The Case For The 500-750 Word Article

How many words should an ideal article be?

The EzineArticles system is setup to require a minimum of 400 words and a max of 5,000 words.

Why should you consider writing articles in the 500+ word range?

  1. Writing less than 500 words makes it difficult to deliver on the promises you made in the article title.
  2. Increases chances that your readers will have confidence in you as the genuine expert.
  3. 44.9% of our members (largest single class of article submissions vs. less than 500 word count classes of article submissions) are already writing 500+ words or more. Join the majority.
  4. Sometimes you never know which tip or strategy recommendation will solve your readers problem and by meeting a higher word-count, you’re able to offer more options to your reader.
  5. Many writers say that it’s easier to write a higher word-count article and chopping it down to 500+ words than it is to produce a less than 500 word article that falls short on quality or impact.
  6. If you struggle to produce <500 quality words/advice on a narrow topic relating to your expertise, are you really the expert?
  7. Less than 500 words doesn’t always offer ezine publishers enough of an incentive to send your article to their email lists = lost promotional opportunity.

What are your reasons for writing in the 500+ word count range?

51 Comments »


1
Edward Weiss writes:

I have to disagree with you on this one Chris. I’ve read plenty of 500 plus word articles that were nothing more than padded verbage.

A much better, more coherent article could have been attained with editing out the fluff. That’s one point.

The other is if I can say what I have to say and it takes me just 250 words, that article is superior to a one thousand word article that says the same thing.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 1:00 PM

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2

Edward,

I agree.

You may be one of those rare people who can write a less than 500 word article and deliver a quality article.

The last thing I want to encourage our members to do is send in fluff just to meet a word count metric goal. Quality original content that adds value to a desired readership base is the end outcome here.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 1:23 PM

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Josh Spaulding writes:

As the publisher of a few article directories I realize the benefit of receiving 500+ word articles, but as an author I’ve always had better conversions with 300-400 word articles.

Viewers like to scan and read small chunks. In most cases they are not looking for a book. They are looking for quick information not 500+ words.

So, I’d have to disagree with that one Chris :)

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 1:46 PM

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Mike Taylor writes:

I kind of agree with the 500 words rule, however I think if you are too focused on the word count you will lose out on quality. I have only written a few articles but I usually just sit down and try to get my point across and usually takes about 350 – 500 words.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 2:08 PM

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Marte Cliff writes:

I agree Chris!

My problem is narrowing my focus to make sure my articles are not too long – so I have to discipline myself. And while a very narrow, focused idea could come in at 250 words – it would have to be a VERY focused idea.

I’ve read plenty in that category and most of them really don’t say much. They’re more on the lines of filler copy for a newsletter. If you look at what’s available on Pages you’ll see hundreds of them.

Aside from narrowing focus and completing a thought, the real advantage to sticking in the 500 word range is more articles, and more chances for the right person to read and follow-up.

And by the way, thanks for providing this service. I get copywriting leads from my articles on a regular basis – and I owe the opportunity to you!

Thanks,
Marte

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 2:11 PM

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Karen Lynde writes:

Hey Everyone,
I find it hard to fit everything into 300 words–what I usually aim for.

Some people may be too wordy and it gets old reading their articles–it just a bunch of junk mixed in with a little good–which means, in my opinion, that means they aren’t the experts. At any rate, they don’t know how to write good, wholesome, informative articles.

However, if we’re talking about good writers and experts, I think bigger articles can be more informative, easier to write and will appeal to more people. These people can scan for the info they want.

Having said this, some subjects wouldn’t work with lots of words–the subject is too narrowed and possibly there just isn’t much to talk about.

I think each subject and the intended audience should be considered before deciding how many words the article should be. Article word count maximum is just, to me, a very flexible figure. Think:

1. Is this a very narrow or broad subject?

2. Is this an article to generally inform or give specific directions?

3. Is this meant for the average person who doesn’t know anything about this subject or for someone who wants to add to their knowledge? Or is it for both?

4. After answering these questions, NOW how many words am I going to aim for?

~Carrie

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 2:11 PM

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Chinmay Chakravarty writes:

Why not concentrate on absolute quality, be present and stay focused, write down the article;and only then count the words. If it’s more think of editing; if it’s less not to add anything extra.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 2:28 PM

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8

NOTE: Someone pointed out that 44.9% isn’t the majority of our members in terms of what word count range they are writing articles in.

