Several studies have established beyond doubt that blogging is one of the best and most effective ways to generate organic traffic for your website. In fact, companies that write long-form blogs regularly get 55% more traffic than those that don’t – even better, those who do blog get nearly double the number of backlinks to their website! 1
Almost 80% of all internet users read blogs.1 But what kind of blogs perform best? And how can you optimise your website’s performance and generate more leads using just content?
Guide articles and long-form content perform best
Yes, that’s right. A recent study shows that guide articles get 300% more organic traffic than generic blogs. Longer articles (2,000 to 3,000 words but less than 7,000 words) gets nearly 140% more traffic than those with less than 500 words. The same study also shows that very short blog articles (less than 500 words) are not even shared by readers 8 out of 10 times.2
How can long-form content improve web performance?
We already know that blogs that serve as guides – something that teaches your audience how to solve a problem or perform a particular task – do way better than something just promotional or salesy.
We also know that longer articles perform better. However, that does not mean you take everything you know and keep writing 5,000-word articles. There must be a proper structure to your article, and it must give valuable information.
This sounds simple, but sadly, very few blogs actually manage to hit the sweet spot – one study even shows that less than 2% of all blogs hog nearly 75% of all the shares on the internet!3
5 factors that improve blog performance
- Better headlines: a longer, catchy headline, preferably one that asks a question, performs much better than shorter ones. In fact, many articles get shared based on the headline alone – so, the more your headlines explain the concept of your blog, the better it is for you.
- Links: Blogs with BOTH internal links (leading to a page on your own website) and external links (taking the user to a valuable page on another website) perform better than those that have no links. Again, sadly, more than 90% of blogs have no links at all,3 which severely limits their impact and performance.
- Reading time: Even if your blog is long, your readers must be able to read it in under 10 minutes. If they have to spend half an hour understanding what you’re talking about, almost no one is going to read your blogs. So, simplicity is key.
- Relevance: Not everyone can write about everything. Nor should you. For example, it would not do for a content marketing agency to suddenly write a brilliant article about how to fix your car engine. It has nothing to do with what the audience is expecting from that kind of website, so it is utterly irrelevant. However, an article about how effective content boosts your web traffic? That’s more relevant, so there’s a higher chance someone will read it.
- Consistency: We’ve said this numerous times before. You must be consistent. It’s alright if you only put up a blog a week or even once every two weeks. But do it regularly. That is key to build your audience. People who follow you will eagerly wait for your next article. If you don’t post regularly, they end up disappointed, and they will stop following you. Once they do that, chances are they will never come back.
Biggest benefits of writing blogs
There are multiple advantages to consistently writing relevant blogs for your audience. Here are the top:
- Increase awareness:
Communicating about what you do in more detail is always a good idea to increase brand awareness. And blogs are perfectly suited to do that. They show your customers your services in detail, and even help them solve certain problems, proving your expertise and making your target audience more aware about why they need your services.
- Increase in Page Rank and SEO:
If your articles are good enough, have the proper keywords and links, and cover a particular subject in detail, answering most commonly asked questions, they will rank higher in search engine results because even the algorithm will figure out that this is a more relevant result. This in turn enables your whole website to rank higher since your articles are present on or link back to your website.
- More organic traffic:
Writing articles for websites other than yours creates the potential to get way more organic traffic compared to what you can get with paid traffic. Search engines will rank them higher the more unique and useful they are.
- Long-lasting backlinks:
Submitting long-form content to article submission websites and article directories ensures your articles remain out there for possibly many years, giving you long lasting backlinks and continuous traffic to your website.
- Gain trust:
When you write something very short, people usually move away to seek more information elsewhere. But when you explain something in detail, people tend to stay with your blog, and if you have more internal links to relevant content, they spend even more time on your website. Not only is this great for SEO and web traffic, it is also a great way to gain someone’s trust and ensure they keep coming back to you.
All of this also has the bonus benefit of keeping your users engaged – another great metric that will ensure increased awareness, retention and conversion for you.
How to create effective long-form content
Trust us: writing an effective, well-researched, well-informed long-form article is no joke. Here are our top tips on how you can achieve this:
- Choose a good topic: The first step to creating an informative piece of content is to figure out what you’re going to write about and why. Think about what you want to deliver, what your readers want to know, and how this piece can solve a problem. Then narrow that down to a specific type of problem or topic.
- Do your research: Read other blogs on the same topic (we assure you someone else would have already written about most topics under the sun). Find out what’s trending about this topic right now. Monitor social media platforms for similar topics or hashtags: this can also give you an idea of what your audience prefers to share.
- Have a structure: Effective long-form content needs a proper structure to ensure your article flows well so your readers stay connected. Make sure every section is linked with the previous one in a logical way. Also, create headings, pointers, and subheadings, to make the content easy to understand.
- Give stats and references: Whatever you write about, always back it up with facts and numbers where possible. People hate to hear things like “This is the best way to do XYZ” and then finding out you’re wrong. It’s always better to say, “77% in a survey by ABC found that X is the best way to do Y”. This immediately lends credence and increases trust.
- Write: The next step is to write out your entire article. Put in everything you want to, make sure you’re explaining it in a way that a person who is not familiar with the topic can easily understand. Needless to say, this is way more applicable to technical content, but even simple topics should always be explained clearly and pithily.
- REWRITE: Yes, you heard that right. You’re not done yet. Even the best writers often write several drafts before they end up with something good. So, after you write your first draft, take a break, then re-read and rewrite till you’re satisfied.
- Proofread: Whether you’re an experienced journalist or a subject-matter expert, we all make mistakes. There’s nothing more annoying than reading an article about a very interesting topic only to discover spelling and grammar mistakes. Use an online service or even just a normal spell-checker to ensure your writing is as error-free as possible.
- Do SEO: Just uploading an article is not enough. You need to ensure it is properly formatted to be comprehensible to Google’s algorithms.
- Check performance: Don’t just sit back after the article is published. Monitor how well it’s doing. If it’s not doing well, try to understand why. If it is doing well, there are many ways to generate more leads from the same content.
- Plan your next article: Don’t stop! Once you have a piece of content that’s performing well, make sure you consistently write more content to keep your readers coming back for more!
Wrapping It Up
In short, the importance of long-form content is undeniable. It brings engagement, enhances your SEO ranking, and builds a positive brand image. Though creating long-form content can be intimidating, keeping these steps in mind can help make your content marketing effort bear fruit.
1. Social Media Today, The Benefits of Blogging
3. Backlinko, Content Study