There is a lot of competition for audiences these days, and optimizing for SEO is more important than ever. A lot of the websites you’ll be competing with have had years to compile huge amounts of content. To stand out, your content must be in depth and high quality. Long-form content is absolutely perfect for that purpose.
When it comes to WordPress, “long form” means at least one thousand words, and often much longer. Long-form articles give you a great opportunity to really dig into topics that your readers are interested in learning about. Read on to learn about why you should write long-form content, and how to make your content better than the competition.
Why should you write long-form content?
Readers are on your site longer
“The more content you provide, the more time users will spend on your site. Keep your readers interested, and they’ll keep reading. The more time they spend on the site, the greater chance there is that they’ll decide to click on one of your links and read another article,” recommends Dexter Gomez, writer at Academized. Write a solid long-form article, and keep people coming back for more in-depth content.
Increase your user engagement
Long-form content provides a greater chance of starting up some interesting debates and discussions between users. An active comments section is one sign of a healthy community that’s interested in what you have to say. The more content, the greater chance of comments, and the greater chance of your article being shared.
You’ll become an authority
“Conducting some in-depth research pays off. If you do your homework and compile and organize your findings into an authoritative blog post, you will gain some serious credibility. You can create a high-quality blog post that people will love if you spend some time writing a piece that is well researched and well argued,” writes Almeta Olson, content manager at AustralianHelp. Doing that takes time and a lot of critical thinking. People will naturally begin to turn to you as an authority on the subject.
Watch your SEO (search engine optimization) improve
If you’re a fan of improving your post’s rankings in Google search results, then long-form content is the way to go. SerpIQ conducted a survey that studied more than twenty thousand keywords. They found that the average length of each of the top ten spots was more than two thousand words. You also have the added benefit of having more room to include backlinks, which also improve your article’s SEO.
How to format your long-form content:
Make your content more digestible by using subheadings
Subheadings are great for making long-form content more approachable. Your goal should be for each subheading to be as descriptive as possible. People like to know what they’re about to read. They are especially useful for things like step-by-step instructions, and other long sections.
Optimize your images to decrease page loading time
Some impressive images can really enhance the quality of your post, but it’s important to optimize them so your page doesn’t take forever to load. The longer your page loading time, the more people will click away without reading. Try out some WordPress image compression plugins such as Imagify, WP Smush, and Optimus Image Optimizer.
Lists are useful
Lists are very helpful for breaking down large walls of texts into an easily approachable format. They are perfect for scanning, which is how a lot of readers will engage with your content. They also improve your article’s structure. Lists are great for showing benefits, features, pros, and cons. Everybody loves a good list, especially on the internet.
Include a table of contents
Put all your main points into a table of contents. A well-thought-out and descriptive table of contents gives the reader a good idea of what they’re getting into. Readers also appreciate this feature, because it allows them to jump to a section with a click, rather than scrolling down, looking for it. Table of Contents Plus is a helpful plugin for WordPress.
Proofread and double check your grammar
It’s important that your article is properly proofread and polished. Grammatical mistakes and typos can take away from the overall appeal of your writing. Try out some online tools for help with the process. Here are a few that can help:
- StateofWriting / MyWritingWay
Grammar can be quite the stumbling block for many bloggers, but it doesn’t need to be. These grammar tools can take the pain out of perfecting your post’s grammar.
- BigAssignments / UKWritings
These proofreading resources are excellent for helping you produce long-form content that is polished and professional. They know their stuff, and have been recommended in UKWritings review.
- ViaWriting / SimpleGrad
These are writing blogs where you can check in on what other writers have been learning. You will find posts about all things writing, including how to improve your long-form articles.
- Essayroo / Boomessays
Use these editing tools, recommended by AustralianReviewer, to review your editing process and improve it. Even if you feel like you’re an editing pro, there are always new and innovative tips for editing your posts.
- WritingPopulist / AcademAdvisor
These are writing guides that will walk you, step by step, through the writing process. You’ll find your writing process becomes more organized and efficient if you use a writing guide.
Optimize your long-form content for SEO
Your post’s long word count will help with SEO, but it’s important to look into other ways of improving your post’s position. Plugins like Yoast can help you with keyword density, nofollow links, passive voice, and meta descriptions.
Include a post reading time
People like to know what sort of time commitment they’re looking at. It’s easy to add this feature in with WordPress plugins such as the Reading Time plugin. Tinker around with different ways and styles of displaying the reading time and find what suits your material the best.
Stay organized by using an editorial calendar
Editorial calendars are great for helping you visually plan out your posting schedule. You can plot out when, where, and how you’ll share your content. Tools such as Asana, CoSchedule, and Trello can help you keep your tasks organized.
Writing long-form content takes time and research, but the effort is worth it. Your readers will spend more time on the site, user engagement will go up, you’ll become an authority, and your site’s SEO will improve. Long-form content doesn’t have to be a difficult task, just be prepared to put in the time and follow the tips discussed in this article.
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