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Overheard on #Blogchat: Wordcount (@gallaghermeg)

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Yep, I’m a day late with Overheard on #Blogchat this week. I was at an 80s-themed bachelorette party, so I had a good reason!

Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night, I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This week’s theme: Open mic!

My friends all make fun of me because my emails are usually super long. I’m a wordy person, mostly because I like to explain myself clearly so as not to cause too many questions. Because I’m rarely brief, this #blogchat comment caught my eye:

@gallaghermeg: is there word count that you try to keep your blog posts limited to? I worry that too long = less reading.

I worry about that too at times. My posts are typically long, often times between 700 – 900 words and rarely less than 500 words here at the BlogWorld blog. On After Graduation and Binge Gamer, I’m also not the briefest person in the world. Could that actually be causing me to lose readers? And, if so, why the heck am I still posting uber-long blog posts?

First, I would like to note that yes, I think that long blog posts can deter readers. It depends on a number of factors:

  • Does your target audience have time to read a long post?
  • Is the post well organized with headings?
  • Is it necessary for all the info to be in one post, or could it have been split into multiple posts?
  • Do you use pictures to break up the text?
  • Do you use short paragraphs, blockquotes, bullet points, numbered lists, etc. to break up the text?
  • Are there shorts posts on your blog too, or do you only write long posts?
  • How often do you update your blog?

If you post walls of text, you’ll drive readers away no matter what your demographic. It’s about formatting as much as it is about wordcount.

It’s also about saying what you have to say as concisely as possible. Whenever I hit 800 words or more, I reread the entire thing with an eye on every sentence. Do I really need that sentence to convey my point? Self-editing is never more important than when you’re writing a long post.

Remember, every niche is different, and beyond that, every blogger is different. If longer posts work for your style and readership, there’s no reason you have to stop writing. Good content will drive readers, even if you’re long-winded like I am.

What do you think – do long posts scare off readers? How long is your average post?

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


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