Friday, November 23, 2007

Ten Tips for Effective Internet Article Writing

On the Internet “content is king”, and the real guts of content is the written word. If you are managing a website you need readable text for your onsite articles, for articles in your promotional newsletter or ezine and for promotional articles to be published on other sites or in other ezines. While these writing tasks can be outsourced to professionals, it is also possible for you to do it yourself if you follow a step-by-step process that is outlined in the following ten tips.

  1. In the first paragraph clearly state what the article is about. In standard journalism you would tell who, what, why, when and where an event is happening. In web articles you oftentimes state a problem, such as “how to get good written materials for your website”, and then explain how the article is going to solve the problem “by showing a simple step-by-step approach to writing”.

  2. Organize your material in a point-wise fashion. Before you begin writing think of the points that your article is going to cover. You may not necessarily show the points, as I am doing in this article (calling them ten tips), however, for your own outline of the article you should know what you are going to say before you begin writing. Write down these points and then make sure you include them as you begin the writing process.

  3. Put the reader at ease. You are not writing for a scientific or literary society, but to your peers on the Internet. Write in a simple style and if you introduce new terms, define them for your readers.

  4. Explain your points in short paragraphs. Short paragraphs are easier for the reader to follow. No one likes to look at a long block of solid text. Three, four or five sentences are usually enough for one paragraph.

  5. Don’t be afraid to spill all the beans! Tell your trade secrets! No, I am not crazy, the more you tell, the more the demand you will create for your goods and services. I once hesitated to write an article on “Tips for Writing Meta Tags” thinking, who will need my search engine optimization services if they read the article? I was wrong, the article was widely published and generated several orders for my services. If you give more information, people will understand that you really are an authority on the subject that you are speaking about.

  6. Give concrete examples and personal experiences to back up your points. Tell how you faced a problem and how you solved it. Or give hypothetical examples of the California Widget Company and how its website would, for example need a title tag of “Widgets: electronic widgets from the California Widget Company”

  7. Emphasize the benefits of your product or service. When it comes to selling, it is the benefits that sell, rather than the features. Sure, you are selling garden supplies, home décor, clothing, gifts and jewelry on your website. These are features. But the benefits are that people can get these items in one place without shopping around, that they can save time and money, etc. The gurus of Internet marketing, such as Ken Evoy all say that you should constantly mention the benefits that you offer to your potential customer.

  8. Give resource information to your readers. Give the addresses of websites where your readers can get more information on the subject that you are talking about. These may be your own websites or they can be other resources. In case you are worrying about losing customers, good outgoing links from your website are also helpful to your site’s page ranking and positioning in search engines.

  9. Get another opinion on your article. Show it to your friends and colleagues, and don’t worry if they criticize you, it is better that your friends find the mistakes than your clientele. Always remember, a good editor is a writer’s best friend.

  10. Keep your most important information near the beginning of the article and summarize what you want to say at the end. Editors usually cut things near the end, so keep your most important points and ideas in the beginning of the article. At the very end of the article you can summarize what you set out to accomplish in your opening paragraph.
You may not win a literary prize, but if you follow the steps that I have outlined above you will be able to produce effective written content for your website and for your promotional outreach via your own newsletters and through articles published on other websites. These articles could become the key to success in your Internet endeavors.

Donald Nelson is a web developer, editor and social worker. He has been working on the Internet since 1995, and is currently the director of A1-Optimization (http://www.a1-optimization.com), a firm providing low cost search engine optimization, submission and web promotion services.

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