Tag Archives: word count

Write to the point (never mind the word count!)

I have a beef with a lot of blog owners and other content websites, and you might want to blame Google.  You see, a lot of blog owners welcome guest posts – as long as they are 500 words or more.  And a lot of article directories welcome your words of wisdom – as long as it comes in doses of 500 or more.  And a lot of other websites welcome your content – as long as it is at least 500 words long.

What is so magical about 500 words?  Well, there is a common perception that if an article is 500 words or more, Google will like it more than if it is under 500 words and Google will rain darts and stink-bombs and itching powder upon your website.

The basis of this perception is that shorter articles are not as good quality as longer ones.  The number 500 is a very arbitrary choice, with no basis in fact (actually some websites insist on at least 300 or 400 words, and others on at least 600 or 700 words – in any case, an arbitrary number).

However, there is some reason to suspect that if your website has articles that are mostly 100 words long it might not be judged as having as good quality content as the site with articles that are mostly 700 words long.

Garbage, no matter how long

As a writer, you should write to the point – you should get right to the point.  Say what you want to say, and when you are finished, say no more. Sadly, a lot of people keep writing long after they have nothing more to say. I have read a lot of garbage on the Internet of 1000 words and of 700 words and especially of 500-520 words.

Why especially of 500-520 words?  Because a lot of people write 100 or 200 or 300 words of information, but take just over 500 words to say it. They are trying to please Google.  Or to conform to websites that are trying to please Google.

Quite aside from how ridiculous this charade is – like an endless Monty Python skit caught in a repeating loop – this makes for some pathetic writing.

Thomas Jefferson said, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” In order to please Google, many people will use two, three or four words where just one will do, and their writing quality suffers big time for it.

When you write to the point, you stop when you have said your piece.  That might be at 100 words.  Or it might be at 200.  In the case of this article, it is at 451.

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