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Writing Articles For The Web That Get Read Is Easy When You Know This

Writing articles for the web is a learned skill. And you can learn it. In fact, you can master it. Once a professional writer in the print publishing world, I had feature articles published by some well-known names (Woman’s Day, The Washington Post, Family Circle, Christian Science Monitor and more). Fortunately, as a self-publisher online, I’m able to transfer some of my professional print writing skills to this form of online publishing. I don’t struggle with writing articles. And that makes filling my websites with useful, well-written information a lot easier for me. But it’s not so for everyone. Some people struggle with article writing. Maybe that’s you.

Do you struggle with writing articles for your website readers? Do you want to write articles for other newsletters and websites that get free website traffic for you, or just more traffic to your website? If you struggle with article writing or if people don’t read your articles, I may be able to help you. While writing content for the web and writing content for print publications is not exactly the same, there is some overlap. Here are some things I’ve learned about both content formats that might help you write better articles for both web publishers and for your websites.

Your article should have:

ORIGINAL CONTENT – The one word magazine writers hate to hear their editor say is “fresh”. Editors frequently use the word as a reason to reject submissions as in “your tips are just not fresh enough”. Editors want originality. Their publishers want originality. Readers want originality. Everyone is in agreement about wanting original article content.

But if something has been said or written about a thousand times before, you CAN still say it again. You just need to have your own original spin and be using your own words (that means no plagiarism too). You need to have your own writing style or personality (which you’ll develop with time). My research tells me that originality is what both readers AND search engines want from online content. They want original content. The articles at your website need to be “fresh”. The articles you submit to publishers need to be “fresh”. With practice and persistence and a little bit of diligence thrown in you CAN write original articles for the web or for your website (to add diversity to all those reprint articles collecting on your site).

CATCHY TITLE – The online experts say you need key words in your online article titles or headlines to catch the attention of the search engines in the right way. That means you need to put the term or phrase you think people are searching for on your subject near the front of your article title (or at least somewhere in it). But you also have to remember that you’re still writing for readers. So on top of making your article title work for search engine optimization, it still has to entice viewers to read it.

You don’t necessarily need a clever article title, just one that appeals to your target audience and briefly describes the article topic. If I’m looking to lose weight quickly you can be certain “Weight Loss – 3 Easy Steps to Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days at Home” will catch my attention. If I want to know what Britney Spears is doing (and by the way, I don’t), a title like “Guess What Britney Spears Did Now” will catch my attention and make me read further. But if I’m trying to learn the difference between a flat panel monitor and a flat screen, I’m perfectly happy reading an article with a boring title such as “Flat Panel Monitors and Flat Screens Defined for the Home User”. That title addresses my need at the time for specific information I’m seeking on the web. And it has your key phrase “flat panel monitors” right in front too.

GREAT LEAD – The best title in the world won’t keep readers engrossed in your article, if the first paragraph stinks. In the print world, editors happily rewrite their writers’ leading paragraphs to make the lead just so. There are MANY ways to write a leading paragraph. Just remember that your goal is to intrigue the reader while giving him a clear indication of what he’s about to learn in your article. And the SEO experts say the first sentence, or near the beginning of your first paragraph, is a good place to put that key word or phrase once that you’re focusing on for the search engines’ sake.

GOOD GRAMMAR AND SPELLING – Sloppy writing affects your credibility and makes you look lazy. And it makes for a bad reader experience. If you want to keep readers coming back to your website for the content (or publishers coming back to article directories to use your content), get a grasp on your spelling and grammar. A dictionary and grammar book by your side while proofreading your article will be helpful.

CONCISE FLOW – In high school, many students fluffed up their articles with extra words when the teacher assigned them the task of writing a certain word count. That trick isn’t useful after high school (if you ever considered it useful). Most likely you have plenty to say about your topic if you know it well or if you’ve researched it well. Tight concise writing is as appreciated in the online world as it is in the print publishing arena. Don’t repeat yourself or use excessive words to make a point or statement. That will help keep your copy clean. And know that concise writing doesn’t necessarily mean short articles. You don’t have to write 300 word articles. You don’t have to write 3,000 word articles. Just don’t write a 1,200 word article that really can be written in 500 words.

