Is Short Form or Long Form Content Better for Growing Traffic and Profits?

  May 29, 2022 blogging tips 🕑 13 minutes read
short form vs long form content

Pedasi, Panama

 

(Updated 5/29/2022)

 

What wins in the short form vs long form content contest?

 

Before I share my experience I want you to know that different strategies work for different bloggers. I experienced some success publishing a high volume of 600 word blog posts. But publishing 2000 to 3000 word long, SEO-optimized posts less frequently accelerated my blogging success over the prior month. From late January until now, I increased my blog traffic and profits through both active and passive channels. My work yielded increased success while I was online and offline.

 

Ultimately, listen to your intuition to find your blogging path. However, based on my experience I want to give you clarity in choosing whether to publish short form or long form content on your blog.

 

Publishing the proper type of content for your:

 

  • readers
  • customers
  • clients

 

increases both your traffic and profits. Your community will accelerate your blogging success if you solve their specific problems with content meeting their preferences. After trial, error and observing reader feedback I understand how our community deeply prefers my 2000 to 3000 word blog posts and feels lukewarm about my 600 word blog posts.

 

A fair number of you offer me feedback regularly. Some of you gave me the idea for this blog post. Solving your specific problems allows my blogging presence to expand. But I only write through, long form content because I listened closely to your problems and served up solutions via my blog post content.

 

What Is Short Form Vs Long Form Content?

 

I label 2000 plus word posts as being long form content based on my observations spanning a 13 year blogging career. Interestingly enough, Search Engine Journal agrees with my assumption, defining long form content as being 2000 plus words and short form spanning 1000 or fewer words. 600 words feels like the lower end of what most readers consider to be an acceptable length for a blog post.

 

Should you employ short form or long form content to increase your blog traffic and profits?

 

tips for becoming a travel blogger

Mount Cook, South Island, New Zealand

 

I intend to share my experiences with each content type to help you make an informed decision.

 

Reader Perspective

 

My readers somewhat enjoy my 600-1000 word blog posts. Short form content does OK for the Blogging From Paradise community. Perhaps I generate a smattering of social media shares and a low volume of comments reacting to my short form blog posts. But my readers never offer a resounding reaction in response to my 600 word blog posts.

 

I feel some readers love the “message” conveyed via a 600 to 1000 word post. Perhaps you need to hear a message loud and clear via a short, punchy blog post. However, building a high volume of blog traffic and steady stream of blogging profits seems difficult to achieve via short form content. From my experience, even volume publishing beneficial, targeted 600 word posts makes for a stout uphill climb in traffic and profits terms. Readers generally enjoy but do not heartily endorse short posts because endorsements grow as blog post depth expands.

 

Some short form bloggers achieve professional blogging success because their readers vibe with a short, punchy delivery. At the end of the day do what vibes with:

 

  • your audience
  • you

 

Experiment with short form content to observe your reader reactions. Does your community flood your blog with comments, share your short form posts freely across social media and do these short and punchy boosts increase your traffic and profits? Note if a 600 word post elicits a comment spike and deluge of social media shares. But if your short posts seem to fall flat simply focus on creating long form content.

 

Spot your reader’s preferences as a guide toward what type of content best serves these individuals. From there, best serving their needs creates the greatest traffic and profits increase.

 

Writer Perspective

 

Admittedly, I thoroughly enjoyed publishing one, 600 word post daily for years. Finding my writing flow plus volume publishing helpful content let me carve out my place in the blogging tips niche.

 

But my short form posts did not make a seismic impact consistently. I also put pressure on myself to publish one blog post daily. From my writer’s perspective, writing and publishing short form posts:

 

  • seemed like an easier solution compared to publishing long form content
  • did not produce stellar returns over the long haul

 

I did OK publishing a high volume of short form content but seem to be doing far better publishing long form content over the past month. Rewinding to 2014 and 2016 collectively reveals how my 2000 to 7000 word blog posts published during these time frames perform exceedingly well compared to my 600 word posts.

 

Blog comments spiked for these in-depth posts. My blogging traffic increased quite a bit during those days but my profits never accelerated dramatically during these long form content periods. At the end of the day, I own how subconscious – and conscious – poverty conscious beliefs molded my less than stellar financial returns during these time frames. Plus, I never gave my long form content a chance to grow organically from a patient, trusting space.

