7 Things Last Year Taught Us About Blogging
The internet is a constantly evolving animal. Blogger advice received today might not be accurate tomorrow.
Well, maybe not that quick. It does often seem like things change overnight.
Last year was a huge year for blogging. That knowledge is a big part of what prompted me to start this blog in November.
I’m a big numbers person. If you’ve read my Tale of a New Blogger series, you already know that. In my free time, not that I have a lot these days, I enjoy looking at stats. I know. I told you I was a little crazy.
Recently, I was curious about how many other bloggers got their start last year. There doesn’t seem to be clear answer to that question. I pulled up estimates from 5 million to 200 million.
Part of the difficulty is that sites view blogs differently. I tend to think of sites like mine as blogs. But many statistians view profiles on social media like tumbler, facebook and Twitter to be blogs. Hence the big different is estimations.
The other reason for no answer is the big blogger platforms have stopped releasing blog stats.
While I was researching this question, I came across two great posts that reaffirmed some of the lessons I have already about blogging and a few new ones. Here are the top XX lessons.
1. People Love Blogs
Blogs have become the go-to for people looking for advice, instruction or purchasing recommendations. An astounding 81% of internet users feel that blogs are a reliable source to get this information.
That means that 4 out of 5 people reading your posts trust what you have to say. There’s great power in that but also great responsibility.
That said, most readers prefer to skim posts. On overage, only 37 seconds is spent on a blog post. Readers tend to skip as much as 60% of blog content.
Does that mean you should write shorter posts?
In a word, no.
2. Size Does Matter
Google states that their top ranked content was between 1,140-1285 words in length.
Word count is increasing overall per last year’s stats. The average length of a blog post in 2016 was 1,054. In 2017, that average jumped to 1,142.
Long posts perform better. In fact, if your post is recommending a product or service, 9-times as many leads are produced from long posts when compared to short posts.
Longer posts, even if the reader only skims half of it, engender trust in your reader. Of those readers, 61% will ultimately make a purchase based on that recommendation.
There are some bloggers writing very short posts and being successful. As a rule, though, the longer posts produce more page views and better lead rates.
3. Pictures Draw Traffic
Everyone likes a nice picture. Think of the posts you are most drawn to as you are browsing social media.
This fact is sometimes forgotten by bloggers. Stop forgetting. The blogging stats in this area are impressive.
Blog posts with pictures and/or info graphics average 94% more page views than text only posts. That’s nearly double.
Videos, and this was a surprise to me, increase results from organic search by as much as 157%.
You may see videos on this site in the near future.
In regard to infographics, their use grew from 50% utilization to 58% in just one year. Condensed infographics are frequently the top performers on social media as well.
4. Frequency Makes an Impact
So I’m a little torn on this one. When I first decided I was going to start a blog, I visited many sites that recommended posting every day. When I browsed those sites what I frequently found was an abundance of garbage.
I hate to be brutal, but that’s the truth. Some of the bloggers are getting a lot of page views, but I honestly don’t see how. At least, I can’t imagine them getting much return traffic.
With this blog I’ve tried to follow the quality over quantity mindset.
But I might have to rethink that concept. I hope to never publish garbage, but I am seriously thinking about increasing post frequency.
Of more than 1300 bloggers polled, bloggers that posted more than daily saw more than double the results as those posting once a week. Those posting daily saw about a 10% increase as opposed to those posting 2-6 each week.
Again, I’m not sure how I feel about this stat. For one, these results are from a poll, not hard data.
Can polls be trusted?
Some people are not entirely honest when it comes to polls. Two, I can’t help but wonder if the increase in results in not purely just a result of putting out more content.
This brings two expressions to mind. One, even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. In this case, even a terrible blogger will produce something of value from time to time.
The second expression is something one of my old bosses used to say in regard to sales, if you throw enough stuff at the wall, something is bound to stick.
One hard stat I could find was that 16 blog posts a month seems to be the magic number if you can’t post every day. Per one study, posting 16 times in a month produces 3.5-times the results as posting just once a week.
I am going to give this topic some serious thought. Probably I’ll stalk a bunch of blogs to see if I can discern real value in posting every day. I’ll write a later post on what I find.
One caveat, I hope I didn’t offend anyone with my “garbage” comment. If I follow your blog, please know that means I don’t think your blog is garbage. The ones I was so disappointed in will remain nameless. If you visit many blogs, you likely know which ones I refer to anyway.
5. Odd is Good
It seems like I have heard this somewhere before, but it still surprised me. List posts with an odd number of items are 20% more effective than those with an even number.
Yes, that is why this post has an odd number in the title.
On the top of lists, up to 36% of readers prefer a list article over a traditional text post.
I’m more than a little odd, so you will see me continue to be so. At least now I have a valid reason for it.
6. Updates Are Worth Your Time
If you’ve been blogging for any time at all, you’ve been told not to forget your old content. My blog is less than six months old, so I don’t really have any old content. Well, maybe some of the earliest stuff. But I digress.
Taking the time to update an old blog post can increase search result value by 75%. Merely changing the title of an old post can raise click rates by more than 10%. Yes, only about 55% of bloggers revisit old content.
Ask yourself, what is easier? To spend a day, or 3.5 hours on average, to produce a new quality post OR to spend an hour revamping an old post? Actually, changing a post title takes less than five minutes.
The older I get, the more I need things to be easy. This morning I revamped two blog posts to increase SEO and improve quality. It took me less than an hour total to refresh both posts.
7. Content Shouldn’t Be Deleted
I imagine that over time it may be tempting to delete old posts or poor performing ones. That recommendation is that you don’t.
About 10% of posts continue to increase in traffic generation over time. They are referred to as compounding posts and produce around 38% of total blog traffic.
There doesn’t seem to be a clear path to what makes these posts compound. Most were well performing posts at publication.
Occasionally, and apparently at random, an old post will sometimes take off. Maybe it’s just a matter of the right person sharing the post at the right time.
Whatever the case, as a blogger you quite literally put your blood (okay, hopefully not blood), sweat and tears into your blog. Don’t diminish the value of that effort by deleting posts.
If the post is truly bad, take the time to turn it into something great. But don’t delete it.
Additional Stats of Interest
Of the posts that go viral, 25% inspire a sense of awe or shock from the reader, 17% make the reader laugh.
A business can see an increase of up to 97% in inbound links from having a blog.
There are a lot of social media, content and email marketing stats I did not use in this article. If you would like to read those or refer to the site that I consulted for most of these stats, you can do that here.
Have you learned any blogging lessons recently? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Blogs grow in popularity through recommendations. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others or on social media. I will be eternally grateful