Article Content vs. Real Life – Article Size Matters!

Articles Too Short Or Too Long? Learn How To Write In The 400-700 Word Sweet Spot!

Catchy titles and intriguing summaries are important to hook the reader’s interest, but ensuring your article body maintains that interest can seem a bit challenging.

Too Long: If you write a lengthy article of 1,000-5,000 words, you might lose the reader’s interest or make them feel like they are on a wild-goose chase for the information they desire.

Too Short: If you write a short article that just barely meets the word count, have you engaged the reader’s interest long enough to give yourself the credit you deserve and build enough trust with the reader?

In this quirky video, we illustrate how size matters:

Downloadable Versions:
WMV Format     MOV Format     MV4 Format     MP3 Format


So what’s an article writer to do? How can you make sure your article is not too small and not too big?

If you tend to write articles that are too short, or articles that are too long, never fear! It’s easy to maintain quality in 400-700 words with these great tips:

Short Articles vs. Long Articles

The Scope

Too Short: Too-narrow topics sometimes cause short articles. If the article topic is too focused on a particular target, it has little room for creative growth. Give yourself more wiggle room to introduce new facets the reader may not have realized on their own by widening your net and introducing what the reader might want to consider next. This provides extra incentive for the reader to continue on to your website.

Too Long: Many long articles are a series of articles in disguise! Consider the article itself – if you were to compartmentalize the article into a series, how might you narrow the focus of your niche? Break this down into a series of articles!

Lists, Lists, Lists

Too Short: Lists are incredible tools. Set a number, such as 5, and write this down as your skeleton. Then consider why your audience wants this information, how will they benefit from it, and how you can add your unique perspective to provide original value and build your credibility.

Too Long: Consider all of the points of the article and if you were to consolidate it into a list, what information could be pared down? Consider the main focus and all solutions that build that focus as a 3-5 word header and 2-3 sentences explaining the solution. Tip: Paring down is best employed by another proofreader – they will be able to identify content that this not needed to help convey your point!

Learn to Write With Templates!

Too Short or Too Long: Sometimes all it takes is finding a template that works for you and sticking to it to train yourself into writing content between 400-700 words. We release new quality-driven article templates in the Article Writing and Insights Blog. These article templates provide focus and make writing balanced informative articles easy!

There you have it! Size DOES matter, but don’t be intimated by it! There are tons of simple solutions to writing 400-700 word articles to target your audience, maintain your credibility, AND drive qualified traffic to your site.

What do you do to ensure your reader doesn’t get the short end of the informative stick and they don’t wander from the page because of a lengthy article? Let us know in the Comments section below!

26 Comments »


1
Azmanar writes:

hahahaha. I like the video illustrations. nice ..

Many people in the forums are saying that 750 to 850 words are good sizes that can make an article authoritative.

What do you think?

Comment provided October 3, 2011 at 3:45 PM

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Emily writes:

I write fine finished articles of 300 to just under 400 and post them on Self Growth, where people actually read philosophical practical self improvement and spiritual topics. I think up paragraphs to add seamlessly to those articles if I put them here. EzineArticles is better for recipes and stories. When I use the articles myself, I use the original version.
I think the 400-word size supports ads better, and that is where EzineArticles makes money.
Other people who write on spiritual and self-improvement topics say EzineArticles is not the place to put those articles, that it is for commercial articles, articles that sell something. Like the fifth chicken coop articles I get for two years now signing up for farm and ranch subjects.

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Emily writes:

oops. fifty chicken coop articles or so a week for two years now as farm and ranch subscription

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2
Jordan Foutz writes:

I couldn’t agree more. If I can’t find more interesting things to write about beyond 700 words, why would my readers want to stick around beyond that point themselves. I always word to stay in the good graces of the editors as well, say more with less.

Comment provided October 3, 2011 at 3:58 PM

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3
thomas bodetti writes:

Yes, it could be a thing of great concern in the very near future, imagine what would happen if google started censoring every article that was too long or too short it is something that I lie awake and think about all night long, Amazing stuff here folks.

