Defining your Niche – Long articles vs. Short Blog Posts, Which is Better?

honing your value propositionIs your blog hitting the mark and satisfying the needs of your visitors?, or are you putting prospects to sleep before they ever reach your value proposition?
Long articles vs. Short Blog Posts, Which is Better?
As you know, there are multiple facets of traffic that flow distinctly throughout the web (search engines, high-traffic authority sites, directories, social media) but not all traffic is created equal. Finding the ideal prospect for your blog or business is the goal of search engine optimization, social media optimization or promotion of your website (to reach a larger audience).

Defining the ultimate goal of your pages before embarking on an optimization regiment is the key to engaging the right types of traffic. Such traffic in return, could elevate exposure and authority in your niche. Just like the Temple of Delphi in Greece how a plaque was inscribed with the words “Know Thyself”, you can apply the same logic online and “Know Thy Reader” what they expect from you and the amount of time they can invest to gather the essence of the information you provide. Their reaction to your content will either elevate relevance and exposure for your brand or increase your bounce rate from lack of reader retention.

Here are a few factors for consideration.

1) using a content ranking strategy – It has been said on more than one occasion that content is king, knowing that if the information you are providing isn’t worth the binary digits used to display it, then traffic will be a non issue, no matter how many links or how many promotion methods you use to push it. They ideal situation, add at least 5 pages of unique, relevant content each week to your site, this will ensure that you have enough reasons for people to visit and that spiders index your content frequently (which will increase rankings and readership over time).

2) Find the right medium for optimal conversion – When tailoring a message to your audience, one consideration should be assimilation time and usability. According to Jakob Nielson and useit.com they had a great study on long vs. short articles which summarized the pros and cons associated with the amount of time a reader can allocate before extracting the benefits of their time invested in translating the media in question.

3) Don’t give the reader more than they can chew, or have the time to - Jakob suggests that information foraging and the amount of time a person is willing to spend on your page ultimately determines interaction, conversion and popularity, so finding the right audience is crucial for enlivening your online brand. In summary although a picture may be worth a thousand words, after identifying your target audience, you may in fact be better off using video as a medium (which is easier to optimize than convoluted keywords).

Another tact is to employ a shorter, succinct article or post that summarizes the points and then link to more in-depth white papers or supporting material vs. trying to elaborate your thesis with a ridiculously long article. This post is an example (at least for my traditional long 1200 word posts) of keeping the points relevant, short and to the point and was inspired by SEO and Social media expert Jeff Quipp CEO of Search Engine People, who emphasized to me on one occasion that when writing for Social Media, sometimes less is more vs. fumbling to make a point. The web 2.0 crowd is far too savvy to placate boredom and if your post fails to hit the mark, or lacks the “it factor” instead of votes to bolster the rise to the top, the only thing you can expect are crickets playing the ode to silence to send it off into digital obscurity.

In closing, from a purely SEO prospective, you can still achieve saturation of multiple keywords using a content development strategy that focuses on key notes of topical relevance (5-7 paragraphs of well written content about the subject) while maintaining the overall goal of gaining authority for your specific niche. Over time, your site’s content can provide a symposium of reference data (or simply great reading) that could catapult your brand into the spotlight and attract your most fitting recipient (the solution oriented decision maker who can see the value in your proposition).

As always, we try to provide value instead of just opinion, so here is a link we found to an Awesome WordPress Plug In called Evermore that truncates your post on the home page of your blog, adds a paragraph or the set amount of text you elect to display and displays an estimated reading time so that the user can decide in advance if that is something they wish to commit to or not prior to entering the post. This way you can alleviate those who are pressed for time from clicking your posts only to bounce off and obscure conversion rates. Just one more piece of the internet marketing puzzle you have at your disposal to perfect your positioning through search engine promotion tactics.

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7 Comments

  1. Seo Blog
    Posted January 15, 2008 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Great article!
    I prefer writing short articles

  2. Mido
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jeffrey,

    That was really very useful article for me. I usually prefer to write short blog which may contain good number of key words. Although we need to write long blog when the topic talks about something new.

    Good Luck,
    Mido from http://www.pimpmycash.org

  3. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Mido:

    I personally have a tendency to write long articles, as I try to cover many related points. It is not always the best way, but I feel like if I provide too little information, so much is lost.

  4. Palcom Web
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Social media optimization

    In the last few years search engine has become an important tool for online
    business but now a day’s Social media optimization is most popular techniques to promote products and services in the market by the mediums of social media book
    markings.

    Search engine optimization techniques can be broadly classified into two Categories: on-page optimization and off-page optimization, these techniques are very helpful for improving traffics for a website.

    Some point should be included in social media optimization

    • Know how to target your audience
    • create content
    • create a SMO strategy
    • Book marking and tagging
    • increase your link ability
    • SMO should be a continuous process

    Some of the popular social book marking sites
    * blue dot
    * bookmarksync
    * del.icio.us
    * citeulike
    * connotea
    * digg
    * diigo
    * furl
    * givealink.org
    * linkwad
    * ma.gnolia
    * my web
    * mixx
    * netvouz
    * newsvine
    * propeller.com
    * reddit
    * simpy
    * sitebar
    * stumbleupon

  5. Rodney M.
    Posted September 30, 2009 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Great post! Thanks for sharing. :)

  6. Kevin Stelfox
    Posted October 11, 2009 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I prefer to write short articles as I feel these can be read easier by the reader. Lets face it we all have less time these days

    Kevin
    http://www.annuitysupermarket.com

  7. Ehsan
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    thanks for the article, i’ve been always unsure whether to write long or short article, currently i’m testing both types of articles to see which one ranks higher in google. but i guess at the end the length of an article should depends on your audience and the topic of article.

3 Trackbacks

  1. By bloggingzoom.com on January 14, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Defining your Niche – Long articles vs. Short Blog Posts, Which is Better?

    Is your blog hitting the mark and satisfying the needs of your visitors?, or are you putting prospects to sleep before they ever reach your value proposition?

    As you know, there are multiple facets of traffic that flow distinctly throughout the web (…

  2. [...] the debate goes on… and on… and on… and on… and [...]

  3. [...] Defining your Niche – Long articles vs. Short Blog Posts, Which is Better? [...]

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