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Time taken to write an original & good quality 500-word article

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by Content Maestro, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. #1
    How much time should it ideally take to write an original and (at least) a good quality 500-word article?
    SEMrush
    Newbies would obviously require more time than established writers. Also, for topics that interest you or with which you are well-versed, it can be done fast. But I would like to know if an average/common time frame can be considered for everyone (taking into account all factors as typing speed, time spent in proof-reading, checking for grammar and spelling mistakes, researching etc.).
    For me, it takes something in the range of 30 to 45 minutes depending on the subject. I hope that's not too long.

    Please comment.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014
    Content Maestro, Jan 29, 2014 IP
    SEMrush
  2. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #2
    I think that is an okay time, when you take some things into consideration such as research, writing, editing and of course any thought that might go into it :)

    I think I type about 70 to 80 words per minute or so. So figure a bit of a slower pace as you write an article you have to think about, about 50 words per minute. The actual typing time is maybe 10 minutes or so.

    But generally, if there is research, that takes up a few minutes anyway, then editing, proofing and so forth. As you say, if it's a topic on which you're well-versed, it takes less time. But still, I'd figure 30 minutes for every 500 word article. Just to be safe.

    That way, if you're getting $15 for each, you make $30 per hour. if you're a bit slower for any reason, you'll never drop below $15.

    I think many people are surprised at the time it takes to write 500 words. That doesn't sound like a lot of words. however, 500 words is approximately 1.5 Word pages long. And you have to think it through, both before you write and during.
     
    SCookAAM, Jan 29, 2014 IP
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  3. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #3
    Great input SCookAAM. So its fine to consider 30 mins as an average/common time frame. Right?
     
    Content Maestro, Jan 29, 2014 IP
  4. averyz

    averyz Well-Known Member

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    #4
    I have always considered the normal time to write a 500 word article 1 hour.

    I agree with SCookAAM time estimate but I also think to write a good article you need to reread it, tweak it, consider the keywords. If the subject is technical, new or foreign you also need a good 10 mins to collect some facts and double/triple check some facts.

    and of course take a breath and have a sip of tea, to just slam out 500 words every 30min will burn a normal person out very fast.

     
    averyz, Jan 29, 2014 IP
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  5. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #5
    Yes, I think so. I've always kind of looked at any hourly work as this: Whatever you do is a minimum of 1 hour. So if you charge let's say, $25 then that's the minimum charge. Even if the task takes you 10 minutes.

    With writing, you can kind of cut this down, mostly because you have to in some cases.

    But it's like the old story of the plumber who shows up to a house to unclog a pipe. He comes in, bangs on the pipe with a wrench and charges the woman $80. When she says but it only took you 2 minutes, he responds, "$5 is for the 2 minutes, and $75 is knowing where to hit."

    it's not just how long it takes us to write something, but the expertise behind it. if you've been writing for 20 years, and are good at it, you should expect to earn more. That's capitalism.

    A guy who charges $2 for a $500 word article is probably not as fqast, effective or well-written as the guy who charges $25. That's business.

    But back to the original question, a minimum of 30 minutes is I think ok. Sorry to digress :)
     
    SCookAAM, Jan 29, 2014 IP
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  6. Spoiltdiva

    Spoiltdiva Prominent Member

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    #6
    My typing speed is very fast and taking a typing course did indeed help with this. Also I took a speed reading course along with that, but always read fast to begin with. Research time of course depends on the subject matter.
    Where I used to spend time when I wrote full time was in the proof reading. I still write somewhat as to making a living, but not full time. Proof reading is the most time intensive for me to this day. But 30 minutes would sound about right for me in English, perhaps 5 minutes less for French.
     
    Spoiltdiva, Jan 29, 2014 IP
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  7. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #7
    Thanks a lot for your input, averyz.:)
    So to write a good-quality article, half an hour sounds less? An hour is the perfect time frame? Or may be a little less, say .... 45 mins? Obviously considering all the factors discussed above. What would you prescribe?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014
    Content Maestro, Jan 29, 2014 IP
  8. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #8
    Thanks Spoiltdiva.:)
    If you have a fast typing and reading speed, it indeed helps to reduce the time taken to write an article. Tasks like proof reading can be done quickly and you can focus more on delivering better quality of content.
    How would you distribute a 45 mins time slot? (E.g. 15 mins for researching, 15 mins for writing, 15 mins for proofreading, checking grammar and spelling mistakes etc.)
     
    Content Maestro, Jan 29, 2014 IP
  9. averyz

    averyz Well-Known Member

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    #9
    I am not a writer but I do deal with a lot of web content, quality control and work with a fair amount of writers. My 1 hour estimate is a fairly big window which leaves time for research, rereading, mental preservation and quality control.

    I consider my writing skills poor and I can do a little research, triple check some facts and write a 500 article in just under an hour, so I would expect a professional writer to do the same or faster.

    I get a lot of content you can tell writers just blew through it probably 20mins and it will work for web filler but is put on lower level pages, the writers stay on the lowest pay range and are usually at risk of not getting hired again.

    You can really tell when someone spends the extra 10min to go back reread and tidy stuff up. Also did they try to think or use a thesaurus when stuck ? or just blaze though it filling junk into that space.

