9 Tips for Writing Long-Form Content That Will Make You a Better Blogger

By: | March 5, 2017 | Tags: , , , , , ,

Writing Long-Form content boosts #BlogTraffic, #PageViews, and #SEO

Did you ever hear that long-form content attracts high page views?

I did. Boy, did I hear right.

To date, my mega post (also known as long-form content),  71 Awesome Tips that Will Make Your Blog Successful, has more page views than any post I’ve written, and I’ve written over 600 articles. I wrote it in 2015, and it still picks up page views.

This experience is not isolated. My third-best performing post of 2016, 79 of the Most Effective Ways to Get Free Blog Traffic is still picking up page views as well even though I wrote it a year ago.

In 2016, I had two other posts with long-form content in my top-nine performing posts of the year. 87 Blogging Mistakes You Should Absolutely Never Make finished in seventh place for the year. The post is not only also still picking up page views but was recently reblogged by respected bloggers in the blogging and marketing niches, and my subscriber list grew.

My lead magnet, my incentive for subscribing to my blog, a downloadable of 89 of the Best Free Blogging Tools Which Will Save You Time Blogging, finished in ninth place for the year.

By writing long-form content, you will improve your brand, your SEO, the number of comments you receive, and your blog traffic. This post will tell you how. Let’s dig in.

What is Long-Form Content?

How long should long-form content be? Blogging experts are still arguing about the right length. In this article, I have given long-form content the nickname “mega post.” I did not make it up. Long-form posts are commonly referred to as mega posts because they are so long.

According to BeLocallySeo.com, “Although SEO experts aren’t in full agreement on how long is long, most agree that the target for long-form posts ranges between 1,200 and 5,000 words.”

In a September 2016 study, Backlinko found that the average blog post on Page 1 of Google contained 1,890 words.

What Isn’t Long-Form Content?

In contrast, let’s look at what isn’t long-form content. I wanted to turn my blog post This Is How to Deal with Negative Blog Comments, 47 Ways into a mega post, but I ran out of tips. With 47 tips, would it qualify for a mini mega post? It is important to note that this post with only 47 tips did not match the success rates of the other posts with long-form content I have published:

119 Blogging Terms You Need to Know to Be a Better Blogger

89 of the Best Free Blogging Tools That Will Save You Time Blogging

87 Blogging Mistakes You Should Absolutely Never Make

71 Awesome Tips That Will Make Your Blog Successful

Even with 47 tips, comments and social shares were both far lower than the other posts I’ve published containing long-form content.

Why You Should Write Long-Form Content

  • Long-form content establishes you as an authority in your field. According to SmallBusinessBranding.com, people like experts, not apprentices. Long-form content makes you look like an expert.
  • According to WebNots, your traffic will improve. “Long-form posts of more than 1200 words and long lists tend to perform better when it comes to engaging the readers.”

Blogger Aaron Agius agrees. According to Agius,

If you want to stand out and have your voice be heard, you need to do something epic. It’s not enough to just publish a blog post every now and again. You need to publish remarkable content that adds to the conversation.

  • Your post is more likely to get social shares. Apparently, a length of over 1500 words is the cut off to increase the probability of social shares. My mega post 87 Blogging Mistakes You Should Absolutely Never Make already has over 500 social shares and was only recently published. People don’t have the time to read all your tips. In my experience, they bookmark your post at Pinterest resulting in more social shares for you on that social media site.
  • Your bounce rate will improve. Busy bloggers generally scan when they read. You will have so many tips, it will take them longer to get to the bottom. Readers will stay on your post longer so your bounce rate will improve. [Related: This is What You Need to Know Before You Use Alexa.com]
  • You are more likely to get subscribers. People want to subscribe to blogs of people who know what they are talking about.
  • People will link to your long-form content which will improve your search engine rankings. For example, my mega post, 79 of the Most Effective Ways to Get Free Blog Traffic, was just linked to by a marketing site.
  • You are more likely to get comments on your long-form content than your other articles. Since you have so many tips, there is a great deal to discuss! My post 71 Awesome Tips That Will Make Your Blog Successful has 84 comments, and my mega post 87 Blogging Mistakes You Should Absolutely Never Make has 65 comments.
  • Your brand will improve. According to Forbes, long-form content improves millennials’ trust in you.
  • Long-form content is trendy. According to WebNots, longer content is actually one of the blogging trends of 2017.
  • Your mega posts are more likely to rank in search engines. In the September 2016 study Backlinko performed referenced above, the blog analyzed 1 million blog posts before drawing the conclusion that long-form content ranks best in search engines. Neil Patel agrees that posts with long-form content have a higher than average Google rank.

