Are you on a search for finding the ideal blog layout? Are you just not sure about how wordy or long it should be? How about a vlog instead?
This article discusses what the pros and cons are concerning presenting your content and engaging your audience.
- Page length (or word length)
- Vlog vs Blog vs Video
- How space make an impact in readability
- How setting the expectation and tone at the beginning is important.
Let’s begin with the page length or number of words
It may be surprising information, but HubSpot, Google, Buffer and other blog experts report longer is better! Can you believe it? In this world of fast information, get her done and get on to the next thing, it seems like contrary misinformation.
But it’s true. The ideal blog is anywhere from 1600-2500 words. Hubspot goes so far as to specifically say 2150-2500 words. That is quite a bit! In reading terms, how long should a blog be? The average time is seven minutes.
It’s not just the length though. It’s also the perceived value of the words. Seems that everyone’s time is VAL-U-A-BLE; great content is the real reason people keep reading a long blog. Providing value to the reader is not only personally appreciated, but search engines also like it. It’s the age of reciprocity. You give value to your audience and value is given back in the form of credibility, and where you show up in a search engine query.
- It creates more credibility for you as the source of information. You become the expert. Have you known someone who is very knowledgable about a subject, who then writes a book and its published? What happens? He or she is viewed as an expert! The more you research, write and communicate valuable content, the more your readers will trust you to be the expert. Trust= Audience=Advocates
- It keeps them coming back for more. If you create consistent blogs, chock full of good, valuable content (information, inspiration, whatever your audience is seeking), people will come back. They will copy your link and share it, through a text, an email or better yet, on social media.
- They stay on your site longer, which means the chances of a person buying your services or product increases. Think about when you go to the shops to buy some milk and butter. And as you are checking out with more than two items (maybe 20 items), the checkout clerk asks, “Did you find everything okay?” You roll your eyes and say , “Yes, and more!”. Marketing knows the longer you stay somewhere and are engaged (such as gazing at the end caps of yummy products), you will buy more.
Blog vs Vlog
It’s unusual not to see a blog on a website these days. Blogs are used specifically to attract a specific audience and to give them specific information in easy written form.
Vlogs are quite popular as well. If you have a video that is engaging or informative, people really like using them. You may learn how to create a pivot table in excel watching a video. No words are written, and they usually show up on You Tube or Vimeo. People selling services or trainers get a lot of mileage out of teaching someone a trick or two using a three minute video.
Whether it is blogging or vlogging, being consistent is what is important in building a following with the desired audience . If your audience knows you post every Thursday, and the post arrives in their email with a link to read or watch, it builds dependability and anticipation.
The advantages of a blog is people may want to scan the page, look for the information, find it and grab what they need. Also, a large amount of people are visual learners with reading being the most popular form. You can read at your own pace, look at diagrams or instructions without stopping and starting a video to figure it out.
Other people prefer vlogs. They like a person showing them, demonstrating the method or steps. Their voice can even be assuring or helpful in learning new material.
You can combine both by recording a vlog and having the transcripts below for people to read.
- Vlogging usually takes longer. Setting up the camera, recording, editing are just some of the items that create a good video and take time.
- Blogs may take extra effort if you are writing about something complex or extensive. That’s okay. Just do your homework in preparation of writing the blog.
Let’s stop here and mention something that’s important. You want to give your audience something of value, but don’t give away everything. Keep the secret sauce for a price. There is a reason you are pouring your time and thoughts into a blog: to build an audience that buys something you are providing!
Hold back the real guts of your work or service. This doesn't mean filling your blog with fluff either! You want to to give them the majority of what they need as a service, not a blog.
Space says as much as word count
You enter an art museum. It’s a special exhibition that has taken years to collect and curate the pieces. The walls are painted a beautiful ocean blue as a backdrop for these masterpieces. You enter the exhibition and everything is aesthetically pleasing. As you view each piece of art, it is highlighted with the perfect amount of light. People walk up to the art, almost with reverence for the unique setting. They are engaged. They walk through the entire exhibition, pausing at each painting or sculpture. You leave slightly inspired or even changed.
You want your blog to be like an art museum. Whether your blog is about rescue dogs, drones, or natural hair products, you want to make an impression! You want people to be encouraged to stay awhile and hang out reading or watching something you have created. Most of all you want to make an impact.
If you walked into an art museum and everything was crowded on one wall with no breaks or coordinating colors to enhance the art, it would feel chaotic, perhaps confusing, and not worth your time.
Create a place where people love to go. Take the effort to make your blog beautiful. Images used are an important part of SEO strategy. Use images that correlate with the subject being discussed.
Use white space to break up the information. Use diagrams or infographics to explain more difficult material or just to add some punch to the page.
Use lists, bullets and other writing devices to break up the space and present information. Use color and videos. If you don’t think you have the aesthetic eye for building a pleasing blog, write the contents and have a graphic designer build the ‘walls and spaces’ for your words.
Font type and size also can create an enhancing blog. Go to google fonts or adobe fonts and check out compatible fonts and sizes that complement each other. Your heading may be in Calibria font and your body in Arial font.
You can vary the size of your fonts to emphasize important information or to indicate a new point or topic presented. Important note: Be consistent. If you use a Header 2 size for each important topic, use it throughout. If you use italics and a bigger font for emphasizing a quote or idea, use the same for each quote or idea presented. You don’t want your readers getting confused or irritated by too many changes or inconsistencies.
Set the Tone and Expectation at the Beginning
“Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.”
Have you ever heard this quote? A lot of people believe it comes from some modern marketing guru. Nope- it’s from the great philosopher Aristotle!
The gist of this quote is:
- Tell your audience at the beginning of your blog what you are writing about. This can be a brief- one to two sentences or a bullet point (such as written at the beginning of this article)
- Tell them. This is where you give your audience the important information or engaging material they want to hear or need.
- Reiterate what you just told them. Wrap up the information by listing what you have given them.
- Allow questions or comments you can reply to or discuss. This would be in a webinar where people send their questions in or possibly an FAQ page.
When you use this formula, it sets the tone of the blog and allows the reader to make a choice. Is this the information I am looking for? Even if it isn’t the reader might be curious with your title and first few lines. They may be intrigued and get caught up in the topic.
It also gives them the ability to select a part of the information they may be looking for. It’s a more direct way to find the information they want.
So here is the part where I tell you what we just covered:
Write a clean, well designed, and informative blog that gives your audience what they need: valuable content. Length of content for search engines and value is usually 1600-2500 words. Vlogs can be used in place of blogs or with blogs, depending on your audience. Use good design, appropriate fonts, relevant images and space so your reader can easily read the blog page.
Your comments are welcome below.