Watch your Word-Count as you Build a Better Blog

This entry is part 25 of the series Build a Better Blog

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One question that is asked over and over again in blogging circles is, “What is the ideal word-count for a blog post?”

Now that we’ve reached W in the A to Z challenge, it seems a good time to look further at this question. So

W is for Watch your Word-count.

Some will tell you readers have limited time to read, so short is best. They will tell you that you’re more likely to reach more people and gain more comments, if you stick to short punchy posts.

Others say readers don’t spend time reading longer posts, they will only skim the text, but if they spot interesting information, they will stop to read. Therefore the longer posts are better. Certainly the Search Engines are more likely to spot keywords in longer posts and, it is often argued, the longer the better from the SEO point of view.

When I first started blogging it was an accepted fact that the ideal word-count was around 500 words. Why? Because readers could see the post on their screen without needing to scroll down. That of course is no longer the situation, what with the smaller laptop screens and even smaller tablets.

Add to this the estimated 51% of readers who do most of their internet reading on their mobile phones.

  • We need to get our eyes off the word-count issue 

    • It is true that readers have little time.
    • It is also true they skim the text on the look-out for interesting information.
    • And it is true that the Search Engines are more likely to spot keywords in longer posts (and you also have more opportunity to use the keywords.)
    • But it all depends on what you have to say, who you are writing for, and how succinctly you can use your words.
    • The real key is what do you have to say, and how many words do you need?
It's not how many words makes an ideal blog post, but how many do you NEED? #atozchallenge. Click To Tweet
  • There really isn’t an ideal word-count 

    • but there are a number of factors to take into consideration.
  • Posts need to be at least 300 words

    • in order to rank well with search engines.
    • Provided you write well and include several keywords, you may be able to produce good content in 300 words—as long as you only have one main point you want to make.
  • Posts shorter than that, say around 250 words,

    • may well get more comments, although they will not rank with SEO.
    • You’re not likely to be able to use enough keywords to satisfy the search engines, nor do you want to. “Keyword stuffing” will not only deprive you of quality, you may well be penalized by Google™.
  • A post of 1,000 words is likely to rank well,

    • but it is more difficult to write. You need to hold your readers’ attention throughout.
    • You will need to make more than one point.
  • The highest ranking blog posts are often around 2,450 words.

    • But that’s a huge word-count! Not everyone can write that length and hold the readers’ interest.
    • It would be difficult to produce on a regular basis.
    • There’s no point in writing that length of blog if no one is interested in the topic.
    • So before trying that length, it is important to ensure people want to read about your topic.
  • Longer blog posts are more SEO friendly

    • because they can absorb more keywords in the content without overload.
    • You will probably have more images, headings and links, which search engines look for.
    • You will cover more than one or two points, so if you think carefully about your keywords your post will turn up more on readers’ searches.

The following infographic (which I hope will show up on the mobile screens) sums up the matter of word-counts.

Check out this infographic, the 'Ideal Word Count' for a blog post. . #atozchallenge Click To Tweet

wordcound infographic

Build a Better BlogOver to you: 

What length of blog do you prefer to write?
What length do you prefer to read?
I’d love you to answer in the comment section below.

FURTHER POSTS TO READ:

 

  • Interesting Images
  • Joy of Journaling
  • K for Kindle and KDP
  • L is for Live and Learn
  • M is for Marketing Methods
  • N is for Nuggets and News
  • O is for Ongoing Opportunities
  • P is for Plan with Purpose
  • Q is for Quest for Quality

 

 

 

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Special offer on Kindle Publishing Made Easy, a hands-on course. Expires end April. #atozchallenge Click To Tweet

38 comments on “Watch your Word-Count as you Build a Better Blog

  1. Great post, Shirley. I find myself in the 300 – 500 words range. Graphics, bullets points and photos make a difference, too. I think it is hard to read big blocks of text.

    • Hi Aj,
      Thanks again for the visit. Yes, I use lots of headings, bold fonts and lists as well. I also normally use quite a few images (not a picture post, but more than I’ve done this month.) My theme this month was way too time-absorbing to allow for hunting for images. I find they take almost as long as writing the actual post! Also, I plan to put these posts into an e-book with a few additions, so I didn’t want a lot of images.