It’s these writing techniques that make you a professional writer and not a sloppy amateur whose writing for the web doesn’t get read. And it’s these techniques that will help you to add better content to your website and get your articles published by other websites and newsletters. And good article writing means more traffic for your website.


To Your Success!

Rick Nelson

http://www.homebasedbusinessprograms.com

http://facebook.dj/homebasedwealth/

http://twitter.com/ricknelsonfans

Writing Articles For Permanent Traffic

Writing articles is possibly the best way to generated free traffic to your site. A short article, submitted to a few places, creates permanent streams of traffic. Here are some of the ways articles bring traffic to your website:

1. Click-throughs from article banks. People read your articles at an article bank, and click on the link in the “author’s resource box.”

2. Search engine traffic. Search “cheap international plane tickets” on Google, and sites with my article will be in the results. Wherever the article is found, readers can click through to my travel site.

3. Other web sites. When my reports show a referral address I don’t recognize, it’s usually a web site that’s using one of my articles.

Article Submission – The Basics

Submit your articles to article banks and newsletters. Article banks usually carry “free-distribution “articles, meaning anyone can use them for a site, newsletter or blog. They just can’t change them, and they have to leave your link active. The link is in the “resource box,” where you say something about yourself and invite the reader to visit your web site.

Post an article once, and it can spread, creating permanent streams of traffic. Why permanent? Here’s an example: I get search traffic for “mexico real estate” on my site HousesUnderFiftyThousand.com because of an article I used. The author gets clicks through to her site, but I get traffic – and revenue – so I’ll never remove that article.

The Easiest Article Writing

Article writing isn’t just for writers. Online articles are short and less formal than magazine articles anyhow, but if you really don’t like writing, try a “list-article.” This is the most popular type of article online, which is fortunate, because it’s also the easiest type to write.

For a site about making money on Ebay, you could write an article titled “The Top Ten Sellers On Ebay.” A short introduction, a list with a sentence or two about each item, a bit about yourself and a link to your site, and you’re done. Write “Six Mistakes People Make On Ebay,” and we need to read that to avoid the mistakes, right?

Some article banks charge fees, but there are many that are free. There are also more ways to generate traffic with your articles. That’s this article’s “tease” to get you to the site.


To Your Success!

Rick Nelson

http://www.homebasedbusinessprograms.com

http://facebook.dj/homebasedwealth/

http://twitter.com/ricknelsonfans

Writing Articles – 3 Steps To Help You Get Started

Do you have trouble getting started writing an article? One of the toughest obstacles in article writing is actually starting the article writing process. No matter how many articles we write, it is something we want to avoid because we sometimes don’t know where to start. Since article writing has become a form of marketing that almost anyone can do and afford, now is the time to take on this challenge head on.

Creating an outline is one of the best methods to use when writing an article. Having an outline provides a foundation of your article. In other words and outline gives you a starting point from which you can build into a story. An outline will make the article writing process easier and faster.

Brainstorm

To start off your outline, brainstorm and jot down your ideas. Set up about a 15 minute time frame and write freely. Try not to over think when you are writing down your ideas. This process does not have to be formal so write freely. Think of some ideas you would like to cover and supporting points for that idea. Review your notes and now organize your outline.

Organize the Outline

When you organize your outline, identify and ensure the purpose of the article. The purpose of the article should help you figure out the introduction of your article. Then identify key points of your article. Now that you have a frame for that article, you need to come up with ideas supporting those key points. As you come up with more supporting material your outline will build and you’ll have an expectation of the length of the article.

After this process you should have an outline of all of your paragraphs (i.e. the body of the article). You now need to outline a conclusion. The conclusion outline should be similar to the introduction of the outline and supportive of all the main points of the outline.

Create the First Draft

Now you should have enough material for a first draft of the article. Your draft should be a similar process to your brainstorm. Just write. Don’t worry about being perfect. Think of it this way, no one will read your first draft. Plus, you will be refining the draft into an article. As you move through this process, you will see the article form.

Always refer to your outline and let it serve as the central point to your article. From my experience it is very easy to move away from the purpose of your article. Your outline will keep you on track to the purpose of the article (is you use it).

