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How long should a blog post be and all those other blogging questions you always wanted to ask

OK, gang, this is a blog I keep coming back to update over the year years so here’s a 2024 refresh. I wanted to have one spot where you could come and read through all the questions you’ve ever wanted to know about blogging but had nowhere to ask (I honestly don’t know why experts ‘out there’ make it so confusing but here we are).

What is a blog?

A blog is an area of your website where you can update articles known as blog posts. It’s a great way to show people and, therefore, Google and more people that you update your website regularly. The more you add relevant, Google-friendly blog posts to your blog, the more likely you are to get to page one of Google and be seen by more people.

In your blog posts, you need to include text and something visual like images, photos, graphics, podcasts or videos.

Every major website platform (WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, GoDaddy, Shopify) has a blog you can add to your website where you add blog posts – these can be articles you write, advice you want to share, case studies, product recommendations, projects you’ve worked on and much more.

Want to know more?

You can read more about this in my blog – why is blogging important for SEO anyway?

You can also listen to me and Franky from Love Audrey talk about the importance of blogging in your business here too

How long should a blog post be?

I am often asked this question: How long should a blog post be, and can it be considered too long?

This topic is hotly debated in the SEO community (the rock and roll wildcats that we are), and while I recommend writing a minimum of 300 words, as long as the content is relevant and helpful, there is no set length for a blog post. But….300 words is a bit short and doesn’t really provide anything more than the basics, if you think about it, right?

Say you have three key points to make about a topic you want to write about. You write an introduction paragraph (100 words roughly), you write the three points (roughly 100 words) and then a summary paragraph (100 words roughly). That’s actually more like 500 words!

If you’ve chosen a good, relevant topic for you and your expertise, it can be quite easy to bulk out a blog once you get used to writing it all down. At least 500 words as this provides enough content to be nice and juicy, and it usually supports the need of the reader (what question they have, and is it answered?) and is pleasing enough for the reader to stick around and spend time on the page.

Once you’ve stretched your muscles with a few of these kinds of blogs, you’ll realise that long content like 1500+ words can do even better! Like this blog post you’re reading now! It’s very long, but look at how I’ve structured it—lots of useful subheadings, so you don’t even have to read the whole thing if you don’t want to.

How often should I blog?

If you’re just starting out, blogging is a new technique to try, so you need to start off gently, not crazy quick and burn out (I see you, fellow neurospicy people, I see you!). Start by blogging once a month, hitting publish, and sharing the links on social media. Once you’re into the swing of things, start blogging more regularly. Sometimes, you’ll go into a flurry and have six blog post ideas but schedule publishing dates.

If you have capacity and you’re quiet on the sales front, get blogging. You could be blogging once a week, go for it!

If you get a flurry of inspiration don’t be tempted to publish all at the same time, instead use the scheduling tool on your website. Whether it’s once/twice/three times a week, or a month, just do it regularly. Use the scheduler on your website platform to select a date and time to publish and then share the blog across your other platforms.

What time of day should I blog?

In the beginning, whenever works for you is the best time to blog. No one is tapping their fingers, wondering where your fresh blogs are. But after a while, you’ll see a pattern on Google Analytics of the time of day when your website is most popular. Do not analyse this too early, I suggest waiting a good while after you’ve started blogging as otherwise you’re going to suggest posting at 3 am on a Monday morning because you’ve blogged 3 times and that’s when you get hits. Don’t do that, your business is for you and needs to be built around you.

What should my first blog post be?

A great, easy way to figure out what to blog about first is to explain what you do and what people can expect from your blog. Do not assume anyone knows what you do on a day-to-day basis as your business. Honestly, you’d be surprised! Assume nothing and blog about it instead. Why did you start your business? What will you talk about on your blog? What are your hopes, your dreams, your aspirations? People are nosey, especially about small businesses, so share away.

What should I blog about?

But Maddy, I hear you cry, what DO I blog about?!

Well, you need to get brainstorming.

Your blog exists to share YOUR news, YOUR tips, YOUR tricks, YOUR advice and guidance. You are there to inspire, to motivate as you want to edge people closer to buying from you, so plugging your products and services is a good plan to inspire them.

