Trust me; I have come across this question a dozen times.
For a beginning writer, it can be difficult to wrap your head around all the jargon concerning freelance writing. One thing that confuses and frustrates new writers is the difference between a blog post and an article.
On the surface, it may seem that this confusion is baseless. After all, blog posts are articles and articles are blog posts, right?
You are in for a surprise.
You’ll be pardoned for assuming that a blog post and an article is the same thing. It may seem so, but the truth is, they are not. Confusing, isn’t it?
I was equally confused when I started out as a writer, but after doing some digging here and there, I found out that blog posts and articles are pretty different.
To help you discern the difference between a blog post and an article, I have outlined 11 factors that palpably bring out these differences.
We all know that blog posts are published on a blog. What you’re currently reading is a blog post.
As an internet user, I believe that you’ve read a lot of content to help you learn new tricks and become better at what you do. If that is the case, you have probably been to a dozen blogs and have come across countless blog posts. Generally, all blog posts are online- based.
Articles, on the other hand, are hard to find on a blog. They can be online based or not. For example, they can be published in print media such as journals, magazines, and newspapers. Alternatively, they can be posted online BUT on a professional website as opposed to a casual blog.
Blog posts are often short and precise. There are heated debates all over the internet concerning the ideal length of a blog post, but that is a highly subjective matter.
Ideally, a blog post is short. You can have anywhere from 300, but the ideal length of a blog post is 1600 words or more depending on your preference.
For a review or tutorial post, the word count will be much more than a simple personal journal.
Articles can be very long and detailed. An ideal piece that is highly research-based can have 5000 words or more. Quite scary for the lazy reader, ah?
Articles involve a lot of research and are meant to provide factual information. Freelance article writers may be given a certain number of words for a particular article. In this case, the writer will limit the amount of information they provide so as not to exceed the required word count by a large margin.
Bloggers focus on creating personal relationships with their readers. To achieve this, they use informal and friendly tone in their writing.
Blog posts are simple and easy to understand. They do not care about impeccable sentence structures and zero grammatical mistakes. The focus is to make the posts reader-friendly and relay the message in a basic language that caters to the needs of a variety of readers.
Articles, on the other hand, do very little to try and impress the reader.
In fact, it is like article writers never have readers in mind when they write. They derive their glory in bombarding the article with humongous vocabularies and complicated sentence structures.
The point is to include the facts and information from their research as exhaustively as possible.
Unlike blog posts, articles employ utter professionalism in their writing. They prefer formal and business language rather than the casual and informal used on blog posts.
Blog posts are self-published and don’t usually go through an intense editing process. Some blog posts are even never edited. That’s why it’s uncommon to come across horribly written posts in alarming numbers.
Bloggers write, edit and publish their own work without requiring the services of a professional editor. As a blogger, you probably operate on a budget and may not be earning anything from your posts. Professional editing is, therefore, out of the question.
Articles employ a more professional and intense editing process. Usually, writers have to submit their work to a team of editors who scrap out every grain of fluff before publishing.
Unlike blogging where the same person that writes also edits and publishes the post, article writing requires a different set of editors and publishers. The writer’s work is simply to craft and submit the article for scrutiny and publication.
Most blogs are owned by individuals and are usually laden with personal opinions, some of which are pretty horrendous. It is your blog after all.
You are free to say what you deem fit. You won’t have a bunch of critics on your neck for being biased. There may be a few differing comments, but that is all there is to it.
Articles despise personal opinions. Come to think of it; it is hard to speak your mind and remain professional or relevant.
Chances are, you do not own the publication that publishes your articles. You, therefore, do not have any authority to tell readers what you think.
Instead of personal opinions and unfounded propaganda, articles thrive on researched, tried and tested facts, data, and information. You write about what has been proven to be real rather than what you think or believe.
The internet is a crowded place with tons of information fighting for the reader’s attention.
To give the user only the best content, search engines utilize a set of algorithms that select the best blog posts and articles from a sea of content.
To rank higher in search engines, blog owners have to capitalize on SEO. They have to use the right keywords in different parts of their blog posts.
They have to intensify on internal link building and linking out to credible sources. Even more frustrating, they have to convince other established bloggers to link back to them and increase their SEO juices.
