Articles and Blog Posts: What is the Difference Between a Blog and Article?

Published by Jade Reardon on

Articles and Blog Posts: What is the Difference Between a Blog and AN Article?

What is the difference between a blog and article? The three main differences between articles and blog posts are:

  1. Length
  2. Tone
  3. Referencing

When it comes to online content, the terms ‘blog’ and ‘article’ seem to be used interchangeably. Blogs have evolved beyond opinion pieces and online journals. Also, blog structure closely resembles article structure. Blogs have become a key part of business branding and content management strategies. Let’s have a look at length, tone and referencing for articles and blog posts.

1. Length of Articles and Blog Posts

Blog Post Length:

As a general rule, the length of blog posts should start at 500 words. This helps with search engine optimisation (SEO). It also gives the content producer room to delve into the topic area. Blogs with higher word counts tend to reach more people and usually rank better. In saying this, don’t limit yourself to a particular word count. If you need more or less space – use what you need.

  • HubSpot1 research found that their blog posts with an average of 2,330 words performed best.
  • Yoast2 says that the absolute minimum word count for SEO is 300 words and higher performing blog posts are usually over 1000 words.

Many other factors related to SEO impact blog performance and reach. You could have an incredible blog published, however, it may not perform as well as it’s competitors if quality SEO strategies haven’t been implemented.

Article Length:

Article length is nearly always longer than the average blog post – however, this can also vary depending on the publishing format.

Magazine articles need to fill a physical space on a page. They don’t have the freedom to allow readers to continue scrolling. In saying this, the average magazine article is between 700 – 1000 words. Short, punchy articles that succinctly get the point across are usually what magazine editors want. The more room an article takes on the page, the more value it should offer.

Academic articles are naturally much longer. In a 2020 review of education academic articles3, the most common word length was between 5,000 and 5,900.


2. Tone of Articles and Blog Posts

Tone is how the writing communicates to the reader. A few things will impact the tone of your article or blog post:

  • Target audience.
    • Professionals or academics.
    • Businesses.
    • Customers.
  • Message or goal of the content.
    • Share cutting edge research.
    • Promote a new product or service.
    • Showcase experience.
    • Entertain or amuse.

For blog posts which are:

  • Published by a business,
  • Targeting the general public, and,
  • To boost customer visits;

A combination of formal and casual tones may be useful.

In this context, the blog should be informative, but not so cold that the customer doesn’t feel encouraged to interact with the business. On the other hand, academic articles do not need to make the reader feel warm. They are formatted to inform.


Always Remember That a Business Blog is an Extension of the Brand

Bunnings is a brand we all know well. Their DIY advice is usually conveyed casually but is packed full of helpful information. Let’s take a look at one of their written pieces.

In their post about how to go about setting up a chicken coop4, they kick off with essential information to consider before buying or building a coop.

Once the key information is shared, the tone becomes a little more casual.


3. Referencing for Articles and Blog Posts

In nearly all my content, I include references. Having spent many years at university and even more years of writing, I highly value referencing. Look to the bottom of each web page or blog post to find references I have cited within the content.

What is referencing? A reference (or citation) is an acknowledgement of another person’s idea or information which you have used.

In the world of writing, ideas can come from all kinds of places. When ideas come from other people, they must be referenced. When they’re not referenced, the content is communicating that ‘this is my idea and I was not inspired or informed by anyone else’s work’. If you take someone else’s data, words or ideas and claim them to be your own, you are at risk of plagiarism.

Blog Ranking Tip:

If you are looking to rank well for a published blog post, and it is not your work i.e, copy and paste from another website, Google will pick up on it and penalise you.

I recommend paraphrasing and referencing. If you’re going to put a direct quote of someone else’s in your blog post, I’d put it into a graphic and then reference it. That way, the quote won’t display as duplicate content and it won’t be picked up as plagiarism.

When to Reference:

Whenever you include data, quotes or other ideas, there should be a reference provided. In academic writing, when a citation is not provided, the content could be plagiarised.

Earlier, I provided data on the average word length of blog posts. I know how long blog posts should be because I write them all the time. However, I have not conducted my research on word count. As a result, I looked to who had done this research, included their data and referenced where I got the data.

Academic articles call for thorough and accurate referencing. Academic articles follow a particular style of referencing while blogs tend to get away with more loosely structured references.

If you want to see what academic referencing looks like, click here to learn about APA referencing5. Students are graded on their referencing so if you’re working with a university graduate, you can bet their referencing skills are on point.

What Style of Referencing Should be Used in Blog Articles?

There are no strict guidelines on what style of referencing to use in blog articles. Some people don’t even include references (eep!). There are worthwhile benefits to including references.

  • The main one is avoiding plagiarism.
  • Reference lists also show that you have researched the topic. In my opinion, we have enough digital content that spreads opinions as facts. You may have heard of the term ‘fake news’. Fake news is all about getting attention – clicks, links etc. In my ‘opinion’, opinion pieces should clearly state they are opinions. If you are giving an opinion amongst facts, make it clear between the two.

This particular blog is a combination of the two. My opinions on what ‘should’ be the standard in blog articles combined with research.


Why Should you Hire Writers with a Degree?

  • Writing is a key factor in any university course. Whether the course majors in engineering or archaeology, they all require quality research and writing. By the end of the degree, students have written 100s of thousands of words. Every word they write is assessed and critiqued.
  • Graduates have writing skills drilled into them.
    • They know how to formulate interesting and succinct arguments.
    • They know how to structure articles so they can be read easily.
  • If you really want to up your content quality, hire a freelance writer with a university degree.

Shameless self-promotion alert! I am a writer with a degree, and I am an advocate of references. Contact me for all your writing needs!

Over the years, the most common type of writing task to come across my desk has been re-writing plagiarised content. My clients have spent their hard-earned money on writers who have stolen content from others and pretended they had written it. Unbeknown to the client, they were receiving plagiarised, duplicate content.

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Duplicate content ruffles my feathers because it should never happen when you are working with a professional freelance writer. If this has happened to you, please contact me so I can help you re-write the content.

Tip: When you receive written content from a freelance writer, paste the document into a plagiarism checker such as Copyscape.

If you aren’t sure how to go about this, send me the content, I’ll run it and send you the results. As I have a premium Copyscape subscription, I get thorough results. It’ll cost about $1 to analyse the content (sometimes more or less depending on the number of words). Copyscape provides results which tells us if there is:

  1. Any duplicate content.
  2. What percentage of the content is duplicated.
  3. Where the same content is located.

References

1. Beltis, AJ. How Long Should Blog Posts Be in 2020? [New Data]. HubSpot. 2020.

2. van de Rakt, M. Word count and SEO: how long should a blog post or page be? Yoast. 2020.

3. Fairbairn, H, Holbrook, A, Bourke, S, Preston, G, Cantwell, R & Scevak, J. A profile of education journals. Research Gate. 2020.

4. Bunnings. What to Consider for Your Very Own Chicken Coop. 2020.

5. American Psychological Association. APA Style: Reference Examples. 2020.


Jade Reardon

Writer, researcher, nerd, storyteller and anthropologist. Freelance writer and founder of Page 88.

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