Long Articles vs. Short Articles

58 replies
I have a bunch of articles I have written floating around on various article sites. Some of the big PR sites require 750 words.
None of my articles over 500 words give me any love at all. I have had some of my best success with informative tight packed posts on 3stepAds (175-200 words). Go figure.
I thinks most people tune out after a certain point.

Thoughts, comments, or suggestions?
#articles #long #short
  • Profile picture of the author Brandon_Walker
    12-o'clock, I have had similar results with my articles as well. This is because long articles lose people's interest and they leave halfway through the article because it is too long for them to read.

    ideally, you want an article which is short (around 300 words) packed full of valuable information.
    If you make your article highly informative and full of useful advice, then the reader will be more inclined to click on your resource box at the bottom of your article and visit your site.

    I know that's what people at ezinearticles do. They write short articles full of value, and then write a really long resource box encouraging the reader to visit their site
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  • Profile picture of the author Slin
    300 word articles work best for me.

    Honestly being in college has made me realize that most larger papers are a bunch of fluff. (unless your in biotech or something..oh man...hard times)

    My older bro graduated with straight A's from a pretty dang good college, he finally admitted to me that on larger papers he just reads the first sentence and last sentence of paragraphs. Apparently that's all it usually took. (except the opening and closing paragraphs)

    So 300 word articles are not only usually more informative, it makes it easier to understand for the reader too!
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  • Profile picture of the author RGallowitz
    I have my best results with articles that range from 300-400 words. It's just enough to get the right amount of information across without starting to bore the reader.
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  • Profile picture of the author DPSikes
    I also tend to have better response to shorter articles, 500 words or less. People's attention spans are really short....
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    • Profile picture of the author AndyIlias
      300-400 works for me.

      I believe the main thing to focus on is creating the right "art" in the sentences that will "tickle" the readers interest to find out more information by clicking our links.

      Guess it can be called "artickle" huh?
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  • Profile picture of the author grandstar
    I think short works best for the short term but in the long term if you want to be considered an authority in that field, you just have to be long.

    People who are passionate about a niche will naturally write long even if they tried short. Not just passionate but also knowledgable.

    I am very good in economics related matters and I would naturally write long even if I tried to write short.

    In the long term, long will pay off especially if you have a site or blog you are equally passionate about.

    Your passion will flow in your long articles.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
      I have problems with just putting out 200 words. Feels more like a paragraph and not an article.
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  • Profile picture of the author arnoldsmithh
    Well my suggestion is Mid Level article like 300+ words is very effective
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    • Profile picture of the author Heuristic
      After the big Ezinearticles crackdown, I submitted 10 articles between 600-800 words to see if I'd get any extra benefit. The result was that they did a lot worse from a CTR standpoint than my usual 350 word articles. They also didn't seem to get any more Google love than my shorter articles.

      And these were articles with a 1% keyword density, keyword in the headline, bolded keyword in sub headings, etc.

      The only positive was that the people who clicked to my landing page seemed more likely to buy.
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  • Profile picture of the author TomBond
    I use articles for backlinks and a bit of traffic so 300 word articles work for me for the following reasons:

    1) Readers are more likely to get to the end and click through
    2) I can write them much quicker than longer documents so I can produce more documents and therefore more backlinks
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  • Profile picture of the author Allen Graves
    For what its worth, my answer was not listed, which is around 450 words or more (not less)...at least right now. LOL Times change and rules change, so this is something you will always have to test out once in a while.

    Allen Graves
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  • Profile picture of the author OnlineBlogger
    Although it all depends on the topic you are writing upon (I mean, articles on some topics are longer than others.).. Most articles can fit well into 250-350 characters and still have give a good punch.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Powers
    300 words seems good.The importance lies in you have expressed what you want.Don't make it too long,or some guys will lose their patience to read it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan Beacher
    I'll echo what a lot of other people have said; 300(ish) word articles seem to be the sweet spot in terms of CTR. Any more, and you're in an inevitable struggle to keep the attention of the reader. With 300 word articles, you can also more effectively write with formatting in mind to enhance those all important clicks of your bio box links.
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    • Profile picture of the author netwiseprofits
      Yep I have to agree the sweet spot for me is 300 - 500 words. Most people tune out after that, it's the "Are We There Yet" syndrome.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mmfh
        For all you guys that like to summit the 300 word articles, do you do it at Ezine? Unless you are a paid member over there you can't use long tail anchors if you are only doing 300 words.

        Your anchors are limited to 3 words I think If your article is that short.