Actually, this percentage was based on June article submission stats as 44.9% was the largest class of members who wrote articles 500-3500 words vs. a lower percentage of different word count classes below 500 words.

Technically, 55.1% wrote and submit fewer than 500 word articles, but we also didn’t accept a high majority of them for being too ‘thin’ on content value.

What we should dig up is what percentage of submissions in various word count ranges were accepted vs. rejected to determine what the relationship is on average. For most authors who are truly experts in what they write about, this is a non-issue.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 2:45 PM

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Emma writes:

I think rather than focusing on word count, it is more important to write an article as long as it needs to be. Some of my articles are around 350 words and others are over 700. I try to avoid padding content, but at the same time if I sit down and write 200 words and can’t come up with anything else, I’ll frequently examine whether this is even an article that even needs writing. Sometimes, the answer is no. And sometimes I just need to kick my lazy butt and do a little more research on the topic.

Also, I too notice higher click-thru on shorter articles. I think when it comes to the web, shorter is almost always better. It fits with people’s attention span better. I often find that if I’m reading something over, say, 1000 words, I really need to print it, then read.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 2:53 PM

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Susan Scharfman writes:

Some consider anything in the 3,000 to 5,000-word category an essay or short story; even 2,000 words is a short short story. But I wonder whether people have the patience for such lengthy documents in an ezine, especially when that same ezine provides punchy thumbnails on How To (marry a millionaire, be a millionaire or just be). My comfort zone tends to fall within 700 to 800 or 900 words.

It’s important to note that, unlike most other publications, we do not get edited, which is a negative for me. Without exception, all writers get edited, except I’m told Ann Rice who threatens to put a curse on anyone who touches even a hair of her split infinitives!

But even when you are getting good responses from your articles, by not getting edited, your writing never improves. If that doesn’t matter then that’s OK. I’m used to editing myself, but as a writer I need to be edited. Every writer needs that input to grow and I welcome it when I submit to other publications. Hemingway had his Maxwell Perkins; Stephen King has his wife. As for word length, we should all pretend we are writing for a newspaper where space is limited, limited, limited.

Susan

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 3:34 PM

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Susan Scharfman writes:

Some consider anything in the 3,000 to 5,000-word category an essay or short story; even 2,000 words is a short short story. But I wonder whether people have the patience for such lengthy documents in an ezine, especially when that same ezine provides punchy thumbnails on How To (marry a millionaire, be a millionaire or just be). My comfort zone tends to fall within 700 to 800 or 900 words.

It’s important to note that, unlike most other publications, we do not get edited, which is a negative for me. Without exception, all writers get edited, except I’m told Ann Rice who threatens to put a curse on anyone who touches even a hair of her split infinitives!

But even when you are getting good responses from your articles, by not getting edited, your writing never improves. If that doesn’t matter and you’re making money, then that’s OK. As a writer I need to be edited and when I submit to other publications I either get whacked, sacked or accepted and edited, edited, edited. Every writer needs that input. Hemingway had his Maxwell Perkins; Stephen King has his wife.

As for word count, we should all pretend we are submitting to a newspaper where space is limited and costly, and the editor has a big fat blue pencil. Cheers! Susan

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 3:42 PM

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12

Hi Chris and everyone!

I believe that Karen is right: the subject we write about shall define our article’s size.

If the subject we write about can be easily summarized in only 400 ‚¬€ 500 we are lucky, because we can finish with the article soon. However, for most subjects we usually need 500 ‚¬€ 800 words if we want to present to the reader a convincible article that will capture his or her attention and make him want to learn more about what we write.

If we give definitions, advices and so on, we need to write a lot and the readers want to read a lot too, because they have a problem.

If we are only promoting a product or talking about something material, we better be brief because the subject cannot really be developed and the readers interested in that kind of article don’t have time and disposition to read too much.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 3:46 PM

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Toni Star writes:

Articles should be in the 500 word range because it takes several solid pages of writing to explain and discuss most topics.

