The Newman Review is a professional e-publication of the National Institute for Newman Studies, with articles related to John Henry Newman’s legacy and his relevance for today. The quality of articles is always more important than length, and the ideal length varies from topic to topic. If you’re looking for a concrete standard, the ideal submission length is 1000 – 4000 words +/- 200. Size does matter. The average person that comes across your content via search engines doesn’t have time to read tens of thousands of words and is looking for answers. Here are some guidelines.
Importance of the first 40 words
The first sentence of your post is arguably more important than everything that will come after. The first sentence should include key words about your topic without being overly poetic or complex, but it also needs to be engaging. Take, for example, the first sentence of this document: “The Newman Review is a professional e-publication of the National Institute for Newman Studies, with articles related to John Henry Newman’s legacy and his relevance for today.” Readers can decide whether to continue based on this sentence alone.
1000–4000 words (+/- 200)
Your submission should be at least 300 words for SEO purposes. 500-3000 words is commonly said to be the ideal length because it is long enough to build a story around a topic but not too long for readers to digest.
No matter what length your submission ends up being, it should not be repetitive. Only use the words and examples that are necessary to get your point across, overdo it and your readers will likely lose interest.
Watch out for wordiness
A great way to trim the length of your article is to delete and rearrange wordy sentences. No one wants to read an extemporaneous article. Decreasing wordiness will help you achieve greater content clarity.
Make your copy scannable
Use subheads, bullet points, lists, and bolded copy to help your readers easily get the main points without having to read every word you write (as hurtful as that might be to you). Don’t be egotistical enough to think people don’t scan. They do. We do. You do. Make it easy for them to browse the article without sacrificing good writing. Subheads and bolded copy help move readers along effectively. Notice how subheads are used in this article.
Quality over quantity
As we stated at the beginning of this article, quality is key. If someone arrives at your article looking for information and come across a poorly written post, it won’t matter how long or short it is, they won’t be satisfied and will be unlikely to return. When in doubt, act in the favor of putting forth quality content over length.
Please use American spelling, grammar rules, and punctuation.
• Always capitalize the first letter after a full stop (final punctuation).
• Capitalize the first personal pronoun “I.”.
• Capitalize proper nouns.
- Cities, countries, nationalities, and languages (Pittsburgh, France, American, English)
- Buildings, bridges, monuments, and tunnels (Brooklyn Bridge, Apollo Theater, Buckingham Palace)
- Days, months, official holidays (Friday, May, Easter)
- Planets (Earth, Jupiter)
• A good general rule is to use lowercase in reference to any of the above, unless you’re discussing something specific.
• Use lowercase for seasons and related phrases (spring, fall), animals (pug, golden retriever, French bulldog), scientific elements, food (unless it’s a brand name), places of worship unless proper (church, mosque, temple, Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church)