  2. I have never counted words since typing class. I sit down and write, period. Just typed hotwater cornbread into google search, from a recent entry, ranked #2. LOL I love it! Just typed Perspectives into google, same result! Not on first page pf others. But, for my purposes, Google rocks.
    Perspectives at Life & Faith in Caneyhead

    • Yes, I love it when I type something into Google and I’m up near the top. It doesn’t always happen of course, but it’s great when it does! Thanks for visiting, Barbara.

    • Hi Jean, I enjoy reading shorter posts but I think it depends on the topic. You can write a short post on one specific incident where a longer post would be waffle. But to cover a topic such as writing for the Kindle a shorter post wouldnt work. I tend to do the occasional series of long posts, interspersed with a number of shorter posts.

  3. I rarely think about my word count when I white. I try to just have fun and hope any readers who find my have fun as well. Now you have me wondering what length I typically write. Thank you for the food for thought.

  4. I don’t think about it, really. It would take the joy out of blogging for me if I had to stop and think about my word count. I just write it and then chop out anything that waffles or repeats. Guest bloggers ask me for deadlines and I say, “Whenever you like, I’ll post it when it gets to me.” They ask for word counts and I say, “This is the Internet, plenty of space.” But they’re careful, and I do edit a bit if necessary.

    X is for eXtras

    • Hi Sue, thanks for your comment. Like you, I don’t set out fo write a certain length, but I find if I doing a series of posts they tend to come out around the same length. So it’s not so much the writing to a certain length as finding I’ve written that length. Does that make sense?

  5. I follow the 500 word count — give or take 100. Blogging takes thought and time and, in many cases, outside research — so to me more workable to write several 500-word blogs in a series on a “longer” topic rather than one long blog. This keeps up reader interest and conserves on blogger energy for the long haul 🙂

  6. As all of your posts have been, this one is quite interesting. I will be tracking which of my posts are read the most and adjust accordingly. For the A to Z, I have tried to keep mine under 300 but have gone over a few times. Thanks again Shirley!

    Emily | My Life In Ecuador | Water. Clean Drinking Water

    • Thanks for your visit again, Emily. I think next time I do the A to Z I will look at a topic I can do shorter posts for, but this has been fun and I have learned a lot myself in the process!

    • The longer ones just seem to happen with me, but doing them daily is heavy going! I guess it depends on your topic. I really can’t write a 500 word post on Word-count!

  7. Hi Shirley – I thought I’d commented on this … strange but true: but I haven’t I see.

    I can quite see what you’re saying … if I don’t have comments then I think I’d leave the blogosphere … I don’t post that often now – and thankfully people seem to come by to read… but it seems to be the content that matters … and I always illustrate my postings – so there’s a visual tie in …

    Except of course I’m taking the opportunity to post this month … as it gives that extra time to find new friends (with blogs that I can relate to) … cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/w-is-for-whistlejacket.html

    • Hi Hilary,
      Oh I can’t tell you how often I’ve been certain I’d commented on a site earlier in the day, but then I find I haven’t! And yes, I do love comments. It makes it all worth while. I haven’t done much blog visiting at all today. It’s been one of those days! So I need to start my touring now. Starting with yours. 🙂

  8. Shirley, Word count always bothered me. Is it too short or is too long? Of course, I never come close to the longest word count example you mentioned. Most of my blogging in the last few years are built around very relaxed hops. I try to add my personality to each post but I think I can do better and this is one more thing I’m taking away from this year’s challenge. Thanks for the information, it’s good stuff to know. Happy a2zing!

    Art Sketching Through the Alphabet “W” (Walking Dead & Waves).

    • Cathy, thanks for your visit again, and your personality does shine through your blog. (I smile at your kitty each time I open the page!) I’m way behind on visiting blogs today, so about to set off on a marathon. I’ve just been to Hilary and you’re next! Have a great evening.