        Mm
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        • Profile picture of the author degcommunications
          This is a fantastic thread. I never considered testing results from 300 word articles compared to 500. That could make a huge difference in various manners as 300 articles are obviously much quicker to write and if they convert better it's a total win win.
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          • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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            • Profile picture of the author Fun to Write
              I agree, Alexa

              This is why I'm shifting to writing fewer articles that are also longer (400 - 600) in length, and have higher quality. These articles tend to get published on other sites more often.

              I agree about the shaking off of readers who are only mildly interested in the subject matter. I also feel that those who click through links on longer articles are more likely to make a buying decision.

              And, even if the majority doesn't buy or click through, I like the feeling that I'm providing great information. Quality articles have a longer shelf life in general.

              However, shorter articles do have their place as long as you're giving the reader what they want.

              Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

              Well, you just have to do your own testing, ultimately. But I do strongly suspect (because I've now measured this across such a wide range of niches) that this isn't, or at least isn't purely, a niche-dependent phenomenon.
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            • Profile picture of the author Allen Graves
              Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

              Well, you just have to do your own testing, ultimately. But I do strongly suspect (because I've now measured this across such a wide range of niches) that this isn't, or at least isn't purely, a niche-dependent phenomenon.
              For what its worth, I agree with you.

              And I guess I should throw out a disclaimer that I actually have researched the complete range of article word counts from 250 to thousands...and on thousands of articles and in hundreds of niches.

              Can't wait to see what avatar you have tomorrow! LOL

              AL
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      • Profile picture of the author DavidO
        Think of it like short copy versus long copy: if you're article is interesting and involving people will read it, whether it's 300 words or 1000 words. If you can't write in a compelling style 300 words is about the limit to maintain a reader's interest.
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  • Profile picture of the author netwiseprofits
    I agree DavidO if the writer can maintain interest the length is not important.

    However I have found when submitting articles most places like the article to be no more the 750 words, so becoming versed in writing short powerful articles of 300 - 750 words is a good skill to have.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Leatherman
    Chris Knight EZA owner on his blog talked about articles being 400 + if I remember correctly.

    Reason: Experts are not feeling that they have truly given enough unique quality information in 250-325 words and are opting to increase their base word count into the 425-525 range. This is combined with the fact that we're rejecting THIN content now more than ever... It's not that we want word count for word count sake (known as word bloat), but that there has to be a genuine "GIVE" in the article body of unique information.
    2009 Article Marketing Predictions

    As this particular quote above was early last year, I know he has commented on it again in September or October, but I couldn't find it.

    I'm not sure I agree with him entirely, but I believe your word count should be directed toward what you are using the article for and where you are publishing it. As an example of that lets say you are promoting a CPA product, I believe (along with some other folks that are doing quite well) your shorter article (say 250 to 350) works best.

    But the one thing we should all remember, IMO, is that we are providing quality and value for our readers.


    Ken Leatherman


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  • Profile picture of the author johnben1444
    250 to 400 article works best. Reader often lose interest in long articles and besides, a shorter article saves time as well as create more back link in sense that instead of writing a 500 article, you can write two 250 articles. Which means two back links as well as two traffic source.
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  • Profile picture of the author Troy_Phillips
    Ever how many words it takes to get my point across. Sometimes 350, next time 750.
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  • Profile picture of the author yommys01
    Long articles don't lose people interest or bore them out. What makes them lose internet is if the article is boring.

    There are articles that you simply can not do in 350 words. I notice some of articles who are between 500 and 750 ( that is max for me ) have good click through than the smaller ones cos they are interesting to read and the main article continues with the resource not the "Mr Jackson Idiot is an intelligent idiot" rubbish that some people use at the end of their articles.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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      • Profile picture of the author Dapper Fellow
        Speaking just for myself, I find that 750 words is perfect. I've tried writing shorter articles, but I finally decided that 750 is just right for me. That number of words allows me to fully explore several ideas within the article. Does it make a difference in the readers' responses? I don't know. However, I do know that when I finally decided that every article I write will be 750 words, the articles I published on Hubpages never failed to earn a high enough score to have "do-follow" links. I've tested twenty or thirty articles at Hubpages using this word count and it hasn't failed me yet. All of my blog posts are 750 words now. Again, this is just how I go about it. By now, I have trained myself to expect to write 750 words every time. My format is three 250-word paragraphs with two subheads. Anyway, that's my contribution to the discussion.
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      • Profile picture of the author opiel
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        When people say "300 words works best for me", I always wonder how many 750-word articles they've actually written and tested, and I guess that it's either none at all, or not a statistically significantly number. I suspect that there's some degree of reluctance among marketers who have very fixed ideas about "above and below the fold" to take such testing seriously.

