitation to vote in a poll, try one of your company’s new products, or simply comment. Many successful blogs add a question at the end that prompts visitors with a topic for their comment.
As blogs have evolved, bloggers have evolved with them, embracing new techniques and raising the stakes. Your business needs to find unique ways to appeal to your customers while remaining competitive.