By looking at the screenshot below, you can tell that my mega post 89 of the Best Free Blogging Tools That Will Save You Time Blogging ranks at #31 on Google which isn’t bad. Currently, that puts the post on #2 for the keyword phrase free blogging tools.

However, of all the bloggers above me, only two offer more tools than I do. One blogger is offering over 100, and another blogger has a post about 99. (This is why you need to Google your competition so you can have a higher number in your headline than they do.)

However, even though two other bloggers beat my number, I am the only blogger that used the word “free” in the headline. If I continue to promote the post, I should be able to improve my ranking.

#Bloggers should write mega posts so they rank in search engines

At one time, my post with long-form content, 79 of the Most Effective Ways to Get Free Blog Trafficranked at #16.

Testimonials

Famed blogger Neil Patel agrees with these reasons. According to Patel, “Long-form content also sets you up as an authority, attracts backlinks, and helps you create a sustainable content marketing system.”

According to Forbes, writing long-form content gives readers the impression you are authentic. Forbes contrasts this with Twitter’s “140-character world.”

How to Write Long-Form Content

  1. Write about something you know. Your readers will be interested if you write about something you are knowledgeable as well as passionate about.
  2. Offer detailed explanations of the points in your post. Instead of writing one post about several topics, write one post with thorough information.
  3. Stay focused on the content. If you become focused on the number of the words instead of the content, you could start rambling off topic just to try to fill a word quota. The content should be relevant to the topic.
  4. Start planning the post way ahead. As you pick up tips, add them to the post which should already be in draft form. I try to publish three mega posts a year: one in the first quarter of the year, one in the second quarter of the year, and one in the last quarter of the year. Many people are away in the summer, and I am away as well. Spacing the mega posts out during the year allows me time to add to the tips.
  5. Define any needed terms. If readers don’t understand what you’re writing about, you could have a thousand tips, and it won’t impress anyone let alone empower them. For example, in my post, This Is How to Deal with Negative Blog Comments, 47 Waysquestions revolved around what I meant by “negative.” People wondered whether I meant a constructive criticism, a difference of opinion, or a full-on attack.
  6. Look for tips to put in your post as you travel around the blogosphere. Make sure to copy the URLs of the sources you use and make sure to give them credit. This could be links within your content or a special “Sources” section at the bottom of the post. Then, after publication, be sure to tell the people you linked to so they share it on their social media. On Twitter, add Please Retweet @ and their Twitter name. On Google Plus, add + and their name when you share your post, and they will get notified you linked to them.
  7. Make an outline. I generally spend months collecting the tips that go in the mega post. My outline consists of those tips. Then, I go back in later and polish by adding detailed explanations of them. Decide how you will organize your tips. Will you present your tips in random order or alphabetical order?
  8. Include more points than you plan on using. It’s better to have too many than too few. You can always decide to take out some points later.
  9. Proofread. I always found duplication in my points. Once, a reader noticed and pointed it out, and I was embarrassed. This made a real problem for me since the number of tips had to match the number in the headline. Fortunately, I was able to come up with another tip that I hadn’t put in the original article in order to swap out the duplicate for a different tip. If your tips are alphabetized, coming up with another tip would make an even greater challenge.

How Often Should You Write Long-Form Content?

As explained above, once a quarter is enough. Collecting the tips takes a long time. However, I omit summer, so I try to publish them three times a year. First, I am usually out of town in the summer. Next, many other people are usually away then, and I don’t want to work so hard when people are away, or at the beach, or for whatever reason not at their computers to read my article.

What Should You Do After Publishing Long-Form Content?

Think of multiple uses for your article. Writing long-form content is time-consuming, so you want to get the biggest bang for your back (or Return on Your Time Invested) as you can. Two of my incentives for signing up for my blog are PDFs of my two mega posts 89 Free Blogging Tools that Will Save You Time Blogging and my blogging dictionary 119 Blogging Terms You Need to Know to Be a Better Blogger. Lead magnets, or incentives for subscribing, should be resources people would pay for but you give for free. I have seen resources like these for sale on Amazon.

Also, I have my posts with long-form content listed as resources in the sidebar on the home page of my blog.

Last, I have a Books page to advertise my blogging tips ebook. I consider my blogging terms dictionary an ebook, so I added it on my Books page. If you check out my Books page, notice how the dictionary immediately becomes a lead magnet to attract new subscribers.