This range also reveals to the reader the writer’s competency level.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 3:51 PM

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14

Articles in the 300- to 500-word range force you to concentrate on one specific topic. That means the solutions you are offering help people with a specific problem.

And that means that you can include relevant keywords that will help the search engines find the articles.

I’d much rather write 10 articles of 300 to 500 words, each on a separate topic with separate sets of relevant keywords, than try to cram all the advice into one article filled with lots of unrelated keywords.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 4:06 PM

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Marte Cliff writes:

I think Emma and Cinmay summed it up: Focus on what you’re saying and say it well. Then count the words.

I also agree that 1,000 words is probably too much for an article to be read on-screen. But at that point, you can look at it and see if you can turn it into two articles instead. Or… you can see if you’ve added in some fluff that can come out.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 4:20 PM

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16

I like to tell stories that illustrate or set up the main theme of my article. 500 words or less means taking all or most of the feeling, emotion and humor out of the article.

I believe stories or narrative make the article more interesting. Informing is great. But if you can inform AND entertain effectively, that’s what being a writer is all about for me.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 4:30 PM

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17
Emma writes:

Marte, good point about breaking up a long article into two separate ones. I think that is a good way to really laser focus on a single topic instead of going off on a tangent.

I have a couple of articles already published that I wish I could go back and edit into two articles.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 5:36 PM

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18

Good point Chris, when I see an article with 100-200 words, I think it’s not really an article, more of a blurb. They are easy to dismiss. I like to write like you tell a speech, tell them what you will cover, cover it, then tell them again what you covered. I like 500 to 800 word articles, as you get some meat and not just sizzle.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 6:51 PM

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19

I agree with Christopher W.
As writers we may prefer to write less and have our job done earlier, but as readers we certainly prefer to read articles with full information and directions that will really help us.

I usually like to read articles that are quite long when I’m interested in their subject and I’m sure that there are many people like me in the Internet, besides many people that live on a hurry and don’t like to read too much.

I live on a hurry too, but if something interests me I want to learn as much as I can about this matter. I need to have some notion about it before deciding to buy whatever the article is promoting! The same happens with everyone.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 7:10 PM

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20

Chris I think you have a really great discussion going on here.

There are a couple of points with which I agree, though overall I disagree.

Points of agreement

=> Many writers are not able to write a useful, helpful and great article in 300 – 500 words. It is too difficult.

=> I too have seen many less than quality articles of less than 400 or 500 words. Many of them, some by prolific writers, tell you about the what and the why and nothing about the how. Nothing useful there.

Points of disagreement

=> I agree with Joan Stewart that when you are laser-focused in on a specific topic, 300 to 500 words can be the best approach.

=> I do think it takes more work and skill to give useful information in less than 500 words. You have to think through your message, disgard what is not necessary, and only use what is necessary.

In the words of Enrique Jardiel Poncela – “When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.”

….and I sense an article coming on here – we’ll see how many words it requires…..

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 8:16 PM

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21

You are right Jeff. Your observation is very interesting!

However I want to defend long articles, because if you use them as psychotherapy for example, they need to be long. Everything depends on their subject.

I agree though that you have to be an expert in order to say the essential in only a few words!
However, sometimes you have to give full information if you want to really capture your reader’s attention, or you have to really help him with as many words as necessary. Of course, you have a limit, but if you write more it means that you give more if you are a serious writer.

Which is the article’s purpose? The article is a link. It’s going to make your reader visit your site and perhaps do what you want IF he or she is really happy with you because you convinced him that you can really help him as he wants.

Each author shall write his or her articles with dedication, trying to summarize the essential in only a few words if possible, but also writing a lot if necessary, because the article’s purpose is not to be cute or well shaped, but to convince the reader.

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 8:56 PM

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22

Hi Christina!

I agree that longer articles have their place.

