image of tausif akram By: Amby
9 Sep 2013

How Long Should My Articles Be?

Alongside keyword density and the frequency of publishing new articles, this question is one of the most common mysteries surrounding effective blog management.

Except that it’s not really a mystery, when you take away all the bad advice and common “guidelines”, that is. You see, there are website owners who specifically ask for a specific word count, usually 350 words or 500 words.

The problem with that mindset is that:

a. When you offer payment based on word count, you will probably end up with fluffy content.

b. When you focus on word count guidelines, you are probably over thinking it and will probably end up “over optimizing” which actually hurts you more than it helps you.

c. Word count probably has nothing at all to do with the user-readability or SEO value of your article.

d. All of the above, replacing “probably” with “definitely”.

D. The answer is D.

So how long should your blog post be?

If you take specific word counts out of the equation, you allow yourself to let the topic decide. Sometimes a short blog post nails the subject perfectly (so why mess with it?) Sometimes, the topic can be elaborated and can result in a lengthy blog article.

In general:

  • Short blog posts, ranging anywhere from 150 to 350 words, are for making important announcements such as an upcoming event or even a teaser.
  • Medium blog posts, ranging from 350 to 750 words, allow you to convey more information about the topic.
  • Long blog posts, 750+ words (though it’s rare that a blog article will ever exceed 1,500 words!) are ideal when the topic requires a more in depth explanation, such as step-by-step instructions. Longer blog posts can be good, because it shows that your topic has actual substance to it, but it is crucial that you use formatting (subheaders, lists, images, short paragraphs, white space). Otherwise, longer posts can feel intimidating.

How long should marketing articles be?

When publishing a guest blog or marketing article with a niche publication, there are usually guidelines regarding approximate word count or article length. These guidelines will vary, but as a general rule of thumb you should aim to have a medium to long article.

That is, your articles should be as long as necessary to deliver an unforgettable message (or teach an invaluable lesson) and not a single word longer. Edit and revise, obsessively.

Finally, you should always remember that word count is a simple ballpark guideline. What matters more is readability. A boring or overly optimized article will lose readers in the first paragraph, while an entertaining and/or engaging article will keep readers hooked from one word to the next… and it won’t matter how long or short it is!

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