        I've found over several months now that 750+ word articles, across a huge range of niches, give me consistently more sales (though a lower click-through rate) than three 250-word articles do, and are therefore a much better use of my time and efforts. My longest are nearly 1,000 words.

        I've verified this over statistically significant numbers of articles in different places.

        750-word articles are also re-published from article directories far more often than "shorties" are, for all the obvious reasons, and their longer-term traffic and backlink outlook is therefore also superior.

        I don't measure/compare the results by CTR. That means almost nothing to me. I'm interested only in the numbers of sales.

        So, basically, I disagree with many people who have posted/voted here.
        Amen to that.
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  • Profile picture of the author mmcintosh
    My highest click through percentage wise with Ezine articles was a little over 600 words. The next two highest were 457, and around 690. I checked several of them and they all seem to be in that same word length. If I had to guess content matters much more than word count to some degree. But I never go over 750 words.
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  • Profile picture of the author BJ Min
    shorter the better...because then higher the chance the visitor clicks on your resource box link...
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  • Profile picture of the author WebSolutionKey
    My vote goes for 300 word article!!! 500 words or more is good only if the writer is more experienced and knows how interesting the article should move forward so that the reader gets glued to the article seeking "what next?" after every sentence.

    A shorter one with some good impact on the reader is more effective.

    Shorter ones got more probability for visitor's click on the resource box link as BJ min said.


    Regards,
    Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author Allen Graves
    Be careful guys - writing an article solely to get a click-through can seriously decrease your conversion rates.

    This isn't about traffic bragging rights or CTR envy - it's about a lot more than that. Forgetting the real reasons for marketing your articles will only hinder you in the long run - and it is a long run.

    Take a look at post #25 above too. That's a great post!

    Allen
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    • Profile picture of the author Testy Today
      I recently read the October Ezine Articles Blog post by Chris Knight, that Ken Leatherman mentioned in this thread.

      The post was titled Derivative Content Be Gone. The ideal word count identified there as 400 to 800 words.
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  • Profile picture of the author homeworkin
    My highest click through article has been viewed 73,000 times. It has 761 words. It is on a topic that is extremely sensitive for the people who are searching for it. My second most viewed article has been read 11,000 times. It has only 300 words. The click through rate is moderate. The topic is apparently compelling enough to get readers, but not so compelling they want more info.

    Honestly, middle of the road works well for me. Enough words to say something real. Not so many it bores them. But, if you are saying something interesting, and it is a topic they want to know about, people will read and click. That article I mentioned first, has gotten me a TON of traffic to that site. Only problem is the niche is kind of depressing for me, so I don't monetize it as well as I should. Too many desperate emails from people hoping I'll dole out medical advice I am not qualified to give. On the other hand, I get at least one thank you email a week for having the site....
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  • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author vicone
      I republish dozens of articles every day on various blogs that I own. All the articles received are checked for quality and it is rare that I would publish a 300 word article as it usually lacks substance.

      This is not to say that a 300 word article cannot be useful and informative but they rarely appear to be compared to a well-written 500 word article. The longer article simply has the scope to provide the depth of detail that I want to offer my readers.

      As well, unless the article is exceptional, those that write lengthy resource boxes don't appear on my pages. I'm happy to allow credit to the author but extensive self-promotion by the writer I find intrusive and annoying. If I judge it that way, I suspect my readers will also and I want them to linger, read more interesting material and, hopefully, click on an ad or two.

      Ivan
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  • Profile picture of the author TSc
    As newbe i tested a little bit.

    Short articles (200-400) as eye catcher work best to generate natural traffic via article link.

    Long articles (700+) gave the best love by google.


    Both tested with 30 Articles on both kinds. Every bundle pointing to a new side.

    So you have to chose what kind of effect you wanna have.

    But it war horrible to fill 30 700++ with information and do not only bubble.
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  • Profile picture of the author Midas3 Consulting
    Depends entirely on focus, end result required, audience , topic and more.

    Personally I've found that shorter 300 words articles especially on ezine etc work best for delivering traffic to opt in pages, aside from anything else they can in one page view basically see your call to action in your sig file, CTR always increases under those conditions.

    It also hugely depends on whether your throwing up articles to generate leads from ezine or some article database or whether your heading for a winner in the SERPS on your less trusted own domain, the conditions are different.

    I've found there seems to be a differential between male and female content, females for some reason seem to have a longer tolerance for more information than males as long as it's well presented, female problem articles can often be over 1000 words and generate revenue with no overall drop in CTR.

