Blogging

Blog Post Word Count: Just How Long is Too Long?

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The subject of blog post word count is one that comes up often, particularly among new bloggers seeking advice on crafting the ‘perfect post.’

When it comes to trying to nail down the perfect post word count, I’m afraid you’re going to be in for a disappointment.

The reason is simple: there’s no such thing.

At least, there is no magic number to define “just right” universally. That would be too easy.

Some word count limits could be helpful.

I recently stumbled across a blog article about post word count that had an interesting take. That article, written by Ryan Biddulph of BloggingTips.com, states that he sets a maximum post word count of 600 for guest posts.

You can disagree with trying to come up with an arbitrary number like this. But Biddulph spells out in the post six effects of limiting that count. And his argument does make sense.

Biddulph says he sees a pattern of fear in the many blog posts he reads:

If you cannot make a clear, powerful point in 600 words, fear handcuffs you. 

I do think there are subjects that can’t adequately be covered in 600 words. But I agree that most guest posts would never tackle those subjects. You handle that kind of subject matter on your own blog.

Is more than 600 too many?

It depends on what you’re trying to say. My most popular posts after all these years tend to be about grammar. At least, the posts that are most often visited from search results are grammar-related.

There are plenty of grammar posts in which reaching 600 words would actually require what Biddulph refers to as “bloat.”

But a recent post about attending church online rather than in person was 976 words long.

Does that mean the church post was too long? Well, that depends on the reader. Every blog post ever written could be made better than it is.

There’s only one word count I pay attention to here.

For me, I have only one goal when it comes to post word count: reaching 300.

Why 300? Didn’t I just say arbitrary word count limits aren’t all that necessary? Sort of. I said they can be helpful. But I also said it depends on the subject matter. Some topics can’t adequately be covered in 600 words.

Few can adequately be covered in just 300.

But there’s an important reason I watch for that magic 300. You’ve surely heard of “SEO.” You may not know what the letters stand for, because it’s a term bloggers toss around without defining it as if everyone’s an expert.

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Think of it this way: It’s the steps you take to make sure your blog is at the top of search results on a given topic. It involves optimizing your content so search engines like Google think your post is the perfect match to a search.

For some reason, 300 words seems to be an SEO sweet spot. Yoast, a plugin I use here at this blog, always flags short posts. The 300-word count is considered a benchmark. Anything less could hurt you.

It’s possible Yoast also flags high word counts. But if it does, honestly, I’ve never seen it. And by now, I should certainly have noticed such a flag!

You must decide how long is too long. You have a much better chance of doing so if you write ahead. This gives you the chance to edit and cut the fat from your writing. It helps you be more concise. It saves you and the reader time.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.