Comment provided October 3, 2011 at 4:15 PM

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4
Leon Makojed writes:

I tend to go too long, rather than short, and find that rigorous proofreading is the answer.

The KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid) is the way to go to keep people interested enough to read to the end of an article.

You would be amazed how much waffle you can eliminate when you become your own strict editor.

Resist the temptation to show off you vast vocabulary and stick to presenting plain, unadorned information.

Comment provided October 3, 2011 at 4:39 PM

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5
Bonnie Moss writes:

Very helpful points. Writing for the internet is challenging- another case of instant gratification, grab the reader’s attention in a matter of seconds.

Totally agree with Leon Makojed about how much waffle can be eliminated, and yes, there is no need to impress the reader with a writer’s vast vocabulary.

Comment provided October 3, 2011 at 5:22 PM

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6
Scratchbonus writes:

Thank you for that post.
I am new to online writing and my topic is often grouped with spammy online gaming content incorrectly. I try as much as possible to include as much information as I would expect as a reader with all my posts. I also think that a good mixture of video content with written explanation goes a long way!

Comment provided October 3, 2011 at 6:32 PM

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7
Lance Winslow writes:

This is an extremely important topic to discuss, and I spent the day in Starbucks contemplating it all. I have come to the conclusion that this is very serious; article length matters!

It’s especially relevant for article authors that have an underlining purpose to maintain expert status in order to market their goods and services online. It would be wise for everyone to think on this topic, and consider all the ramifications of article size, as it is a key factor for success in this venue.

Everyone here ought to be thinking about this to maximize their results and capture their readers interest.

Comment provided October 3, 2011 at 7:36 PM

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8
Alicia Isaacs writes:

Totally agree with keeping it simple. With so many distractions the reader just wants to get the necessary information quickly before moving on to something else.

Quick and to the point and hopeful within that time- frame something was written to cause the reader to want to get more of what was written.

Plus it gives the writer a chance to write a whole lot more in other articles are opposed to trying to fit it all into one.

Comment provided October 3, 2011 at 9:54 PM

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9
rich cederberg writes:

Wow, I usually just write until I’m done with what I have to say, I don’t even look at my word count. I think a great article or post transcends word count. Not saying mine are great…

Comment provided October 3, 2011 at 10:14 PM

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10
Emily writes:

Can’t tell you how many times I have added a paragraph that fits in for Ezine but the same article, sans the somewhat extraneous matter, shines with 300-350 words, very rich in subject matter.
To me, Ezine reminds me of the school marm with her stupid rules. It is no place for philosophical articles, anyway. Says me.

Comment provided October 3, 2011 at 10:20 PM

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11
Abhinav Kaiser writes:

I agree that articles are to fall in the range that ensures that valuable information is passed on, and at the same time, it keeps the reader glued on.

The writers who write smallish posts usually do so to quantify the posts, and I haven’t seen any blog that relishes on small posts succeed.

On the other hand, websites like Stevepavlina.com consist of longish posts, and I generally bookmark them for later reading, when I have sufficient time on my hands.

So, yes, the point, keeping the post length in the range does really help.

Comment provided October 4, 2011 at 12:28 AM

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12
Steve Stoward writes:

As usual, insightful stuff. Always making me think about my next article.

Steve Stoward

Comment provided October 4, 2011 at 4:29 AM

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13
Robyn Walter writes:

Great article, when I started out it was always a struggle to find enough content, now I find I have to make sure articles are not too long. For me 400/500 seems to work

Comment provided October 4, 2011 at 5:13 AM

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14
Vijay Khosla writes:

Hi Friends,

I am a new comer to this great library of articles written by peers of this industry. I stand in awe at the material presented in it and imbibing it like a hungry child!

The best thing I liked about is the thought of presenting “Article Templates” to concentrate on the theme of your article besides the over all size of your subject.

