Long vs Short Article Lengths

Iran writes:

I have a 3500 word article that is under several subtitles for the sake of better clarity. Is a 3500 word article too long for marketing? Or should I break it down to a few smaller ones? But I personally feel that a good comprehensive and fresh article is fine to be that long. I personally would read a long article that tickles my interest. What do you think? Thanks!

Simple answer = Yes, it is too long.

Complex answer = Technically it’s within our limits (400 words to 5000 words) but I can guarantee that (7) articles that are 500 words will out perform (1) article that is 3,500 words in terms of the amount of traffic, exposure and interest you’re able to attract with the same volume of content.

Article quality is only ONE component of the success equation. Having a large quantity of articles in your inventory is also essential. Takes both. Hope this helps.

32 Comments »


1
Ramon Greenwood writes:

Chris…

It seems to me that you are offering more coaching. That’s a 10 strike and very much appreciated.

I produce a semi-monthly ezine, The Career Accelerator. I have just over 2,000 subscribers. Could you please comment on the open rate. What percentage of “opens” is considered “successful”?

Your service is getting better every day.

Many thanks

Comment provided August 19, 2007 at 11:21 AM

[Reply]

2

Hi Chris! How are you today?

I think that long articles have meaning when we try to build the reader’s confidence, but you are right for defending short articles, that can have the same result with less effort.
Less effort, but difficult for some authors, because they have to write only the essential, without many explanations.

I’m trying to be a good student and write 500 words articles. I saw I had the same success with very short 340 words articles. These articles are an exception for me, but 500 ‚¬€ 600 words articles are now my standard, what happened only thanks to your lessons.

Sometimes very long articles have a purpose, when we are teaching our readers something new that they cannot evaluate in short texts.
Otherwise, short articles are the best ones for the readers that live on a hurry and for the authors that have to write too many articles in order to promote their business, with all the competition we find in the Internet, in all fields.

Comment provided August 19, 2007 at 11:27 AM

[Reply]

3

Wow.. I am going to be soo good at article writing. All these lessons? Taking them to heart, I can’t miss.

Thank you AGAIN!

Comment provided August 19, 2007 at 12:38 PM

[Reply]

4

3500 words is a good short report.

Comment provided August 19, 2007 at 1:52 PM

[Reply]

5

The person who originally submitted the question sounds like he’s got an easy solution at his fingertips.

He said he already had subtitled sections – that’s great. All he has to do now is break this up by subtitles, so that each subtitled section stands alone as an article. He can then beef up the subtitles to make them web-article appealing, and that’s it, the job is done.

(Of course though, you want to make sure the text “functions” as articles and that each piece is edited to be stand-alone material.)

I agree with Ramon Greenwood about Coach Chris. :)

Comment provided August 19, 2007 at 1:59 PM

[Reply]

6
Jan Verhoeff writes:

I’ve posted a few articles that were a thousand words or so, but for the most part my articles stay focused and tight at about 400 words. I like the content, information and detail in a 400 word article. If I’m looking for an article to post on my blog, ezine, or other publication, I click right on past anything over 600 words. For publication, it’s going to have to be REALLY AWESOME to be more than 600 words and get publication in my ezine.

People just don’t have time to read that much ‘stuff’.

Jan

Comment provided August 19, 2007 at 5:20 PM

[Reply]

7
Ann L. writes:

If a long article is chopped into short articles as you suggest, is it best to submit all the articles at once as a series or individuallly?

Comment provided August 19, 2007 at 9:24 PM

[Reply]

8
Jan Verhoeff writes:

ALL articles you submit should be stand alone articles. When you submit articles with several parts, they get separated and often don’t show up with matching parts.

Series of articles also should be STAND ALONE – without requiring additional parts or articles to perform their duty.

If the item is that long and that complex, that you need several articles to deliver your message, perhaps you should consider putting it into a special report or ebook, and writing lead in articles to direct folks to your ezine, ebook, or special report.

Jan

Comment provided August 19, 2007 at 10:08 PM

[Reply]

9
Ann L. writes:

Thanks Jan

Comment provided August 19, 2007 at 11:31 PM

[Reply]

10

Article syndication as a concept is not ARTICLE PARTS FRIENDLY.

Therefore, do not create parts because you will create frustrated readers who will try to put the parts together unsuccessfully…

See: http://blog.EzineArticles.com/2007/05/convert-article-parts-to-stand-alone.html

See: http://blog.EzineArticles.com/2005/12/article-parts.html

Comment provided August 20, 2007 at 9:30 AM

[Reply]

11

When considering article length, also consider your audience. If your article is targeting businesspeople, chances are that those people are crunched for time and won’t spend a long length reading for the information they’re looking for. They want in and out, fast.

