Article Writing – How Long Should An Article Be

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It’s an almost age-old question, how long should my article be?  And the answer still remains that it depends.  How long your article should be depends on what you are trying to do in writing it in the first place.

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As a Standalone Article

I don’t do these very often, but occasionally I write an article for the sake of it.  I might just have something to say, or it might be something that isn’t related to a website I own, so I’m not trying to promote anything or drive traffic back to my blog or website.

When this is the case I write the article until I am happy with it, for as short or as long as it takes.  The article is written with the intention of being complete in itself, with no need to go elsewhere for more information on the topic.

As example of this is a recent article I wrote called ‘5 Tips For Keeping Your Child Safe on the Internet’.  It’s not related to any of my websites, but it’s a topic I’ve personally been dealing with over the last couple of years, and I just wanted to share my experiences.

I’ve written stand alone articles anywhere between 300 and 1200 words, just as long as it takes.

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To Promote a Blog Post or Webpage

Article Marketing is a very popular and effective strategy to help promote a website, product, or business.  Articles can generate you traffic for your website, and backlinks for your website that help promote your search engine rankings.

When used for promotional value I tend to consider two things, my article needs to be:

  • Long enough to deliver on the Headline
  • Not too long that you lose your readers interest

Long Enough: Each article should address one single topic, and should be sufficient to deliver on the promise you made in the headline.  For promotional efforts, articles are like a teaser – they deliver one thing while promising a whole lot more if you follow the link back to whatever site you are promoting.

Not Too Long: The average attention span on the Internet is only a few minutes, so if your article is too long people will get bored and switch to either skim mode, or just jump off your article and go read something more concise, in which case they never make it to the bottom of your article, and never see your resource box, or the links inside it.

Obviously you have to at least meet the article directory site guidelines for any articles you write, but as a general rule I follow, I aim for articles in the 400 – 500 word range.  I can deliver on my title promise without being too wordy.

Tip: If you find you are writing 1000 word articles it’s very likely you are hitting several topics in one go, look at the article and see how you can split it into two or three short articles.

Do you agree with this post, let me know in the comments below.

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