Word Count Poll

Currently, our WORD COUNTS are based on the total words from the article body + resource box.

Should we keep it that way or should we exclude the RESOURCE BOX from the word count totals?

The impact of removing the RESOURCE BOX from our article word count totals is that articles with really low word counts would be rejected — Authors who were only writing 150 word articles with a 50 word resource box would now have to produce a 200 word article body, not including whatever was in their resource box.

We are leaning towards making this change to raise the bar as 150-175 word articles are barely enough to be considered valuable and that making 200 words the min. floor for article word count would have a quality raising affect.

Your thoughts?


UPDATED Sept 12th, 2006 at 12PM CST: Word Count now only includes the ARTICLE BODY and does not include the resource box.

30 Comments »


1
Ruth writes:

Is 150 word articles really an article?

I thought our limit was 400 without the resource box.

Goes to show you, I should re-read the rules :)

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 10:47 AM

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2
Ed Howes writes:

Hey Chris,

I prefer not including the resource box in the word count and I’m wondering if you have any stats on articles of less than 300 words which could be compared to articles from 300 to 400. I’m really curious how popular very short articles are.

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 10:48 AM

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3
Anthony Bloch writes:

I think the change should be made.
A 200 page article means that it would take up about half a page (single space) on a8 1/2 X 11 inch paper or 1 page double spaced.

I don’t think this is unreasonable.

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 10:51 AM

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4
Daria writes:

Excluding the RESOURCE BOX from your article word count seems reasonable to me…

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 10:55 AM

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5
Barb Techel writes:

I think the word count should be based on the article content and not include the resource box. I write a monthly column for our local newspaper and my bio is not included in the actual word count.

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 10:58 AM

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6
Ruth writes:

Ed what a good thought.

It would be very beneficial for us to know what the most popular word count is for articles.

Short, long or medium.

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 11:17 AM

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7
Sharon Cornell writes:

Even though I have not submitted any articles yet, I do feel that a 200 word minimum minus the resource box is reasonable. Articles of less hardly count as an artcle,more like fillers.

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 11:21 AM

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8
Ben Settle writes:

Would this mean if I have 30 or 40 articles in the system with less than 200 words (sans the resource box) I’m going to have to go through and edit them all to keep then active? I have close to 400 articles in the system right now between mine and my client’s, and about 10% of them are probably less than 200 words if you take away the resource box.

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 11:40 AM

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9

For now, old articles with a smaller word count would be grandfathered in.

Looks like we’ll be moving to the 200 word count floor for the article body only.

Yes, I’ll see what we can do to get some data analysis on word counts and their impact on total page views of traffic. We’ll have to figure out how length of time an article has on the site impacts traffic as it relates to word count.

Ruth:

Preferred length is 275-450 words, but anything under 750 words would be perfect… assuming it’s quality original content with exclusive rights to the authors name (meaning, not PLR).

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 11:50 AM

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10
Ruth writes:

Chris,
Do you have a preference for article size?

I have never written an aricle less then 400 words, but it sounds enticing :)

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 11:54 AM

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11
Ed Howes writes:

Chris,

I don’t think page views would be a good popularity indicator. We don’t know the word count before we open an article. Seems that publisher pick ups would be a better popularity indicator.

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 12:06 PM

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12
Michael Werner writes:

Interesting comments.

But, I have a question.

Why care about word count at all?

Isn’t it really all up to the end user/publisher as to the “quality” of the piece?

If an author wants to waste her time writing 50-word articles that nobody picks up, who cares?

Michael

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 12:56 PM

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13
Ruth writes:

RE
“If an author wants to waste her time writing 50-word articles that nobody picks up, who cares?”

I would think, in my humble opinion only, that the article supplier site would care. I imagine that article suppliers have a certain reputation. And if all goes, their clients may go somewhere else where they are guaranteed a certain quality of article, word count being one of the guarantees.

Just a thought,
Ruth

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 1:17 PM

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14
Pamela Beers writes:

Word count without resource box should be 200 minimum.

As for number of words that are comfortable to read for a website article, I find 250 -350 words fall into my comfort zone, especially when I need an article for my website or I am just “surfing” for some quick information. Anything longer than 350 words doesn’t usually work for me. There are exceptions.

In summary, I like an article to be short, sweet, and to the point. But less than 200 words ceases to be informative and tends to be “hypy”.

I’m like Goldilocks. If there are too many words, I’m off to skip through the woods; too few words, I don’t even bother, but between 200-350 words is just right and I’ll sit still long enough to read the article.

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 1:24 PM

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15
Mike Valentine writes:

Chris,

You said… “Preferred length is 275-450 words, but anything under 750 words would be perfect!”

As I’m a wordy guy who often submits stuff over 750 words in length, you can guess that I’d be all for the 200 word minimum. My bigger question is – will you be considering a maximum that could stop submissions of my preferred 1000 to 1500 word counts?