Vijay Khosla

Comment provided October 4, 2011 at 10:19 AM

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15
Sharmaine writes:

I am shocked to see that the minimum word count is 400. On other sites that recommend articles that minimum is 300. I guess adding more really engages the reader.

Comment provided October 6, 2011 at 7:23 PM

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Emily writes:

It depends on what you add more of. It depends upon how you write. If your subject matter is dense and written succinctly – especially written in a conversational style dense and succinctly – 300 words often finishes it. The readers bags are packed, and often the article will be re-read.
To put these philosophical things on EzineArticles, you just add a paragraph. Usually the added paragraph is an illustrating story or an example of the process being discussed.
My impression when I do this is that I have watered down the content, but it doesn’t really read that way.

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16
David writes:

I like the video very good. I like to write an article from 750 words to 1000 words. I like to explain things also so people can have understanding in what they are reading. You have to help people with what you write…

Comment provided November 15, 2011 at 2:52 PM

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17

yes I agreed because search engine can’t recognize article of less then 300 word properly and too large articles annoy the reader because he/she want to know a specific information.

Comment provided November 15, 2011 at 8:59 PM

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18
Robyn Walter writes:

I’ve always been careful not to make my articles too long, for fear of readers losing interest. I may just try the idea of a template though. Thanks for an interesting article.

Comment provided November 16, 2011 at 8:52 AM

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19
Michael Edgar writes:

Your article says “but don’t be intimated by it”
Ulp!

Comment provided February 17, 2013 at 1:00 AM

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20
Emily Sandstrom writes:

I have not yet posted a nearly 1500-word article that reiterates and explains in different ways the fact that an image that is associated with language is a bridge from the conscious to the subconscious, and thus the beginning of accessing the dark or silent parts of your mind, for purposes of self-knowledge and spiritual growth.
And I have not yet posted an article I strained to get the 400 words that is a simple story that vividly illustrates the point that when you think you have to do something, you can do what you usually could not do.
I suspect the longer one may not be read, and plan to write on the same subject more curtly at some time.
But there are still people in this world who are deep thinkers, who appreciate deep thoughts. They have not all died yet.

Comment provided February 18, 2013 at 9:13 PM

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Lance Winslow writes:

I need your help. I am having trouble understanding what you are saying here, but the thought is entirely intriguing, so I hope you will email me so we can discuss this.

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Emily Sandstrom writes:

Larry, I presume you refer to me, and I don’t see an email address, so here is the unreleased article with its deliberate redundancies.

Tarot, a Do-it-yourself Tool to Break Into the Locked Part of Your Mind

Brains are structured to make immediate sense of what the senses report to them. All brains. Your brain. A sparrow’s brain. This is, of course, a survival mechanism: That blur in the woodpile could be a rattlesnake. Leaping to conclusions is a survival mechanism.

Your brain has a mind of its own. It’s going to erase the near-memory of where you have just been to clear it for scouting out where you are headed. That is why a doorway makes you forget what you went into the room for: That memory has been kicked back there into the history department.

Language is a dedicated program in brains, not the basic structure, so the silent part of the brain isn’t directly available to the language-thinking area. (That’s what makes it the silent part of the brain.) Why is the subconscious (that dark or silent part) aware of so much a human doesn’t consciously know? – because it receives input from all the senses and from, say, genetic memory and ‘unknown sources’ and puts all that together in files that are not language-based.

Babies have what grownups call imaginary playmates: There’s an ‘unknown source.’ Little kids often know stuff no one told them. Babies and little kids are barely getting into language. Most of the brain is silent: Did you know that?

Part of what is called the subconscious (silent parts of the brain) relates to scenes, images. That is the part we can make a thin bridge to. We want to get into our subconscious and access that ‘leaping to conclusions’ mode. Why? Because we know the subconscious is aware of stuff the conscious part of the brain isn’t aware of; and we want to access that knowledge. After all, it is part of who we are.

