In this article, I will tell you How To Write A Killer Article for your blog. Now that you’ve decided to use articles to promote your website and earn more money online, you should learn what a great article looks like. Internet articles generally have three parts:
Each part of an article has a different purpose, and all three are equally important. In this chapter, we’ll explore what makes a killer article that is enjoyable, informative, and attracts a reader’s interest.
Articles aren’t ads: Being informative and entertaining
As previously mentioned, the goal of an article is not to sell a product, but to give away useful information. The body text of an article should not be a commercial for what you’re trying to sell.
An article’s true purpose is not to sell product; rather, it is to sell your website and position you as either an expert or a person to be trusted (preferably both). No matter what your internet business is, you are in a crowded field.
There are dozens, even hundreds, of other websites offering products or services similar to yours. Providing knowledge in the form of articles helps people realize that you know what you’re talking about, and gives them good reasons to buy from you rather than your competitors. Remember: an article is not an advertisement.
With this in mind, you may now be wondering exactly what it is you should be writing articles about.
Here’s the good news: articles are flexible. You can write an article on just about any topic you have knowledge of, as long as you can relate it in some way to your website and your products or services.
Following are just a few examples of the many forms an article can take.
How-to: Perhaps the most popular type of article is one that explains how to do something, get something, use something or find something. For example, if you’re running an Internet business you could probably write an article giving people advice on how to start a small business from home. Think about your area of specialty and list some things you can do that most people might not know, but would like to learn.
Opinion: Whatever industry or type of business you work in, there are always breaking developments, new products, or business advances. You can write an article focusing on an emerging aspect of your business, and offer your opinion on how it will affect the industry.
Personal story/inspirational essay: Nearly every business owner and Internet marketer have a compelling reason they went into business for themselves. Consider writing an article or series of articles about why you chose the path you did. You can make it humorous, or inspirational, or both. Human interest stories are a popular article format.
Book excerpt or condensation: If you’re selling a book, e-book or e-course, you’re in luck: you have articles built in to your product. You can offer your website visitors a free sample chapter, or write a condensed article based on one of the ideas in your book. Book excerpts and condensations also make great articles to post elsewhere around the Internet, and if you use HTML or PDF format to post an excerpt it can easily be passed around via e-mail.
Top ten lists. Many engaging articles are centered around a list concept. You don’t have to use the number ten; any number will do. Think “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” or “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” These are books, but the concept for articles is the same. For example: if your website is geared for business people, you might write an article about the six features you need in a good PDA or SmartPhone.
You can generate articles in one or more of these formats that will get people interested in finding out what else you have to say. Remember to stay away from making your articles sound like advertisements. People read articles to be entertained, get ideas, or learn something they didn’t know before.
Stimulating your Muse: How to generate article ideas that get read
Coming up with interesting ideas for articles is a challenge in itself. The more ideas you formulate, the better your chances at having a continual stream of fresh content for your website and general distribution on the Internet. Where can you find these elusive ideas?
There are several methods you can use to brainstorm article ideas that will be of interest to your customers, potential customers, and website visitors. Following are a few to get you started.
Chat rooms and message boards. With billions of Internet users online, you are bound to be able to find chat rooms and message boards that relate to your topic. These people are your potential customers. Spend some time visiting chat rooms and reading through message board posts to find out what they’re talking about, what concerns they have, and what kind of information they are most interested in. Checking out chat rooms and message boards serves a double purpose: it can help you generate article ideas, and give you some leads on where to post your articles after you’ve written them.
Television, print media, and online news. Stay current with the most recent topics and trends in your industry by watching news broadcasts, skimming newspapers, or browsing the latest online news feeds. If you notice anything relating to your topic or business that seems to be drawing a lot of attention, write a few articles about it. Timely articles are more likely to be spread fast across the Internet, and by taking advantage of current events in your articles, you can increase your visibility.
Your Offline Resources
More timely ideas. Use the time of the year to your advantage when brainstorming article ideas. Can you relate your topic to a season, a holiday, or an upcoming celebration?