We’ve discussed this by email previously. You said that you’ve seen that shorter articles get picked up more often – but I’m convinced that the publishers of longer articles are more serious about their content and don’t simply put up everything that comes across their screen on a particular topic.

If an article is worthwhile (interesting, informative, insightful) to begin with, then longer articles means publishing by better sites, with better referrals from the resource box and higher benefits to writers as to reputation and perception of expertise. What do you think?

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 2:04 PM

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16
Michael Russell writes:

Word count should definitely not include the resource box.

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 3:11 PM

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17
Ed Howes writes:

Now there is a 911 captcha code for me,

a727. Mike Werner: A thousand junk articles use a thousand perfectly good titles that no one else can use at this site. Because I prefer short titles, I have only had to change one on 153 articles, which amazes me. A couple weeks ago I saw a perfectly gtood two word title on the home page and was amazed it had not been used before. It would be interesting to know how often Lance Winslow and Michael Russel need to change a title.

Mike Valentine: I just posted a 1450 word interview with Chris Knight. You may have heard of him. I did it in 3 parts. Any publisher who wants it in one could go to my web site and send me an Email request. But now all the folks like my friend Pamela, with short attention spans, can read one installment per day. It takes almost as much time to split one up as it does to write a new one, but as a fellow wordy guy, who liked writing a thousand words plus or minus a couple hundred, I like my more recent stuff better and it’s between 500 and 800 words, and I have less patience with other people’s articles over 900 or so, even when they are absorbing, so now I have become part of the shorter is better trend and even think about splitting some of my older articles.

Comment provided September 11, 2006 at 3:30 PM

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18
Bill Haynes writes:

150-word articles more closely resemble blog entries.

Articles should be of lengths to informativley cover a topic. Rarely would 150 words do that.

Comment provided September 12, 2006 at 10:26 AM

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19

All,

Let it be so then.

From today forward, the WORD COUNT will only include the ARTICLE BODY… meaning, your article body must be 200 words or more to be accepted.

Thanks to everyone for their input on this issue. :-)

Comment provided September 12, 2006 at 11:56 AM

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20
Rena writes:

150-200 word “articles” are a joke! There is very limited utility for the reader, and very little consultative content, included in such a short “article.” That’s merely a blog post!

For a site with high standards and a reputation to uphold both for itself and the publishing authors, EzineArticles should insist upon at least 250-300 words minimum in the BODY of the article itself! Resource boxes don’t count here!

We are here to give VALUE to readers, and that means quality sharing or teaching or explaining. You barely complete an introduction and conclusion in 150-200 words, never mind article body content!

Comment provided September 12, 2006 at 8:12 PM

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21
Lance Winslow writes:

Ed, I never seem to have to change titles, but there were 6 priors when they instituted that rule, I guess I would have had priority, since in 5 of the cases I was a member of the Ezine Article Team first, but I did not mind changing them. Today, I am very careful to make longer titles or tricky ones to prevent this, it has not been a problem at all for me.

Regarding word counts. I think the minimum should be 250 Base no matter what. Then add in the byline, but it should not count for the minimum.

I believe that we would be better off with 250 or even 275 mimum word count here forward. Grandfather of course, we do not want to have people going back all of a sudden. Additionally, I think the Humor articles should be lowered to 80 or 150, because to tell a really good joke you only need that much and if you make it wordy to reach the minimum you can sure ruin the joke. Maybe have a slide on the humor category only.

http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Write-a-Humorous-Article-Online&id=69509

Those are my thoughts and really I have been thinking this for quite a while with the new system and word counts and prior on the humor category. Perhaps we should be upping the minimum word counts to 250-275. But also perhaps we should ask the Ezine Publishers, who seem to pick these articles up in sydication and really multiply the readership.

And do not forget that with folks having lesser attention spans, it is to also be considered so the minimum should probably not exceed 300 words although most writers will opt to write 300 – plus word articles anyway. Think on this in 2006.

Comment provided September 13, 2006 at 4:02 AM

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22
Ruth writes:

RE: 150-200 word “articles” are a joke! There is very limited utility for the reader, and very little consultative content, included in such a short “article.” That’s merely a blog post! ”

BINGO! The short article has found its niche – blog posts.

How many marketers have blogs to fill and nothing to fill them with? Perhaps this is the new nich for short articles: Blog owners can use them as original contenf for their blogs, add their advertising at the beginning or end of this post….

What do you think?

Comment provided September 13, 2006 at 5:43 AM

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23
Ed Howes writes:

Lance,

Thanks for satisfying my curiosity. I do not think an exception is required for humor. If you don’t have two or three good jokes, do them on a blog. Stand up comics are proof the second joke usually takes nothing away from the first, even with rapid fire deliveries which often work better than long pauses, allowing the laughter to subside.

Comment provided September 13, 2006 at 10:49 AM

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24
Edward Weiss writes:

Rena, I agree with you and Ruth. In fact, EzineArticles could segment articles by word count and promote the shorter articles as ideal blog content.

