Blog articles should be short

A blog post should be 300-400 words.

A client recently sent me an article to post on the organization’s blog. Her email noted that it might be “a little long.”

No kidding! It was more than 1,300 words.

In this era of what I like to call the Internet-Induced Attention Deficit Issue, my client’s proposed blog post was about 1,000 words too long. Edit it, slice it, cut it or split it into three posts.

Bloggers and webmasters have become obsessed with SEO — search engine optimization — a collection of techniques that get your page ranked highly by Google, thus attracting visitors to your site and bringing bundles of fame and fortune. The folks at Google say the best way to get their attention is to create a page that is useful for a human reader.

The best length and format for a blog entry

Off the top of my head: Your heading (title) should be inviting but not obscure. “Company Results” doesn’t say anything. “ABC Company Reports Strong Third Quarter Earnings” tells the reader exactly what the article is about. Plus, useful information is getting indexed by Google.

The power of one: Focus your post on just one small topic, a single main idea.

Keep it short: A great length for a blog post is 300-400 words. Your busy reader can breeze through it quickly.

Headings, bullets and images

Two headings are better than one: Use one or two subheadings in your article. They help to break up the text, and make it easier for the busy reader to skim. Formatting the subheadings as “heading2” (using the HTML tag H2) is a signal to Google that this text is important, so make sure the subheadings contain your keywords.

Magic bullet: Make a list of items easier to read by using bullet points.

Get the picture: An image helps to draw the reader into your story. The caption should summarize your main point. Giving the photo an “alt” tag tells Google what the picture is, and helps to improve your search ranking.

A lengthy, poorly organized blog post is like a meal at Denny’s: There’s way too much on the plate and it’s probably not healthy. Concise writing will keep your readers and your search engines happy.