We see content that is created for the sole purpose of hitting word count goals. As of a sudden a few big Internet figures say that your blog posts need to hit a certain word count, and it becomes a rule that cannot be broken.
Often, these contain a bit of truth, but we need to look at the reason for the word count hitting a certain number. It’s not the number of words that matter; it’s what is actually being said. Length is a poor indicator of quality, there are much more important metrics to focus on.
Below we illuminate why focusing on word count alone is a bad idea and highlight a few other metrics that are more valuable.
Word Count Isn’t the Holy Grail
All it takes is a look at Seth Godin’s famous 100-word blog posts to see that word count isn’t everything. Sometimes content that’s only written to hit certain word counts will be filled with useless words, phrases, and sometimes entire paragraphs dedicated to nothing but making your content seem more authoritative.
We’re not saying that long content isn’t valuable. It’s incredibly valuable and Google seems to love it. But, the final word count of what you’re writing means a lot less than the substance it contains. Not sure what we mean? Keep reading to see where you should put your efforts instead.
1. Clarity & Depth of Content
Some topics only take a few hundred words to sum up, others take thousands. It’s better to cut your content short than to fill your reader’s mind with fluff.
Remember, the web of the future is going to be written for readers, not the search engines. Create content that keeps the reader’s attention, while entertaining, or educating them, and you’ll be good.
2. A Focus on Mobile
Mobile is future. It might even be here already. All the data suggests that mobile usage is on its way up, while desktop usage in on the way out. In fact, in the U.S. 25% of people only use their mobile devices!
This means that your content needs to be ready for mobile consumption. Long, rambling, and unwieldy blog posts won’t be read on mobile devices. Think shorter content that can be more readily consumed and shared on the go.
Your content either needs to be short-form and easy to consume. Or, long-form and display beautifully on mobile screens.
3. Great Formatting and Design
People read differently on the web. Instead of engaging and processing every word they skim and look for headlines and bullet points. You need to make your content easy to absorb on smaller screens.
Include things like images, video, numbers, bolded text for emphasis, and short sentences. Use design cues to pull your readers eyes through your content.
Creating great content is all about providing the most value to your readers. Stop placing your attention on floating word-count metrics and instead start serving and providing value.
What are your thoughts on word count? Does it matter as much as the “experts” say it does? Please share your thoughts in the comments