You’ve written a blog post or op-ed. You’ve finished proofreading and editing. You wonder, “What is the ideal length of this article?”
There’s no ideal length that applies to all pieces of writing. But there are a few rules of thumb you can keep in mind when you work on your next draft:
Discover what font size suits your text. The ideal font size is a 12-point type, but this might vary depending on the browser window size and screen resolution. (The paragraphs below were written with 12-point Times New Roman. Your font should match your reading preferences, but don’t forget to use the correct font size when you’re checking for hyphenation.)
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Pro tip: If you have trouble tracking down the ideal article length, start by logging in to Google Docs or Office.com and copying a full, unedited version of your work. Then, paste that copy into a word-processing tool (like Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Writer). Using the word processor’s word count feature you can get a rough estimate of your article length in words.
Get to the point. No matter what you write, readers usually have short attention spans and little patience for long-winded articles. They want to read something that is relevant, valuable, and up-to-date. If they had more time they would probably read a longer and more detailed article, but they just don’t have the time and don’t want the trouble.
The ideal length of an article varies widely depending on the medium in which it is published. In a blog post, the ideal length is between 1,500 and 2,500 words; in a print magazine, it’s between 1,300 and 2,000 words; in a newsletter, it’s between 300 and 500 words.
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Two good examples of articles at these topic-specific lengths are:
Blogging platforms have become popular because they make it easier for readers to skim through posts. Also because there’s no limit to the number of words you can add to your blog posts.
The answer: as long as it needs to be, but not more than that.
Why? It depends on what type of content you are writing.
If you are writing a book, that number may be 1,000 words. If you are writing a blog post, you might use 100 to 250 words.
If you want the reader’s attention and readers want to read a long article: it’s preferable to write shorter articles. Longer articles tend to give readers a headache because no matter how well-written they are or how interesting the topic is, people find it hard to escape from the article by themselves once they get stuck.
It is not as easy to write short as you may think at first. You have to take care of every aspect and cut down even trifles.
If you want to get readers’ attention and keep it, do not try to impress them with words only. Appeal more often to their imagination and emotions so that they can easily visualize the subject matter.
Nowadays, people are so busy that they often have no time for reading long pieces: they are in search of very quick information on a particular subject (they don’t stay in one place long enough to read articles). This is a good challenge for writers who want to capture their attention, but at the same time, it’s a great opportunity to show the readers the vital importance of reading.
And here’s one last thing: 1,500 to 2,500 words is ideal if you hope your article will go viral. The average viral blog post has a length of around 800 words. Here’s some tips on how to make sure your article goes viral in this article “How to Write a Blog Post (That People Will Actually Read)”.
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