Last Updated on July 15, 2020 by Michael Brockbank
One of the most important facets of creating a successful blog is writing high-quality content. To do this, sometimes it’s great to have powerful and motivating goals. Today, I’m going to show you how to set up blogging goals using the WP Word Count plugin.
It’s a great way to see your progress and determine how much effort you need to put into your content. This tool works great as a way to track blog post word count to get an idea of your progress.
And if there is one lesson I’ve learned since creating the site is that the more content you create, the better the site does better in search as a whole. Setting goals helps keep me motivated.
Why Use WP Word Count?
WP Word Count is a free and simple tool that merely counts the number of words in your blog. It breaks it down by month, author, the number of posts created, and the average count of every article you write, including pages and custom post types.
This gives WordPress a word count function and shows flexibility when creating blogging goals for yourself. Or even if you have a team of authors writing posts.
Like right now, I can see that WriterSanctuary.com has 480,856 words published on the site. Which really isn’t a lot when you consider it’s been up since the end of 2012. And that I have 12,202 words published so far this month.
Using WP Word Count in WordPress
The first thing we’ll need to do is install the free plugin.
Go to the Plugins area and click, “Add New.”
Search for “WP Word Count” from the WordPress search field.
Install and activate WP Word Count.
Calculating the Number of Words
Before WP Word Count can do its thing, you need to start the initial scan of your content. This is a quick process and prepares the plugin to begin recording your content.
Click on the “Word Count” option on the left admin panel of WordPress.
Click the “calculate” link on the top of the page.
From here, you have two options. You can either count all the content on the site all at once or choose a date range. Since this is your first time, I suggest keeping the “Count all content on this site at one time” option selected.
Click the “Calculate Word Counts” button.
The time it takes for WP Word Count to scan through your content depends on how much you have. However, it’s usually a fairly quick process. And once the tool is done with its scan, it’ll give you a “calculated successfully” message.
Click the “statistics page” link provided.
You’ll see a report of your site including the “Top Content,” which is arranged by the most number of words.
Setting Blogging Goals
Each time you create a new piece of content, WP Word Count will record the data. Even if you save something in drafts, it’ll show what content is published or unpublished.
For us to set some logical blogging goals, we’ll need to pay attention to “published” words. Otherwise, we’re not really getting anywhere with driving traffic.
Let’s say we want to set a production goal for the month. From the main report screen, click on “Monthly Statistics.”
From here, we can see last month’s blog post word count totals and compare them to what we’re doing so far this month. And because WP Word Count will also scan any custom post types, it’ll also show things like forms, custom CSS, changesets and more.
But for now, we just want the number of words in a post that are published. Look at last month’s numbers of published posts.
As you can see from the image, WriterSanctuary.com has already produced more words and articles this month than last. Though, the average length isn’t quite as high.
But the average length of your content depends on a lot of different factors. So, I don’t read too much into the average unless it differs by more than a thousand words.
Example of a Goal
Ok, let’s say I want to write more words in January than I did in December. I could take the number of words from December and divide it by the number of days in January.
Or, 11,255 words / 31 days.
That means I would have to write at least 364 words per day to surpass December’s blog post word count. Yes, I rounded up.
Does this mean I’ll write 31 posts at 364 words a piece? No. But, I do need to write at least that much regardless of how many blogs I post. I could simply work on one blog all week long adding words as I go.
Other Ways of Using WP Word Count
Setting daily, monthly or yearly goals for creating content is only one way to use this plugin. You can also create reports of your own using the data that will help you grow the blog and become successful.
For instance, you can:
See Author Productivity
In Author Statistics, you can see who produces the most content and the average length of each post. This is great if you’re running a blog that has more than one writer and you want to keep track of his or her productivity.
This can help you set goals for each author or use the data to determine who has the better content when comparing posts to things like Adsense or overall traffic.
Compare Income to Word Count
Knowing the perfect length for your target audience is ideal if you want a successful blog. One thing you can do is compare the length of your articles to what they earn.
By comparing income to the numbers from WP Word Count, you can build a report to show how long a post needs to be to generate revenue.
You may find that shorter pieces are more valuable to you in terms of money than longer articles. I know I did in my particular case.
Analyze the Length of High-Traffic Posts
Many experts will tell you the perfect length of articles for being number one in Google search is over 2200 words. But that’s not entirely accurate.
A lot of variables come into play for the perfect length of a blog post. Things like topic, industry and your target audience are just a few. Those “experts” are referring to generalized averages.
Case in point, the most popular piece of content on WriterSanctuary.com is the review I did for Buy Me a Coffee. It’s 1,985 words long. Coincidentally, it also appears in the top search results page.
That’s because more people are interested in that specific topic than the other posts even though some are longer.
Comparing your top-performing articles in Google Analytics to the length of each piece shows you what people are most interested in your site.
Does this mean you should stick to shorter blog posts? Absolutely not. You never know when you create that longer article that goes viral. However, the numbers can help guide you to create a baseline strategy for what content works best.
Why Set Up Blogging Goals?
If you’re trying to build a successful blog, you’re going to need content. Now, success is dependent on your own personal views. But if you’re trying to have the most traffic or bring in a full-time income, it’s your posts that are doing the heavy lifting.
This means it’s a good idea to keep yourself on track and set goals every month. Because the more content you create, the more people you will attract.
Of course, this also depends on the quality of content you’re creating. Simply posting random thoughts without really targeting your audience or search results isn’t going to help a whole lot.
For example, it’s one of my goals to surpass the total number of words I publish each month on WriterSanctuary.com. Using tools like WP Word Count in WordPress shows me exactly where I stand. I can look at the record and see I haven’t been this productive since February of 2018!
But all of this means nothing if people are not reading what I write. So, I need to make sure the posts are covering topics people want to know about relevant to what I provide.
In this case, it’s WordPress, blogging, or even using the Textbroker content mill.
Improve Your Blogging with WP Word Count
Plugins like WP Word Count are simply tools to help you along. It’s still up to you to create engaging content people want to read. Start by analyzing the length of your pieces and meet the demands of your target audience.
It’s often an invaluable tool for creating content strategies to help you succeed.