 

Nizwa, Oman

Nizwa, Oman

 

Finally, I learned my lesson. Publishing solely long form content since late January of 2021 to now in early March increased my:

 

  • traffic
  • profits
  • blog comments
  • social shares

 

I do not ignore how feeling good about positive reader feedback on my long posts influence me to continue writing and publishing 2000-3000 word blog posts. Feeling good about helping people inspires you to continue helping people in that fashion. If readers love what you are doing just keep doing it to allow your success to expand.

 

What Is the Chief Benefit of Publishing Long Form Content?

 

Publishing long form content cultivates:

 

  • clarity
  • confidence
  • trust

 

in most bloggers. In essence, you feel good, accomplished and successful by publishing rich, long form content. Feeling good brings good results because where your attention and energy goes, grows.

 

At the moment I publish this post I will feel clear, confident and trusting that my post promotes itself organically based on the in-depth, thorough nature of the content. Versus me rushing to write and publish my next 600 word blog post tomorrow I spend 3-4 days writing then publishing a 2000 to 3000 word piece of long form content inspiring an increasing number of readers to:

 

  • Retweet the post
  • Share the post on Facebook
  • comment on the post
  • link to the post via their blog

 

Publishing four, 600 word blog posts spanning 4 days drove a bit of traffic and inspired a small number of social shares among my community. Writing and publishing a single 2000 to 3000 word blog post and waiting 3-4 days before publishing my next post drove both more traffic and a high number of social media shares among my readership, along with boosting passive blogging profits.

 

Reader Feedback

 

My readers prefer my long form content and have told me so via:

 

  • specific feedback via blog comments
  • social media messages
  • increased social media shares
  • increased eBook sales
  • a high volume of positive blog comments

 

Publishing long form content less frequently:

 

  • saved my time and energy as I worked less
  • leveraged my time and energy as I increased my traffic and profits while working less
  • allowed my happy readers to promote the post more for me through word of mouth marketing
  • allowed the content to promote itself through the value inherent in the post

 

Publishing highly beneficial, thorough, detailed 2000 plus word posts creates a series of solutions that gain steam passively. Imagine falling asleep at 12 AM after emailing your list a long form post at 8 PM, 4 hours prior. During your 8 hours of sleep an increasing number of readers promote the 2000 plus word post via Twitter, Facebook and their blogs because an in-depth, detailed solution promotes itself. Writers benefit greatly from this passive, organic type of traffic.

 

Observe Neil Patel. He publishes highly-detailed, in-depth, long form content so valuable that a high volume of his readers promote the post for him through a wide range of online channels. Neil’s posts pop up on:

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • authority blogs
  • lesser known blogs
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest

 

He generates an astoundingly high volume of backlinks along with a stunning number of high quality backlinks because he publishes in-depth, detailed, long form content.

 

Ultimately, you will increase your blog traffic and profits by sharing more in-depth value into a lower number of high quality, long form posts because each post gets more exposure, boosts your credibility and goads readers to promote it organically versus short form content. From the writer perspective, knowing this while saving your time and energy nudges most bloggers to publish solely long form content.

 

Focus on Depth and Value Not Just Word Count Numbers

 

Before you proceed I want to make one clear point; writing long form content solely to reach a specific word count does not accelerate your blogging success. Bloggers often write 3000 word posts not to publish an in-depth, detailed resource but to stretch out a post with:

 

  • bloat
  • excess verbiage
  • blogging fat

 

The end result seems to be a poorly written post turning off far more readers than attracting loyal followers.

 

Keep:

 

  • value
  • details
  • practical tips
  • benefits
  • thoroughness

 

at the front of your mind before publishing long form content. List details. Lay out practical tips. Stress strategies. Dig deep into techniques. Traffic and profits boosting long form content drips heavily with a high number of details. Drilling down into each tip creates expansion which pleases readers and Google.

 

Playa Venao, Panama

Playa Venao, Panama

 

For example, observe the high number of header / H2 tags I employed for this blog post. Each header leads off a detail expanding on the topic of debating whether to publish short form vs long form content. Imagine if I offer one opinion-detail then publish a 600 word post versus adding the 10 plus headers / details / opinions I included in this post. Offer in-depth, thorough analysis dripping with a high volume of relevant details to pack maximum value into the 2000 to 3000 word post you publish.

 

SEO Considerations

 

I want to discuss SEO considerations by comparing how short form vs long form content performs on Google.