And by the way: When you have made that bridge, and strengthened it even a lot, you are still accessing only the dark or silent parts of your mind that are accessible to however your conscious is now programmed.

How do we know and believe the subconscious is more aware than ‘we’ are? – because every once in a while it kicks a ready-made bundle of important information onto the stage floor of our awareness. We call these bundles inspiration, a thought striking, eureka, deja vu, and ‘I coulda had a V8.’

Some mental illnesses, and some drugs, make areas of the brain conscious that are usually inaccessible to our minds. LSD and schizophrenia come to mind there. So does hypnosis.

From infancy, when the human brain is being programmed, vision (images the eyes see) is linked to language and thus to meaning and distinctions (categories): “That is a cat, it’s an animal, it’s living, it’s one object. That is a bucket, it’s a thing, it’s not living, it does not move on its own volition, and it’s one object. That is sand, it’s ‘stuff,’ it’s not living, it’s many objects as one, it doesn’t move on its own but it moves a lot anyway. I am a person, I am not an animal or a thing. I am the one who makes use of all this.” That programming is the main highway of your mind. (Remember those picture books, and how your parents rewarded you when you pointed and said ‘Cat.’?) That is why we proudly say “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

The infant is motivated to absorb these associations and make these distinctions in order to be like other humans around it, in order to fit in, which is a big motivation for a herd animal. We call this mode logical thinking, and we are proud to stay on its pavement. Those who stray from it are … well … straying.

These associations and distinctions we make as an infant become the box we think in. Most humans, at least ones who live in what we call civilization, are not programmed to associate possibilities with what the senses report, or to find patterns in experiences. We learn to associate possibilities with perceived data only if we have a specific use for that association – if, say, we are a scout, a researcher, a mechanic who diagnoses by engine sounds, a grower who had best intuit the season’s weather, a court stenographer who must make sense of that sound.

Most of us don’t go around with our awareness wide open to associate patterns in the whole of our experience. Thus we perceive randomness where patterns do exist. History repeats itself because we weren’t listening. We marry someone with the familiar faults of our opposite-sex parent once or more than once. The few people who do have this wide-open awareness tend to not pay attention to the rest of reality, and thus not thrive. Most of the time, these maverick people are ignored; sometimes they are idolized or persecuted as the tribe reacts to unbidden information. Galileo, and Cassandra of the Trojan Horse, come to mind here.

So we want to break into our subconscious and consciously access that ‘leaping to conclusions’ mode to acquire useful information, maybe even to expand our consciousness. Research, mostly not publicly reported, demonstrates stimulation of the pineal gland accomplishes this bridge between subconscious and conscious awareness, by the way. Vision quests are alleged to bridge worlds, too. But we are looking for an ordinary do-it-yourself way for a person who isn’t naturally extrasensory, hypnotized or on drugs. (Mind mapping makes a visual of text you are writing, and is of some use in creative thinking, but it, for our purpose, lacks that element of surprise that releases the ‘aha.’) So, what does release the ‘aha’?

Here it is. Sensory inputs that are sudden and unexpected, that don’t fit in with the known scene, prompt that eureka mode. That shadow in the woodpile is a snake! Things that have built up in our past experiences, that we perceived as random and irrelevant, may come together in a whoosh when we connect what we want to know to an irrelevant random sensory image or symbol. So let’s find a random sensory input bridge between *the part of the subconscious that has image files* and language, a bridge that will prompt us into making that leap we speak of. Our reflexive ‘make sense of this now’ mode will spit out meaning from the depths when we present it with what we want to know and the random sensory input at the same time.

You don’t have to invent the wheel here. Cave people were here before you, and folks have been doing this process for eons. Runes are ancient symbols that were and are used to create meanings and messages. People these days put blank tapes in recording devices and listen to the static, where meaningful audio appears or voices appear. People apply anything with shape (tea leaves, scenes on paper, bones, animals they tortured, etc.) to a question, issue or subject, and get information. Since part of the information that occurs spontaneously to the inquirer is from silent parts of the brain, it is from a different perspective and often useful and meaningful. It is insight (in-sight). And, yes, your everyday consciousness is working in tandem with the insight mode.

