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The Long and the Short of Blog Posts

Dave Taylor answers the eternal blogging question of “Are long blog entries better than short ones?” and writes :

‘I’m reminded of a common piece of advice from good development editors in the publishing business about how long a chapter or book should ultimately be: write just enough to cover the material at the appropriate level of detail, then stop….

Personally, I don’t subscribe to weblogs where the typical entry is less than about 250 words, because I’m not interested in discoverability, that is, what other pages on the Web I should be checking out, but in why the blogger thinks the page, article, site, entry, whatever, is worth my attention.’

I’m with Dave in arguing that each blogger needs to work out what length post suits their writing style and blog topic.

Whilst I’d always advise that your posts should be to the point – I find that here at ProBlogger my posts tend to be much longer on average than some of my other blogs – (and you as readers don’t seem to mind) – however on other blogs readers seem to want quick and simple information and the short post works very well.

I also find that on those blogs you choose to post lengthy posts on it’s helpful to use the extended entry field and to mix up the length of your posts. In the middle of your long ones put a few short and simple ones – after all, variety is the spice of life.

What’s the average length of your blog posts?

Quality vs Quantity of Posting?

I was chatting to a soon-to-be-blogger this morning about ProBlogging and he asked me how long he’d have to blog before he could earn a reasonable amount from it.

It’s a common question that is usually on the lips of new bloggers exploring the world of ProBlogging.

Of course there is no real answer to the question as there are just so many factors including:

- traffic levels (which rely upon many other factors)
- value of ads for the topic you’ve chosen
- revenue streams chosen

Another factor I talked with him about was his level of posting. Obviously the larger a blog is the increased chance of earning income it has. Whilst it’s not impossible for a small website or blog to be a good earner – in most cases the number of posts on a blog is a major contributing factor.

This flies a little in the face of the constant catch cry I hear from many bloggers about ‘quality content being the key to successful blogging’ – I agree with this – but want to argue that it’s not just the quality that counts – ProBloggers also need to consider quantity. For me it’s not an ‘either or’ question – it’s about both.

As I often say – the more pages in your blog the more potential entry points you have to it via search engine referrals. Of course it’s not just a matter of creating thousands of useless pages (although some try this) – each page should be a useful page with high quality content – but in general the more pages you’ve got the better.

Out of interest this afternoon I decided it was time to add up how many pages of content I’ve generated since I started blogging in November of 2002….

[Read more...]

Posting Frequency Observations

One of the things that going away and not checking your RSS feeds for a month can do for you is help identify who is blogging how much.

I generally clear my bloglines account every day. As a result I don’t notice from day to day which of my 350 or so feeds are updating frequently.

Being away for four weeks has left me confronting 7000+ unread items (many of which I won’t read). However in scanning through them I’m surprised to see how little some of my favorite bloggers are posting. In 30 days some of them posted less than 5 times.

I won’t embarrass anyone by naming names – however some of them are pretty prominent and in my ‘must read’ list.

On the other hand I also observed that some of the bloggers that I follow are even more prolific at posting than I am – with literally hundreds of posts over the 30 or so days.

I don’t really have a point to make – just an observation that I’ll file away to think through later on.

How often have you posted in the past 30 days?

Looking For Online Revenue Bloggers – ReveNews

ReveNews is a trusted, unbiased source focusing on Internet related industries such as online marketing, SEM, affiliate marketing, retail (e-commerce), analytics, spyware, blogging and much more. ReveNews authors consist of highly respected thinkers, commentators and business people who have real experience and insight. ReveNews readers include industry gurus, top-level executives and CEO’s, plus many of the industry’s top net-repreneurs; all coming together to create a global Internet community to distribute, discuss and analyze the industry at hand.

Interested in writing for us? Applications are being accepted now.

“I was standing in line at an industry show when someone grabbed my arm and introduced themselves saying they read my blog at ReveNews all the time and wanted to ask a question. Turns out it was a senior developer from Google. He couldn’t say enough about the good things he reads on our site. Pretty cool. And a nice contact to have in the future.” – Wayne Porter, ReveNews Blogger

Canadian Professional Blogging Podcast 2.2 – your blogging voice continued

For those of you following the start of our Canadian Professional Blogging series, thanks for turning in. Tris and I really appreciated the feedback and have built upon that to create a more detailed look at finding your blogging voice.

Having a voice is a key factor in getting noticed, being read, and building up that much needed traffic to your site. However, creating that “voice” may seem like a daunting thing. Many people don’t find writing easy, and that makes it even harder. We hope that our podcast and the notes will help people figure out a path that works for them.

One tip we talk about is reading everything you can find. The writers that appeal to you likely do so because you connect with that voice. Try to apply that same style to how you write and you’ll be one step closer to a distinctive voice. Another tip is to think about your writing verbally – your conversation style should go into your writing. If you are someone who speaks in short bursts, then you can try that out on your blog.
[Read more...]

Improve your typing skills

Being a professional blogger means in most of the cases: publish content, targeted at your audience, structured, and well written.

But the other part is: It has to be typed. And the more you want to publish, the more you have to type, and edit, and retype … If you where writing a book, you could give your handwritten manuscript to somebody else, but as a blogger, you are on your own.

If you don’t have good typing skills, blogging will be much more of an effort for you – and then you publish less. But other than being a good writer is at least part talent, being a speedy typer is purely training.