Start by grabbing a notepad and think about the questions you get asked a lot. Look in your inbox, what are the most common questions? What questions do your clients always ask you? What are you asked by fellow professionals and peers? Write about those topics first.

If you’re new or you’re not asked anything, do not panic. Consider what you’d LOVE to be asked about—like dream destinations where you’d want to shoot if you’re a photographer, a particular way to use your products, or a way to display your art.

You could write about what projects you’re working on right now or events you’ve got coming up to spread the news.

If you sell a service, always share your favourite clients and tell those stories and how you helped them.

We cannot assume people know anything about what we sell, so write with that in mind.

Want to know more?

Check out these two podcast episodes to help you feel inspired:

Finding ideas for content

How to never run out of ideas again

I share much more about this in my paid programs and my SEO services over on Sassy and Soft so take a look.

What about keywords in your blogs?

You need to know what people are Googling to know how to match that with what you want to write. With the content ideas you collected in the step above, you now need to do some keyword research. Listen to how in my podcast – What are my keywords?

How personal should I get in my blogs + content?

If you’re curious on whether you should blog about personal stuff then first and foremost – there are no rules. The advice out there from an SEO standpoint is don’t do it, but that’s ignoring the fact that you’re a small business and you are a human being. You can talk about what you like, just don’t expect sales to necessarily come from it.

Where should the blog live?

I get asked a lot – do I need a live website to blog? Yes, your blog needs to live on the same website as where you sell your products + services. If you don’t have a website, you need to stick to other forms of marketing only.

If you have a blog on a different website than where you sell, you’re making life harder for yourself as you then have to work on getting TWO websites found on Google not just one.

You should add a link to your blog in the main menu of your website.

If you do not have a live website, then start practicing your writing muscles on social media with longer captions on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook.

Can I use affiliate links in my blog?

Yes! But you need to make it relevant. So it would be unusual if I were to share a link to my favourite cocktails-by-post brand in the middle of a blog about blogging, but maybe you’d like it. In fact, here it is: Get 10% off NIO Cocktails

In all seriousness, you can use affiliate links wherever you like, but make it clear that it’s an affiliate link; otherwise, it’s unethical and dodgy.

Should I include images in my blogs?

I get asked a lot about adding images to blogs. By all means, add visual interest with photos if you have them, or stock images if you don’t. I don’t use photos in my blogs because I have a very strong visual brand (you may have noticed).

I also get asked if using photos that you’ve used before is OK on your blog. Yes! People don’t remember and even if they do, you’re using them for a different topic, right?

Another popular question is, how many images are too many?

descriptions to images from one of my blogs I was checking for correct links (and checking they all open in a separate tab). Is that counting as optimising? Or just the main word content? Is it important to name and label images contained in blogs? A question about visual businesses… what’s a good balance of products and images? My website is too wordy, and I need to get more visuals in, but I don’t want to make it more difficult to find!

Should I include videos in my blogs?

Of course, videos are a great way to increase the chances of people engaging with you and you can embed videos in your blogs too.

If you find it easier to create a video than write, then film a video and embed it from YouTube or Vimeo. Do not upload it directly to your website; it will slow your website down horribly, which will hurt your SEO and user-friendliness (who waits around for a slow website? not me.) You can then use any kind of transcription service (there are loads of AI ones now, too) to give you a transcript of your video, and that can be edited into a blog.

What about updating old blogs?

Can I republish an old blog? If you republish an old blog, would Google consider that new content for those keywords or it’s just in their ‘book of words’ from before when you first published? Is it worth going back to work on old blogs to get them seen? 1. How do I get old blogs onto Google? I’ve got a blog going back 10 years but with some rubbish posts/not great pics (I’m a photographer) – should I delete old posts or rework them? Some of them use valuable keywords which I could do better with now. Is it useful to update old blogs??? Will that fool Google with adding those keywords? But if they are old, will people still find them? Is it okay to promote an older blog post on social feeds? Its it worth going back to old blogs and updating them with keywords? Should you edit and republish older blogs?

