Article Writing Course
Articles Writing Course Week one
We have been asked many times about writing articles and how to get started. Whether or not you are just writing for your own website or as a money making venture, there are certain rules to obey and procedures to follow which will make your article ‘marketable’.
You will have noticed if you are a regular visitor to our site, that we do provide proof reading and editing services to unpublished authors and to fellow web masters. We are expanding that facility to give you a crash course in article writing. We will add new parts of the course to this page over the coming weeks, but to get you started, here are the first four parts of the course.
Anyone can write articles
Anyone can write articles and use it to promote their website. The distribution of articles through free article directories is one of the best ways to promote your website. Even if you have never written one, there is at least one type of article that almost anyone can write.
A Top-Ten Or List-Articles
Choose a topic that is relevant to your website and find a good keyword for it. This is the phrase that people will use when they use a search engine to find your article. If you aren’t sure how to do keyword research, just ask yourself what words you would use to search for an article on this topic.
Think of an aspect of your topic that can be made into a list. You’re going to write an article that has the “Top Ten Ways” to do something, or “Six Simple Techniques For” something, or “Five Questions To Ask” Whoever. Other possibilities include “Six Great Ideas For…,” “Top Ten Tips for…,” “Ten Secrets About…,” “Three Steps To…,” and so on.
Now just follow the simple outline below. Suppose the article is on ways that you can get free traffic for a website, and the key word is “free website traffic.”
1. Write a title for the article, using the keyword in it, so searchers can find your article more easily: “Six Ways To Get Free Website Traffic.”
2. Write a description of one or two sentences, telling the reader what they will get from reading your article: “How many ways do you use to get free traffic for your website? You’ll learn six of the best here.”
3. “Sell” the article in the first paragraph, using the keyword again: “Free website traffic is a few clicks away if you know where to look…”
4. Create a numbered list, and explain each entry with a couple of sentences: “1. Write articles. This is perhaps the best way to get free website traffic. Submit your articles to article directories, and readers find their way to your site by way of the link at the end of your article. 2. Exchange links with high-traffic websites…”
5. End the article with a short paragraph, using the keywords one more time: “You can see that some of these ways to get free website traffic are easier than others, but why not try all of them. The real question is, which will work best for your website…” This summary paragraph isn’t always necessary.
6. Create a short “About The Author” or author’s resource box. Have just one link to your website in it. Talk less about yourself than about why the reader should visit your site. Entice and tease: “For more ways to get free website traffic, visit…” This is possibly the most important part of how to write an article for website promotion. For an example of a resource box that has worked, see below.
Plan your article writing
Just as a builder would hesitate to erect a house without a carefully worked-out plan, so in article writing, a writer should be loath to begin an article before he has outlined it fully. In planning a building, an architect considers how large a house his client desires, how many rooms he must provide, how the space available may best be apportioned among the rooms, and what relation the rooms are to bear to one another. In outlining an article, likewise, a writer needs to determine how long it must be, what material it should include, how much space should be devoted to each part, and how the parts should be arranged. Time spent in thus planning an article is time well spent.
Outlining the subject fully involves thinking out the article from beginning to end. The value of each item of the material gathered must be carefully weighed; its relation to the whole subject and to every part must be considered. The arrangement of the parts is of even greater importance, because much of the effectiveness of the presentation will depend upon a logical development of the thought. In the last analysis, good article writing means clear thinking, and at no stage in the preparation of an article is clear thinking more necessary than in the planning of it.
Amateurs sometimes insist that it is easier to write without an outline than with one. It undoubtedly does take less time to dash off a special feature story than it does to think out all of the details and then write it. In nine cases out of ten, however, when a writer attempts to work out an article as he goes along, trusting that his ideas will arrange themselves, the result is far from a clear, logical, well-organized presentation of his subject. The common disinclination to make an outline is usually based on the difficulty that most persons experience in deliberately thinking about a subject in all its various aspects, and in getting down in logical order the results of such thought. Unwillingness to outline a subject generally means unwillingness to think.
The length of an article is determined by two considerations: the scope of the subject, and the policy of the publication for which it is intended. A large subject cannot be adequately treated in a brief space, nor can an important theme be disposed of satisfactorily in a few hundred words. The length of an article, in general, should be proportionate to the size and the importance of the subject.
The deciding factor, however, in fixing the length of an article is the policy of the periodical for which it is designed. One popular publication may print articles from 4000 to 6000 words, while another fixes the limit at 1000 words. It would be quite as bad judgment to prepare a 1000-word article for the former, as it would be to send one of 5000 words to the latter. Periodicals also fix certain limits for articles to be printed in particular departments. One monthly magazine, for instance, has a department of personality sketches which range from 800 to 1200 words in length, while the other articles in this periodical contain from 2000 to 4000 words.
The practice of printing a column or two of reading matter on most of the advertising pages influences the length of articles in many magazines. To obtain an attractive make-up, the editors allow only a page or two of each special article, short story, or serial to appear in the first part of the magazine, relegating the remainder to the advertising pages. Articles must, therefore, be long enough to fill a page or two in the first part of the periodical and several columns on the pages of advertising. Some magazines use short articles, or “fillers,” to furnish the necessary reading matter on these advertising pages.