Jeff

Comment provided August 3, 2007 at 9:42 PM

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23
Thad Ferguson writes:

I think the new feature that you installed that tells us how many clicks we get sent to our website would be a good indicator of what authors here should be striving towards.
Just because the majority of writers 44 percent write articles that are over 500 words doesent necessarily mean that they are the best or even get the most clicks.
When I write for ezine I want my reader to be hungry for more information from my website.
In other words I want to give him a minimal amount of information and have him click on my website to feed that hunger.
EzineArticles is like the samples they give you at the grocery store, tastes just good enough that I buy the whole bag.
The longer the article the bigger the sample the bigger the sample the more likely it becomes that even though readers might find my article extremely valuable and of great benefit to them, the need for them to click on my link has been eliminated.
Anyways if you could get the CTR differential on 500+ articles versus those with less than 500 words I might be more inclined to write articles over 500 words.
As it is now articles over 500 words in the relationship sections I tend to close before I even get to the end as they spend a great deal of time telling me nothing.

Comment provided August 4, 2007 at 12:12 AM

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24
Lance Winslow writes:

You know the 500 word article does offer many opportunities for the online article author. I enjoy writing articles that are near that word count and would encourage more people to do the same. Being a good writer means that you are versatile and writing a short article, when needed is a good skill, and writing a long essay is also a great talent. The 500 word article is a powerful thing and more people should be thinking here. I tend to agree.

Comment provided August 4, 2007 at 12:50 AM

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25
Dan Goodwin writes:

Chris,

You say “44.9% of our members (largest single class of article submissions vs. less than 500 word count classes of article submissions) are already writing 500+ words or more. Join the majority.”

This seems to contradict your usual take on things,, from what I know of you from reading your blog posts before.

Just because everyone’s doing something, it doesn’t make it the right thing, or the best thing to do.

I’d imagine too that the majority of EzineArticle Authors have probably written less than 10 articles? How much traffic are they likely to be getting with this number of articles?

Should we not listen to those who are the most successful at writing articles and marketing articles, rather than “the majority”?

Thanks to the stats and expert_bio pages of EzineArticles, we can look at both those who write in our own niches to see which articles get most views, as well as studying the people who are article writers and marketers for a living, like Jeff Herring, Josh Spaulding, Sean Mize et al.

Surely we should aspire to be writing the best articles we can to get our message and expertise across for our niche and our readers, whatever length of article works best for that purpose?

Dan

Comment provided August 4, 2007 at 5:54 AM

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26
Jennifer Thieme writes:

I agree with Joan on this one. I prefer to write 300-500 word count articles, rather than longer. If I see that the word count is over 500, I try to see if there is anything that I can cut. But sometimes longer articles are unavoidable.

For instance, I just recently published an article with almost 1300 words. The subject matter was somewhat complex, and I just could not get the count down any more without feeling like I was shortchanging the reader. Since the topic is not well-addressed on the internet, a longer and more thorough treatment was necessary. I even got a very positive comment on it, just this morning!

I DO think shorter, yet useful, articles require a certain amount of skill from the author, skill that one does not necessarily possess when first beginning to write articles. I think the keys are:

1. Write, write, write! The more we write, the more we improve.
2. Read what others write, and think about what we like or don’t like, what we want to imitate or not, about other’s writing.
3. Online research is great. Type “how to write articles” or even, “how to write” into a search box, and lots of results are available. Take notes, and incorporate them into the next article.

Like Jeff, I think I may have an article here! I wonder how many words it is….. :-)

Comment provided August 4, 2007 at 11:01 AM

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27
hans bool writes:

Just a thought:

There seems to be an incentive to write a high volume of articles (quantity). Observe the first-page-effect; a year ago it required only 95 article to hit the first page of the expert authors list, now this is over 400. In a year this will probably be over a 1000.
If you change this display and show the word count instead you will get a different kind a “race.”

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 3:09 AM

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28

Tony,

Interesting thought… Yes, exactly: The 500 word + article sure does flush out quality writers from those who write filler copy.

All,

I agree that 1000 word articles are great candidates for what I call the “accidental article set” — meaning, to break them in half to create (2) 500 word articles that stand alone.

Jeff Herring, article guy:

Yeah, 500 words does flush or encourage a writer to deliver some of the “how” rather than the what and why alone.

There are competing forces at work here:

On one hand, (2) 300 word articles typical might attract more traffic than (1) 600 word article; but something that is more important than traffic alone: reputation.

Because most writers struggle to produce a quality article under 500 words; the aim here is to encourage quality before word count quantity.