Someone who is interested in a solution to a problem also wants fast info. They want applicable information to solve their problem so they can move on – that means they won’t spend hours reading a long article.

Personally, when I’m looking for a good, long, distracting read, I pick up a book. I don’t go surfing for something long to read. When I do surf to read, I want lightening-fast info – get in, get out, fast.

When you sit down to write an article, always consider who you are targeting. The point is that you aren’t writing for yourself; you’re writing for the reader. Consider what he or she wants, needs, and prefers, and craft your work in a length that answers those factors.

Comment provided August 20, 2007 at 9:41 AM

[Reply]

12

I have written two articles on the possibility of high doses Methycobalamin (a form of vitamin B) being used to help victims of Peripheral Neuropathy, esp. derived from Vietnam/Agent Orange. This is an ongoing, real life study. My husband is the victim and I am his caretaker. (One never knows about other people’s lives)

It DOES seem to be working but I make no huge claims for anyone, and state firmly that I am not a doctor.

I have posted two articles on this so far, the original and a progress report. They are both 900+ words. I state in the progress report that there will be follow up articles.

My reason for doing this is that,

#1) It is an honest report from a lay person that feels a sense of hope.

# 2) There may be someone out there who may indeed be wondering about the progress, because they are suffering from the same problem.

#3) I could not wait until this study was completely over. Do you know how many vets suffer from this? They need hope and possibility. The Government does not honor their claim unless it was reported within the 1rst year after leaving Vietnam.

I am writing each article to stand on its own, but I am referencing the other articles as I live them.

Comment provided August 20, 2007 at 1:20 PM

[Reply]

13

Kathy, sometimes I mention other articles I write if someone wants to learn more about certain topic, but I always make a small summary of the previous article so that the reader won’t need to read the article I mention unless he/she wants to learn details about this topic.

This is how each article can stand by itself besides being related to other articles, since this way the readers don’t feel they missed something because they didn’t read the previous ones.
They shall not feel that it’s indispensable to read the other articles of the series.

Comment provided August 20, 2007 at 2:49 PM

[Reply]

14

Thank you so much Christina. I do need to put that thought first in mind as I do more follow ups. I ‘think’ I did do that. I did try to make a summary of sorts to make each article one that can stand on its own.

OH! Rainbows right around the corner!

Comment provided August 20, 2007 at 3:15 PM

[Reply]

15

Ramon.. I just signed up for your newsletter. I am self employed so don’t have a boss (well maybe the BIG boss in the sky) to ask for a raise but your newsletter.. excellent! I loved the “Five Vital Lessons”. I found your newsletter so easy to read. I thought to myself.. wow you can sure tell this guy has been taking in all these blogs. Perfect spacing that did not hurt my eyes to decipher and not too long.

I also think your question to Chris was really interesting.

The answer was…???

Comment provided August 20, 2007 at 3:48 PM

[Reply]

16
Ramon Greenwood writes:

Kathy Ostman-Magnusen…

I doubt Chris wants to turn his blog into a chatroom, but I can’t resist writing to thank you for your kind words. Somone said, “Man doesn’t live by bread alone.” Truer words were never spoken. You rev my motor.

Many thanks!

Comment provided August 20, 2007 at 4:09 PM

[Reply]

17
Nancy Chadwick writes:

Maybe it’s just me, but after exploring material on several different article sites, I’ve found that articles well under 500 words generally tend to be devoid of substance. They’re “puff” created by authors motivated to crank out just one more article to up their output statistics. I find that reading a short article that says nothing is a turn-off. The “more is better” tactic backfires because I won’t read anything else they’ve written. Perhaps it’s not fair to paint with a broad brush, but if I see that their articles tend to be in the 300-400 word range, it seems reasonable (to me) to conclude that their other 99,999 articles will just be more of the same.

I do agree, however, that material consisting of 3,500 or more words might be more appropriate if presented in a non-article format. Law review articles or material published in other types of professional journals, of course, would be notable exceptions.

Comment provided August 26, 2007 at 11:30 AM

[Reply]

18

A good writer can provide a real punch in a small package. If you’re reading fluff, filler and just a bunch of words that leave you feeling empty, blame the author, not the article length.

‘Nuff said. And in 35 words, too :)

Comment provided August 26, 2007 at 4:48 PM

[Reply]

19
Nancy Chadwick writes:

James…

Tiny articles
beribboned hollow boxes–
empty promises.