 

Short Form Content

 

My 600 – 1000 word, short form posts rarely if ever ranked on page 1 of Google for more than one day. Check out this post:

 

How to Submit a Guest Post Successfully in 12 Simple Steps

 

For 1 day, the post reached page 1 of Google, position 3, for: “how to submit a guest post”. Forbes and one other world famous brand outranked me. But the competitive nature of the keyword along with the thin nature of the post meant it vanished from page 1 after a few hours. Ranking short or long term for any short form post proves to be rare for Blogging From Paradise content.

 

Scanning Google page 1 results for both competitive and low competition keywords reveals how short form content rarely sneaks onto page 1. I suspect most bloggers do not drive heavy traffic or profits through Google by primarily publishing 6oo to 1000 word blog posts. Google demands more. Readers generally demand more too. Some short form content appears on page 1 but usually associated with sky high DA, world famous sites employing armies of skilled contributors.

 

Long Form Content

 

OK.  Bloggers want Google traffic.

 

Since late January of 2021, the majority of my SEO-optimized, 2000 – 3000 word, in-depth, long form blog posts ranked on page 1 or 2 of Google. I estimate roughly 50% reached page 1 or 2 for a sustained period of a few days at the very least.

 

Even though some of my posts have been bumped from page 1 or 2 I deeply respect the fact that pro bloggers who SEO-optimized posts for 5, 10 or 15 years are ahead of a guy who began SEO-optimizing posts about 40 days ago. However, I see these promising results as a strong sign that I can drive Google traffic steadily by:

 

  • inter linking posts that rank well on Google
  • promoting Google-friendly posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
  • linking to Google-friendly posts through sites like Anchor, Rumble and Twitter to improve post visibility

 

Rich, detailed, properly optimized long form content spanning 2000 to 3000 word ranks well on Google.

 

For example, check out my recent post:

 

How to Go from Full Time Employee to Blogger

 

The post has ranked #1 in the past for:

 

  • how to go from employed to blogger
  • how to go from employee to blogger

 

 

Before you proceed I want to make an important point concerning my posts ranking “quickly” on Google related to Domain Authority.

 

One Critical Point on Domain Authority

 

Clearly, for a guy who barely optimized a handful of 3000 plus blog posts published, Google loves my Domain Authority courtesy of me publishing 1000’s of helpful blogging tips posts over 7 years. Why else would I reach page 1 for keywords but a few hours or a day after SEO-optimizing my posts consistently for the first time in 7 years?

 

I freely admit how my DA is a strong factor in ranking well for my recent SEO-optimized posts because I sure do not have a track record of driving Google traffic. However, I publish a high volume of helpful, short form (and now long form) content on Blogging From Paradise. Google likes how my blog spits out helpful blogging tips themed posts and rewards me for my SEO-optimizing efforts now.

 

Ranking posts on Google seems to be a long term venture depending on your pure commitment to delivering targeted, optimized value over years.

 

What About the Traffic and the Profits?

 

The main reason why I do not share specific traffic and profits results as proof or testimony is because I adopt a “take it or leave it” approach to my blogging content. Take it and use it because you trust me or leave it and do not use it because you do not trust me, or because my advice does not resonate with you. Both choices are on you and how you choose to see the world through your mind.

 

Since I began SEO-optimizing 2000 plus word posts in late January of 2021:

 

  • social shares increased
  • eBook sales increased
  • the number of Blogging From Paradise blog posts ranking on page 1 of Google increase
  • emails increased

 

Increase is fun. Expansion feels freeing. Helping people feels enjoyable.

 

New Perspective on Long Form Content

 

I updated this post to share a key advantage to publishing long form content.

 

As always, my personal experience motivates me to share my fresh perspective.

 

Most bloggers – the old me included – overlook two aspects of long form content even if posts never rank on Google:

 

  • increased time on site
  • increased profit potential from time on site

 

For example, a reader who enjoys a 2000 word post spends a decent chunk of time onsite just to read the blog post. Spending more time on your blog is similar to spending more time in an offline store; eventually, you are likely to buy something since you notice what you ignored when you spent less time in the store.

 

Currently, I am updating blogging manuals by changing all Selz links to Payhip and Gumroad. Amazon shuttered Selz. Anyway, if you are reading or re-reading this hefty blog post you:

 

  • spend at least 5-10 minutes on Blogging From Paradise
  • notice more on Blogging From Paradise because you spent 5-10 minutes reading this post
  • feel more comfortable shopping on Blogging From Paradise since you spent more time at this “store”

 

You do it. I do it. Spending more time in one store we enjoy goads us to shop more in the store.