    Writing is mentally demanding work I really think a writer needs to take a good 5-10min break after each article or they just blur into piles of poorly written rubbish.

    I would think most writers could do articles in 30 mins but if you are a professional writer and do it everyday to crank out articles every 30 min 5-8 hours a day that’s like 14 articles a day I don't think that is sustainable.
     
    averyz, Jan 29, 2014 IP
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  10. Spoiltdiva

    Spoiltdiva Prominent Member

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    #10
    For me the breakdown on a 45 minute time slot would probably on average be:
    Researching:15 minutes
    Writing:10 minutes
    Proof reading:20 minutes (English)
    Proof reading:15 minutes (French)
    (I am ESL).
    My proof reading always involves changing the content so that it flows and appears more appealing, so this takes time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014
    Spoiltdiva, Jan 29, 2014 IP
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  11. mindmedia

    mindmedia Well-Known Member

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    #11
    Actually that really does NOT matter, to be honest.

    Are you working as a content writer? Then maybe.

    Otherwise, the only thing that matters is, the "content" itself.

    Would someone be dazzled by what you wrote?
    Would someone be enlightened by what you wrote?
    Would someone be inspired by what you wrote?

    That to me is of utmost importance.

    Now coming back to the question. I think, it normally takes me around 2 hours to write a well-researched, high quality post. So perhaps, you are faster than I.
     
    mindmedia, Jan 29, 2014 IP
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  12. wane100

    wane100 Active Member

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    #12
    You could probaly write one in an hour depending on how experienced you are but form experience a few hours would allow you time to do resaech and maintain the quality. There are also different types of styles you can write in that can effect the time it takes, Articles can be written in a report format, review format or light hearted for example. Time taken to review the spelling and grammar will be time well spent
     
    wane100, Jan 29, 2014 IP
  13. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #13
    Thanks (again) averyz, Spoiltdiva and mindmedia.:)
    I am asking this specifically for content writers.
    Speaking generally, this doubtlessly is the first thing you should keep in mind if your content has to be highly effective.
    It must be because you are focused exclusively on quality and uniqueness/originality of content.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014
    Content Maestro, Jan 29, 2014 IP
  14. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #14
    You are right wane100.:)
    The style of writing that you adopt has a significant impact on time required. A well-researched report will take quite more time than an article written casually.
     
    Content Maestro, Jan 29, 2014 IP
  15. writeon

    writeon Active Member

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    #15
    I've been writing articles for various clients for some years now and I agree, 30 minutes is about right for a 500 word article. If there's not much research required for a piece then it can be done in 15-20 minutes.
     
    writeon, Jan 29, 2014 IP
  16. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #16
    To me it varies greatly upon who the article is for, how detailed it needs to be and how important it is.

    Any half-way decent writer could bang out something in little more time than it takes them to type it. IMHO, 80-90% of what I see online falls into this "filler" sort of category. Shouldn't take more than 30-60 minutes to write, proofread and edit.

    A true how-to article with instructions is going to take far longer than a piece about doing something with only vague details.

    A 500 word client piece could require days of preparation...understanding their unique business, evaluating the competition, understanding their target customers and looking for an "angle". The actual writing may take only a few hours but the prep time can be enormous whether you are familiar with the industry or not. Of course this too depends upon whether you are writing content for filler or content to make sales.
     
    YMC, Jan 29, 2014 IP
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  17. writeon

    writeon Active Member

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    #17
    Yes, you're right there are always cases where things differ, as for making sales that usually refers to writing copy rather than the type of articles that I think this thread has been about
     
    writeon, Jan 29, 2014 IP
  18. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #18
    There are many good points here. I think, however, that charging a minimum of 1 hour is best. As has been stated by several people, a good bit of writing should take the majority of that time, 500 words or not.

    Expertise brings with it value. That value should be reflected in the price, although this is not often easy.

    And the truth is, different types of writing will take different amounts of time, levels of skill and research. A 500 word blog about puppies will probably take you far less time than a 500 word whitepaper on oracle Hyperion financial management.

    Trust me, I know :)

    And for my part, 500 words is hard. not to reach it, but to not exceed it. Like many posts have said, the word count is subordinate to the message. And the price and/or time should be subordinate to the value.

    So if I may revise my very first post, Maestro, charge a minimum of 1 hour unless it's really a bang out asap type job. Then charge no less than 30 minutes.
     
    SCookAAM, Jan 29, 2014 IP
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  19. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #19
    Point noted ScookAAM.

    And thanks writeon and YMC for the valuable comments.:)
     
    Content Maestro, Jan 30, 2014 IP
  20. AndreaBlogs

    AndreaBlogs Greenhorn

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    #20
    I would say it takes me about 1-2 hours to write an article that I have to research. You have to take into account research on the topic, keyword research, writing, proofreading, and then proofreading again.

    Sometimes, I’ll take a topic and write several blog posts at the same time, but give each one a different spin. For one post, I might do a list, then take the same topic and write a thought leadership post and a how-to post. Since I’m doing the research anyway, this technique really helps me use my time effectively.
     
    AndreaBlogs, Jan 31, 2014 IP
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