What Happens when your Article is very Short?

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 16th Mar 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

Twitter made us think in 140 character snippets and for writers this process is encouraged by the Bubblews with their use of 400 characters. Writers should question how effective short articles can be, especially if they want to build readership and earn money.

How long?

I enclose here today the entire post from another site, and this is done entirely for the education of anyone publishing material on the Internet (and this is particularly true if you wish to earn a living from such posts), the post follows:

    "United States plans to improve Internet service in the next few years, where he developed the state plan for the development of the Internet and the use of cables with many modern technologies to provide high-speed Internet to their citizens."

Please note that the subject of poor English usage is outside the scope of this article, other than to note that this will degrade its performance. I include this because it has a grand total of 40 words and question whether the content will simply burst open, like a firework, then simply dissapear.

Minimum Word Requirement?

Wikinut Moderator Mark Gordon Brown asks "Does Wikinut Have a Minimum Word Requirement?" with good reason, stating:

    "Most sites require 400 words or more. Some time ago Sam (currently in charge of Wikinut) suggested a 300 word minimum for factual articles with the understanding that poetry could be less and was {at moderator's} discretion" (my emphasis).

This is a view that I wholeheartedly agree with, but I also have to point out that there are two poets that regularly publish here that regularly exceed the 300 words with each poem they pen, so even poetry can exceed those minimums.

For one moment place yourself in the shoes of an advertiser, who is paying to have their advert included on any page that we publish, for 40 word the article I quoted above in its entirety, how long do you think the average reader will stay, 10 to 20 seconds? Hardly enough time for the advertiser's message to be displayed, let alone time for the advert to penetrate the mind of the reader and decide whether or not they wish to respond.

How do you, the writer, get paid? Now let's all respond in unison - it is from the placement of adverts alongside the body of your article. So if you want to earn some income then you must encourage readers to stay around for a little while, by writing something that is enjoyable, exciting, and provides value to both the reader and the advertiser.

Searching for Something Relevant

I ask you to place yourself in the place of a person who is seeking information from the Internet, where is the first place they go? A Search Engine, just like Google, and of course you want information that is relevant or will help you solve your problem.

With the assistance of an SEO expert I ran some tests with two versions of the same page, both had the same focus and pictures on them, one approximately 1000 words, the other 400, Which do you think performed best?

Before answering this question it is important to note that both these pages exceeded 400 words and were visually appealing and had the same industrial focus, so they should have performed equally, yet they did not. The thousand word page outperformed the 400 word page in all tests, including search result ranking, the number of hits and the amount of time people stayed on the page. It all goes to prove that words matter.

According to quicksprout.com "if a post is greater than 1,500 words, on average it receives 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes than a post that is under 1,500 words" - who says people are only interested in short sound bytes these days?

Performance of Writing Sites

From my personal experience 95% of all posts published on Bubblews are between 450 and 850 characters in length (or between 82 and 155 words), yet that 40 word article (above) would fit right in on here. Overall it is easy to spot those who had their introduction to on-line writing through that site because they write the thought of the moment and nothing more. A point that must be noted - you will hardly ever find a Bubblews post within Google search results.

White an article that long on Hubpages and it may be seen for a couple of days, but soon it will not be featured because of the poor quality and it will eventually be "unpublished" or maybe irrevocably deleted because of its poor value. For an article to remain featured it needs to exceed 750 words, and include pictures, video and potentially other elements (such as a POLL).

In Wikinut you should look to have a minimum of 3 sections and that each section should be a minimum of 3 to 5 paragraphs in length and you should include links to other pages, bold text, italics, perhaps some UPPER CASE for emphasis, but each section (whether the submission is fictional or factual) should have a picture, and optionally a video. Even with fiction you should look to publish you material in several sections, it causes a pause point for the reader allowing them to take stock before continuing.

It is important to note that well written pieces, that minimise the number of grammar errors, perform always perform better in search results.