Consider these comments my friend and blogging tips expert Julie Syl Kalungi wrote when she saw my 87 Blogging Mistakes post. “A resource in itself. You should repurpose it and use it as a lead magnet.”

Will you try to sell your post with long-form content as my friend Julie advised? I’ve seen mega posts for sale over at Udemy, the bloggers’ marketplace.

Will it be your lead magnet? I mentioned my incentive to subscribe to my blog is a PDF of my 89 blogging tools post. I saw a PDF of 100 blogging tools for sale over at Udemy.

Are You Convinced?

In conclusion, whether or not to write a long-form content is actually controversial. People still feel the shorter the length the better. They’ve even told me so. They are wrong. My research and my own personal results which were explained in this post show long-form content is the preferred type of blog post.

This post has examined my articles with long-form content as verifiable proof that long-form content will boost your social shares, comments, brand, search engine rankings, and traffic. Are all those benefits worth your time to write a longer post than usual? Certainly, it is.

Readers, please share, so other bloggers wishing to improve their SEO, reputation, and traffic know these reasons for writing long-form content and these tips for how to write blog posts containing that kind of content. Who knows, it could become the next benchmark in their niche.

What results have you experienced writing posts that are longer than your norm? Do you find your long posts get more traffic, comments, and social shares; less traffic, comments, and social shares, or your length has not made a difference?

  1. Philip V Ariel | at 5:32 am

    Hi Janice,
    This is indeed a wonderful long long post! LOL
    As you said and proved with proofs long form contents fetch a lot of benefits in the long run.
    In fact some time back I have the notion that, who will read such a long article in this busy world, as everyone is busy in their own daily activities. But later I found that my thinking is wrong and even Google prefer long form write-ups.
    Thanks for sharing such a lot of tips with various connected links in relation to it. Very timely post.
    I am bookmarking it for my further check and follow.
    May you have a great time of sharing ahead.
    Best Regards
    ~Phil
    Philip V Ariel recently posted…TODAY’S LIFESTYLE IS A DISEASE: HOW?My Profile

  2. John Doe | at 6:24 am

    I always look forward to your longform content blogs. They always have so much information and they’re actually fun to read Besides being so informative.

  3. Alana | at 9:01 am

    I pinned, tweeted, and shared on LinkedIn (noting, that my LinkedIn account is not related to my blogging, as I am not a business blogger) Still – what made me share this so widely? First, I generally don’t like long posts. But this one, I did. Why? Because I could pick and choose what made sense to me. There is something here for everyone. And, as you point out, this may be the secret to long blogs full of tips. If there are 79 reasons/ways to do something, then it is a universal post.

    • Janice Wald | at 3:23 pm

      Hi Robin,
      Thanks for your help this morning and for commenting on my post. My Reddit traffic is climbing. Thank you. I have a Reddit question I plan on emailing you later in the week. I agree Google loves long-form content. It has also helped me be a better writer.
      Janice
      Janice Wald recently posted…Inspire Me Monday Linky Party #121My Profile

  4. Sarah Harris | at 1:07 pm

    So all this time when I first started I was trying to to keep it to 365 words for 365 days. I’ve been freed! I appreciate the google fact about them preferring longer posts.

  5. Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond | at 6:16 pm

    i haven’t written a really long form post Janice but your stats obviously show it is worthwhile. I’ve often found people just glance through rather than actually reading the longer posts. I try to make mine worthwhile and informative but I suppose it also depends on our niche. Some food for thought though. Thanks.

  6. Akilesh Akil | at 8:49 pm

    Yeah! Well said, Janice Wald! Long form content will help the people to know more about the topic. Also, it is the complete guide and tips for beginners to write long-form content. Hope this article will helpful to all. Keep on Updating such a useful information.

    Thank You,

    • Janice Wald | at 8:51 pm

      Hi Akilesh,
      Thank you so much for the kind words about my article. I did try to be thorough, yet it never occurred to me to call it “A Complete Guide to Longform Content.” I’ll consider putting on my resource widget. Readers love guides. Thanks for the inspiration and the compliment.
      Janice

  7. Mrs Shoes | at 7:44 am

    Good advice all OVER your site Janice!
    I must confess that I blog around the weather & my lifestyle. Typically I write & read less in the summer when the farm is busiest because we make hay while the sun shines (as the saying goes). I notice that a lot of my ‘blog friends’ also mostly fade off in summertime during the more horse-friendly months.