Thad,

If EzineArticles is the ‘sample’ before you buy the whole bag, I hope our members will not skimp on the sample quality because the thing we fear is delivering a bad user experience because of thin content that doesn’t deliver anything of real value.

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 10:35 AM

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29

Hi Chris

A couple of things…

1. One of the many components of reputation is quality over time. If the choice is between quality and quantity, quality wins every time. McDonald’s sells a great quantity of hamburgers all over the world. When I want a thick juicy burger I go other places or make it myself.

2. At the same time, quality and quantity are not mutually exclusive. My goal with my students and members is get your quality down solid first, and then we will work on quantity.

3. In the same line of thought as #2, perhaps the place to begin for brand new and intermediate article writers is to shoot for the 500 – 750 mark to focus on quality and reputation. As their article writing expertise grows, my experience tells me that many article writers will then be able to, at times, not all the time, but at times, deliver the what, why and how in a great quality shorter article.

4. For many reasons, I want both myself and my students and members to have a wide variety of article lengths available – 250 -500, 500 – 750, even 750 – 1,000 at times.

5. I’m wondering if this dialogue in part of the preparation process for raising the mininum word count on an article?

Having said that, I think this is one of the best discussions on this blog, with much for all of to learn……….and the whole thing is well over 500 words!

Jeff

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 10:58 AM

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30

Sometimes we need to write very long articles because we are helping people or giving them real knowledge, not only a small sample of what we can do for them. This is necessary when we want to build the readers’ confidence.

Sometimes though, we include too much information in only one article, what is not necessary. We better share the information and organize it in two articles that shall have the 500 word count shape.

The Ezine encourages the authors to write more because the tendency one has when trying to produce more is to write shorter articles which quality is not the same comparing with the previous ones since they understand that they need volume: many articles. So, quality is quite despised in their work!

Chris is absolutely right when he talks about reputation. Our article’s quality is very important.

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 11:26 AM

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Thad Ferguson writes:

If memebers are skimping on quality content it is because they lack quality content to begin with.
I agree that quality content must be the number 1 priority of a writer.
However, at least in the relationship category word count doesnt play a role in the quality of content for the most part.
For every 250-500 word article with no content and low quality you can find the same amount with no content above 500.
In fact many times articles that are over 500 words would be much better had they been under 500 words.

In fact your #1 reason on this list for writing articles over 500 words “Writing less than 500 words makes it difficult to deliver on the promises you made in the article title” is I can only assume based on a title that is general andd broad to begin with.
A more focused article title would be more of a challenege to write over 500 words.

For instance an Article Titled “Online Dating” would take pages and pages of words to actually give the reader what they want.
However an article titled “Online Dating- 7 Common Mistakes To Avoid” could easily fit under 500 words and even closer to 250 or 300 words and still deliever on its promises.
I think the real challenge EzineArticles faces in regards to “quality” articles is the fact that becuase of the amount of topics covered and a lack of a definitive guide to an expert the only real criteria to get in is an amount of coherent thought and 250 words.
Unfortunately no matter how high you raise the word count the number of quality articles written will not change and in fact decrease.

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 2:19 PM

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32

Thad said: “Unfortunately no matter how high you raise the word count the number of quality articles written will not change and in fact decrease.

Because?

We’re already rejecting 100% more than 18 months ago (22% instead of 11%)…so I can predict by 2008 we’ll be rejecting 1 out of every 3 submissions… but this assumes we do nothing to impact this trend (and of course we’ll do a lot to head off the labor dump at the pass with more education).

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 2:30 PM

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Thad Ferguson writes:

Also Chris,
Your llist had me asking myself a lot of question to which I assume you might know the answers too, so here they go in regards to each point you made at the start.

1.In what ways does it make it more difficult to deleiver on your article title by writing less than 500 words?

How many words does it take to make it easy to deleiver on your article title?

2. Which readers or publishers exactly base the decision on whether or not you are an expert based on word count?

3. What percentage of your writers would you consider genuine and experts and why?

4.Wouldnt breaking up your tips or strategy recommendations into 1 article for each tip or strategy solve your readers problem more effectively and give them more options as well as getting them into the habit of reading more of your articles?

