Short posts, long posts, picture posts are worth a thousand words at least. How many is the correct number of words?
It has come to my attention that many bloggers worry about the length of their posts. Some are fans of the short post. Other people are fans of lengthy, and detailed posts. Who doesn’t like “reading” a picture post.
There are reasons for concern with word count. The primary reason is space limitations, and is often used by academia, journalism (including newspapers and magazines), and advertising, to make sure the contribution to a feature or section of a publication will fit the space available. Only so many words will fit within a given space. In other cases a fixed word count will help publishers control their production costs, and will vary according to genre. Word count is an important consideration if you intend to publish in any of these categories. Having a limited word count makes it important that writing is “tight,” avoiding wordiness. Careful word choices allow you to fit as much meaning into a short space as possible, and keeps the reader engaged.
Bloggers are not required to keep their posts to a fixed limit of words. If anyone knows what the limit for a post on WordPress is please let us know in the comment section. This gives bloggers the flexibility to use as many words as they like. This freedom could cause some writers to ramble, which would result in loosing your readers. Readers are notorious for having a short attention span, scanning from one article to another, which is why newspapers insist that the most important information be at the beginning of an article. If you can fit who, what when, where, why, and how, called the five W’s, into the first paragraph the reader has all the essential information before moving on. Often the reader becomes so engaged that they continue reading, and will keep reading to the end if you make it worth their time.
So what does make our writing worth spending our time to read? Readers want information, entertainment, to learn, or inspiration and will read if you offer it. Readers will stay with a skillful writer that is entertaining even if the lead, the point, of the story is buried at the end. But how many words should you use?
You should use as many words as you need to say what you mean to communicate. As writers we can craft a post full of emotion and sensation with our words. The written word can convey complex ideas, can argue the pros and cons of a position, and can illuminate the human condition. Once you have clearly communicated what you want to communicate, you have enough words.