Yep, blogs can seem tough.
But you know, once standards are set and you get into the flow of things, they can be a great asset. In fact, we’d argue they are one of the best ways to expand a site, build corporate thought leadership and establish the type of high quality material that helps sales teams in their long-term sales process. Below is some advice we often share with our clients (and try to remember for ourselves!):
Blog Post Length
As Roger Ebert says, “No good movie is too long, and no bad movie is too short.” Blog posts should be judged by quality more than length. If a post reinforces a brand position and thought leadership goals or focuses on a project of major importance, you need to feel free to tell the whole story. Typically, most writing can be condensed 10% by just omitting repetition and unneeded sentence complexity. In a post of 700 words, that’s a significant 70 word savings. Short & sweet blog posts work too. A great post could be 100 words long. It will be helpful to offer a mix. It’s best if not all posts are very long.
Ways to Deal with Long Blog Posts
There are a number of excellent ways to break up blog posts:
- Use Image –Make sure they follow image presentation guidelines. Images can be illustrations or logos.
- Give Paragraphs Titles –This always helps people skim posts.
- Offer Infomation in Bullets
- Show Links Outside of Text Blocks –We expand on this below…
- Edit –Almost every post can be edited for length and clarity.
General Link Rules
Links must be highly visible to someone scanning a page. These rules will help:
- Show Links Outside of Body Copy –Postition a link outside of a paragraph. This makes it far more visible.
- Use Highly Descriptive Copy for Links –“Why [Wonderful Project] Rocks the Casbah” is always a better link that “more” or “learn more“. Avoid “here” or “click here” at all costs.
Make sure your copy uses the keywords that people use to search for the services you provide. Blog titles should use keywords as well. Don’t go overboard here. If you are too keyword rich, you’ll make the titles and copy uninteresting and/or obviously focused on Google, not on the reader.
How to Treat PDF’s
You can treat PDFs like text links in the body of your blog post, but you should consider them special text links that need a bit more TLC.
- Always Tell Your Audience That They Are About to Open a PDF -This can be as simple as adding “(PDF)” after a link.
- Even Better, Tell People How Big the PDF is –Your text after the link would be something like “(2.1mb PDF)”. I may not be interestd in opening a huge PDF. Telling me is a courtesy.
- Event Better, Offer a Simple PDF Icon Next to Your Link.
PDF links should open in a new browser window, not in the same browser window. PDFs are displayed differently by different browsers. Often, the look of the browser itself changes, prompting some to close the window. If the window is the same window as the site, the site will be lost as well.