An outline does not only provide a plan for your article it serves as a way to get started with writing the article. Your outline skills will be something you will refine with practice. You’ll build momentum to creating the first draft of your article. You will eventually trust your self and become a very productive tool in writing articles quickly and effectively.


To Your Success!

Rick Nelson

http://www.homebasedbusinessprograms.com

http://facebook.dj/homebasedwealth/

http://twitter.com/ricknelsonfans

Writing an Article – Basic Rules of Grammar

Some would-be writers think they can dash off an article without bothering to learn the basic rules of grammar. But just as any craftsperson spends time honing his skills to make the perfect piece of craft, so must a writer work hard to present an article that will be a pleasure to read and not shame him for its sloppy grammar and punctuation. True, some errors are typos, but doesn’t that reflect a certain laziness on the author’s part? An article should be closely examined for typos before it is sent off or uploaded.

Don’t trust your spell checker. No automated spell-checker can alert you to every error. Whose and who’s, lose and loose, quiet and quite, its and it’s are all legitimate words, so there will be no red line under them. Spell-checkers are not clever enough yet to tell which one you meant to use. And if the error is not due to a typo, it means you need to keep a dictionary on hand to check anything you are uncertain of.

Remember that when a word ends in ” ‘s” it means there is a letter missing. “It’s” means “it is”. If you are unsure which one you should be using, try saying the sentence both ways.

For instance…

” It’s a good day today/ It is a good day today”. The latter example makes perfect sense, so it is okay to use “it’s”.

But….

“Here is a rabbit. Its burrow is over there.”

Does, “It is burrow is over there”, make sense? No.

Of course if you said, “The rabbit’s burrow is over there,” then the apostrophe denotes possession (and only one rabbit), not a missing letter.

“The rabbits burrow is over there,” (with no apostrophe) means there are several rabbits.

And just for the record, “loose” means not tight, while “lose” means you’ve lost it. “Who’s” is short for “who is”, but “whose” is the possessive form of “who” (as in “Whose is that car?”) “Quiet” means “hush”, while “quite” is an adverb (which should usually be left out).

“I felt quite silly,” sounds better as, “I felt silly”.

“I felt like an idiot,” may be even better.

Sometimes rules of grammar get in the way of good writing. If this is the case they can and should be broken, otherwise your writing will become pedantic and even mechanical. One such rule is that a sentence should not begin with a conjunction. Both “and” and “but” can certainly be used to begin a sentence, or even a paragraph, but not to end one. Using either of these conjunctions to start a sentence can be a natural transition to carry the reader forward.

A rule of style tells us to never use the same word twice in a sentence, but if you have to search for several other clumsy substitutes to do the job, then please repeat. Repetition of someone’s name is a little different. It can easily be replaced with “he” or “she” as the sentence progresses.

A persistent myth masquerading as a rule tells us not to end a sentence with a preposition. Winston Churchill is supposed to have made fun of this by stating, “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.” Of course a sentence may end with a preposition. A good rule is to write the way you speak. But unless you have grown up speaking English, ignore this rule too.

A few more pointers…

Writing Ain’t for Everyone, But Article Writing Is!

Ready…Set…Go! If you are not submitting articles to article directory web sites, which pertain to your site’s content and theme, you are missing the proverbial boat on gaining additional popularity for your web site and valuable, one-way links back to your site which are critical for good placement within the search engines. Many formerly well-ranked, front-page sites have found themselves re indexed and tucked away on page 15 of google. Sound familiar? Who’s going to find you on page 15? Answer: No one. You may want to check some of your top 5 keywords on Google, Yahoo, and MSN to see where you are located. Different that what you expected? Is your site traffic down? Then, you’d better do something and do it quickly. Sites which refuse to write and publish content are “on their way out,” as one web designer and SEO expert has said. Let’s take a look at this issue a bit further.