Invest in the latest issue of Chase’s Calendar of Events, which lists hundreds of typical and unusual holidays throughout the year, and look for several you can tie into.
For example, if you run a website design business, you could write an article about looking your best online for Build a Better Image Week in September. You can also discover more about current hot topics in public discussion by browsing online non-fiction bestseller lists to see what books people are buying.
Your website and current customers. You can generate article ideas according to what your customers are already asking about! Check your guestbook comments regularly and keep a file of any questions customers ask you via e-mail or phone. You can also ask customers and visitors to participate in a survey and let you know what types of articles or information they would like to see on your website.
If you don’t know…find out!
You may come up with quite a few ideas for articles on subjects you are not familiar with. If a topic would make a great article, but you don’t know much about the subject area, relax: everything you need to find out more is right at your fingertips.
Internet research is a great way to educate yourself and gather enough information for a compelling and factual article. The most obvious way to do this is using a search engine like Google or Yahoo. However, it can be hard to sort out the good, the bad, and the ugly in search engine results.
Fortunately, there are plenty of free sources for good information online. Try plugging in your topic or subject at one of these websites:
Wikipedia – www.en.wikipedia.org: This free online encyclopedia contains over one million searchable articles on various topics.
HowStuffWorks – www.howstuffworks.com: A comprehensive searchable website that explains “how everything works. Categories include people, science, health, entertainment, computers, auto, home, money, and more.
Fact Monster – www.factmonster.com: Another searchable database that features an online almanac, dictionary, encyclopedia and atlas.
RefDesk.com – www.refdesk.com: This site indexes and reviews web-based resources and archives quality informational websites. RefDesk.com features a facts subject index, a “fast facts” section, links to essential online reference resources like dictionaries, almanacs, calculators, encyclopedias and genealogy databases, and more.
Writing the article text
Once you have your topics and you’ve done your research, it’s time to start actually writing the article. You don’t need the title first (we’ll talk about titles in the next section); and in fact, sometimes you can come up with a better title for your articles after you’ve written the text.
Warm up those fingers!
Your article needs a beginning (introduction), middle (body), and end (conclusion). Without an introduction, readers can get confused and may stop reading if they’re not sure what you’re talking about. Conclusions are important because they sum up and reinforce the main points of your article.
Feel like you’re back in a high school English class yet?
The basic structure of an article is where similarities to essays and school reports end. Writing for the Internet is different than writing for anything else. Online markets are highly competitive, and it’s easy for visitors to click away from your website if you don’t hold their attention.
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Here’s how to do it:
Use short sentences and short paragraphs. Big blocks of text on a screen are difficult to read, and the typical Internet surfer’s eyes will glaze over when confronted with a page of solid text. Don’t indent, and skip a line between each paragraph. Include the occasional one-sentence paragraph to attract more attention.
Keep the language level conversational. Internet users aren’t impressed with ten-cent words; if they have to stop and look for a dictionary, they’ll probably just try another website. You aren’t insulting anyone’s intelligence by lowering the vocabulary level. You are making it easier for people to digest the information you’re offering them.
Create a sense of interaction by using the word “you” in your articles, as though you’re talking directly to the reader. For example, instead of “A termite infestation can weaken the structure of a house and cause serious damage,” you would say: “If your house becomes infested with termites, you could be looking at serious and costly structural damage.”
Use bulleted lists (like this one) to further break up the text on the page and provide fact-filled summaries that draw the eye.
Images can spice up an article as well, but go easy on them. Slow-loading pages (which most often happens on graphics-heavy sites) are still one of the biggest reasons Internet users look for cleaner pastures.
Finally, keep in mind that grammar and spelling does count when writing articles for the web. Do not: use “chat speak,” refuse to capitalize anything (or, conversely, capitalize everything), skip the punctuation, or otherwise generate sloppy prose. You are trying to position yourself as an expert, after all!
Running a spell check on your article before you post it is a great idea, but spell checks don’t catch every mistake. Reading the article aloud can help you spot inconsistencies or flaws. You could also ask a friend or associate to read it over for you—a fresh pair of eyes can find mistakes yours can’t.