  9. More than the length, I check it out if the idea in the article is offering me something new, some food for thought, some new learning. I also don’t mind reading the longer posts if they are articulated well and are engaging. Sometimes even a post that is no more than a sentence or just has few pics also catches my fancy. So to sum up I would say, the idea, the seed of the article matters to me.
    Like this article of yours, gave good insight into the topic, without making it too educative! Liked it for that!
    ————————————————
    Anagha From Team MocktailMommies
    Collage Of Life

    • Thank you for your encouragement! I also feel you have to use plenty headers, lists or images to make it attractive. I find a massive chunk of solid text puts me off. Enjoy the last few days of the challenge!

  10. My attention span varies. Sometimes, I like to read longer posts and sometimes short ones appeal more.
    While writing, I’m the same. At times, my posts can be longish (when I post pictures of travels) and sometimes they’re not.
    I think I’ll have to visit your blog outside of the challenge to truly appreciate your tips and suggestions.
    Thank you for visiting my blog:)
    W is for Warp and Weft

    • Hi Arti,
      If the topic is one which grabs me, such as one on writing, I don’t mind sticking it out – if I have the time. Otherwise I’ll bookmark it to come back to. But if it’s not a subject that I really want to learn about, a long post switches me off. Having said that, I enjoy posts with plenty photographs. Enjoy your day!

  11. I’ve heard all the arguments for longer posts – 2,500+ words and I just don’t agree with them. To write a post that is so long and keep it interesting and engaging is just beyond me. I like the 500 mark because it is readable and not too off-putting. If I have more to say on a subject I’d rather do a series than cram it into one long, wordy post. That being said, I do admire people who can produce long posts and keep them interesting to their readers.
    Leanne | cresting the hill

    • Yes, Leanne, I agree it is easier to do a short post and certainly easier to read it. My problem with this series has been I’ve found it impossible to put it into short posts. I’m doing it specifically with the idea of converting it into an e-book, but I didn’t expect to have so many visitors. It’s been great. Next year if I do it, I must REMEMBER to keep to a topic that’s possible to do in shorter sections. Have a great day – or are you into the evening already?

        • You’d think I would have learned as my previous time was also very draining as I wrote on Out of Africa. I’ve also re-used a number of old posts, but I’ve revamped them considerably- stuff that needed redoing as it was written years ago, pre any knowledge of SEO or image copyrights!

  12. I try to keep my posts in the medium range. It is good to find out about the different types of blogs length… However, I confess sometimes the longer blogs turn me off unless I am passionate about the topic.
    Informative read
    thanks for sharing
    Best wishes!

    • Thank you Karnika. Yes, I have a similar reaction to long posts. I only stick with them if they’re really interesting and covering a topic I need to know more about. That is why I’m astounded at the way this blog challenge has gone. Come to think of it my last time was also long. I seem to choose topics for the challenge that can’t be produced in short posts. I’ll need to think around this for next time. This month has become a huge undertaking, although I’ve really enjoyed it and I’ve had way more positive comments than I normally get!

  13. Glad I discovered your blog – even though late in the game!

    I don’t have a tool that tracks my word count. I have no idea how many I typically use! 🙄 I just go ahead and write what’s on my mind. However I do try and make my point without rambling too much because I don’t like that as a reader. Also I use lots of paragraphs and pictures.

    #AtoZChallenge
    W is for Wine
    https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/2017/04/a-z-blogging-challenge-watch-out-for-my.html

    • My word-count appears automatically at the bottom left-hand side of my screen (in WordPress), but like you, I don’t write to word-count. I write until I’ve covered what I want to say and then edit. I just enjoyed your post and I’ve put a fitness tracker onto my wishlist!

  14. Thank you so much for visiting T.O. I visited your site and have to say I was challenged and encouraged by many of your posts. Well done! I hope we can keep in touch.

  15. Great infographic Shirley!

    I’m still in the early stages of my blog and with many, many projects and plans in the works, I struggle with the ideal length and frequency of blog posts. “Never Too Late To Write” is not my only focus, but I do want it to become a community of learning and support over time.

    As I do my business planning over the next week or two, I will refer to your infographic. Thank you!

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