Did you know that Google now prefers blog posts to be 600 to 800 words, instead of 300 to 400 words? Because of the search engine's growing emphasis on quality content and a good user experience, blog posts that go more in-depth and cover one topic really well will be more highly ranked than one that doesn't go in-depth or tries to cover more than one topic.
This doesn't mean that you now have to add a few more paragraphs to all of your previous blog posts, or that shorter posts no longer have any purpose. It does mean that if you can, strive for the 600-800 word mark. Here's how to add length and value to blog posts and to get them ranking on search engines:
Elaborate On Your Arguments
I came across this blog post on a marketing firm's blog that posited that Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham isn't the best approach to sales. The post says that Sam I Am never asked the prospect if he was hungry, and never took the time to talk to more willing prospects.
And that's it.
The post could have easily extended this post by elaborating on the argument, or turned it into a series of blog posts. What should Sam have done instead to get the prospect to eat green eggs and ham? Why is Sam a bad salesperson? How should Sam go about finding these willing prospects? It would even be really neat if the blog post/series went through the entire book and showed with each scene how one should proceed with sales. All of this would do a better job of showcasing the marketing as a thought leader in lead generation and as a quality provider in sales services.
Answer the Question, "Why?"
Why is it bad? Why is it important? Why does this matter? By not answering this question in your blog post, you not only end up with a short post, but with a frustrated reader who wasted 10 minutes on something that didn't offer any value. Case in point:
This blog post from a commercial cleaning firm outlines the rationale of paying an employee extra to clean the office space. It ends with an anecdote of a vice president scolding an employee for not doing a good job in the cleaning department, despite good work in his regular position.
It's obviously a bad situation, buy WHY is it a bad situation? Do you put yourself at risk of losing the employee by burning him/her out? Do employees just not clean as well as a commercial cleaning company? Do you ruin company culture by creating an opportunity for others to pick on the cleaning employee? The goal of the post is to say that commercial cleaning is much better than in-house cleaning, but it fails to illustrate why this is the case.
Formatting, such as subtitles and bullet lists, can not only make your blog posts more appealing to read, but they could also lengthen your posts by giving you more to talk about. As an example, this post about the six ways to get more from your blog doesn't make it clear from the blink test what those six ways are. Because it's not even clear what the six ways are, it's also not clear how these six ways help you to get more from your blog. By creating a list, or adding subtitles, instead of just paragraphs, you can better illustrate the value of the information in your blog post.
Add a Conclusion
This is one I am guilty of sometimes, but adding a conclusion is a great way to add length and value to your blog post. A conclusion is often missing for list posts, where the end of the list is also the end of the post. Here's a link to a post about how a smartphone can help with freelancing that could use a concluding paragraph.
Yes, the post does have a concluding sentence asking for comments on other ways a smartphone could be helpful, but a paragraph summarizing how helpful the smartphone is, or why having a smartphone is so much better than not having one, or how much of a time saver it is would really push the value of the smartphone for freelancers. Nothing wrong with the concluding sentence, but a concluding paragraph would tie everything together.
Overall, consider all of those principles that we had to learn and to incorporate for a middle school book reports and high school essays. Sure, no one is grading us, but that doesn't mean including details, concluding paragraphs, and supporting our arguments don't have purpose anymore. To the contrary. Those concepts were taught because they work and they improve writing, just like they would improve the length and the value of your blog posts.