400 Words Per Article or More…

Today is the day that I’ll be making a shift in my recommendation for what your minimum word count should be going forward… from 250 words min. to 400 words minimum.

When someone asks me what an ideal article word count is, I’m going to respond with 400-750 words as the range to shoot for.

We’re not changing our min/max requirements of a minimum of 200 words in the article body and a max of 3500, but on Wednesday November 1st, the new minimum will be 250 words for the article body.

Reasons for the shift from 250 to 400 words as the minimum word count recommendation floor:

I’ve been looking at hundreds of the 200-250 word count articles and they… fall short in the quality department in most cases.

It’s very difficult to deliver substantial value in 200-250 words.

As a leader in the market, we want to continue to raise the standards so that we remain the quality benchmark that others are judged or compared against. This is one of those quality metrics that I believe will lead to greater depth and quality in future submissions.

Recap: Nothing changes today in terms of what we’ll accept or not accept as 200 words for the article body is still the minimum until November 1st, 2006 when it’ll raise to 250 words for a min. word count to be considered for inclusion in EzineArticles.com. The only thing that changes today is my personal recommendation or guidance to aim for a minimum of 400-750 words per article instead of my previous recommendations of 250-700 words on average.

Questions or comments?


Susan Scharfman writes:

Without reviewing all of mine, I think I already fall into the 400-750 word couunt; probably because I can’t say what I wanna say in less. Thanks. I think your recommendation is a good one.


Comment provided October 9, 2006 at 9:31 AM


Tammy writes:

Chris, like Susan, I support your decision and think it’s a solid one. As I’ve read EzineArticles.com articles over the past six months, my experience has been that the brevity of 200 words creates, in most cases, a shallow article of minimal real use to me. When I read articles, I’m looking for concise, focused and enough depth to be meaningful.

Comment provided October 9, 2006 at 9:41 AM


Lance Winslow writes:

Good idea, I think you should have done this a year ago actually. Do you think this will allienate any of the Ezines who may prefer shorter articles or are they saying about the same thing? The reason I ask is that I have 54,000 Ezine article pick-ups, and have about 30% of my articles in the 250-275 word averages. Will longer articles hurt my Ezine Publisher States or affect my 2,774,244 article views?

Comment provided October 9, 2006 at 12:34 PM



Anything less than 250 words is really a “blog entry” more so than a “professional quality article”…

It’s not so much that ezine publishers have been telling us that they like and want shorter articles, but rather the level of complaints coming in saying that articles below 250-300 words are garbage (too shallow) and shouldn’t be in our site — have got our attention.

Based on the informal word count study I did last week, going from 200 to 250 words minimums will not have any statistically significant impact on your traffic stats.

Comment provided October 9, 2006 at 1:35 PM


Lisa writes:

Glad for the change. Thanks, Chris.

I believe this change will give this site even more credibility.

One of the techniques I use to write longer articles:

I always provide advice or step-by-step instructions in my articles.

By using this approach I always jump past the 400-word mark. As a matter of fact, I sometimes have to edit the articles so that they’re below 500, which is the word count that best balances my approach of giving quality advice in a fast-read format.

Glad to see things are going to change.

Warm regards,


Comment provided October 9, 2006 at 1:42 PM


Edward Weiss writes:

Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t ezine publishers looking for articles that will rank high in the search engines? If a 250 word article is indexed in the top 10 by Google, that article will be very valuable to a publisher looking to drive traffic. It will also be valuable for the author.

Comment provided October 9, 2006 at 1:46 PM


Lisa Sparks writes:

That’s a tough one, Edward.

I think the real value isn’t only in the word count. The value is in the quality of the article.

I happen to agree with Chris in that, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to delivery quality information in 200 to 250 words.

In most articles you want to share four key things:

1 – An issue/problem your target audience is dealing with right now.

2- Why you’re qualified to give guidance on the issue/problem.

3 – Step-by-step advice on managing the issue/problem.

4 – Wrap-up/Final take-home advice.

