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Best Article Length: Short Articles or Long Articles?

One of the most popular questions publishers have is how long their articles need to be on their site.

Some people believe that shorter articles are better because their site’s visitors don’t have time to read long form articles.

Other people believe long form articles are better because it gives readers detailed information they can use. In this case, both groups of people are right.

Does this mean that there is no answer to which length is better?

No, not exactly.

Read more to find out what the best article length is.

Soldier Writing - best article length

Short and Long Articles Have Their Place

Long and short form articles have their benefits.

First, lets define what is a long article and what is a short article.

Many people believe that anything around 500 words is a short article and anything over 1,000 words is a long one.

The following are the benefits of short articles:

  • People are more likely to read them.
  • They are more likely to go viral.
  • People can scan short articles.
  • They are mobile-friendly.
  • They are great for people with short attention spans.

The benefits of publishing long form articles are:

  • Google ranks long articles in a special way.
  • They increase engagement on a site because people are on it longer.
  • They are good for foundational content.
  • They provide more detailed information.
  • Long articles encourage people to link to it to increase backlinks.
  • They are viewed as more credible.

With these advantages, you may still be lost on which length is best. The answer is it depends on your readers and purpose. And Quicksprout agrees.

Think about your audience

How are they most likely to read your content?

If your audience is more likely to read away from their computers, you will likely want to provide shorter articles they can read on their mobile devices.

However, if they are using your articles at work or home, they may be using it as a resource to do something, so long articles are better.

The purpose of your content matters too

Do you want to use it to improve your brand awareness?

If so, you probably want people to share it on social media. People are more likely to share short, fun articles with their social media followers. Stick with short form articles for that purpose.

However, if you want to increase authority in your industry, longer articles are better for that.

Does this mean you should only post short or long articles?

No, it doesn’t.

You should post a mixture of short and long articles

So you can cast a wider net when helping your readers. Again, think of your readers and purpose for how many short and long articles you should publish.

If readers like short articles, publish more of those and then sometimes publish a longer one to provide those readers more information they can bookmark and use as a reference.

If the opposite is true of your readers, provide more long articles, but then publish short ones as summaries of the longer ones for people to get the gist of the information you’re sharing and for your audience to recommend to others on social media.

The most important point to make here is that you should experiment and test.

Find out what actually works best for you and focus on that. If most of your shorter articles have higher view and share rates you should obviously write mostly short articles. Just make sure your decision is based upon some identifiable data.

It’s Always About Quality Not Quantity

You can have a 2,000 word article that doesn’t tell readers anything at all.

You can have a 300 word article that does the same thing.

Short or long, the articles you publish that aren’t useful will do you no good. All articles need to help people.

They need to provide information, inspiration, motivation, or something that readers seek. You know your audience best, so when you write on a topic, make sure you are providing what they are looking for when they come to your site.

This is really about how to create content that converts. The simple and honestly the best answer is produce quality that fulfills the above requirements.

Not only will you be providing a service to your readers by giving them what they seek, but you’ll be helping your ranking on search engines as well.

Search engines analyze the quality of articles when they rank them. They are intelligent, so don’t try to rank your site providing useless information and spamming your readers with endless volumes of low quality content.

Conclusion

Now that you have a better idea of whether you should post short or long articles, start publishing. Pay attention to your analytics to see which ones perform better and then publish more of what your audiences loves.

Got any tips or techniques for figuring out article length? Or for publishing high quality content? We’d love to hear it, let us know in the comments below!

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