In recent months, it has become absolutely critical for web site owners to submit content-rich articles for publication on major article directory sites, ezines and newsgroups. Gone are the days where it was relatively easy to get front page placement for your site for a few, or even several, key search words (“keywords”). Why the difference? Because the search engines are continually changing their search algorithms to provide more relevant search data to their consumers/customers. The “Big 2,” Google and Yahoo, compete fiercely to supply relevant and cutting-edge results for these searches in order to get people to come back for future searches. In review, the game goes a little like this: Let’s say Sally is taking her lunch break at work and wants to look up some information on shopping in Madrid. Sally fires up her browser, surfs to google and enters “shopping in Madrid” in the search box. On the date of this article, there were 19,600,000 results for this search phrase and only the top 10 are listed on page one. Even though less than thirty percent of people will click to page two, Sally decides she would like to copy-n-paste the first 20 results into an email to her home computer, so she can check the search results in detail when she gets off work. She creates the email and sends it off and does, in fact, research the top 20 results when she gets home.

Sounds like “shopping in Madrid” had 0.0001% of all available results indexed actually looked at by a google customer in this instance. Question: What if your web site has a major section devoted to downtown shopping in Madrid? Do you think, with your current level of web presence, that you have a chance of being on the first two pages of google? Would someone like Sally even know you existed? Chances are, she wouldn’t know your web site from a bale of hay! How would you like to *know* that the major portion of your site, which you have spent thousands of dollars developing, pertaining to “shopping in Madrid,” has a very good chance of getting high placement, maybe even front page, on google? While there is no way to “guarantee” this, it is important that you begin writing articles about “shopping in Madrid” and submitting them to the major article directories. Not a writer? Not a problem! Read On!

You’d be surprised that once you simply open up your notepad.exe file and begin typing, the ideas just seem to come forth. Type each of these ideas about what you would like to say on a separate line, pressing the enter key twice after each thought. Think of as many things as you can, regardless of how good or sorrowful they might be, and type them out, each on a single line. Tip: Think of what is already on your site and try to dovetail some of this content. Then (we’re almost there…), after you have more than a handful of ideas, go back and put an asterisk by the ideas you think would have the making of some decent content. Save this file as “Topics.txt” on your computer’s desktop and place the icon right smack-dab in the middle of your screen. Now, go get a diet coke or a cup of coffee and think about what you just did. Come back to you computer, open up the file that you just saved, choose one of the topics that you placed an asterisk beside, go to the next line and begin typing whatever comes to mind about that idea. Congratulations! You have just gotten over the hump of writing your first article! I have found that 90% of the “battle” is just selecting the topic. Obviously, you already know at least something about the topic you selected or you would not have written it down in the first place. Now, do a google or yahoo search on your selected topic and see what comes up in the search engines. I bet you see where I’m going with this…

Webmasters and site developers, you don’t have to be Truman Capote to write a 600 word article. Most people speak 600 words before they get out the door to go to work in the morning with a cup of coffee in-hand. Do you think you can put together 15 or 20 organized sentences on a topic that you are “supposed” to know a little bit about? I bet you can. Simply begin writing additional ideas below the topic you have selected and form them into a few paragraphs of organized thought that you think someone would be interested in reading. In the above example, “shopping in Madrid” I might see what the new happening place is to get good deals on Spanish antiques. Look up a few sites, select a shop, do a little research and then start writing.

The process of writing articles is really not that difficult once you get the hang of it. The above method is a very basic one that should work for many people. Also, please be sure to list the article on your own web site for additional new content which the search engines seem to really like. Once you have this information on your site, you may be surprised what could happen. Let’s say, the Spanish antique dealer which you wrote your article about might just contact you requesting a link or a banner ad be placed on your article page. How did they find your page? They did a search on google for “shopping in Madrid” and found your article listed and contacted you! Ah…success! While this probably won’t happen, you have the assurance that you are going through the right process to promote your web site and gain exposure in the search engines. There are many article directories to submit articles to. If set up properly, with one click of your mouse, you have the ability to create over 400 one-way back links to your web site. How long would this take you if you were doing the old reciprocal link campaign?

Go! You have invested countless hours and extraordinary effort to have a successful online business. It’s now up to you to keep it! By the way, the above article took less than one hour to write, revise, proof-read, and submit to over 400 article directories…and this writer ain’t no Truman Capote. Good luck!


To Your Success!

Rick Nelson

http://www.homebasedbusinessprograms.com

http://facebook.dj/homebasedwealth/

http://twitter.com/ricknelsonfans