The Weekly Question #9

Do you pay attention to the number of words in your posts?

The Internet is littered with blogging tips and tricks. One of them involves how many words a successful blog post should be. Unsurprisingly, there is no agreement. Some say upwards of 1000 words as anything less won’t have quality information. Some say about 600, or maybe less, because readers bore easily and don’t want to slog through hundreds of words to get the information they want. Still others say it doesn’t matter as long as the story is complete.

I fall in the third category. If I can get my point across in under 500 words, great. If it takes over 1000, great. I’m a writer. I tell stories. I don’t care how many words it takes. At the same time, I can’t help but look at my word count and wonder if there are too few or too many words. I can’t help but feel anxious as soon as I hit 900 words. The crazy thing is, when I look at my stats, there’s no correlation between length and number of views.

What about you? Do you pay attention to the number of words in your posts?

  1. Author A. R. Curry

    Definitely. If I’m telling my children’s stories, then they can’t be too long (though I tend to tell wordier ones). But my middle grade book chapters that I’ve started posting definitely stay under 1000. Kids that age like to see the chapters fly by because it gives them a sense of progress.

    If I’m writing an article, though, I try to stay stay between 400-750 mainly because I much rather prefer to write fiction lol Also, any longer than 750, I feel, could justify having enough material for a second post, which never hurts!

    • kat

      That’s a good point, to remember the reader’s attention span. I often feel guilty when my posts get too wordy because a lot of my followers are busy parents. Also, I think a lot of adults like having a sense of progress, too. Personally, I enjoy long and short reads; I just have to carefully plan when I read them. I like the range you have. It sounds very manageable. Not too long so it holds attention while also imparting information, and not too short to risk not telling a complete story.

  2. Autumn

    I don’t pay attention, but I’m a naturally concise person so my posts tend to be short.

    I don’t read long posts, since I limit my screen time, and I always have a bunch of other things to do. When I’m looking for recipes or tutorials, I pass over the blogs that bury the information I want in the middle of anecdotes that really aren’t interesting, because they aren’t worth the time.

    • kat

      Yes, I agree! Those posts that ramble before getting to the important information are annoying. I don’t mind reading any information that actually offers advice and tips for successfully cooking a dish, but long anecdotes are just there to take up space.

      I do love how concise you are. It’s great for busy readers and I love how they just get right to the point.

  3. nopoodles

    I get worried when my short stories are under 500 words. If one is too long (3,000+) I tend to end up splitting it into parts since I want my short stories to be bitesize.
    There’s one story, completed, that has been sitting in my drafts for months because it’s only 150 words long and I worry that it’ll take longer to load the page than to read the story.
    As a reader, I don’t put much stock in word-volume as long as the content is engaging for the whole thing. So much of whether I’ll read to the end is directly related to my mood and attention span of the moment, so it could be 150 words and lose me by the second sentence, or 10,000 and keep me riveted until the very end.

    • kat

      That’s a good point; length doesn’t matter as long as it’s engaging.

      I love that your stories are bite size. Sometimes I’ll read one I wish was longer, but I know it’s meant to be short and it is a full story.

      From the other comments, it sounds like people prefer to write until the complete story is told, no matter how long it is, so I would assume that, as readers, they would also appreciate reading a complete story, no matter the length. I encourage you to post your short story. I’d love to read it!

  4. Lisa R. Howeler

    I’m like you, I don’t worry about the number of words in a post. I like to tell stories and I use as many words as I think it will take to write them. The only time I paid attention to words was when a local magazine told me I could have a set amount of words to pay me a set amount of money. Other than that I could care less about words. I had to focus on that for so long when I worked for newspapers, I’m over it now.

    • kat

      That would put me off counting words, too. I often want to enter writing contests, but they have word count limits and I just can’t commit to telling a whole story in so many words. Stories should be told the way they need to be, no matter how many or how few words.

  5. ourlittleredhouseblog

    Oh I never worry about that because I am not really a writer, I am more of a craft/DIY type of person. I make so many mistakes but I always try to write from my heart. For the longest time I always wanted to share my projects with others but was afraid to write because I’m not good at that, then my daughter said “Mom, just go for it and be happy with who you are” so that’s what I’m doing. I love all you writers though, you guys amaze me with how creative you are at making up stories. I remember my father not being able to read and just how hard that was on him and how ashamed he was about it around strangers. We all had to protect that secret in our family. The people that would have helped him in that situation would not care about his handicap and the ones who would have teased him about it would have never been good friends anyway. Guess my point is, is that what makes you happy you should do and in the process, others will be happy too once they see what you have to share with them.