I’m a rubbish writer, do I still need to blog?

Wasn’t it Maya Angelou who said “I have written eleven books but each time I think uh-oh, they’re going to find out now’ I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out’.

You do not have to be a good writer. Here are the tools that can help you feel more confident though

  • Use Grammarly Chrome extension (it’s free!) to help you with spelling and grammar
  • Use Google Docs Voice Typing tool (it’s free!) so you can talk to the computer and it will write out what you’re saying
  • Explain your tips and advice like you’re speaking to an alien who doesn’t know what you do 

How does blogging help my social media?

I love how blogging and social media can work hand in hand, but so many people treat them as entirely separate. Your social media can send people to your blog and vice versa! Let me share an example:

If you write a blog that shares five tips or five key points about a topic then that can be at least 10 pieces of social media content (not all at once and you must mix it up with other stuff!)

  1. One image sharing the link (yes on Instagram you cannot share the link in the caption but you can share it in the link in your bio and direct people to there!)

2-6. One post sharing five graphics each with the heading from each of the five tips

7. One behind-the-scenes post on why you wnated to share the tips (this can be an extract from your blog)

8. One Reel making the thing you’re talking about in the blog

9. One Tiktok repurposing the Reel you made above

10. Create Instagram Stories about the blog and share the link sticker to the blog

Want to know more?

Read my blog post – Six things to do with your blog once you’ve hit publish

How do I share my blogs?

I get asked a lot about how to share the blogs once you’ve written them and hit publish so here are a few ideas:

  1. Add the latest blog post to your email signature
  2. Add the latest blog post to your autoresponder with a short sentence about why it is timely / relevant / valuable
  3. Send relevant blog posts in enquiry messages / emails to help convert leads + enquiries into bookings
  4. Send out the blog post to your email list with a top and tail to make it look like an email, and after the first paragraph add a link “Want to read this as a blog instead? Click here”
  5. Share the blog link on social media
  6. Repurpose into social media posts (five tips in the blog become five social media posts)
  7. Create a Reel about the blog
  8. Share the blog with your email list
  9. Share the link sticker to your blog on your Instagram Stories
  10. Update the link in your Instagram link in bio

Should I accept other people writing on my blog? Should I write for other people’s blogs?

Featuring other people’s posts from other professionals in your field is a great way to share audiences, and to associate yourself in a particular area so that readers know more about you. Reach out to other pros and ask them if they’d like to write for your blog. Writing a few short questions for them if they say yes will help inspire them to be specific.

Publishing on other people’s blogs earns you a new audience, boosts your traffic as the link on the new site will earn you a great backlink to your site.

To increase your audience, you could interview pros you admire in your field, perhaps get their take on the current trends in your area, interview yourself so potential clients can see what you’re all about! They want to get to know you before they trust you to book your services.

Great news! I wrote a blog all about this – it’s called Guest Blogging: The Ultimate Guide

Is there a particular way I should format a blog post?

Whilst there is no set-in-stone way, there is a format that I would recommend:

Consider your title

  • Put the question you’re answering in the title E.g. How to learn origami in 5 easy steps
  • If you want to be more creative with your blog posts then use the keyword phrase first, then the funny title afterwards. It’ll help your ranking by using the keyword phrase whilst also appealing to your target audience.

Introduce

Identify and understand the problem you’re about to solve for the reader (they don’t know about the range of your photography skills, they don’t know how to put together a particular theme, they don’t know about the skills you have to offer, the list goes on)

Share your expertise

Show off great examples that demonstrate your expertise (the best images from that wedding, or great photography for a DIY tutorial)

Conclude

With a purpose and call to action (what do you want them to do next?)

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So, there you have it, the inside scoop on how to blog and how long a blog post should be. Want to dive in deeper? Come check out my paid programs and get your website to the top of Google thanks to your blog.

Related blogs + podcasts

https://maddyshine.co.uk/seo-for-beginners/

https://maddyshine.co.uk/why-arent-i-getting-more-sales/

Maddy x
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Maddy Shine - Visibility Expert