So let’s take a quick look at your typing skills: [Read more...]

Trying FeedBurner Total Stats Pro on View from the Isle

headerlogo.jpgYeah, I admit it, I’m a metrics junky.  Which is good, since I am the chief blogger for Elytics.com writing on the web metrics blog.  Regardless, I’m also a huge fan of FeedBurner.  I admit I check my FeedBurner stats throughout the day, especially when one of my articles has been picked up by several other blogs.  In spite of being a metrics junky and really wanting to know what content is popular on my blog I resisted trying Total Stats PRO–Burning Questions – The Official FeedBurner Weblog - FeedBurner – FeedBurner Total Stats PRO.  Why?  I’m cost conscious.  I really try to keep my business overhead low.  Then it hit me, as a blog consultant/pro blogger/syndicated writer I really should look into this.  I already set up all my clients with FeedBurner from day one–learning from my own mistake–and I tell my clients check your FeedBurner and other stats to figure out what content is most popular and use this to help guide your content decisions.  It makes logical sense, then, that I should try it myself and see if it’s worth $5/month.  So, over the next 15 days I’ll be checking my stats with Total Stats PRO.  I’ll probably do an initial assessment later today, then one in a few days, etc.
 
As professional bloggers our content is both our calling card and our gravy train.  It’s how we earn our money.  There’s no point in writing tons of articles on topic x if those aren’t as popular as topic y, especially if you’re writing for a client.  There will always be a certain number of articles that you write or publish, things like press releases, that aren’t glamorous and don’t get a lot of attention, but are essential regardless.  Then there are the articles which both you and your client intend to be interesting to a wider audience, those are the articles that I’m talking about.  That’s the important information that I hope FeedBurner can now provide me.  If so, $5/month could be a paltry price to pay to be able to effectively target the content published on a blog by blog basis.  Here’s hoping!
 
I will post charts, tables, etc as appropriate to give you a feel for what I’m seeing.  Because great data poorly presented, is almost as useless as not having it at all.
 
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Tris Hussey is a professional blogger and blog consultant, the Chief Blogging Officer for Qumana Software, and Managing Director of Qumana Services.  He can be reached at tris AT qumana DOT com or tris AT trishussey DOT com.
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Writing Effective Blog Post Titles

Vaspers the Grate has an interesting experiment going looking at the last 5 titles on a variety of his favorite blogs. Steven writes:

‘I’m of the opinion that the title of your post is the most important text of the post.

If the post title is not good, many potential readers and RSS subscribers may just skip it. The post title is also vital for search engine optimization, and for grabbing the attention of blog surfers.’

The list of blogs he examines is a good one in itself (there are some great blogs there (not just because ProBlogger.net appears either).

I agree with Steven that the title of your post is crucial in a successful blog on a number of fronts:

  • SEO – search engines head straight to your title to determine what it is about and how to rank it.
  • Search Engine referrals – your title is usually what is listed in Search engines and is an opportunity to hook people in.
  • RSS referrals – people scan their News Aggregators looking for the posts that captivate and intrigue
  • Loyal Readers – Even those that bookmark your site and log on regularly to look at what you’re writing scan your page. Titles are attention grabbers that can pause their scanning and make them actually read what you have to say.

I know a lot of bloggers try to get quirky, cryptic and creative with their titles – I personally have nothing against this – but over the past two years have decided that it’s probably not the best way of attracting readers considering the above four points.

Rather I tend to go for a descriptive post that tells the reader what the post is about. I also aim to put the keywords I think people will be searching for for such a post in the title and make it as sharp and to the point as possible.

Of course rules are made to be broken – and the intriguing cryptic title can work from time to time – however if you use them too much you might just find your readers get frustrated with you and stop dropping by to see what that latest post is all about.

Increasing the Longevity of Key Posts – Part II

This is the second part of a post on extending the life of Evergreen posts. Take a look at the first part here.

Related Articles – Many Bloggers use a ‘related articles’ feature in at the bottom of each of their posts. In most cases these are automated links from a plug in. WordPress and Movable Type both have such plugins available.

Once again such a strategy is good for both getting readers to go deeper within your site and for your search engine optimization.

Deep linking within posts – Similarly deep linking is an effective strategy. To actually refer to previously written evergreen posts within an article (where relevant) is another strategy that you should consider. This could be more effective than a ‘related articles’ feature simply because you have a bit more control about their positioning and the links that you highlight. Also people are more likely to take an ‘in content’ link recommendation than an automated one – it will also mean that the links is a highly relevant one – which SE’s tend to like.

Site Maps and Highlighting Categories – Whilst these may not specifically increase the profile of Evergreen posts – highlighting other key pages on your site (categories especially) helps to generate repeat page views and assists the Search Engines in indexing your blog. What you should be aiming for is that a reader or SE bot should be able to navigate to any page on your blog within two or three clicks. The simplest way to do this is to have your categories listed in your sidebar or menu and to use a pagination system (the little numbers at the bottom of this page that lead you to different sets of older posts).

What I’m really highlighting here are different ways in which you can interlink your site whilst highlighting your key pages.

So take a surf through your archives and make note of the underrated evergreen posts that you find and consider finding places on your blog to highlight them. You might be surprised what impact it has.

Feel free to share what strategies you use to highlight your evergreen posts in comments below.