 

I do not want you to make impulse buys on Blogging From Paradise. Invest only in what helps you. But use this concept of long form content and time spent on site to:

 

  • help your readers
  • prosper indirectly

 

Consider evolving from the idea that solely publishing a higher volume of short posts keeps people on site longer. Experiment. Publish a few long form posts spanning 2000 plus words. Add practical details to these posts. Give readers a reason to spend more time on your blog. Be a little more helpful than the average blogger.

 

Sunset, Playa Potrero, Costa Rica

Sunset, Playa Potrero, Costa Rica

 

Don’t be surprised if one, two or five long form posts on your blog:

 

  • keep people on your site far longer
  • increase shopping on your blog
  • attract new readers through referral marketing

 

Meditate on this idea of keeping readers onsite for a longer stretch of time by publishing detailed, in-depth, long form content. Help not only more people but help them for a sustained chunk of time. Keep people browsing your blogging store for 3, 5 or 10 minutes versus a quick 60 second glance. Influence readers to mill around your cyber store-blog versus being window shoppers.

 

The Verdict

 

Long form, SEO-optimized content spanning 2000 – 3000 words:

 

  • performs quite well on Google (published on a blog with a strong Domain Authority)
  • increases blog traffic
  • increases blogging profits
  • makes readers happier, more content and willing to offer highly positive feedback (thank you guys for your helpful blog comments)

 

Short form content spanning 600 to 1000 words:

 

  • does not generally perform well on Google
  • requires a more prolific publishing schedule to gradually increase blog traffic and profits
  • does not elicit a high volume of positive feedback from readers

 

At the end of the day, I offer these observations based on my intimately personal experience. Follow your intuition. Everybody is different. However, more often than not, you will tend toward creating long form content to increase your traffic and profits slowly and steadily over the long haul.

 

Your Turn

 

Do you prefer reading short form or long form content?

 

What type of content performs best on your blog?

 

What form of content do you most enjoy writing and publishing?

  1. Alicia Harding says:
    at 2:57 pm

    Great informative post!! I am always nervous that my posts are not the right length. Really enjoyed this read. DA is something I struggle with, I don’t know where to start for building it. Fingers crossed!

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 5:58 pm

      Finding that sweet spot between what your audience seems to prefer and your fun-passion-intuition is a good rule of thumb Alicia. I finally pinpointed what works best even though my short posts did OK over the years. As for DA, you just gave me an idea for a new blog post. Thanks much! In the interim, creating content solving your reader problems is the starting point. Google gives authority to domains with a proven track record of publishing helpful content.

  2. Lisa Sicard says:
    at 3:06 pm

    Hi Ryan, I prefer reading shorter form content to get the information I need. Otherwise, I run out of time and may scan the article instead. But I agree that most of the content that performs best on my blog are those posts over 2,000 words.
    I do go back and update old blog posts and strive to add more meat to them in time especially if they are updated on the topics which many are on my blog.
    Interesting as a reader I prefer shorter but as a writer, I know the Google gods prefer long-form. I wonder how Seth Godin performs on Google these days with his very short-form articles?
    Thanks Ryan and have a great rest of your day there!

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 5:55 pm

      Ditto Lisa. I enjoy reading short form posts from time-energy perspectives but I dig writing and publishing 2000 to 2500 word or longer posts. Google likes ’em and on the whole, my readers prefer the longer form posts. I feel our community genuinely digs my 600 word posts too as most have stated. But the increase in social shares, comments, mentions and profits uptick too, along with a dramatic increase in Google traffic makes these my posts of choice going forward. I too like updating old posts to fill them out a bit; Google seems to take notice, as do my readers. Thanks for tossing the request my way and you too!

  3. Eric Cole says:
    at 7:22 pm

    Hi Ryan,

    When it comes to written word most of the time I prefer reading longer form. Depends though on the topic and my prior knowledge. Video and audio are different for me. Shorter than longer because I can’t navigate the information as easily as text.

    Thanks!

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 10:03 pm

      Thanks for sharing Eric. I too need shorter video and audio formats for the same reason. I tend to prefer shorter text too in most cases solely because blogging and my mindset training expands to consume much of my day.

