Word count obsession: stop it!

topsailislandsunset word count christian lautenschleger
topsailislandsunset word count christian lautenschleger
Word count should be like a photo: nothing more than what is necessary.

For the love of all things sacred, please stop with the word count obsession while writing blog posts!  Obsessing leads to poorly-written blogs post.  Write everything that needs to be written and no more.  Word count may contribute to better SEO, but poorly written posts won’t have people returning, which is probably what we want.

A rule of thumb is blog posts between 300-600 words for search engines.  Fewer words mean we didn’t write enough to really contribute to a topic.  More words can mean we really went into depth or wrote more words for the sake of more words.  If the English language praises concise sentences, should we strive for the same for our blog posts?

Who has read a book way too long, that the author could have cut it in half?  Apply that same logic to blog posts.  Say what you want to say and move on. Shorter meaningful blog posts add more to the readers’ experiences than repetitive, poorly-constructed posts.

I’m not talking about long, informative posts – that ostensibly require lots of words – or stories.  There are strong arguments for evergreen (timeless) articles to be longer, but reasons to put your phone away 30 minutes before going to bed doesn’t need to be a 1000 words.  A story about backpacking through Eastern Europe probably can’t be told in 600 words (well, not in depth).  Unless we’re writing an informative article in exhaustion or blogging about our gap year, less is more.

Why?  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  A high word count may help a little for SEO (and even then it’s a crapshoot), but we can write better for our readers.  Cutting down to the bare minimum amount of words will make us better writers.  Try it sometime.


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