(17 syllables)

Comment provided August 26, 2007 at 7:03 PM

[Reply]

20

Nancy…

Great words, small page
Volumes spoken.

6 syllables, 6 words. :)

Comment provided August 26, 2007 at 7:09 PM

[Reply]

21

Everything depends on the subject, on what we want to present to our readers and on what we expect from them.

Sometimes long articles are indispensable, if we want to give to our readers real knowledge, because this is the only way they might me interested on visiting our site.

Sometimes short articles are wiser because their subject cannot be developed; their readers are usually on a hurry and this article’s size is preferred by all sites in the Internet.

There are also times when the word count doesn’t really matter, because the subject is vast and their readers like to spend time reading if the author wants to spend time writing.

Long articles are condemned for being full of dispensable words because most authors are amateurs.
Usually though, long articles’ quality tend to be much better than short articles’ quality because when the author is serious, he/she gives more information when he writes more.

Comment provided August 26, 2007 at 7:35 PM

[Reply]

22

Mm. Can’t say I agree that an author who doesn’t write as much as the next isn’t as serious. I also don’t agree that a serious author can’t give as much information in less space.

Both of those are rather thin ice statements, IMO

Comment provided August 26, 2007 at 7:43 PM

[Reply]

23

Kathy, I read again this thread quickly now that I wrote something else and I remembered your case. I wanted to tell you that I might be able to help your husband though dream interpretation, but I didn’t want to do that here because it could be interpreted as if I had the intention to show up or something like that.

But now I have remorse because he has a psychological problem that is affecting everything. You can visit my site: http://www.booksirecommend.com and contact me if your husband wants to be treated through dream interpretation. I never charge anything for psychotherapy through dream interpretation, this is human help. I believe he can easily be cured, while you seem very worried.

Comment provided August 26, 2007 at 7:55 PM

[Reply]

24

James, a serious author can give substantial information in less space but not as much information as he can give in more space, because everything he/she writes is very important. So, each word has a meaning.

Comment provided August 26, 2007 at 8:04 PM

[Reply]

25

Not at all, Christina. I’ve seen some very serious authors (both in dedication and determination) write some completely horrible material. I’ve read some content from serious experts with degrees and abbreviations after their names longer than my arm who couldn’t put together 12 words cohesively.

Saying each word has a meaning is true, yes. Cow, cat, and toddler all have meaning and each person will attach a different sensory perception to a word, thus giving it meaning. But to say that everything a serious author writes is important isn’t accurate.

*steps down off podium* Cheers!

Comment provided August 26, 2007 at 8:12 PM

[Reply]

26

Actually, now I’m curious. What do you define as a “serious” author, Christina? (or anyone else who wants to chip in)

Comment provided August 26, 2007 at 8:14 PM

[Reply]

27

Serious author is the one that respects his/her reader and gives him what he promises, the best way he can.

You may not agree with my opinion concerning long articles because the articles you have in mind are totally different from the ones I am considering now. Everything depends on their subject and on who the writer is. Is he a real writer?

Comment provided August 26, 2007 at 8:23 PM

[Reply]

28

That’s a very good summary of a serious author, and I agree with that.

But I think you’re missing my point: A short article can deliver a message as effectively as a long article – and sometimes better.

What you bring up about type of article, audience and purpose is a whole different basket of apples. I don’t expect a medical article on a case study of cancer to be 500 words. Nor do I expect an article on the ten best ways to teach your dog to sit to be 100 pages long.

That is only my personal expectation, though. A good author can deliver on the cancer article in 500 words, and a good author can expand effectively on dog training tips in 100 pages – if both are well written ;)

Comment provided August 27, 2007 at 6:39 AM

[Reply]

29

The real issue on whether an author is serious or not:

Are they here to provide genuine value in their article, no matter what the length or are they here to pass off thin content as fake expert content just to get traffic?

Comment provided August 27, 2007 at 8:08 AM

[Reply]

30
Jeff Herring writes:

Hi Chris!

I agree, and hopefully yours can be the definitive statement and these can be the last posts on “the thread that wouldn’t die!”

Jeff

Comment provided August 27, 2007 at 8:16 AM

[Reply]

31

That’s it, Chris, you nailed it.

*officially lays to rest*

Comment provided August 27, 2007 at 8:23 AM

[Reply]

32
Jan Verhoeff writes:

Jeff,

Are you really trying to kill this thread or just keep it dragging along?

I think it’s important that we realize there are people out there who really do know what they’re talking about in many areas, and their informative knowledge can be helpful to a lot of people.

Jan

Comment provided August 27, 2007 at 8:42 AM

[Reply]

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Please read our comment policy before commenting.