Let’s face it, Edward, providing that kind of quality content in 200 – 250 words can be a huge challenge – one that’s almost impossible to overcome.

Comment provided October 9, 2006 at 1:54 PM


Lisa Silverman writes:

I think this change will benefit both sides, Chris. I both submit articles and have looked for articles on the site, and I have a hard time finding relevant articles that don’t read as if they were hacked out in 30 seconds with no attempt at substance. (Those would be the 200-word ones.)

I want fresh content to help my site rank higher, yes, but I won’t post content that wastes my readers’ time. And my site is about writing, so poorly written articles with no substance are especially unwelcome! Thanks.

Comment provided October 13, 2006 at 9:46 AM




Use our advanced search feature on this page:

It’ll allow you to look for articles in the topic or keyword of your choice with the word count of your choice so you can ignore all articles below so many words.

Hope you find that feature useful.

Comment provided October 13, 2006 at 9:50 AM


Gerri D Smith writes:

Hi Chris,

Sure it’s a good idea! I’m glad I passed the test. I usually go by the 500-750 minimum/maximum rule that most publishers require. Can’t see how anyone can say much of anything in 200-250 words. That’s more like a ‘tip’ then an article.

Maybe you can start a “tip” ezine (just kidding!).

Take care.

Comment provided October 13, 2006 at 8:54 PM


Dr Mike Teng writes:

This is a good decision. All my articles are at the minimum above 250 words. It will be difficult for me to put across my ideas professionally with than 250 words and do the subject any justice. I support this decision wholeheartedly.

Comment provided October 14, 2006 at 5:38 AM


Hans Bool writes:

Hi Chris,

I can’t see how a measure in quantity — raising the minimum word count — could help quality.
Borges, the Argentinean author needed less then 200 words to write a short story (Borg and I, I think it is called). Is the ultimate of focus (highly valued at the moment) not to write as concise as possible?

Comment provided October 14, 2006 at 2:20 PM


Susan Megge writes:

Hello…out of curiosity I have recently read many of the shorter articles and have also discovered that the quality is most definitely lacking. Admittedly, my articles are sometimes too lengthy, but once I get going it’s hard to shut me up. I do believe, however, that the new minimum requirement is a good decision based on what I’ve read over the past several days.

Comment provided October 16, 2006 at 12:46 PM




Actually, for most authors, once they get on a roll, they can’t stop and that’s why I recommend that you just go ahead and let the zen flow out of your brain and create your 1000 or 1500 word article!

Because, once you have it produced, you can cut it in half or in thirds and have an instant set of articles that will outperform the single long article.


Comment provided October 16, 2006 at 2:45 PM




It’ll eliminate poor quality articles as a primary objective and it’ll encourage more depth in the quality of the article to meet the new min. word count requirement.

Yes, brevity is golden…especially in this day and age. … long live EB White and his Elements of Style and all that jazz about writing as brief as possible to communicate information.

My next challenge to authors will be to figure out how to stop writing absolutely boring crappy articles that states obvious things that don’t need to be stated just to fill word count. …It’s an ongoing challenge for sure.

Comment provided October 17, 2006 at 9:30 AM


Lance Winslow writes:

My data shows that 250 word articles and 400 word articles get the same article views, so it makes no difference. In fact, since I have stopped writing I notice my average article views went from 281 to 286.5 in only 5-days. Most of my articles are under 400 words. And because I was writing so many articles all the new articles needed time to cook and were bringing down my average article views. Meaning by October 31 my average articles views will be 300 per article and by December 31, 2006 the average article view per article will be at 360. So, I think all this talk about average article views per size is silly. I also believe that if you are a good author you can say all you need to in 250 words if you are concise. Someone who is too wordy and goes to 400 words does not make them a better writer nor does it make the article any better simply by being longer.