So Short it Dissapears

Consider this, Google has spent millions (if not billions) of dollars creating their search engine and it looks at every page on the web on a regular basis, but it is particularly interested in 2 things:

  • Content, and
  • Links

Every page is categorised within 24 to 72 hours of it being created, the software will also go back onto pages and recategorise them once every few months, but those pages it had previously decided were irrelevant will very rapidly be downgraded and eventually disappear from the results.

"Contact Us" Pages

Please note that for things like corporate web sites there are two pages that frequently do not reach the 400 word minimum, and these are the "Contact Us" page, this page usually contains the barest information about telephone number and address, but Google categorises these differently, provided the page is actually called "Contact Us", search engines will link it to the main home page.

You would not get away with writing an article called "Contact Us" and expecting it to be treated that way.

How to "Fix it"

Fixing the problem of the short article is relatively easy, add another level of detail!

Most people skim the surface, they provide basic information, but more is actually required. My advice for the writer who is hovering over the "Publish" button is to ask themselves the question "Have I provided enough?"

Don't rush to publish! Click on the "Add new section" link at the bottom of the current section and think if you have anything to add that will make what you have to say more complete. Please take a look at the following video:

Images used

  • Star Fireworks by Green Street (royalty free collection owned by author)
  • Short Article Word Cloud by Peter Giblett
  • Sherlock Searching from cinemablend.com
  • Square Bracket by Peter Giblett
  • Contact Button by Peter Giblett

Tags

1000 Words, 140 Character, 300 Word Minimum, 400 Characters, 400 Words, Bubblews, Factual Information, Hubpages, Publishing Material, Seeking Information, Short Articles

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
17th Mar 2015 (#)

I have rejected many articles for being under 300 words, I will accept shorter poems but really the people who submit short poems are hurting themselves. They are better to submit two poems together than one short one.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
17th Mar 2015 (#)

Mark - Thanks for the hint on poetry. I have quite a few short poems, but they usually fall within a clear, definable theme. In the future, if I submit poetry, I will do themed articles rather than individual poems.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
17th Mar 2015 (#)

As I said there are two poets that write regularly here and they get star pages most times, because either they combine poems or make them longer, add sections, pictures and videos.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Carol Roach
17th Mar 2015 (#)

thanks for the info, I do a word count on my articles, to see if they are at least 300 words, many of they as you know are much longer. Sometimes I do meld two previously published articles into one.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
17th Mar 2015 (#)

I can guess the word count for most short articles that I moderate, there is a general rule of thumb and that is most writers write paragraphs that are about 80 words in length, so generally four average sized paragraphs is above the 300 words, but too many submissions are far shorter.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
17th Mar 2015 (#)

Thanks, Peter, for the valuable tips.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
17th Mar 2015 (#)

My pleasure.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Deepizzaguy
17th Mar 2015 (#)

Thank you for the excellent advice on how to write articles for Wikinut. I feel better now.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Jerry Walch
17th Mar 2015 (#)

Well done Peter. There is another site that I write for, a site that shall go unnamed, that allow writers to submit extremely short pieces and I have to wonder why they, the writers, even bother to write. People who can't or who don't want to write real articles should stick with Twitter or Facebook where such word/character count is expected.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
18th Mar 2015 (#)

Agreed Jerry.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
17th Mar 2015 (#)

Thanks for the hints. I have discovered a site (not Bubblews) that allows posts of 100 words minimum and pays quite well. I am therefore using that for my shorter pieces and sticking with Wikinut for the longer ones.

It will be interesting to see which site survives for longer!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
18th Mar 2015 (#)

Thank John.

Reply to this comment

author avatar M G Singh
17th Mar 2015 (#)

This is a nice post , but Peter there are two sides to a coin. Remember what Mark Twain said" Would have written a shorter letter, but never had the time". It's a greater challenge to write a small interesting post. Long articles can become meaningless, for I write on hubpages where they write articles going over 800 words.One can see that most posts are just "stretched" ,
O Henry always talked of brevity and that i think is the name of the game. In fact any site to prosper must never have any restrictions on number of words as it is self defeating.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
17th Mar 2015 (#)

Madan makes a good point. I have to confess that I quite often look at articles on Wikinut that go on and on for pages and make me think that I've got better things to do than plough through them. I don't then read much of them but skim through quickly. I am therefore likely to spend more time on an article of 500 words than one of 2000.

