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How Long Should an Online Article be?

When writing online, I have always wondered how long is too long and how short is too short. There must be some general guidelines about this. I found many, but discovered one which I was comfortable with. So, how long should an online article be?

This is Definitely Too Short!
Recently, I encountered someone who posts many articles online on a daily basis, sometimes up to 10 articles. I was curious about how it was possible for her to come up with so many articles in a day. I clicked on one of her articles to find out. I was surprised to find her articles very short, about three paragraphs only. Could that even be considered an article?

By looking at each of the three paragraphs, I was thinking that there would only be 150 words (about 50 words in each paragraph). That is way too short for an article. But I just needed to make sure that this was not the only article that she wrote which was this length. I clicked on another article of hers. Again, she just wrote three paragraphs. No wonder she was able to generate 10 articles per day!

I copied the article and pasted it in an online word count tool. It said, “187 words”. That is less than 200 words. This writer made me think about the appropriate length for an online article.

It was difficult to find an appropriate guideline. Many writers themselves do not want to commit to a specific number of words to write an online article. Many of them said that it all depends on who you write for, the purpose and whatsoever. But I finally found one. The guideline I found was that you should write between 500 and 800 words for an online article. But your article should not exceed 900 words. In my opinion, this guideline is perfect. It should not be too long or too short either.

If Too Short
If your article is too short, I feel that there is not much content in it that can be of use. I’m not saying that a 200-word piece of writing does not contain useful information, but it may mean that there is insufficient elaboration to prove a point. In addition, your reputation as a writer is at stake if your article is deemed as poorly written and of poor quality.

If Too Long
If your online article is too long, readers will just get bored. People browse the internet for information every single day. They want the information fast and furious. Your article has to be informative and yet succinct. Sub-headings often help to break down the article into different sections for easy scanning by readers.

Another trick to see if your article is too long is to see how many clicks downwards you need to reach the end of the article. It should not be more than 3 clicks.

Thus, there is a need for balance between the two. An article of 200 words would definitely be regarded as not worthy. You should write an article with a minimum of 500 words and a maximum of 800 words, to be of a particular standard.

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3 Responses to “How Long Should an Online Article be?”
  • babygirl3605
    July 17th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    When I need to look something up and it just seams to go on and on. I get mad. I want a straght answer to whatever I’m looking up. But thats just me.

  • Dewan Golam Shafi Choudhury
    July 17th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    YOur so right about this!!!! I found an article published here about scientific facts about a planet and it was all in written in 10 bullet points!!!!!!!! This is just wasting a readers time and would affect the reputation of this site! I always write my articles above 400 words and this takes me less than 30 minutes!!!!!!! Faster you type, the quicker you can finish it! For beginner writers, 400 words above sounds very disturbing! I also felt like this when I began writing online! But as soon as you get used to it, it becomes easy! I now publish 1 article a day and I don’t find it hard!!!

  • Val Mills
    July 17th, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Many sites accept articles between 400 and 700 words, so that’s what I aim for. Good article to get the writers of those shorter articles thinking.

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