Article marketing has become an accepted and successful means of generating website traffic or establishing yourself as a niche expert on the internet. Looking at the forums for web copywriters and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) specialists, there is still a lot of confusion in many people’s minds on exactly how to embark on this.
You need a strategy.
This article will hopefully give you some pointers on how to start, what you need to think about and what you should ask yourself.
Who do you want to be?
This may seem a ridiculous question, but many article writers will tell you that they wish they’d thought about this before they started. This is really about deciding whether you want your articles to promote a website or to promote you. If you’re promoting a website, do you really want to use your own name? Would a pen name be better? What would you gain from using your own name, or what would the drawbacks be?
If you’re promoting yourself, then maybe using your real name is the right thing to do. It’s imperative though, that you make this choice at the start. Once you’ve signed up for accounts at article directories and submitted your articles, you’re generally stuck with the name you used. It’s virtually impossible to change once your articles have been repinted or syndicated all over the internet.
What will you write about?
Whether you’re promoting yourself or a website, you’ll need to stick to subjects that are relevant to the niche or subject of the website you are involved in. Again, a common mistake made by many article writers is to branch off into unrelated territory, spawning unrelated links to their website or diluting their own credibility with articles on things that have nothing to do with the core subject.
Links established to your website or to you as an individual should always be as relevant as possible. They will be much more valuable to your rankings in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Are you a good enough writer?
A trip through some of the article directories should quickly dispel any worries you have in this area. Some of the so-called ‘expert’ writers in these directories are publishing shockingly bad articles. In most cases, it’s probably because they tried to write too many articles too quickly. In other cases, it’s because they just didn’t edit and proofread the article thoroughly before submitting it.
The truth is, you don’t need to be an expert or professional writer, although you will need to practice, as your writing standard does need to be as high as you can manage. Remember, you’re trying to attract people who will want to put your article on their own website. Why would they take a poorly written article?
There are a few basic things you can do to improve your articles immediately, while you’re practicing. Remember to:
Where will you send your articles?
The most often heard advice is to submit all of your articles to as many article directories as you can find, sometimes using automated software. In reality, you should be selective in the directories that you use. Look for those with a good traffic rank and credibility, preferably frequented by webmasters looking for quality content. Find webmasters forums and see what article directories are being discussed. This will give you an idea of where to submit to.
Try to avoid duplicating articles that you’ve written as part of your marketing on your own website. The search engines don’t like duplicated content and your website page may end up being penalised in the SERPs as a result.
How much should you write?
I look at this question in two ways. Firstly if you’re still having ideas for good articles that people will want to read, then keep writing them. You can always decide whether you want to use them for your own site or for article marketing. If you feel you’re going stale, then don’t push it. The quality of your articles will suffer and no webmaster is going to reprint a bad article. Leave it for a while and go back to writing when you feel you’ve got new material or a new slant on things.
Secondly, I look at how much an article should contain, or how long it should be. There are lots of differing opinions out there. I try to strike a balance between writing an informative article that’s useful, and not boring the reader to death or scaring them with 2 feet of text scrolling on the screen. Try and get your article in the 500 to 800 word range. Don’t be slavish about it though, some can be shorter, some can be longer – it depends upon the subject. If you can’t get 400 words, ask yourself if there really is a full article in the subject you’ve chosen, or whether it really is just a short article. Equally, if you start rolling towards the 1000 word mark, ask yourself if you couldn’t approach the subject differently and maybe get two, more targeted articles out of it – or even just a two-part series.
Who’s going to read it?
A human being! Don’t make the mistake of crafting your work specifically so that a search engine robot will find lots of high value keyword clusters. Some people will bang on about keyword density, but my advice is to forget it. If you write the article properly and professionally, for a human reader, covering all the points you think are of value to the reader, you will have written an article which is good for the search engines too.
Remember, the most reliable way to create a successful web page or site is to write your own original, unique content, that readers will find interesting. A well-written and informative page will draw people for years to come, even if it doesn’t change much through time. Don’t listen to the quantity merchants – it’s all about quality. One good quality, well written page will be worth countless poor pages in the long run.