And by the way, the quality of the brain that is creating these associations and distinctions is very relevant to the quality of the information gleaned. A psychic genius is still a genius, and a psychic idiot is still an idiot. A person with a medical awareness can glean more information and better information than one who is not, on medical subjects. A person who is in the business world can glean more and better information on business subjects.

You do not need extrasensory or psychic abilities to acquire insight into human affairs, or to expand your awareness, or to get an answer to ‘Will I be able to pay the rent?’ What you need is a set of random sensory input generators (a set of symbols or images you attribute meaning to) that you are familiar with, that you apply to your concern. Anything will do. In other articles, I tell you how to make your own. Some folks use numbers and pay attention to license plate numbers on their commute. Some people use skipping around on the radio, television or a Bible as random access generators. None of these generators have spooky talents or connections; they are used as tools are.

Tarot cards are the most easily acquired and the most useful random sensory input generator in Western culture. Since the Rider Waite, the standard, deck shows scenes people are familiar with already, it easily prompts insight into the scene that the inquirer has in mind. That particular deck presents Western cultural archetypes, and presents ideas that are in mass consciousness in Western Christian culture, so it is well suited to the average person in the West. Distinctions are built into this particular deck, like the difference between *withdrawing or leaving gradually* and *dropping out and leaving abruptly*. Rider Waite is also well-established in mass consciousness through widespread use and acceptance – has respect, even.

When you link those scenes depicted on that deck to phrases, and you string the phrases from several cards into a sentence, you have yourself a random access generator that talks to you in everyday words. You have yourself a nice crutch to get over the thin bridge to the dark part of your mind – or you could call it training wheels. Everyday words straight from the subconscious, the silent part of your brain. Your brain. So it’s you talking to yourself. You can go exploring within yourself using this crutch if you like. Utter privacy there for your innermost secrets. Yes!

Where do you get those phrases? – Well, I got them by asking questions I knew the answers to for more than ten years, and keeping a notebook of the results. I simply applied the illustrations on Rider Waite Tarot cards I chose at random to whatever I was concerned with. The unknown was not the question then; the cards’ meanings were the unknown. So I got the Rider Waite Tarot deck’s meanings (from my perspective, of course), and I gravitated to this verbatim (word for word) approach because I was a court reporter at the time. That was a happy coincidence, or destiny. Decades of experience many hours a day have honed this tool into a power tool in my hands now.

You can see a demonstration every day of this system I call Tarot Verbatim, and even absorb how to do it yourself, by visiting its site where visitors access group Tarot input and advice – information that they say works for them. The photos there of the day’s four Rider Waite Tarot cards, with their individual meanings, would be a cheat sheet for you.

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Lance Winslow writes:

Extremely interesting, and I believe that the N400 brainwave is the link between the conscious and unconscious mind. It picks up anamolies, things out of place, things between categories that are outside the expected patterns or mind is looking for or the conscious mind thinks it is. Triggering this N400 brainwave is possible during any or all mental realms; Alpha, Beta, Delta, Theta frequencies, sleep or wakefulness, and it also seems to run during times of “defragging” for lack of a better term during dream state long-term memory formations.

Having a muse strategy to come up with original thoughts or cross-polinating using your entire range of memory across categories is possible, of course if you don’t use your brain you use these abilities to use at will during conscious thought, it’s still there, but if one formats their brain without understanding why or how to use it, they will not have the highest probability of making wise decisions, learning from mistakes, or hyper-cognition. I feel sorry for those who have minds capable of so much and yet never use them. Your tarot card concept is intriguing, thanks for sharing that information with me. My email address is; Lance (AT) carwashguys (dot) com for a more indepth conversation if you wish to take this to a higher level as in how all this relates to AI programming, image frame bursting, problem solving, intuitive thinking or advanced memory recall without stimulants.

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