As bloggers, we often hear (and tell ourselves) that numbers don’t matter. We believe that quality is more important than quantity, and many of us don’t like the idea of “selling out” in order to gain more numbers.
However, if you’re genuinely wanting your blog to grow, you’re paying attention to the numbers in some way. It’s how you gauge how your blog is growing, or what areas you need to pay more attention to.
I recently asked many blog readers (both those who read mine, and those who don’t) to participate in a survey to answer some of my questions when it comes to numbers.
I’ve always genuinely wondered if having more “likes” on Facebook, or more followers on Bloglovin’ created the impression that your blog is more worth reading. Because of this, I asked:
When picking between two very similar blogs, are you more likely to follow a blog with under 500 readers, or a blog with over 2,000 readers?
It looks like the opinion varies. This is good news for us! Most of the readers questioned prefer bloggers with fewer readers. This is likely because they enjoy more interaction with the blogger, and it is more difficult for a blogger with more readers to interact with and reply to everyone.
There is one big advantage to having more followers, though: You’ll reach even more readers just by having readers. There will be more people who are sharing your posts, you’ll show up in more Facebook news feeds, and you’ll show up under “Who to Follow” on Twitter. It’s a chain reaction.
I also wondered what readers specifically thought of Facebook numbers. It is difficult to gain Facebook likes, especially when a page is new, so I asked:
Do you think a Facebook page with less than 100 likes is doing something wrong?
Overwhelmingly, readers said no! This is wonderful news, since Facebook does not make gaining likes easy (or cheap).
What about Twitter, though? How many people should you be following? We’ve often seen bloggers who have several thousand followers, but only follow a small amount. This may send a message to readers that the blogger doesn’t want to interact with them. Does that have an impact on how many people they’re reaching?
Are you likely to follow a Twitter user who follows less than 1% of their followers? (i.e. has 5,000 followers, but only follows 50 people)
This seems pretty obvious to me. You may have a large following, but if you follow people in return, your following will be even larger.
As far as quality over quantity, many blogging gurus suggest posting 3-5 times per week. Others say that you shouldn’t post if you don’t have quality content.
Are you more likely to follow a blog that posts at least three times per week?
I think the key is to find a balance. Not every post is going to be a home run, but you can post frequently without compromising the quality of your blog. If you need some ideas, there are several places you can find inspiration. I’ve even posted a list of blog prompts, and you can find many more lists like that one if you search on Pinterest.
How long should a blog post be, anyway? This is a question I was pondering last week, and the initial inspiration for this survey. This chart’s a little different, and you’ll see why.
How long should a blog post be?
There are some readers (I’m guessing those who like to skim hundreds of blogs) who believe that just a few sentences is enough for a post, but most readers believe that 2-5 paragraphs are enough. However, a paragraph can be as long or short as it needs to be in order to reach its end.
For example, this one.
In school, I learned that a paragraph should have at least five sentences, and a sentence should have at least 5 words. Obviously, our blog posts aren’t being graded, and we’re free to structure our sentences however we want, but I think that making sure you have two to five beefy paragraphs is a good place to start.
This is all assuming you’re not making a list. We love lists in blogland.
I am of the personal opinion that a longer blog post can only help you. It helps your readers find ways to connect, gives you plenty of room to fully explain and express your thoughts, and in general, it just gives your blog more content.
Because of this, I’m offering a week long challenge: Create a post 500 words long every (week)day next week.
My hope is that, if you join in with me, we can get back to writing. I want to get back to really writing, with sentences and paragraphs. I want to have complete thoughts. Are you up for the challenge?