Rules are an important part of life – they help keep activities organized, and they also prevent others from wasting time or effort in unproductive activities. In every aspect of our lives there are official and unofficial rules that need to be followed.
Blogging is no exception.
Almost every guide about blogging has a strict set of rules, and almost every expert blogger advises strict adherence to these rules. In almost every case, these expert bloggers are totally correct and justified in handing out their unbreakable rules about blogging.
Almost every case.
You see, there are times when these rules about blogging don’t help you. Times when these rules lead to ineffective content.
There are times when these rules need to be broken.
Here are four rules about blogging that you need to break:
When dealing with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), many gurus place a lot of importance on keywords. In fact, there are entire guides dedicated to nothing but keywords, from researching and selecting the right keywords, having the right keyword density, and proper usage of keywords.
Keywords aren’t that important in SEO!
When determining how your website will rank, there are a number of factors that result in ranking your website – and keywords are just a small part of the ranking system. While we don’t know exactly how important they are, other aspects of SEO such as user interaction and engagement are just as or even more important in securing a high ranking than using key words. As a matter of fact, keywords are quickly become less important in getting onto that coveted #1 spot on your search rankings.
You may hear quite often that “Google loves frequently updated content”, or that Google is “head over heels” for recently published content.
But much like that infatuated lover who is totally convinced that their new squeeze feels the same way about them, this isn’t the full story. The honest truth is, Google really likes your updated content but wants to get to know it a bit better before making a commitment.
While Google does show some preference towards regularly updated content, randomly updating your content will not do you any favours with the big G. This information comes from no less of an authority than Matt Cutts, responsible for SEO at Google. Matt has pointed out that it’s the quality of the update that counts, and not the update itself. Instead of focusing on keeping your blog or content “fresh”, work on producing evergreen content that people can share and like long after your published post’s date.
Writing for a broad audience
Conventional wisdom surrounding content creation is that you should make your content as easy as possible to understand. The reasoning behind this is that you never know where your audience is coming from – they may be a non-native English speaker, have a different level of literacy, or simply not be familiar with the terms and jargon that you may want to use.
While you certainly don’t want to make your content overly complicated or confusing, you should always be catering to your audience. If the majority of your audience is familiar with jargon from a certain area or niche, then it’s perfectly fine to use these words or phrases in your content. In fact, each blog post should be written as if it was directed to just one person that embodies the characteristics of your target audience
If you worry too much about an audience that doesn’t fit your target then you can easily begin to lose focus and turn away your intended audience.
There is a huge current shift on exactly how long your written content should be. Previously, the idea was that people had the attention spans of a kitten with ADHD surrounded by balls of swinging string, and that the shorter the content, the better.
Now, however, the content experts are pushing the “longer is better” angle, with one well known blogger suggesting that new bloggers may be wasting their time publishing anything under 1000 words.
The idea that post length makes for better posts does come from concrete data – especially in the form of this study that shows that longer blog posts gain more interaction and converts more leads.
Write however much you need to write.
Your post length should be directly proportional to what you need to say – if you can adequately deliver your message in 500 words, write 500 words. If you need 1500 words to deliver your message, then do so. Never worry about post length, but always make sure that your message is sufficiently detailed without going off topic or fluffing.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t listen to conventional wisdom on blogging – by and large, following the rules about blogging will definitely help to make your content better. That being said, there are times when you need to break the rules in order to provide to transcend the barrier from ordinary content to extraordinary content.
Are there any rules about blogging that you’re breaking right now? Join the conversation and share them below!