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What's the right word length for a blog post?🧐

radiomorillo profile image Stephanie Morillo ・2 min read

This weekend I got a DM on Twitter from someone who read one of my books. They wanted to know if 1,600 words was too long for a "listicle". A "listicle" is a type of blog post that presents the content in a list format!

While it's hard to give precise advice without seeing the article, I explained that 1,600 words is not the appropriate length for a listicle because listicles are meant to be scanned, not necessarily read word-for-word (like an essay).

If you're trying to figure out the right word length for a blog post, here are some things to consider (I originally published this as a Twitter thread):

  • Instead of word count, think about your blog post premise. What is the point of this post? What is the goal for the reader? The scope is the most important thing. Word count is irrelevant if the post isn't focused.

  • First drafts will probably be long and slightly off-topic. That's OK; your first draft isn't what you end up publishing. You should edit your posts with the following questions in mind: What can I cut? How can I say this with less? Is this clear?

  • Always write and edit with your premise in mind. If you're going off-topic ask yourself: "What is the goal of this post?"

  • Word count isn't a good metric to measure effectiveness. It's possible to write an unfocused blog post or go on many tangents in less than 1,000. Better metrics include relevant keywords or phrases, formatting for scanability and readability, readability level.

Your drafts get better with each revision. Review and refine your content before you publish it!

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

I'm Stephanie, a Content Strategist and Technical PM. Visit developersguidetocontent.com to learn more about my work!

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radiomorillo profile

Stephanie Morillo

@radiomorillo

🇩🇴 I'm a Senior PM and Content Strategist with an MSc in UXD. I help developers become better content creators.

Discussion

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I 100% write very long wordy first drafts, that sound like the ramblings of a mad man when I read back through it. I'm definitely going to edit with the goal of the reader in mind from now on!

Your drafts get better with each revision. Review and refine your content before you publish it!

How many revisions would you do on a post before publishing?

 

As with anything, it depends :) But I aim for a minimum of two revisions. The purpose of each revision also matters. For example:

  • Revision #1: I'll re-read and check for technical accuracy, fix typos, cut sentences, and add content.
  • Revision #2: If it's a tutorial I'll recreate the experience by following the steps. If I'm missing something, I'll add it in or I'll revise if something isn't clear.
  • Revision #3: A final copy-edit.

And then publish.

 

It's even better if you can get someone else to redo the tutorial, that's the best way to test it.

Re-do as in review? Yes, it's always preferable to have someone review the tutorial and try it from start to finish. This option isn't always available to people, however, but is generally considered a best practice.