To blog or not to blog, that is the question. For years, the terms ‘blog’ and ‘article’ have been used interchangeably to describe online written content, with the differences between the two becoming more blurred as time goes on. Today, we put an end to the age-old debate: blogs vs articles, are they the same thing?
First of all, let’s establish that no, blogs and articles are not the same thing. Though they do have similar purposes in conveying information about various topics to their readers, the style, the intent, and even the length of the content varies dramatically between the two.
Probably the biggest difference between these two forms of content is the overall intent. Blog posts are usually created to give some sort of update, or to provide an opinion about a certain topic. When used by businesses, they may allow readers and customers to see behind the scenes of the company, or to give some insider tips and tricks about the industry. They aren’t always meant to be a perfect representation of the company; in fact, they’re usually meant to break down the formalities between a company and its customers, and to build up a more trusting relationship instead.
Articles, however, always have a much more educational and informational intent. They’re often void of any particular bias or opinion, in order to provide readers with the complete story. The company or individual that the article is created for is usually quite removed from the content, only providing professional interviews or evidence-based statements when they’re needed.
Blogs and articles usually have very different styles. When you’re writing an article, you usually do it in a more professional tone than you do with a blog post. They are always expected to have impeccable spelling and grammar, and the use of slang or shortened words is usually not allowed. Any information included in the content should be verified by multiple credible sources, or least referenced with a link or footnote at the end of the article. Also, articles are usually edited and cleaned up by a professional editor, rather than the original writer.
Blogs, on the other hand, have a much more casual style. They’re meant to feel like the author is talking directly to you, rather than just relaying information. While good spelling and grammar are desirable, nobody will really care that much if you slip up somewhere. You can include your own opinions, and the sources you use can simply be a different blog post or even your own knowledge.
If you haven’t heard of SEO, it stands for search engine optimization, and is basically the process that every blogger goes through to make sure their content appears on the front page of Google results. Blog posts filled, though not over-saturated, with both specific and semantic keywords usually do really well in terms of SEO, though there may be more effort involved depending on the blog post’s niche.
Articles never really have to target specific SEO strategies, since they’re informational pieces of content. They don’t need to compete to get to the top of search results – Google’s algorithms usually recognize that something is an article and automatically push it to the top, with little to no optimization needed.
The length of a piece of content can indicate what type of content you’re reading or creating, though there are always exceptions. Most blogs won’t be longer than 1,000 words, with the average word count falling at about 300 to 500 words. This is because blogs are all about getting the message across in a quick and easy way, using lots of simple words and explanations instead of going super into depth about things. Of course, bigger topics will require more words, but it’s very uncommon to see blog posts that are longer than a typical article would be.
Speaking of articles, they usually fall around the 1,500 to 3,000 word mark. This is because the writers have to give the full story, rather than just a piece of it from their own point of view. Say some sort of event is happening, they’ll need to include more than just when and where it will take place – information about the organizers, interviews with the team and people planning to attend, etc. will usually be included in articles.
Also, some articles that will go into an incredibly deep analysis of certain topics or current events. These can even pass the 6,000 word mark, and they usually have more than one person working on them to ensure the content is thoroughly fact-checked and appropriate.
Last, but certainly not least, is the difference in audiences for blog posts and articles. Blog posts often target readers who are already customers or fans of the blog, or individuals who are specifically interested in the company’s industry. This means that the writer will usually assume that the readers have some prior knowledge of the topics they’re covering, unless the blog post happens to be an introduction to a certain topic.
Articles, on the other hand, are usually created with the general public in mind. This means that, even though the content is more formal and professional, anyone should be able to read and understand it without much prior knowledge about the topic. Of course, this isn’t always the case with articles written for specialty magazines or websites – websites and magazines covering finances are a common culprit of being hard to access. However, the overall consensus is that articles are intended to reach a much larger audience, and so need to cater to that.
So, after all that, it’s quite easy to see the differences between blog posts and articles. Blog posts are shorter, more casual, and can get away with vague statements or questionable information, whereas articles need to be professional and well-researched.
Obviously, not every single writer will stick to the criteria we mentioned above. Some articles will be full of personal opinions, while some blog posts will exceed 3,000 words and be full of scientific evidence. The basics, though, will always remain the same.