As in so many things, surely it's a question of balance? An article needs to be just as long as the subject matter deserves. A good writer will make a limited number of telling points but develop them in ways that hold the attention. That is surely the mark of a quality article that will also gain the attention of advertisers.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
18th Mar 2015 (#)

Yes Madan does make a good point. One of the reasons writing is called a fine art is that the formation of something concise can be quite a skill.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Brandi Alexandria
18th Mar 2015 (#)

Well stated. Make every word count.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
17th Mar 2015 (#)

Peter, thank you so much for sharing this article. I've learned so much from you and I must say I continue to learn. I welcome all suggestions and thank you for your hard work.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
18th Mar 2015 (#)

The thing is Nancy, I am always learning and when I learn new things I am often driven to write.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
18th Mar 2015 (#)

Helpful information! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Ptrikha
18th Mar 2015 (#)


I do try to keep my articles of a reasonable length on Wikinut. occasionally, some of my articles like one story series have been pretty long. However, I at times find it tough to get images suitable for certain technical articles, like the last one I wrote on use of certain Oracle API.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
18th Mar 2015 (#)

Ptrikha, those that make comments here are the people that actually write reasonable length articles, I wish we could get the word out to those that repeatedly do not.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
18th Mar 2015 (#)

Personally I reject about 5 to 10 posts a day that are too short when moderating on Wikinut.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
18th Mar 2015 (#)

Peter, most 'new' writers are here because they haven't been writing for very long. They will develop their writing skills as time goes on. In the meantime, there output will probably not be read by very many people, so this post is a very helpful hint. Thank you.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
18th Mar 2015 (#)

In the meantime, *their* output. .. (I wish I could see all that I've written before I press "Add your comment".)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
18th Mar 2015 (#)

Actually Christopher there are a group of writers that have been members of Wikinut for at least a year that persistently add short articles, posts with bad English and a multitude of other errors. Learning/improving are simply not part of their agenda.

Reply to this comment

author avatar BiristerSharma
18th Mar 2015 (#)

Thanks for this information.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Brandi Alexandria
18th Mar 2015 (#)

The majority of rev share websites only require 20 seconds. The topic determines length. Am I the only one who gets frustrated reading articles that essentially provide no working information that may be applied, but just talk around topic explaining it?

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
19th Mar 2015 (#)

Brandi, you are not the only person who is frustrated with that.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
23rd Mar 2015 (#)

I'm hoping to submit my first article here very soon. All I need now is a topic I haven't written to death somewhere else. I hope it will come tonight. Thank you for a better understanding of what is wanted here.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
23rd Mar 2015 (#)

Not a problem - Good luck with whatever you post.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Tranquilpen
23rd Mar 2015 (#)

A fresh take on writing format and content. Thank you Peter. How Is the book coming on?

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
23rd Mar 2015 (#)

Thank you Andre.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
3rd Jun 2015 (#)

Peter, thank you for sharing this article again. I have said before and will say again that I always learn from you. As I read this article it came to me that I have never known how many words I put in any of my fictional work. I divide it up into chapters and share it but maybe I should pay more attention to this. I've written for many sites and they have all had different rules which I do try to follow but as far as word count I'm really not sure. I've been so concerned with grammar and spelling and maybe I need to pay more attention to the amount of words I'm using. My content is very important to me but I guess I should be concerned with the overall picture.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
3rd Jun 2015 (#)

Nancy, I rarely count my words either, but then I also know that what I do will not be too short for the search engines. Brevity is good, but with article writing there must be enough detail for the reader.

Reply to this comment

author avatar peachpurple
11th Aug 2015 (#)

i usually have more than 4 sub category in an article. But my photo credits; I usually put in "All photos are taken by peachpurple ' Do I have to indicate which picture is mine or pixabay?

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
11th Aug 2015 (#)

If you source a picture from another location (not simply Pixabay but anywhere) you should give credit, preferably naming the photographer, when known, but definitely naming the website.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password