When I wrote this post, there were more than 500 million blogs online – and each day, content creators added 2 million more.
For brands, this means only one thing: competition.
With so many businesses vying for attention, it’s difficult to get seen. Creating content can turn from a joy to a sense that you’re aimlessly throwing words into the void. But, with the right approach, you can get your business the attention it deserves.
What you should stop doing in your blog posts
We’re here to help you do it by highlighting 5 things research says you need to stop doing in your blog posts. Let’s get into it.
1. Don’t write too much or too little
In 2020, the average length of a blog post was 1,050 words. But according to HubSpot, blogs between 2,200 to 2,500 words perform best for lead generation. Blogs under 500 words can still rank at the top of the search engine result pages (SERPs). So what’s going on?
First, consider this. 70% of content marketers agree that quality is more important than quantity. So the question isn’t really ‘is my post too long/short?’ it’s ‘does this post quickly deliver what it promises?’
People read blogs to get quick answers to their queries. So taking a topic that doesn’t need a lot of explanation and filling it with fluff to reach specific word count is going to do more to frustrate your reader than build your authority or push your website up the SERPs.
On the flip side, you can’t give a full and considered answer to most queries in under 500 words. So what should you do?
Use enough words to cover a topic in detail and match the word count to the type of content you use. Here’s a handy guide:
- Up to 500 words > posts that introduce videos or other multimedia content like infographics
- 700-1500 words > News and bulletin type posts on trending but not ‘deep’ topics
- 2200-2500 words > posts written for the purpose of generating leads
- Over 2500 words > posts on technical topics you want to demonstrate your authority on
2. Don’t be vague and generalized
I could have started this post with there are a lot of blogs online. But would that have meant much?
Giving a specific, referenced figure adds value and weight to my point. Without specifics, you wouldn’t have believed or taken in what you read. And that’s an age-old problem for content creators.
Blog writing is all about offering knowledge to your reader. If your posts are full of vague statements that aren’t backed up by sources, they simply won’t perform.
You can be more specific in your blog posts by:
- Adding statistics from authoritative sources
- Backing up your opinions up with quotes from experts, and
- Adding graphs, charts and tables to data-based points
This not only helps your reader, but it’s also one way search engines measure the authority of your posts.
3. Don’t use uncommon language
Blogs aren’t linguistic essays – you won’t get a prize for using the most obscure or ‘clever’ word you can find.
Writing in plain language increases the reach of your posts. Isn’t that the whole point?
Remember your readers:
- Are from different educational backgrounds
- Might read in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th language
- Are reading blogs to get answers quickly
- Don’t have time to decode anyone’s ego
You want your posts to appeal to the widest possible audience. So don’t shut people out by using big words. It’s actually more difficult to describe complicated topics in a simple way. It takes insight, empathy, creativity and a very deep understanding of the subject matter.
Don’t think of it as dumbing things down, you’re just making information more accessible, and that’s no bad thing.
If you struggle to simplify your writing, use an editing tool like Grammarly. Grammarly ‘reads’ your blog and offers suggestions to ease flow, shorten sentences and use more common vocabulary.
4. Don’t ignore the reading experience
Almost half of users skim-read blog posts. Let that sink in!
Regardless of how succinct and easy to read your blogs are, half of your audience will still only read little bits. You need to account for skim readers in your writing by:
- Breaking articles up with H1s, H2s and H3s
- Using bullet points and lists wherever possible
- Including images that summarise and highlight key points
- Using multi-media like video
- Writing in short paragraphs (no longer than 3 sentences or 4 lines)
This not only helps skimmers get what they need from your posts, it also makes them more accessible on mobile phones and makes it easier for search engines to crawl them so they can rank them better in the SERPs.
5. Don’t include spam links
Nothing screams ‘low quality content’ quite as loudly as spam links. Google knows it and your readers know it too. When you include spam links in your content, you tell your reader you don’t value their experience. That you’re only writing content to make money from 3rd party firms.
Yes, it’s important for content to pay its way, but spam links will always do more harm than good.
All links in your posts should point to reputable sites, and their content should be clear from their anchor text. For example, don’t link the anchor text ‘this recent report’ to a landing page for a gambling product (ok, that’s one’s obvious).
And if you include links that make you money, be upfront about it. Your readers will value your honesty and, in most cases, you are legally required.
That’s what you should stop doing with your blog posts
These are the five things you need to stop doing in your blog posts. If there’s something else people do in blog posts you think they shouldn’t, let us know in the comments below.
This guest blog post was written by Jodie Manners. She is a conversion copywriter and content strategist working with bold business to business (B2B) software-as-a-software (SaaS) and technology brands. Before founding This Copy Sticks, she spent a decade selling the toughest value proposition around and raised money charities. You can follow her on LinkedIn.