    There's so many paramaters involved in the OP's question, and no straight answer, as always the only useful information anybody can give is to test what works for your market, fortunately it's very easy to determine with some simple testing and tracking.
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  • Profile picture of the author juzanobo
    Many are using long articles for blog posts and short articles for article directories.
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  • Profile picture of the author LauriNiskasaari
    Usually 250-400 words. It seems People are in hurry and they want to get as much as possible in as fast as they can.

    I use lots of white space, line breaks and bullets so the article actually looks bigger than 250-400 words.

    -Lauri
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  • Profile picture of the author JustVisiting
    Depends on the Article Directory. In my experience the important thing is your Resource Box should be 'above the fold' for good ctr. So articles of 250 - 350 work best for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author jamawebinc
      If someone is really interested in an article and it is a good article, they will read the entire thing.

      My wife can open up people magazine and read a 4 page article on some celebrity. If I were to try reading the same article, I would lose interest after the first paragraph.

      This sounds very similar to when people talk about short copy vs long copy. It's not that the copy is too long, it's that it's too boring.

      Granted, you have to follow rules of the article directories where the article is posted, but the content is the main thing.

      If the articles are being written just to get people to click your resource box, my first reaction is that your focus is not on making a real informative article, but just putting something up to get traffic. People will lose interest in the article or not find it useful and leave midway through.
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      • Profile picture of the author JustVisiting
        Originally Posted by jamawebinc View Post

        If the articles are being written just to get people to click your resource box, my first reaction is that your focus is not on making a real informative article, but just putting something up to get traffic.
        Well...yes, traffic is my one and only concern when posting to article directories. I am writing their content free and they are monetizing it. I put the real good stuff on my own sites.
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        • Profile picture of the author jamawebinc
          Originally Posted by JustVisiting View Post

          Well...yes, traffic is my one and only concern when posting to article directories. I am writing their content free and they are monetizing it. I put the real good stuff on my own sites.
          Traffic should be your concern, however it shouldn't be your only concern. To get traffic you have to get people to click, and to get them to do that you have to give them a reason to do so.

          If you first give them what they are looking for, but dangle even more good stuff when they click through, then more people will do so.

          If you give them "so so" information they will not find what they are looking for and hit their back button or go somewhere else to find the information they were after.

          Your article has to be your good stuff, you shouldn't keep that for your own site.

          It doesn't have to be ALL of your good stuff, and it should not be, but to increase click-thru it should be your good stuff.
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      • Profile picture of the author TSc
        Originally Posted by jamawebinc View Post

        It's not that the copy is too long, it's that it's too boring.
        Thats my quote of the day.

        I read Harry Potter as an eBook.
        So don't say the people will not read long text at the monitor.

        If they are interesed in the informations you provide AND they have the time and mood they will read it. Care less how long it is.

        Becuase of the "time and mood" issue you coudn't concern everybody but if you write in a customer targeted style with needfull information the most will read your text.
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  • Profile picture of the author seowall
    500-word article is very good.According to me all article directory site need 500-word article necessary. That's way i prefer 500 word is best Article You can provide proper information in 500 words.
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  • Profile picture of the author samd123
    Apparently ezinearticles.com are happy to receive 250 word articles and then, if you dont distinguish it as separate in your language, you can write a further 500 words of 'sales copy' in your resource box with one or if you are a member up to 3 anchor text links.

    I agree people all seem to have ADD these days so I suggest dont overstretch their feeble memories and give it to them straight between the eyes. This approach always has worked best. After all they have their soap opera to watch or the next level of their video game to complete!

    All the best

    Sam
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    People aren't bored by long articles. They're bored by boring articles. Just like a sales letter, an article should be as long as it needs to be to deliver the message. Looking through this thread it seems that people lean more toward shorter articles and that's okay. It depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

    It's amazing to me that so many article marketers produce marginal (both short and uninteresting) content only for link juice. If I'm going to even bother writing something, long or short, I want it to be of good quality. That way I'll not only get a backlink but also have the chance of getting some traffic from it.

    I sometimes have to laugh when people talk about paying $5 or whatever for a 'top quality' article. When I'm doing research for something I sometimes encounter these cheapy articles on EZA or other article directories. Sure enough, they've got the optimal keyword density but they read like crap.