Newspapers of the usual size, with from 1000 to 1200 words in a column, have greater flexibility than magazines in the matter of make-up, and can, therefore, use special feature stories of various lengths. The arrangement of advertisements, even in the magazine sections, does not affect the length of articles. The only way to determine exactly the requirements of different newspapers and magazines is to count the words in typical articles in various departments.
An Article writing philosophy – do you have one?
Thousands of articles about writing articles are bouncing all over the internet and the printed media at any given time. Most of these articles are tips and advice, a few are about grammar and clarity and yet others are about subject matter and how to find it. A philosophy for writing articles is none of the above.
Simply put, an article writing philosophy is not about how you write but why. Although it is acceptable to write articles for publicity or hits to your website it is not the strongest motive. Then there are those who write by researching the most sought after keywords on the net and write articles that lead people to those words, thus to their sites. This also qualifies as a reason to write but only in the most strained sense of the word.
Writers are somewhat like preachers, they have a soap box called the printed page and they have a message just like the minister, even if the subject matter is not homiletically inclined. As a young preacher I overheard someone say that “young preachers just have to say something, but older preachers may actually have something to say.” The first step in developing a writing philosophy is to ask yourself this question…do I have something to say?
Professional people can quickly answer yes to the question of whether they have something to say. Years of study, training and experience put them ahead of others and all they may lack is just a bit of priming to know how to convey their knowledge by the written word. For those who are not professionals the next question should be “how do you see.” Some people are naturally endowed with a good eye. They don’t need to be politicians to have a good grasp of politics. They can predict, criticize, evaluate and comment on the whole sphere with great clarity and in some cases may affect the outcome of politics in some way. They weigh in so to speak on the subject. In case you think that isn’t so check out the vast opportunities for op-eds (opinion editorials) on the internet today. Thousands of political right and left wing sites are looking for people with good political vision. In this “of the people” society John Q Public is still sought for his view of political figures and things done in the political theatre.
Having a good “mind’s eye” applies to any field of interest whatsoever. Technicians put together complex electronic and telemetering devices in spacecraft but some people are weighing the result of all that space hardware on people, the environment or the future of man and their insight may be just as needed as the tiniest circuit board any techie can produce.
The motivation for writing an article may only be to provide information; at other times it may be to provide inspiration. Even anger could qualify as a good motive if you are particularly incensed over some injustice or bad behaviour. It may sound all to rudimentary or perhaps old fashioned to say that if you are seeking a higher good to be done through your writing then you will always succeed. Sound corny? Think again. No one will ever reject an article that attempts to right a wrong lift people up or provide a little light and comfort in a troubled world. If that is your motive then that is your philosophy. Good writing.
Writing Articles – why bother?
There are thousands of articles to be read on the World Wide Web, and many more are being added every day. If you take the time to do more than skim them, you will find that many articles are about similar things. Why would you take the time out of your busy schedule to add one more? We all suffer from information overload- so why add to it?
Why should I bother?
Here are some good reasons to consider why it would be to your advantage to take up article writing:
1. Expert Status
By writing articles in your niche area you begin to establish your credibility as an expert in that field. When writing your article it is important to include key words in the article that relate to your specific area. This will make it easier for the search engines to link your name to your area of expertise, and your reputation will grow into ‘expert status’
2. Your Articles Are Needed
Webmasters, ezine editors, and publishers are looking for fresh content to publish to their subscribers. It is to your advantage that they find you. Then your article will get reproduced all over the world, and that will increase your exposure and reputation.
3. How to Use your Resource Box
The resource box at the end of your article is your space to “sell” and promote you and your services, products, and expertise. To reprint your article, publishers have to include the resource box. Here is your opportunity for FREE advertising and unashamed self-promotion.
4. To Gain Traffic To Your Website
By including a live link back to your site in the resource box you will increase your web traffic to your website. This is a good marketing strategy, as search engines look for links into your site and it will improve your ranking and you will get even more traffic directed your way.
5. Content is King
Quality content is king on the internet. The more places your articles are found on the Internet, the better it is for you. This is because when a search for your subject, name or company is done the more hits will be found by the search engines, and you will place closer to the front of the listings. (Of course there is a way for your article to come up as Number One, but that is a topic for another day)
How do You Get Your Article onto The Internet, and Get Noticed?
There are several ways to do this, here are four important ways:
1. Publish your article on your website. To get it noticed quickly, you can submit a sitemap to Google (it’s a free service)
2. Register and submit your article to free article submission sites such as www.EzineArticles.com , www.articlesbeyondbetter.com . There are lots out there – do a search for them. You can also sign up to several Yahoo groups that focus on article writing and submission.
3. Submit to a service that will submit to sites for you. Well known submission services include Isnare, Article Marketer, Submit Your Article and thePhantomwriters.com.
4. Buy software that will not only submit articles for you, but help with the formatting and make them search engine friendly as well. If you intend to write articles frequently this is a great time saver. I recommend Article Announcer
So, What Next ?
Start article writing and increase your expert status, web traffic, and promote your business product or service for free.
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