It’s no surprise that blogging changes quickly. If you want to stay relevant, you have to keep up with the latest trends. Those who fall behind often lose readers, search engine rankings, and social media shares. You can stay on top of your blogging game by recognising the importance of these four recent trends.
Quality and Length Become More Important
Extremely short blog posts have never done very well because Google rarely gives them high rankings. If your post has fewer than 300 words, Google won’t give it much attention. From the search engine’s perspective, this makes sense because short blog posts rarely offer high-quality information that its users want to read.
Getting attention from search engines, however, is just one reason that today’s bloggers write longer posts. They do it because they face so much competition from other writers. Saying something substantial takes more than a few hundred words, so bloggers have started to invest more length and time to creating content that readers will want to share with other people.
When you look at social media shares, it becomes obvious that few people want to share short articles. Articles under 500 words rarely get shared. If you really want your work to go viral, your content should exceed 1,500 words.
Don’t make the mistake of writing longer articles without adding strong ideas and research. Expanding a 500-word article to 1,500 words will frustrate readers who want to get information quickly. Always put quality first.
Higher quality means that bloggers need to spend more time researching and writing content. Luckily, you don’t have to publish daily posts to stay relevant. Google will reward you for publishing at least once per week. Readers will reward you for putting in more effort instead of wasting their time with nonsense.
Style Guides Gain Prominence
While some websites remain dedicated to publishing the works of one writer, most sites have opened their doors to multiple bloggers. This approach lets websites publish more content and attract more readers without sacrificing quality.
Having several bloggers publish on one platform has its advantages, but it can also lead to chaos. If each writer likes to take his or her unique approach to making content, then sites can start to look like loose collections of posts instead of a comprehensive platform where readers know they will find high-quality information.
Creating a style guide makes it easier for every writer to follow the same rules. Once you have a style guide, editors don’t have to spend as much time combing through articles to make sure they use consistent spellings, punctuations, and layouts. For instance, if you tell writers that you prefer using serial commas, then you will see fewer posts that follow the Associated Press’s instruction to drop the final comma in a list.
Developing a unique style guide for your website will take some time and effort. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, though, since plenty of websites have already gone through the process of creating style guides. You can learn a lot by reading CopyPress’s white paper about the importance of style guides and how to create them. This free resource will help you focus on elements that will give your site a coherent, professional look that attracts readers, clients, and advertisers.
Readers Shy Away From Clickbait
Plenty of websites still use clickbait to attract readers. Over time, though, internet users have learned how to spot clickbait. A publisher can only trick people a certain number of times before readers learn to avoid misleading headlines. Even when clickbait attracts readers, websites that use the strategy lose authority. It doesn’t take long before a website erodes its credibility by using sensationalised headlines that don’t deliver on their promises.
Clickbait has become such a problem that Facebook adopted standards to prevent it from spreading on its social media platform. Facebook’s latest updates track when people click headlines and quickly navigate away from those pages. Leaving the page within a few seconds indicates that the headline misleads readers.
Facebook also scrutinises headlines that intentionally withhold important information. For instance, if you use a headline such as “She Went Shopping and You’ll Never Believe What She Found,” you’re intentionally withholding information about who and what the article is about. When you do that, Facebook attempts to lower the article’s distribution in News Feeds.
Considering that readers have learned to recognise clickbait and social media companies have started to devalue misleading headlines, smart writers used accurate, detailed titles for their 2016 posts.
Fewer Websites Let Readers Post Comments
Websites started phasing out reader comments in 2014. In 2016, however, even more, recognised that comment sections didn’t help them produce better content or build communities of readers. NPR announced in August that it would discontinue online comments. Other popular sites that have abandoned comments include CNN, Reuters, USA Today, and Mic.
Bloggers have plenty of good reasons to stop using comments. Moderating comments takes a lot of time. Without moderating, though, a website will attract a lot of inappropriate comments that average readers don’t want to see. Many websites and bloggers have decided that they would rather spend time developing great content instead of weeding out offensive comments that don’t offer any merit. Blogging, after all, is a business. If you waste time on comments, you waste money on them, too.
Website developers have also realised that readers who want to post comments can do so on social media websites. Why make a comments section when Twitter, Facebook, and dozens of other social media sites do the job for you? Since those features already exist on social media, it doesn’t make sense for individual websites to include them on their pages.
Blogging will continue to change as the internet and other technologies evolve. No matter what happens, it’s obvious that writers and other content creators need to pay close attention to the latest trends. If you don’t keep up, innovative sites will grab more attention until few people visit your site regularly.
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