Do you have an idea for a great blog post?   Today I am going to suggest you think about the numbers to help make it successful.

1.   Word Count – Finding a balance is tough. Posts that are too long (1,000 words or more) lose all but the most committed readers before the end.  Posts that are too short (less than 250 words) don’t offer enough content or key word density to attract the attention of the search engines.

So what’s the magic number? I typically shoot for between 300 – 500 words. I don’t let word count drive my post, but a quick look at the number in the lower left hand corner of my screen keeps me on track. Too long, I probably have a second post in the works. Too short, I might need to do a bit  of research on to expand this topic. ( More on this topic from ProBlogger) 

2.   Length of the Title  – Keeping your title under 70 characters has two key benefits. First, it is easier to share the title with a link on Twitter. With a limit of 140 characters, a short title and short link can easily be retweeted without losing content. Also most search engines will crop your title at 70 characters.

3.   Links in Your Post  – Internal links in your posts drive readers to other related content. External links build community by making connections to other relevant sites. But how much is too much? How little is not enough?  While SEO MOz says you can have up to 100 links on a page, this is clearly overkill for the average reader. Scribe SEO encourages you to have at least one relevant link near the top of your post.

So what is the right answer? I typically think one link per hundred words works well. It shows the post is well-connected without being overwhelming. When you add a link, be sure to include a trackback as well.

4.   Numbers in the Title – People like simple answers. The promise that you can solve their problem in just 5 easy steps is too tempting to pass up. Blog posts with numbers in the title get more traffic. Look at top social media information sites like Copyblogger and ProBlogger, and you will see titles that look like this:  5 Suggestions for…, 3 Ways to… , 7 Quick tips… The problem? I don’t often write linear posts. If there are no lists, it is hard to have a numbered title.  I won’t sacrifice a good title just to add a number. I simply use this tactic when it makes sense.

At the end of the day, none of these other tricks will make a bit of difference if you don’t offer good content. If the article isn’t well-written, thought provoking, funny or smart, no one will share the article anyway. So follow the rules if they make sense, but never let them get in the way of creating a truly great post. I actually wanted to call this post “5 strategies,” but only came up with 4 ideas, and the post was getting long.  What would you add to this list?