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On Blog Posts And Word Counts

A photo of a number of scrolls in a bowl

This photograph was taken by Clarence.

Something I’ve been concentrating on recently is blog post word count. There are a few reasons for this; I’m glad to say that none of them pertain to the advice of ‘experts’, who have search engines in mind. No, my reasons are that I appear to have evolved away from my hatred of editing university essays and now see the value in being concise, and that I want to improve my writing. Yet it was when researching the advice of experts, to see if they matched my thoughts, that I got the idea for this post. (If you want to know what their advice is, it varies wildly.)

What is the optimal word count for blog posts? It really depends on what you’re writing. In my case I know that my reviews can be long and it is sometimes difficult to shorten them without losing a point I wish to make, or having the resulting post be incomprehensible. I know that I am by nature a conversational rambler, but when it comes to reviews that is not as noticeable by default.

When writing discussion posts I keep it shorter; a big part of the reason being so that I don’t exhaust the points of discussion – I want you all to be able to join in. And I’d venture that this is the same of most book bloggers – that our reviews invite longer articles and otherwise we’re more concise. Short posts tend to receive more comments; I’ve written about this previously so won’t elaborate here except to say that this is across the board rather than for types of posts.

As a reader I find longer posts more ‘acceptable’ if they are broken up by images. It took me a while to implement it here but there is definitely a huge benefit to it.

I would like to comment further on the advice some experts give, because inevitably some of it can be good. Experts cite the fact that readers like all lengths of posts, dependent on topic and writer, that long posts are fine as long as they are detailed and don’t ramble. These same experts are the ones who advise writing for readers rather than search engines. I’d a rather a handful of interactive readers than two-second visits, anyway. Accordingly, Google values content. It might like short posts in general, but a thesis is always going to be more valuable than a quick bullet-pointed list.

For now I’m tending to focus on 600 words. It forces me to stop repeating myself and get my point across. I don’t think it’s an idea to keep lowering the count, but setting a rough limit definitely improves my writing and hopefully makes my posts better. Whether I’ll continue to use it after this practise I don’t know, but the exercise is definitely helping me become a better blogger.

What do you think about word counts? Do you write with them in mind?


Tanya Patrice

May 15, 2013, 2:30 am

Hmmm … I’ve never done the word count for my posts, but I do aim to be short and to the point most times.


May 15, 2013, 3:31 am

I try to keep things short and sweet on my blog. I write the sorts of things I like to read (as far as blogs) Shorter, broken up with images, a bit of humor if possible. I like LONG books and short blogs, lol.


May 15, 2013, 8:07 am

I don’t really pay attention to work count, but generally I tend to write fairly short posts (recently volunteering posts not included). I agree with the points you’ve made, longs posts are great if interesting (no rambles) and broken up by images so they aren’t just one giant essay.

Personally, as a reader, I prefer shorter reviews that encourage discussion and longer posts on subjects like these.


May 15, 2013, 8:08 am

Like Jennifer, I also prefer short blog posts. You made me think about this, and as a blog-reader, I think I probably allow each blog post a certain amount of time (like 30 seconds to 1 minute). If it’s longer, I’ll skim, unless it is really very interesting.

I try to keep my own posts short and broken into small paragraphs. Worse than long posts are posts with very long paragraphs, I just can’t read them.


May 15, 2013, 8:10 am

So, after writing the above I decided to pop over to my blog and see how many words my latest review was shaping up to be, seeing as I claimed they were fairly short – around 750 words – guess I am not as concise as I thought!

Ana @ things mean a lot

May 15, 2013, 8:18 am

I like words. I’ll happily read a 3000 words post.


May 15, 2013, 10:13 am

I can’t say I take any notice of the actual word count. As I have become a more experienced blogger though I do feel I have made my posts shorter and more concise.


May 15, 2013, 1:28 pm

My struggle is usually the other way; I need to explain more, and remind myself that the quotations I’ve chosen don’t speak for themselves. Shorter writing, for me, is often lazy writing.


May 15, 2013, 7:31 pm

It seems an absolute correlation that the shorter the post, the more readers you will get. But of course, that harkens back to the reason for doing a blog. Is it to get readers or is it to express what you want to express? I never count words, but I know the less I say, the more others will want to read it! LOLOL


May 15, 2013, 9:04 pm

I usually aim for around 600 words too, though I don’t worry about it too much. I find that the length of my reviews really depends on the book – sometimes I have a lot to say and other times I struggle to write more than a few paragraphs.


May 16, 2013, 2:49 am

My posts vary from short to long, depending on what issues forth when I sit down to write. I just let it rip and see what happens. :)

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

May 16, 2013, 3:42 am

I struggle to write short, even though I know that online long pieces with big paragraphs are difficult to read. If a post starts to get really, really long I try to break it up into lists or add section headings to make it easier to read.


May 17, 2013, 9:51 am

Ah, obligations. The haunting specter of book blogging. No, I don’t think about word counts. I don’t wonder if I’m writing something too short or too long. Quite frankly, there’s no correlation between my post lengths and the amount of comments, nor even the post type (this might just be because I don’t get a particularly high number of comments even on my most popular posts…). And even if there was… I obviously try to have my posts as concise as possible for the ease of reading (like you say – get the point across, avoid rambling), but I will never set an official limit… that’s like letting other people decide for me what to write. Not really what I’m going for with the blog.


June 18, 2013, 9:21 am

Tanya: Once you’re in the habit that’s just as effective.

Jennifer: And like Tanya, you keep to the point too :) (Something I need to work on…) That’s definitely the way round it should be, longer books, shorter posts.

Alice: I’ll keep that in mind! I think because my reviews can be long (I find too much to talk about) I’ve tended to make these short, but I know that means they might sometimes miss a vital point. 750 isn’t so bad, especially for reviews!

Judith: That’s fair enough. When there are so many blogs you want to read, a time limit makes sense, and a minute sounds good (I think commenting is the part that tends to take longer). Long paragraphs are an issue nowadays, and depending on the web design they can appear even longer than they are.

Ana: Can’t disagree with you there. I think it really depends on the subject. I know I’ve read very long articles on blogging before.

Jessica: I’d say your posts tend to have a similar length (except ones with lists, of course, that’s different). Experience counts for a great deal.

Jeanne: That’s a very good point about quotations, and I think it’s easy sometimes, when you’ve read a book, not to see that others might not ‘get’ it.

Rhapsody: Yes and yes to your points. You want readers, but if that’s your only goal it’ll show through your words and you won’t end up as proud of what you’ve written. I think we always have to remind ourselves that it’s not necessarily that longer posts are too long by themselves, it’s that we only have so much time and thus shorter posts are more appealing to readers.

Helen: Yes, there’s that, too. I think when you’ve got that basic non-pattern, different lengths of reviews, it’s obvious why and that gets rid of a lot of the wondering whether a longer post is a good use of time.

Violet: You sound you’re where I want to be! I generally have to plan out my posts.

Kim: The shorter paragraphs ‘method’ helps a lot. It can be difficult to write shorter posts, and in a way it’s testament to your belief in what you want to say that it can’t be summed up so quickly.

Biblibio: ‘Haunting spectre’ – that’s not a bad way of putting it. I’d say getting the point across is certainly the most important thing. Good point about others deciding. Maybe I’ve been reading too many blogs on blogging, but there does seem a rough set of expectations even when blogging is supposedly the individual’s/group’s choice.



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