It’s a well-known fact that distributing articles through the various article directory sites can result in a considerable number of new visitors to your website as other webmasters lap up your content and add it to their sites, each one linking to yours.
However as a word of the success of this method spreads, competition increases and so it is becoming ever harder to get your articles published on other sites.
Even more so popular, high-traffic sites that can make your hit counter spin when they use your article.
To be successful at this technique you need to know the rules and when selecting articles myself for use on my sites I never cease to be amazed at the number of articles that “break the rules”.
Here, therefore, are the 7 most common mistakes I see other writers making, that will seriously reduce the number of people who choose to use your articles on their sites.
Avoid these and you’ll see your results soar.
1) Badly Chosen Title
There are two problems here. They are boring or unoriginal titles. If you’re writing an article about viral marketing, don’t just call it “Viral Marketing”. Look to make the title original, unique and shouting about either a benefit to the reader or answering a question. Call it “17 Ways To Increase Your Sales In The Next 24 Hours Using Viral Marketing” or suchlike. Now that sounds interesting.
Also, try to avoid using any “strange” characters in your title. Hyphens are okay, but speech marks, quotation marks, colons, and semicolons should be avoided. Why? Many webmasters use automated software to find articles and add them to their sites. This software often takes the title of the article and saves it as an HTML file with the article title as the filename.
Except of course filenames can’t have the above characters in them, so the webmaster will either have to manually change the title or more likely, simply ditch your article.
In the same way, calling your article something common like “Viral Marketing” will likely mean the software will have several files with the same name. And so yours might just get written over.
2) Poor Formatting
Experienced writers and webmasters on the net talk about “white space”. That is – the amount of white space around the text on a page which, if large enough, makes the text look approachable and interesting.
Sentences and paragraphs should be short, as in this article, with spaces between paragraphs. It simply makes the text look easy to read, so it increases the number of people who bother.
Don’t write your whole article in one huge paragraph as it looks awful, and very few people will bother reading it.
Also, and I don’t know why some people do this but don’t “indent” the beginning of each sentence. It just looks strange when it comes to adding it to a website.
Consider also line length. Some article directories want hard carriage returns after 70 or 80 characters. If that’s what they won’t – give it to them!
3) Glorified Sales Letter
It seems that the main aim for some authors is simply self-promotion. But that doesn’t cut the mustard.
Don’t link to your website in the text of the article suggesting people visit, try not to include any affiliate links (and cloak them well if you do use them) and don’t talk about how great you are.
An article aims to provide content, your resource box is for trying to gain visitors.
4) Overly Long Bio File
Webmasters love publishing other people’s content as it attracts more search engine visitors but they hate having to link to your site at the end – because they lose visitors as a result.
To make linking to your site as painless as possible try to keep your bio file down to just a few lines. Certainly, no more than 5 and I aim for just 2-3 myself.
5) No Original Content
Is your article just like hundreds of others out there? Or are you producing something unique and original?
If your article focuses on the same thing as your competitors – and this is often basic information like “Why You Need An Autoresponder” or “How To Do Well In The Search Engines” then STOP and think. How can you make your article stand out from the crowd?
I would suggest you consider including some of your results and experiences – even if they’re negative. You can always say “This is what I tried, and this is what I would do next time”.
Your experiences are unique – they’re your own – so use them, and stand out from the crowd.
6) Too Long/Short
An article should typically be 500-1000 words in length. 600-800 words are even better. Try to keep your article in those limits by ruthlessly pruning long articles (or splitting them into two or more separate articles) and expanding or ditching overly short ones.
Pruning is a good thing and cuts out the “fluff”. There is a world of difference between a pruned and a non-pruned article and the former always looks a lot more polished.
7) Poor Grammar And/Or Spelling
Remember to run a spell checker before submitting your article, and I would suggest even then you save your article and open it up again a few days later before submitting it, as “fresh eyes” will often find mistakes you didn’t see before.
And check your capital letters – for some strange reason many writers like to capitalize seemingly Random Words throughout Their article and If you’re a Busy publisher Like Me you won’t want To go through An Article and Change them All Back. You’ll just Ditch the Article And find another one instead. Get the hint?