5. I imagine good writers and quality experts would say they write till they have said what they have to say then cut and/or add from there?

6. If you can easily write 500+ words on a narrow topic relating to your expertise and can not chop it down or break it into different parts less than 500 words and still get your point or points across, are you really an expert who can communicate your knowledge effectively?

7. This might be true although I wonder how many publishers have a word count max that they go on rather than a minimum?

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 2:51 PM

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Thad Ferguson writes:

Chris I am glad that you are rejecting more articles in fact I imagine it would be great if you can put together a system that only accepts “quality articles”.
With that said I imagine that even you have already said that there are a lot of quality articles written in the 250-500 range.
Raising the word count only lowers the amount of rejections you have to reject it doesnt increase the number of quality articles written.
Unless you are saying that many of the articles that you reject would have been accepted if they had written more instead of less.
Where it is my belief that the articles you reject you reject because someone has given you a bag of sugar and called it a cookie.

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 2:57 PM

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Marte Cliff writes:

Just curious, Chris…

Are you rejecting articles because of the quality of the content, or because they are somehow offensive?

I love this discussion, by the way. Really glad I joined in.

Marte Cliff

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 2:58 PM

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36

Thad I think I can answer some of your questions.

It’s easier to say what we want to say with many words because this way we can explain everything.
However, we must be brief in our articles because usually our readers don’t have time and patience to read long articles, unless they have a problem they want to solve or they want to learn everything they can about certain matter before making a buying decision.

We can write a short article giving only very objective information if we get concentrated only in the essential, but this is very difficult to do. Usually short articles are not well written because the author doesn’t make them short and full of essential points, but poor, without any message. That’s why the Ezine members prefer longer articles. At least the author writes a decent text, saying ‚¬“something‚¬.

I never write short articles when giving support, only in rare cases, because I know that people that have psychological problems want to learn as much as they can, since they are trying to solve these problems. My articles have to be around 700 words at least if I want to give real support.

In other categories I can be brief and write shorter articles because I give only information, without psychotherapy.

Everything depends on the article’s subject as we said before, and on how we are going to convince the reader to trust us and visit our site. We can be brief only if we are able to say the essential in only a few words.

Otherwise, we better spend some time writing our articles because they have to deserve the readers’ attention.

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 3:57 PM

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37

We don’t human reject because of word count… meaning we normally don’t see 250-350 words and think…gee, I wish they increased their word count to 500 because then it would be complete — because the reality is that you know within the first 2 paragraphs whether the article is going to be quality or not…

Usually it’s because the article and submitter are so off the beaten path that we determined that their article and/or account can’t be saved. ie: They most likely had no intention of wanting a positive ongoing relationship with us.

On the basis of what is ‘offensive’…that’s a very small nearly insignificant percentage of rejected content.

The hard rejection is usually on the basis that it was never original content nor could we validate that the author had the exclusive rights to the content.

The soft rejection (means the article and member relationship has a chance to be saved) is 27.4% rejected due to advertising & self promotion being too high as a percentage of the real content (if any can be found).

8.7% is grammar, spelling and punctuation problems.

6.6% are for affiliate link violations of our section 3 in the editorial guidelines.

6.0% of the time the author name doesn’t match the same one the member included in the resource box. Not cool.

5.1% of the time the author name is not valid per our author naming contentions — usually it’s an author trying to use a brand name or something brand cutesy instead of a valid author name.

4.0% of the time it’s because the author included a self-serving link in the first sentence. Not a way to build trust.

3.3% of the time it’s because the article was submitted with dead / broken links.

2.4% of the time there are excessive active links beyond acceptable standards.

Those are the big ones…

Here are some tiny reasons for rejections:

1.5% are rejected for keyword abuse.

1.1% are rejected for anchored text link abuse.

.4% are rejected because they included personal email correspondence in their article.

.4% are rejected because of what we call ‘teaser violation’ — they only intended to tease the reader and not deliver any real value.
There are over 8,000 articles in ‘problem status’ that we’re in the process of working with the member to correct.

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 9:18 PM

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38

Hi Chris

One of the things I like about you is that you are definitely “the metrics man!”

