How long is 500 words?

by | Mar 13, 2019 | Writing Tips | 0 comments

How long is 500 words?

by | Mar 13, 2019 | Writing Tips | 0 comments

How Many Words Do I Have To Write?

There are many reasons you might want to know how long is 500 words. You might be writing an academic paper that needs to be a certain length and you’d like to estimate how many words you will need. You might want to know how many words you’ve just read by scrolling through 3 pages of text on a website. You might want to know if your word count is absurdly high to the point that no one will read what you wrote. You might want to guess if the article is too long to be effective for search engine optimization.

Perhaps you have other reasons. In any case, there are some basic standards that can help you find the average number of pages that a certain number of words will take up, so it’s easy to know how long is 500 words, 1000 words, or even just 100.


The Basic Averages

In order to avoid your paper being rejected for simply looking too long or too short, you might ask, “how long is 500 words?” If you’re trying to make your paper look a certain length or want to be able to guess how many words it is without consulting a word counter, the following chart might be helpful.

100 words

less than 3 inches

200 words

a little less than half a page

300 words

somewhat more than half a page

400 words

most of a page

500 words

one full page

1000 words

two pages

2000 words

four pages

5000 words

ten pages


In a document with standard margins, single spacing and size 12 font, it takes about 500 words to fill a page. This is because on average, there are about 5 letters in each word, about 15 words in a sentence, and the average paragraph is around 7 sentences. Variation in the length of words, sentences and paragraphs will cause natural deviation from the average. When you’re trying to figure out how long is 500 words, or however many words might be important to you, you can glance at the total number of pages and assume that each page holds about 500 words.


Academic Papers

One kind of paper that most people have had to carefully measure at some point is the academic paper. University level papers are more likely to require a certain number of pages, but in both university and younger grades, you might be assigned a paper in which you need to keep track of the word count.

Academic papers are generally quite uniform owing to the standard formatting and lack of special inserts such as charts, headers and bullet points, although these can certainly exist within an academic paper. English papers are well known to follow standard formatting in this manner, making them a prime example of page length without special formatting. Finding out how long is 500 words in this setting is therefore easy. Academic papers are often required to be double-spaced, however, which simply means they take up twice as much space. A full page of double-spaced text in standard formatting usually holds around 250 words.


Web Articles

Unlike the standards available in academic situations, web articles don’t have the same standard formatting. How long 500 words is on a web page can vary greatly. While web articles can be posted in standard formatting, they are more often whittled down to make them look more approachable, especially in the age of mobile devices which can make a standard paragraph look huge. Margins are often changed to allow room for ads, and frequently images are interspersed to make the article look livelier. These and other tricks of web articles can transform one page of text in a standard document into several screens worth of text for viewers to scroll through. Finding out how long is 500 words in this context is tricky because it really just varies by context.

When writing web articles, therefore, it’s best to keep the formatting in mind so that there isn’t so much text so as to overwhelm the reader. This article, for example, is a little over a thousand words, which looks very neat on two and a half pages of a standard document, but on a mobile device, it appears to go on for nearly a dozen pages. On average, a mobile device will display around 100 words on a screen before the text becomes too small to read easily. While most people are willing to read a two-page standard document, reading over 10 pages of text on a phone appears daunting.


Search Engine Optimization

One kind of web article that requires close attention to word count is the search engine optimization (SEO) document. In these kinds of documents, keywords are interspersed throughout the content to help search engines find the kind of content that users are searching for. Search engines are programmed to ignore content that has too many or too few instances of specific phrases, so for SEO writers, placing keywords within a specific number of words and knowing how long is 500 words becomes a careful science.

According to SEO commentators, there was once a time that SEO articles could be merely short articles taking up less than half a page with a bunch of keywords. Since search engines were too primitive to know any better, users would end up filtered to links that might not have much to do with what they were looking for. Since then, due to upgrades in search engine technology, it has become important for SEO articles to contribute useful content as well as include keywords. Creating useful content has become as important as knowing how long is 500 words and where keywords fit best within those words.


The Right Word Count

Whatever your reasons for wanting to know how long is 500 words, it’s plain that length can depend on a variety of factors. If you need an exact count, just use a word counter, but if knowing the average is good enough, whether for an academic-type paper or for an SEO article, the math isn’t very difficult and can give you a good idea of how much more you’ll need to write.

Shaundra Cragun

An avid writer, speaker, musician and five-time elementary school spelling bee winner, Shaundra knows the ins and outs of all things content. When she isn’t managing projects for BKA, she’s either binging baking shows or pulling weeds in her garden.
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