This could be a whole new busniess in itself.

Comment provided September 13, 2006 at 3:14 PM

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25
Lance Winslow writes:

Hey wait a minute, have any of you stopped to look at the word counts on MSN.com, Google News, Rueters or your local news TV stations websites? Very few are over 300 words. You know I probably read about 200 news items a day and take 70 online Ezines or more per day, some come once a week on various days and that is a lot of content I sift thru to get a handle on reality. But in stating this, I think it is totally obvious that the Internet Surfer prefers shortness and that is why EVERYTHING out on the net is getting shorter. So do not be too hasty to wordcount price yourselves out of job. I am right, anyone disagreeing is wrong. I have proof and observational input to back up my statements. I think some of these comments are sour grapes and petty, grow up children.

Comment provided September 15, 2006 at 3:06 PM

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26
Ruth writes:

Lance, do not forget one thing here. We don’t write news, we write articles.

We do not write for people like yourself, that sift through hundreds of copies.

We write informational articles for persons looking for specific information. And the more relevant, GOOD information we have for them, the more they are going to read.

Different perspective,

One of the children, Ruth

Comment provided September 15, 2006 at 4:27 PM

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27

Let’s close this blog thread please….

Thanks!

Comment provided September 15, 2006 at 5:11 PM

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28
Lance Winslow writes:

This topic should not be closed. It seems that people who write longer articles feel that people who write shorter articles are inferior, It is not so. No one should have the last word. On this web site are News Topics, Self Help and Health all of which are news. Ezines usually send out shorter articles few are 700 words. What this site is and is not should never be limited to a single writers view of things. Look at what the market is doing, stop limiting yourselves, you are denying reality and doing so will define your niche so narrow the site will become Irrelevant.

Comment provided September 15, 2006 at 6:17 PM

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29
Samuel Thompson writes:

I am new to article writing (only seven thus far) and therefore do not totally understand many aspects. Normally, when I read 200 word articles I usually feel that I’ve “been cheated”. I expected more and did not get it.

I have written only one article under 400 words (397). At 200 words I could have 14 articles out there.

I started writing articles to promote my website. It would certainly benefit me to write more articles at lower word counts, but I feel my readers would feel the way I do – “cheated”.

Comment provided September 16, 2006 at 12:42 PM

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30
Lance Winslow writes:

Indeed, some readers might feel slighted to click on a cool title and not get the real information they want. Yet also realize that there is a saying about “brevity and the soul” and it is important to work hard to say more in less space. Additionally if you over load the mind of the reader with incessant details you please some readers, but not the 80% average Internet click surfering, channel checking, king of their own “remote control” Virtual Reality World.

Regarding feeling cheated, boy I know how you feel, especially watching News Segments on TV were they cut off the interviewee just when they start getting to the good stuff, just cut him or her off and go to a “hard break” of course there is a reason why they do this; it is the lack of attention span.

Additionally, you say that you could have written 14 more articles. I know how you feel as I have all my first articles as 1500, 900, 2000 plus word articles. But they get no more traffic than those I have broken into 250, 300 and 400 word articles. So each time I break up an article for the Internet Surfer and their inherent lack of patience, I win in volume of hits; 2.5 million now. And 31,600 Ezine Article pick-ups. Why? Because brevity is what the market is asking for. As an artist you may wish to call your own article word counts and ramble on about your Pets or something like this, but there are so many examples of famous artists who painted, sculpted and made what they liked and yet died broke in their lifetimes, while today we pay millions for their brilliant work. Interesting isn’t it?

If you are plugging for the mean-average Internet Surfer, and Ezine, you will need to pack more information into smaller spaces with real insight. Also realize that each complete thought could be a whole article, where as multiple thoughts in a single article can cause disarrayed thinking from the reader too, meaning you never make your point, but thanks for the information and click out, instead of on your byline ad.

I currently have 8822 articles so if I made them all 500-600 word articles I would still have 4411 articles, but only half the traffic or clicks. Currently with 2.5 million article views that means I would only have 1.25 million article views. Thus you can see why perhaps you might cut down your articles and work hard not to cheat your reader by giving them a complete thought, well-intentioned and yet within 300-400 words.

And it is possible for someone to tell us about their latest health care dietary suppliment in 200-300 words that they have been taking for 2-3 years and wish to sell online, even if they are 300 Lbs and it is not working. They can still tell all the readers how great it is to divert targeted internet traffic to their website to make sales or money on PPC ads.

So consider both sides of this issue and the reality of the article views, Ezine pickups and be sure not to Cheat Yourself too. In other words shorten the articles and create a win/win for yourself and your 80% average Internet Surfer. Remember most likely you are marketing yourself, product, ideas and you want to make each and every key-stroke count for the most.

Comment provided September 16, 2006 at 3:24 PM

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