You’re waist deep running your business, so you don’t have time to write content for your website. And your customers are even busier.
So what do you do? Of course! - skimp on your website words because no one will read them, right?
Not so fast.
Have You Heard That Lawyer Joke?
No one reads the fine print in contracts. Except the other guy’s lawyer.
That old joke can be applied to your website. Most people won’t read your web pages, or view your portfolio, or even visit your contact form.
But your customers aren’t most people. Your customers, the people who desperately want what you’re selling are your best readers, and will stay on your site the longest.
If you fail to explain that your catering company offers gluten-free alternatives because you’re afraid of having "too many words on a page", then your gluten-sensitive prospects will move on to a business website that over-communicates that option to them.
For Better Results, Add More Words to Your Website, Not Less
You can’t edit a bad movie into a blockbuster just by shortening it. And you can’t make a boring webpage more engaging just by gutting out all the words.
Often the opposite is true. You can better attract and engage potential customers by using as many words you need to answer every question and objection a prospect can have.
Think about it. Which is faster for a busy person - skimming a single website to find a specific answer, or searching around Google to discover what she’s looking for?
And what creates more buyer anxiety - having to call you to ask about your product or service, or seeing the answer clearly laid out on your website?
Google prefers to rank “high quality” content in their search engine. But how does their algorithm understand what’s quality?
They don’t. So they use signals and hints about the content on a webpage. In the same way we guess that a man in a suit is successful, Google guesses that long content is better content.
Actually, if you don’t have enough content on a page, Google may actively penalize your page and not allow it to appear for search results. But if you write in-depth content, there’s a chance Google may specially feature your page.
Exactly how many words is good for SEO? Don’t worry about that. Make sure your pages give searchers what they’re looking for, no matter how long you need to make it, and the rankings will take care of themselves.
More Words = Better for Social Media
Should you keep content brief for social media sake?
“We analyzed the top 10% most shared articles... according to our research...long-form content actually gets shared more than short-form content.”
If getting people to spread your website pages on Facebook and Twitter is important for you then don’t artificially cap your word count.
Writing Is a Visual Art
Making a photo look beautiful, and making text on a website look attractive follows the same set of rules.
Do you understand framing, balance, contrast, and negative space in the context of photography and design? If so, then you know what it takes to make your website text look appealing and readable.
The easiest way to beautify your words is to give them room to breath. And the fastest way to do that is by using the three sentence rule for paragraphs.
Pro-Tip: Break-Up Your Paragraphs
In high school you’re taught this paragraph structure:
Introduce an idea
Detail your idea
Transition to a new idea
This rigid formula leads you into writing paragraphs that are at least 5 sentences long.
Following that format will get you an “A” in class. But those long paragraphs will scare away your website readers!
And here’s a secret. Not even English teachers enjoy reading a wall of text. (And I should know because I used to teach and tutor English according to this dumb rule.)
Here’s a better way. At random I chose an article from the New York Times and copied the introduction. Notice the paragraph pattern:
One sentence again.
Writers and editors for professional magazines know how to structure text to make it inviting and readable. They never go over three sentences. And one sentence paragraphs are sprinkled in for emphasis and style.
Scrap the rules you learned in school and imitate pro writers. Break up those paragraphs!
Here's the Bottom Line
You can write as much content on a page as you want, if you:
1. give readers what they’re looking for and
2. style your paragraphs correctly.
If you're still doubtful, then consider this - you read this long blog post, didn’t you? :)