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:
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?
I intend to share my experiences with each content type to help you make an informed decision.
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
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.
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.
Finally, I learned my lesson. Publishing solely long form content since late January of 2021 to now in early March increased my:
- 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:
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.
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:
- authority blogs
- lesser known blogs
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:
- excess verbiage
- blogging fat
The end result seems to be a poorly written post turning off far more readers than attracting loyal followers.
- practical tips
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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?