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Scratching your head about how to build an audience for your blog? Long-form articles — typically 1,200 to 2,000 words — are an incredibly effective way to grow a loyal audience base.
For one, search engines favor pieces of content over 300 words, so you’ll likely rank better and get more traffic.
Second, posts with a longer word count let you put in more useful content, so you’ll get more dedicated, loyal readers who are thankful for your help.
Finally, you can create relevant opt-ins to go with this long-form content to help you grow your email list — giving you more people to sell relevant offers to as time goes on.
So what exactly should you include in your long-form content? Here are some best practices that work consistently for most bloggers.
Taking questions that people ask frequently and providing them with in-depth answers is one of the best ways to get your long-form content to bring more people to your website.
Open up an easy-to-use keyword tool, such as Answer the Public, and find effective, long-form keywords that revolve around your area of expertise. Answer the Public helps you find the question-based keywords your audience is using to find specific information, which provides a great starting point for a long-form post.
For example, if you run a candle-making blog and you want more readers interested in soy candles, these are the kinds of content ideas you can find on Answer the Public for long-form content to help you make this happen:
These pieces will keep growing your audience for years to come, particularly if you make the content evergreen or go back and update your long-form posts once per year.
Long-form posts have a lot of words — more than online readers are used to reading all at once.
Unfortunately, this means if people see too many words at once, they’ll click out and “bounce” from your website.
But if you can show helpful visuals and explain each in depth, readers will love it, and their eyes won’t get bored looking at only words. Images also slow down people who are just skimming, keeping them more engaged with your content.
Here’s a look at how to add a single image to a blog post in WordPress.com:
While more traffic is great, it won’t do much for you if you don’t have a way to engage your audience to keep them around.
Throughout the post — say, every 400 to 500 words — place a call to action for a relevant opt-in for the reader to keep learning more.
This could be access to a training video that explains your topic more in depth, tips to help them implement something your post taught them, or an ebook teaching them something they didn’t know before.
This way, you get them on your mailing list and make sure they keep seeing all your new content, every time you publish.
If you’re at a loss for how to build an audience for your website, try publishing five to 10 long-form posts that are well-optimized for SEO. You’ll be able to reach a wider audience, grow important audience segments, and have long-term, sustainable growth for the life of your website.
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