    • Janice Wald | at 7:47 am

      Hi Mrs. Shoes,
      Thank you for checking out my blog and commenting on my article. I appreciate you compliment on the advice in my posts. I would love to have your readership, so when you do have time to blog, you have access to my articles and my blog party invitations.
      I am having a party today and would love for you to come.
      Janice

  8. Mitch Mitchell | at 6:05 pm

    Janice, you made me go and do a bit of research via the Analytics; curse you! lol Anyway, it seems that my 2nd most popular post that’s received the most visits since 2016 was over 4,600 words, and my 5th most popular post had over 5,700 words. The other 3 were all under 1,000 words, with one of those less than 600, but that’s an article that’s actually from 2011… whatever that means. lol
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Limit Login Attempts Plugin For WordPressMy Profile

    • Janice Wald | at 6:23 pm

      Hi Mitch,
      I love seeing you here! First, Twitter, then Flipboard, and now my blog! I really love that you are here.Thank you for writing me.
      I see you have a funny personality too– curse away!
      5700 words! Do you have a staff, may I ask?
      If your two most frequented articles were both over 4600 words, I say that’s quite a testimonial! Thanks for coming over and telling us.
      Tips for writing 5700 words?? I don’t know how long my longest is. My “mega posts,” as I called them, had up to 119 tips.
      Janice
      Janice Wald recently posted…This Is How to Rank for Long-Tail Keywords, 5 Free Secret TipsMy Profile

      • Mitch Mitchell | at 7:00 pm

        Nope, no staff. Both of those posts had me starting with an outline. Once I have that then I just write what I’m thinking about for each of the topics.

        The biggest was 30 mistakes with blogs and the 2nd biggest was 31 mistakes with blogging and social media. For my 55th birthday a couple of years ago I did have 55 tips, which is the most I’ve ever taken on; that one was about 3,600 words. If I go back to September 2014 it’s in my top 20.
        Mitch Mitchell recently posted…What Is An Authority Blog Post?My Profile

        • Janice Wald | at 7:17 pm

          Crazy! I told you my longest post had 119 Tips and I’m sure it wasn’t anywhere near that long. Thank you for answering my question and thank you again for writing me today.
          Janice

  9. Martin Lindeskog | at 3:02 am

    Janice: I am more of a pundit blogger, writing short and sweet pieces! 😉 But I create “longer” content through my podcasting, with interviews for about 60 minutes. I wonder how long blog post a transcript would be?

    • Janice Wald | at 7:03 am

      Hi Martin,
      I appreciate you writing me today. However, I did not know the answer to your question. I Googled it. If I am understanding your question correctly, this is what I found:
      “2 minutes per 12pt, double-spaced page–which is somewhere in the region of 250-300 words.”
      I hope that is what you were looking for.
      Janice

  10. Shawn | at 11:34 am

    Hi Janice, I found you because I keep hearing that the 1200-3000 word blog posts tend to do better for SEO. I noticed in your article that you indicate that you write these once a quarter? I am wanting to know if, as a blogger, I should plan on writing posts that are 1200-3000 words (not difficult for me) or only write these once a quarter? What is the word count that you would recommend? I am confused because I have heard Michael Hyatt say around 500 words is optimal. Would love to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks for this great post!

    Shawn

  11. Janice Wald | at 12:36 pm

    Hi Shawn,

    Thanks for writing. I enjoy discussing blogging issues, and the ideal length of a blog post is certainly one of them.
    You cite Michael Hyatt. He is famous. I am not about to tell you a famous person is wrong. He wouldn’t have become famous if he didn’t know what he is talking about.
    That said, I read a great deal about blogging. EVERYTHING I’ve read said the longer the better.
    1. The guest author I published today said don’t even bother writing if you can’t write a long post. It won’t do well in search engines.
    https://www.mostlyblogging.com/seo-techniques/
    See Tip #1
    2. This is a guest post I published on Sunday. The author is a conversion rate specialist.
    https://www.mostlyblogging.com/blog-traffic-2/
    See Tip #1. He says to publish ten times the amount of information as your competitors online.
    3. I am planning on collaborating with a blogger. If we each write 2500 words, we will have a 5,000 word blog post since they apparently rank well.
    I have cited three other bloggers who agree with me– the longer the better. I may have read famous people are exceptions to the rules, and Hyatt is certainly famous.
    Janice
    Janice Wald recently posted…This Is How to Improve Your Site Traffic, 10 Amazing SEO TechniquesMy Profile

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