As I continue to write on this blog, I have been conducting research on ways to get more traffic to my site with the goal being to pull in a big enough audience to begin monetizing the site. It’s a lot harder than one would think it would be because of the way the search algorithms work, so unless you have an active audience that shares your content, you have to figure out ways of manipulating your content to get your articles to be looked at more than those who just write what they want. This is something I will struggle with for a long time because I don’t want to compromise the way I write to accommodate technology, but you can’t really get anywhere if you don’t.
One of the factors that has consistently come up in my research has been that longer articles tend to do better than shorter ones. Some of the recommendations go as high as 1,500 words per article, and while I can certainly extend my articles out that far, it just seems overly pedantic to do so. I’ve always felt that it was ridiculous to use ten words when five would do, and worrying about word count rather than focusing on the topic takes away from the quality in my opinion.
I previous wrote about writing for shorter attention spans, and the idea for that article came after I read a few paragraphs of an article on a subject I’m actually interested in and gave up on it because they just wouldn’t get to the point. The entire thing felt bloated and unwieldy, and as I sat there mucking my way through the unnecessary filler, all I could think was why am I still reading this? It seemed to me that most people are like this, and we could all benefit from writers who cut their content down to the bare essentials and convey only the words necessary to make their point.
This obvious is in contradiction to the statistics, however. Longer and more wordy posts apparently do significantly better than shorter posts that are more succinct. I try to keep my posts between eight and ten paragraphs, and I try to keep those paragraphs between three and five sentences, and I’ve noticed that hitting 1,500 words within those constraints is very difficult without writing huge, nearly run on sentences. Who wants to read that? I certainly don’t. I can’t even get through the first three paragraphs if the point of the article doesn’t surface by then.
It is one of the biggest frustrations in my life that my personality just doesn’t click with the way that the world works. I am a very direct, get to the point kind of person living in a world where everyone wants to dance around the subject hoping to impress you, or at least not offend you. This unfortunately has the effect of causing me to struggle to make it in situations where others seem to flourish. I am a contradictory person, and I hate conforming to the ways of others. It is difficult to be this kind of person when trying to use a system that thrives on conformity.
All this being said, while sometimes you just have to learn to change your ways to accommodate the things you need to do to make it, I prefer to stick to my short and sweet approach to writing. I could start adding extra superfluous paragraphs and use flowery language trying to catch up to the algorithms, but I just don’t want to do that. It isn’t my style, and my writing will suffer trying to be someone that I’m not. I can only hope that with enough time, enough people will come across this blog and find it valuable enough to share with others. Word of mouth can be almost as good as SEO optimization.
The point of this post is partly to lament my struggles with the internet, but also to tell you that you should always stick to who you are. Adapting yourself to meet the expectations of others, even if it means you might succeed, isn’t being true to yourself. It is better to have smaller success doing what makes you you than to sacrifice what makes you great to appease a wider audience. You might make more money, but you won’t be as happy. Fulfillment is in what we do and how we do it, not how much money it makes us.
What do you think about being who you are? Do you like this tendency to drone on in today’s articles, or do you value someone who just get’s to the point? Would you support that person if you knew that they wouldn’t make it otherwise? We tend to think that quality is everything, but sometimes you can be really good at what you do and still never get noticed. Let’s not leave it up to the system to decide what is valuable. With a little bit of effort, we can lift up those whose work we respect and encourage them to do their best work regardless of algorithms.
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