    But I guess they're doing the job of getting that all-important backlink. I think there are going to be some big changes coming soon especially on Ezine Articles. They're cleaning house and cracking down on crappy articles. They're even looking at making the minimum length of an article much longer. Should be interesting.
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  • Profile picture of the author bebryfry1
    longer articles are just not my thing. I'd say the shorter the better but it must have some good content not just any gibberish.
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  • Profile picture of the author JFVJ
    My best articles have 300-500 words. Unless the article is pretty damn good, anything above 500 words will make people to leave the article
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    • Profile picture of the author JFVJ
      Originally Posted by Phil Leotardo View Post

      How do you know? Could you please tell me that?
      You objective is to make someone click on your link, right? You can be promoting a product, service, website or whatever you want.

      So there are 3 kinds of people that read your article:

      The One Looking for Quick Information - This kind of person will get scared when sees a big article. They won´t boder reading it.

      The Undecided - This is the type of person will gladly read all you have to say. If you have a shor article (300-500 words) then they can read that in 2 minutes. But if your article as about 700+ words, then you need to keep your reader motivated the all way through the end. Do you think you can do that? I can´t, yet. I have been writing article for only a month, so i am not a great expert at it yet. I also noticed that i got more cliks on smaller articles than big ones.

      Information Eater
      - This is the type of person that will read everything you have to say. They want to know everything before buying whatever they are looking to. Downside is that there are very few people like this.

      I am not saying that a a smaller article is better than a bigger one, what i am saying is that if your a "newbie" at it, smaller ones will produce you better results.

      But if you are good at this and can motivate the reader through ot all article, than the few clicks that you get on those ones will almost convert themselves.

      P.S. When i say clicks, i mean clicks on your link. If you post articles on Ezine Articles you will see your Click Trought Rate (CTR)
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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        • Profile picture of the author JFVJ
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          Wrong.

          My objectives are (i) to make sales, and (ii) for as many webmasters as possible to republish my articles, which will bring me future traffic and sales.
          Being an affiliate, your job is to direct people to your merchant website. If your merchant as a compeling website, than your convertion rate will be higher. It´s the merchant job to make the page as compeling as possible to make sales. You can not control that. So the more people you send it, the higher is the chance of a sale. This is what i ment, when i said "You objective is to make someone click on your link, right?".



          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          What I'm trying to suggest to you is that this is actually rather a short-sighted approach, and that there are better things to measure than click-through rates. Money in the bank is one of them.
          Agree xD
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          • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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            • Profile picture of the author BlackTactics
              Originally Posted by Phil Leotardo View Post

              Could you please tell me how you actually measured the sales that resulted from your articles?
              You can do that fairly easily. Using google analytics you can set "goals" and determine what actions your visitors took and where they came from. You would just place the code on the thank you page of your ebook (if you have your own product). I think clickbank also has a pixel program where they can do more or less the same thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Conrado Oliveira
    I seem to rank higher on my blogs when I post articles that are around 1000 words.

    But my niche reads a lot so I don't know if that's the reason.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joel_Cowen
    People get bored very quickly, I would write shorter articles to keep people engaged.

    To your freedom and success,

    Joel
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  • Profile picture of the author zachary0611
    I zone out on long articles. Only things that I am really interested in will keep my attention.
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    Professional Web Designers www.WebDesignBros.com
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  • Profile picture of the author BlogDesign
    I have always had the best success with 300+ word articles. I think that is the easiest to work with keyword density.
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  • Profile picture of the author dsmpublishing
    Hi guys

    the ones i put on my wf blog are around 250 words as i want them to be to the point. However some of my blog posts are 750 words though in general i get the best results from 400 word articles which are between the long and short.

    However the 750 ones are those that have bullet points i.e. top 10 affiliate marketing tips and having them less than 750 words just wouldnt look right.

    kind regards


    sam
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  • Profile picture of the author TheRichJerksNet
    750+ words - Many of my articles range from 500 - 1200, just depends upon what I am trying to say and do. Depends greatly what the article is created for as articles have many more uses besides submitting them to article direcories.

    I am surprised that most want to write 300 word articles but to me that is a blog post and not an article. It also makes it very difficult to spin since it is short and gives less options..

    Long or short though depends upon the person, what they are trying to do, what the purpose of the article is for... Thus it is alwasy best to test because not everyone will have the same results..

    James
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    • Profile picture of the author bigmoney4me
      Hi,

      If I am outsourcing they are usually around 400 words. If I write them myself, I have trouble staying under 800 words. It just does not seem complete otherwise. Truthfully though, I don't actually "type" the articles myself but rather I use Dragon Easy Speak dictation software which types for me so I can just talk which is why my own articles are much longer.

      I have not seen a huge difference in the long vs. short as far as readership. The stats seem to both be about the same. Hope that helps.

      Barry
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