Now then, with that said, does longer articles help AdSense estimate the best key words for appropriate Ads to place? YES, yes it does. But that is a factor of consideration for the site, not the author. Also if this site places two-articles per page; Such as, people who liked this article also read this other one and list them both so the reader can read the second one by scrolling. Now you have 2 articles of 250-400 or 500-800 words for the AdSense to scour to determine what to place on the site, plus the titles of the other popular articles underneath. Everyone wins and therefore those who can write 250 word articles and make them short and good are not called into question by those who cannot accomplish both goals.

Just a thought, but a darn good one.

Comment provided October 17, 2006 at 4:23 PM


Dina writes:


Now that Google has turned the search results on its head, your article view counts from the upcoming year will likely be different than last year.

Traffic patterns are coming in now. Better, higher quality articles and strong topic development is going to help Chris Et All keep us authors on top.

Think Wikipedia. Their current format has them raging on Google.


Comment provided October 27, 2006 at 12:41 PM


Dina writes:

I meant to say, traffic patterns are coming in DIFFERENTLY now.


Comment provided October 27, 2006 at 12:42 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

I respectfully disagree, in fact today as we speak here are my stats;

10,001 Active articles, resulting in 2,948,596 views and when dividing it we see that is 295 article views per article and climbing and therefore I am on exact target for my previous statement of 300 article views per article by October 31, 2006.

Until you take all the shortened articles posted on the same dates and the same subjects and break down the data to prove otherwise my data stands, because I have over 10,000 articles online now and they cross literally nearly all categories. High traffic and low traffic subjects, some using the long tail theory with titles and key words and some not. In fact half of my key words are just the titles broken by commas. Still 300 article view averages over all. Now then when all these articles have had time to cook, what will the average be? I bet 450-500 or something of that nature.

I believe if you want a better hook up with Google you need an older website, This is site is one of the Oldest Online Article Websites and therefore gets the most traffic. Also links coming in are also high an bump up its advantage. With the new MSN live search I believe that their artificial intelligence scouring system might prove your comments correct and getting love from Yahoo or MSN is not a bad thing.

The desire to go to a 400 word minimum is completely a preference call over-all I believe and whereas I guess I agree and have a similar preference myself when reading articles, I am not sure that an article much over 400 words is a smart idea, because it makes the reader scroll and the author loses traffic on the byline, because that is at the bottom of the article and you have to scroll to get at it.

The empirical data that I see is not jiving with the move to larger articles from a search engine strategy sequence flow tactic. But a lifting of potential higher end articles and a preference for it does, I agree. Larger articles have MORE information, usually, but not all, to arbitrarily say that larger articles are better is a misnomer completely.

If it makes people FEEL GOOD, fine, and as an average overall larger articles do have more info; yes they would be correct. In reality some of the best articles I have ever read were quick, too the point, got the information, thank you, NEXT! And really the preferences of the readers in the click happen over loaded world of information ON AVERAGE want exactly that; ‚¬“Give it to me fast, tell me what I need to know and SEE YA!‚¬

It is simply not wise to make a blanket statement that the new data shows something different that what I have suggested and if it does; I am from Missouri! I will not accept any other comments to the contrary based on my proof and data already collected and on-going. Thank you and have a great weekend.

Comment provided October 27, 2006 at 8:34 PM


Dina writes:


My article are 2 to 7 times longer than yours, I have written 1/20th of the article volume that you have, and my views are averaging 636 per article.

Even so: I don’t think my data relates to your data anyway, there are too many variable differences.

Don’t compare what I said about Google traffic to your inernal article data analysis; it’s not related. You don’t know who out there is linking directly to your EzineArticles hosted articles. Or maybe you do. Regardless – traffic could be coming in from a number of alternate channels besides the search engines. Google is just one factor that I brought into the equation.

Regarding scrolling: I have a theory that lazy people don’t scroll. If someone is too lazy to bother putting their hand on the mouse, I don’t want them reading my stuff OR calling me up for copywriting jobs.

I have another theory that the Most Popular Articles category creates a page view momentum. Think about it – what if instead of articles, they were plates of cookies? And suppose that this was set up so that the plates of cookies which were getting eaten the fastest were placed in closest proximity to the viewers. If you were passing by and saw that everyone else was eating the Oreos, would you grab one?