In service of helping my students and members improve, I’m wondering if you can share what you look for in the first 2 paragraphs (referencing your comment in your last post) that tell you whether an article will be a quality artilce or not

Thanks
Jeff

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 9:25 PM

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39

Jeff,

Intent.

It’s all about intent.

Does the author intend to deliver value or not with their article.

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 9:33 PM

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Emma writes:

Thad, I feel that breaking down articles into being 1 tip per article is possibly going too far in the other direction and not serving the reader. I personally try and provide between 3-5 tips per article if that’s the kind of article I’m writing. I’m generally either just shy of 500 words or just over for an article with about 3-5 tips in it.

I also feel that 3-5 tips conveys a greater sense of my expertise and makes it far more likely they’ll click a link in my resource box. Right now, I usually average about a 25% click-thru rate overall, which I think is pretty decent.

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 9:42 PM

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Vern writes:

Here is what I do actually, I write my article based on the key points I have made and then re-edit for known spelling errors or grammatical errors.

Then, only I begin to notice the word count. Which is always helpful by the way. My articles do not go more than 700 or ever less than 450 most of the time. So it is still an optimum for me if I get like 512 words or something like that.

One of the known ways for me to combat for readers attention span is to break that article down into smaller chunks of paragraphs and also small sentences.

At this moment I’m just wondering if anyone is bolding their texts or hyper linking it. I’m not doing it for fear of having publishers unable to send it out as text format to their subscribers.

Would love some opinion on your experiences about this.

Regards,
Vern

Comment provided August 5, 2007 at 11:20 PM

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Vern,

You are really asking if you should include anchored text links or full http:// URL’s in your resource box.

The answer is to ALWAYS use at least (1) http:// FULL URL in your resource box and ASSUME any anchored text links you use will be lost in syndication. If they don’t get lost in syndication, then think = bonus.

Comment provided August 6, 2007 at 9:10 AM

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I just want to complete what I said about long articles, because today I had to write a very long one in order to beat the competition on dream interpretation.

This is another reason why an author may decide to write a 1000 words article instead of sharing the information in 2 articles. An article with so much important new information is much stronger, what means that it has more possibilities to be in the top than a simpler 500 words article not as rich as this one.

Comment provided August 6, 2007 at 3:37 PM

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Steve writes:

This whole word count debate is so annoying. We all know what a quality article and this is what we should all be concentrating on QUALITY- not word counts.

Have you all forgotten how it felt to be told at school that the essay had to be a thousand words.

Come on people grow up and start focusing on real issues.

Comment provided August 8, 2007 at 7:24 AM

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Hi Steve

As I chuckle the laugh I have after hearing wise, perspective correcting words, I say thank you.

Jeff

Comment provided August 8, 2007 at 7:47 AM

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Susan Scharfman writes:

And to Jeff and Steve I say thank YOU again and again. And to Chris for initiating the discussion.

susan

Comment provided August 8, 2007 at 8:28 AM

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Steve writes:

Jeff,

I am happy I made you chuckle.

Can I ask what other methods of web promotion you use and for the domain of your main website?

Just curious.

Hi Susan, how are you this fine day?

Steve

Comment provided August 8, 2007 at 3:28 PM

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Rod Jellison writes:

Hi Chris…
I’m not sure if word count should be the criteria here. I find that as I write it’s much simpler just to let the words flow and then go back and edit to remove any fluff or ancillary words that don’t belong. I’ve never really considered the word count to be the mainstay of judging if an article is well written or not – but the content definitely has to be there. So I’m afraid I have to agree to disagree.

I enjoy your service very much and the articles are quite delightful and entertaining on the whole.

Best Regards,

Rod

Comment provided August 8, 2007 at 11:51 PM

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Most serious writers can attest to the fact that Economy is a much more difficult challenge than Elaboration.

It is also one of the marks of a true professional.

Comment provided October 3, 2007 at 9:09 AM

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Well said, Gary. Very well said.

Jeff

Comment provided October 3, 2007 at 9:35 AM

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Lance Winslow writes:

Good point Dr. Goodman, and I have learned a lot from you in that regard. You indeed, lead by example. I would like permission to use that quote in the future, it hits home.

Comment provided October 3, 2007 at 2:24 PM

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