Writing Articles, But Still Not Getting Traffic? That’s Because Your Articles Suck – But I Can Help! (Part 1)Written by Jason DeVelvis
We’ve all been there. We hear about how articles will generate HUGE publicity for a site, (the old “If you build it, they will come”) so we sit down, write an article, submit it to places like www.ezinearticles.com, www.content-articles.com, www.articlesfactory.com, etc, then wait. A week goes by, you get a trickle, another week, still a trickle, a month, still a trickle (if that). What happened to all promise of thousands and thousands of people coming to site? Nothing - that’s problem. Very few (if any) ezines, newsletters, or web sites reprinted your article. Just RSS feeds (they were probably responsible for trickle). Lets take a look at how an article should be written for maximum exposure.
Headline/Title (This just in…)
The headline is arguably most important part of article. If reader isn’t interested after reading headline, they won’t read rest. It should be something catchy. My first article was entitled “Branded Email: Email Branding is Next Generation of Email” and after posting that to a site or two, I shortened it to “Branded Email: The Next Generation of Email.” By now, I’m sure you realize that introduction paragraph was describing my first experience at article writing. My title was not catchy, (in fact, it sucked) and nobody came.
What is catchy? “How to” headlines are good. “10 Tips” (or 5 tips, or 47 tips) are often read. Case studies are great. Alliteration (putting words that begin with similar sounds together in a row – Gary Guesses Google’s Gauge – Wow, that was bad, but you get point) grabs a reader’s attention. Using common phrases and clichés is quite effective, putting a funny spin or changing those same phrases and clichés works well too. Questions get readers. Pique reader’s curiosity, and they’ll read.
Also, depending on your audience, you can use "shocking" words and phrases - mild swear words and words that industry deems “taboo” work well to get readers. “Shocking” headlines create emotion, and emotion gets a visitor to read article. I probably offended you (or made you laugh) with my headline – and you’re reading article now. Just make sure that if you decide to go with a “shocking” headline, you also propose a solution. “- but I can help!” takes your offence and changes it to “Wow, he’s right, I’ll read article and find out how he can help me!” Some readers wouldn’t keep reading if I just made headline “Your articles suck” – that’s just plain mean. For example: If I was writing an article about plastic surgery, I could make headline “Are you ugly? I can fix that.”
Writing Articles, But Still Not Getting Traffic? That’s Because Your Articles Suck – But I Can Help! (Part 2)Written by Jason DeVelvis
Last time on “Because your articles suck” – we discussed how to write effective headers, bylines (boy were those easy), and article summaries. Now it’s time to move on to body of article and then all-important resource box.
Body (Wow, nice bod)
First of all, you have to use subtitles. Subtitles segment article, which makes it seem shorter, and thus, easier to read. People will run away from a 700-800+ word article with nothing to break it up. By same token, use spacing effectively. People don’t like to read long paragraphs, either. When you change subjects, start a new paragraph.
Second, write like your article is going to be read by 6th graders - well, more like people with 6th grade reading ability – because you are. Studies have shown that most people read and write at a 6th grade level. (Remember: Internet is not only in USA, there are MANY more people on 'net from rest of world, and most speak English as their second or third language.) This does NOT mean you should actually write like a 6th grader would, it means write at their skill level. You still need to use decent grammar, spelling, etc.
Third, keep your writing conversational. People don’t like to be lectured, but they like to have conversations. Heck, some students have conversations during lectures! (Sorry, lame joke)
Next, lets look at content. Your content should provide great information by itself, but always leave reader wanting more. For example, "These are just a few of ways to start your own business cheaply" gets user to want to read more, and it also gets them to click on your link in resource box.
Also, make sure your articles are brief, you're not writing books, and people looking for articles don’t want to read books. If your article is over 1,200 words, split it into segments. Having 2 or more parts to an article is also good, because it makes life of an ezine and newsletter publisher that much easier – they’ve got 2 weeks worth of content for price of one! Though, it was probably free in first place, but it keeps their readers happy and reading their publication…
Finally, involve your readers in article - ask them questions with simple answers. (If you get them jazzed enough, sometimes they answer out loud...) You like questions, right? Sure you do. Asking simple questions makes reader connect with article, (and also with you, as author) and that makes them read to end, as well as click on your link for more information. I can’t stress word simple enough, because tough questions (What is airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?) make reader feel dumb, and a reader who feels dumb stops reading.