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Avoid These Five Online Article Writing Mistakes
Writing and distributing articles online can do a fabulous job of spreading around links to your web site. Six weeks ago, for example, I distributed an article through iSnare.com and various business-related Yahoo article distribution groups. Today, a Google search on that article’s title reveals that the article is already on close to 500 other web sites, each time with a link back to my site.
Such links both directly and indirectly increase visitors to your site – directly when people read the articles and click through to your site and indirectly because the total number of links back to your site helps your site on the whole rank higher in search engines.
However, in looking at the articles of people trying to use this powerful marketing method, I’ve spotted five crucial mistakes that can prevent getting the desired results from posting articles online. Avoid these mistakes, and your odds of success rise.
1. Timely references. Once you post and distribute articles, they stay up on the web practically forever, and you rarely have a way to update them. So including references to an event of yours soon coming up, whether that’s a teleclass or a product launch, cancels out its value as time passes. Similarly, don’t focus articles on current events that will fast lose interest, such as “Fitness Predictions for 2008” or “What the Presidential Candidates Should Remember.”
2. Article series. If you write a series of articles, you imagine someone reading them in the sequence in which you wrote them. Too bad that’s unrealistic. Usually people encounter and consider online articles one at a time, apart from any others by the same author. So you need to conceive of each article as a self-contained unit of content. If there’s a bit of overlap where you have to insert a little background information that repeats what’s in other articles, that’s fine. Each article can have the same background and a different main theme that gets developed.
3. Overly broad focus. Don’t try to cover a very large topic in an article. Unless you have an unusual point of view to convey, a broad overview is not as valuable for an article focus as more detailed tips. For example, one marketer I was coaching wrote an article for a niche audience presenting 25 topics they could blog about. That was useful, but she’ll get much more mileage from 10-25 articles each developing in greater depth one to three topics to blog about.
4. Missing bio. When posting articles for online distribution, you have the opportunity to end the article with a paragraph containing your credentials and a link to your web site. The credentials should always be included. I’ve seen articles where the bio paragraph concentrated exclusively on a freebie available at the site being linked to. The bio gives you an opportunity to ground your article content in who you are and what your business offers. The bio is an important component for getting a payoff from your article labor.
5. Missing URL. In the bio paragraph, make sure you enter your link in such a way that someone who prints out the web page can see the URL and so that someone who cuts and pastes the article into a text-only program like Notepad gets the web address. Some articles I’ve seen online have their bio-paragraph link only in the form of linked keywords, which is a mistake. Readers must be able to see the “www” or “http” address.
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