How to Track Your Word Count in WordPress Posts

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How to Track Your Word Count in WordPress

Does it matter how many words you write in each blog post?

Yes, for many people, it does.

Some writers set themselves a target number of words per day, as a good habit. Whether your target is 500, 1000, 2000 or even more words, a lot of writers love the discipline of hitting a daily target.

Some other writers are aiming for a specific word count simply for marketing purposes. It's generally thought that Google gives a higher rank to longer posts, so long as they're interesting. So many SEO experts recommend you write posts between 2000 and 2500 words.

For many reasons, it can be useful to track your word count in WordPress. It can helpful to set a target, a maximum or minimum number of words to write in a WordPress post.

So how is it done? Read on to find out ...

Word Count in WordPress Posts

When you're writing a WordPress post, look towards the bottom-left corner of the text area. You will see a counter that automatically updates, as in the image below:

normal wordpress word count

This word count can be easy to miss. In the next version of WordPress (version 5.0, called Gutenberg), the word count will be much larger and will have extra data.

If you test the Gutenberg editor, you'll see an "i" icon above the writing area. Click this icon to get extra information about your post.

gutenberg word count

The new WordPress editor will now show you much more information, as in the image below. With this version of WordPress, you'll be able to see a Table of Contents, plus the number of headings and paragraphs.

gutenberg details

Tools to Manage Your WordPress Word Count

It doesn't matter whether you write by yourself or in a team, your writing improves with discipline.

Being able to hit a maximum and/or a minimum number of words in a post can be good for your productivity, for your SEO, or even for your self-esteem.

PublishPress is a great WordPress plugin for content, and it has a Content Checklist addon that allows you to choose a maximum and a minimum length of your WordPress content.

Here's how PublishPress and the Content Checklist works ...

  • Install the PublishPress plugin.
  • Get the Content Checklist addon from PublishPress.com. Download the Content Checklist files.
  • In your WordPress site, go to "Plugins", then "Add New" and install Content Checklist.
  • Go to "PublishPress", then "Checklist" in your WordPress admin area.
  • Look for the “Number of words” field. Here you can choose a minimum and maximum word count:

number of words checklist setting

After you save the Content Checklist settings, go to write a post. When writing a post, you'll see a “Checklist” box that tells you whether you’ve hit your target word count:

number of words warning X

In the "Checklist" settings screen there was a “Prevent publishing” option. If you do not change this, when you try to publish the post without hitting your goal, you’ll see this message below:

dont publish warning

If you don't want to block publishing entirely, you can choose to set a warning:

maybe publish notice

Once you reach your goal, the red X in the "Checklist" box will turn to a green check mark:

number of words success

If you haven't tried it, give PublishPress a try, together with the Content Checklist addon.


About the author

Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.