With articles, SEO is quite insignificant, especially if they are not online based. Even with those that are published online, more attention is put on getting the facts right other than trying to pamper search engines into ranking the articles better.
The thing is, article publishers probably have an established reader base and subscribers and do not have to fight for more.
Additionally, because they are credible sources of factual information, many websites and blogs link back to online article platforms. This way, their SEO game is already on point without even trying.
Many blog posts are written haphazardly without including factual information and analytics. Opinion-based blog posts, in particular, are starved of researched information and are instead filled with groundless analogies.
Blog owners do not owe it to anyone to be truthful or professional.
Some blog posts may have elements of research, but they are very few. The rest either post outright lies or plagiarized work.
Because a blog post can be as short as you wish, you would have no use for exhausting research escapade. If for instance, you run a blog inspired by your daily lifestyle or that of others, you do not need any research.
Articles flourish on sound research. It is not something you start writing this hour and be done the next. It takes time. You have to do exhaustive research, experiments, and tests to generate facts, data, and information that your article will build upon.
You have to review innumerable literature to prove that what you are writing is not gotten from thin air but rather based on information that other renowned researchers have already found.
Blogging gives you greater freedom to edit and update blog posts as much as you want.
When you get new information that you think is relevant, you can easily add it to your post and inform your readers of this new addition. You can also remove bits of information that are no longer relevant or have stopped being true.
For articles, even those that are online based, getting it right the first time is of paramount importance. If new information comes up after the article has been published, an entirely new piece may be written instead of updating an already existing one.
This is particularly impossible for offline based publications. In case of errors, a follow-up article is written to provide clarification instead of rewriting and updating the old one.
Blog posts usually generate more productive user engagement and social shares as compared to articles.
At the end of a blog post, the blogger will usually call upon the readers to take a particular action or leave comments. Blog owners love it when their blog posts generate comments because it means they are interesting and thought-provoking.
Even anonymous readers are at will to share and comment on a blog post. Most are free and do not need any costly subscription fee to access.
Articles offer dismal user engagement.
For those that can only be found on print media, readers are rarely motivated to leave feedback, and social sharing is impossible.
Many professional articles and research work are restricted to only premium members. Not everyone can access the information as often as they need. For print media, you would need to buy a copy to read the article.
Blog posts enjoy the freedom of having as many photos as it is necessary. Bloggers do not usually go to the extent of crediting or seeking permission to use an image or video. Many of the photographs found online are not copyrighted, and bloggers can use them freely.
It is also possible and easy to incorporate a few videos in a blog post to verbally emphasize a given point or topic. Most blogging platforms allow bloggers to upload and include videos in their content easily.
Images may be used sparingly in articles. This can only happen when it is utterly necessary.
Article writers prefer graphs, charts, and other pertinent visual representations instead of random images. In case an image is used, due credit is given to the owners, and sometimes they may even be bought. Videos are inexistent on articles meant for the print media.
Considering the amount of work involved, you’re likely to make more money writing articles than blog posts.
Blog posts can be fun and easy to write, but may not fetch much regarding income. However, if you are a newbie writer, it is better to start with the easier option. Go for clients who want simple blog posts written for them.
After honing your skills and learning as much as you can about writing, you can then venture into article writing.
Do not be lured by the money into going straight for article writing without first building a firm foundation. Most of your articles might end up getting rejected, you will lose clients, and at the end, all you will be left with is regret and frustration.
Recent developments have made it quite challenging to differentiate between a blog post and an article.
This is because blog owners are gradually tailoring their content to follow the article format. Bloggers are now doing more research and writing longer blog posts.
However, the difference between blog posts and articles is still conspicuous and withstanding.
If you’re a freelance writer, it’s important that you let your client succinctly state whether they want an article or a blog post. If you did an article when all they wanted was a simple blog post and vice versa, your content might be rejected.
Hi, I’m Mercy Mmbone. My mission is to help beginner freelance writers find success online. Even if you don’t have a degree, becoming a successful freelance writer is not as difficult as you’d think. The most important thing you’ll need to get started is self-motivation.
I’m honored to have worked with many popular companies including Ring Central and Freelancer FAQs.