Getting back to Google – Lance, I’m telling you that Google traffic patterns are different now, because I KNOW THAT THEY ARE. I watch Google every day.

Have a great weekend yourself.

Comment provided October 28, 2006 at 6:19 AM


Edward Weiss writes:

Dina I agree about what you said on Google. Something has changed. For the worse for me. I was in the top 10 for the search term “piano lessons.” Now I’m # 126. I changed nothing. Their new algorhythm screwed things up for me royally!

Comment provided October 28, 2006 at 10:13 AM


Dina writes:

Hey, Edward! I just did a spot analysis of your article marketing and your website’s header tags. I sent it to your email at wisteriapress.com.

Comment provided October 28, 2006 at 10:43 AM


Lance Winslow writes:


Your articles have had longer to cook due to the rate that you have written them, also you are extremely careful with your key words. If you were to increase your articles by 15% per month then you would see the average drop until it caught back up. In fact if would go down by quite a bit if you added 15% per month. So, your premise negates fact. Lets deal in facts.

Nevertheless Google is the main Search engine and for EzineArticles it accounts for the lion’s share. Yes lazy people do not scroll and yet lazy people also are those who do little and are most likely to pay someone else to do it for them often enough. Indeed most lazy people are not the best targeted traffic, but they are traffic and the discussion is about traffic too. First you have to get the traffic to your website, next it is up to you to focus on taking that traffic and making it into something. Just because you do not want lazy customers does not mean others do not. Having previously been involved with consumer auto appearance services these people would have been my target market, although now I am retired.

Changes in Google Traffic patterns are not affecting my article views much and I have written on many subjects. And if it does not affect my articles and we are discussing its affect on online article submission sites then I stand by my points of contention, as the changes you see do not affect me, with shorter articles you see. Thus this 400-word article debate is irrelevant. It is an arbitrary call by the owner of this website. It is a preference, whereas I agree with the preference due to personal taste, I still believe the premise for the debate is irrelevant.

Comment provided October 28, 2006 at 10:01 PM


Dina writes:

Getting back to what I was saying,

Changes in Google are affecting web traffic in a new way. This will impact our article effort in the long run.

I’m not going into the details on this blog.


Comment provided October 29, 2006 at 7:17 AM


Lance Winslow writes:

Well any changes that Google does will obviously affect “article marketing” at some level.

Being Part of the Top Online Article Submission Site is where you want to be with your articles IE EzineArticles.com and therefore since we are all here already, that is a good thing right? Yes.

There are differences in many things such as Blogs seem to be getting better treatment on the searches now for some reason. Google has also added Blog Entries on thier News Alerts too if anyone subscribes to those. This helps article marketing too, as Blogs have picked up our articles and posted them and now as they do they will be sent out on News Alerts.

Mirroring this site on another set of servers hosted in a different region of the Internet backbone in Blog type script could also prove good for EzineArticles.com and the authors too. There are lots of ways to counter act the balance of changes. Personally, I am happy with the web traffic, number of inward links the articles could add to websites and the article views no matter what size the article.


Comment provided October 29, 2006 at 8:40 AM




I can confirm that the inclusion of blog posts in Google Alerts has had an impact on incoming traffic!

In fact, I’m blogging about it later today as we noticed the lift and couldn’t figure out the source right away but now it seems apparent.

Comment provided November 2, 2006 at 10:10 AM



One more thing:

We would never mirror our site or host a separate copy elsewhere… as that is exactly what Google and others are trying to avoid (that would be a true duplicate content penalty box thing).

The closest we may ever come to this is distributed webserving where we serve up closer to our userbase; but never in a fully duplicated content fashion as that would/could destroy trust with every search engine.

Our job is to make the search engines look good when they refer thier users to us. Duplicating content would not make us or them look good, so we won’t be doing it.

Comment provided November 2, 2006 at 10:47 AM


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