  4. David J. Boozer says:
    at 7:38 pm

    Personally, I like them both, and I think a long-form piece once a month is great, whereas the rest of the moth the short and to the point with some fun to it works perfectly for me and the BFP blog! =)

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 10:02 pm

      Cool David. Thank you for sharing. I will still pop in those shorter ones here and there I think.

  5. Shehraj Singh says:
    at 5:18 am

    I love the approach of more traffic with less content…

    I also the fact that you’ve presented the issue that blogger stretch the content for the sake of blog length. I committed the practice in past hit me badly in past.

    From that moment, I started writing with the flow. I try to explain things as simply as I can with fewer words.

    Then, I started using media such as gifs, videos etc.

    In the end, I settled with multimedia + text to communicate my message.

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 9:35 am

      I like your approach Shehraj. We find that balance through practice, by gaining clarity, and as we get clear it feels easier to find our blogging sweet spot. I totally dig it. Using multi media helps too. I published a few posts with adjoining video. I feel this boosts time spent onsite. Readers stick around to watch videos in addition to reading text. Or some simply watch the video in favor of reading text.

  6. shivanshu says:
    at 10:17 am

    Hi there,

    I have a website (very small but highly specific audience) which has a good DA score, better than most of my competitors. but still, many of my competitors outrank me for most of my targeted keywords. what am I supposed to infer from this?

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 11:32 am

      Are you using the Blogspot blog you linked to via your comment Shivanshu? If you are, this is the main reason why bloggers in your niche outrank you. But if not, please send me the blog link for me to take a look. Ample factors go into both DA and ranking on Google but looking a bit deeper may give me some ideas. Thanks much.

  7. Mudassir says:
    at 11:42 am

    Short form content do ranks on Google, Ryan, BUT only for the keywords that are less competitive and with low K.D (keyword difficulty) factor. For such keywords you can outrank competitors with just better content and building a few backlinks for the piece.

    BUT if someone want to rank #1 for competitive keyword like “blogging”, it takes time as it involves producing a lots of helpful content around the topic (topical authority) and building quality backlinks to it. It requires a lot of patience, research and work but all WORTH it at the end!!

    Tools like SEMrush and AnswerThePublic really helps to dig for the keywords that are most-searched and can drive you potential audience.

    Since I started learning such useful insights, I am loving the SEO process. I strongly believe, your all content pieces deserve Google’s 1st page positions. As you have already a great backlink profile and authority, you just have to do some keyword research, go back to your posts and optimize keywords in titles and content.

    Ranking for in-demand keywords directly means big blogging profits, so I am not LOSING on it, Ryan!! Been doing a lots of edits to my older posts these days to rank them.

    I am loving how you are observing blogging and SEO things lately and sharing your experiences with us. Keep doing great job, Happy Weekend!!

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 1:40 pm

      Fabulous insights Mudassir. I am absolutely loving what you are doing on your blog. I found that putting in even a little bit extra effort by lengthening posts and adding SEO details makes a big difference for increasing search traffic. It is almost like putting in the extra mile to seemingly outdistance everyone else who fears going a little bit farther in terms of thought, planning and effort.

  8. Janet Reese says:
    at 4:47 am

    This is a best way to get traffic by update shot or long content

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 9:28 am

      Long form content helps heaps Janet.

  9. Etta Rutecki says:
    at 1:19 pm

    This is very interesting, You’re an excessively skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to in the hunt for extra of your magnificent post. Additionally, I have shared your site in my social networks|

    • Ryan Biddulph says:
      at 5:29 pm

      Cool my friend thanks much.

  10. Mary Jones says:
    at 3:15 am

    Such an informative post! I am always nervous that my posts are short or long in terms of length. Really enjoyed reading this. You see DA is the thing everyone struggles with including myself, I don’t know where to start to increase it.

  11. sayem Ibn Kashem says:
    at 6:53 am

    Hey Ryan,

    When we write about something, we need to keep in mind two basic points. First, I have to satisfy Google. Second, I have satisfied my readers.

    First of all, I have to write something Google friendly. Cause if Google does not love the article, it won’t rank and I won’t get any readers.

    If I only write for Google but it does not feed the reader’s needs, they will not come back again. So it’s very important to satisfy both Google and the readers.

    You have described everything clearly! Thanks for sharing!

    Regards,
    Sayem Ibn Kashem