    • kat

      I absolutely agree! I love reading bloggers like you who write from the heart. Not only is it interesting, but it’s so easy to feel the love you have for what you write. It always makes for an interesting read. I’m very glad you listened to your daughter; your posts always make me happy.

  6. Chi

    When I first started out I worried because of things I read but I like others have mentioned try to make sure the story is complete. I’m usually from 800-1300 so I can be a bit wordy. My last post was my longest I believe but hey, I had a story to tell.

  7. jordanquirkcole

    I always take note of my word count, but I don’t let it dictate if I’m finished telling my story. I’ve seldom had a post be less than 500 words, but not because of suggested success rates or anything. I like to use word count to gage “how long did telling that story take” versus “what can I hit to have google optimize my content?” I also tend to be a bit wordy in my writing. Brevity was not a strong suit I was born with 😂

    • kat

      Haha, I love your wordiness! I always save your posts for naptimes so I know I have plenty of time to read and enjoy. The stories you tell are always fascinating and I love the heart you put behind them. Honestly, it never feels like they’re too many words. I like keeping track of my word count, too, and, like you, don’t let it dictate when to wrap up a story. A story will take however long it needs to be told.

  8. OneLife

    A very relevant topic that you chose to touch. I started with writing lengthy posts and as per feedback from a lot of friends and family members cut it down to 600 words on an average. But now again I have started writing posts upward of the 1000 word mark for statistics show that well researched and exhaustive posts/articles fair much better for readers and writers as well. Google algorithms consider exhaustive posts to be more meaningful and laden with details.
    Now if the aim is not to look for monetization, I agree with your logic of being able to communicate your thoughts irrespective of the word count.

  9. Kelly Blakely

    Shorter ( but not too short! ) makes sense to me actually. At first I read so many tips that said minimum 1000 words, but now I see a lot of people are advising that readers are too busy and most will only scan your post for their needs. Personally I love reading people’s stories, if I have the time! So I think I’ll keep writing both ways. 😊

    • kat

      That’s definitely true for me! I don’t get much time to read, so shorter posts get more of my attention. But, when I do have time, I enjoy lengthier posts. Mixing it up sounds like a great way to cater to yourself and your readers.

  10. jennifermzeiger

    Length of posts for me all depends on what kind of post I’m writing. Adventures tend to be between 500-1000 per post. Not so long it gets bogged down but long enough for detail and something to change in the story. If it’s a general writing/update post, I aim for 300-500. Last I heard, SEO (search engine optimization) likes posts of at least 300 words but more than anything, such posts are just information based and usually 300 words is plenty to say what’s needed.

    • kat

      I do love how your adventures keep the story moving without becoming unwieldy with too much information that probably wouldn’t be necessary. I’m still trying to puzzle out SEO, but that makes a lot of sense. It needs to have enough information in order for it to be noticed and scanned, but I remember reading once that it’s just the beginning of articles that are scanned.

  11. bitsanddragons

    I do keep an eye on the number of words, but for me it’s more like how long I have to write what I want, and what I can do with the output at the end. Post it, rework it, or save it for “later”.
    I found out now that I compile that if I paste my 400-750 words posts into some kind of short-tale/book, it does look like something else, and I do need to, like, fill the holes, so to say. Glue the posts together.
    Maybe I’m kind of trying to recycle from one media (blogging) to another. Maybe I just want to complain about my lack of time to write as much as I’d like.

    • kat

      Ah, writing is writing! And then there’s editing. I’m a little surprised, though, because when I read your story posts I always feel like they continue from the last post, so the holes surprise me. But at least you have something, which is often more than many can say they have.

      • bitsanddragons

        They do continue indeed. But sometimes they seem to work without a little bit of extra context, so to say. And read together they appear for me (and my test reader) like pieces, not like a whole. There’s the lonely paragraph, there’s the presentation, there’s the dialog, and there’s the description. And they don’t want to make a chapter together 🙂
        But I will make it work, I’m persistent and I’m not in hurry. Or not anymore 🙂

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