Article writing tips, techniques, strategies

Monday, July 18, 2005

Correct Formatting Maximizes Effectiveness of Online Articles

Understanding the rules of correct formatting for online articles will assist webmasters in driving greater awareness of and traffic to their online enterprises.

For online marketers, the difference between creating a widely-read article and one that ends up in a publisher’s reject pile is often rooted in the principles of correct formatting and savvy writing. Therefore, before developing an article designed to enhance your online presence, you should familiarize yourself with few principles of online publishing. Indeed, knowing how to how to format and write a successful article will help to ensure your publication reaches the largest audience and maximizes your business’ presence.

Tip #1: Create a Powerful Title

Headlines are critical determinants of how widely read an article will be. Online, titles are important because readers typically find articles through search engines which, in turn, locate articles largely by way of titles. Therefore, use correct formatting to develop a powerful title that captures the keyword of your article in its first three to five words.

For example, if your article is about ten ways to have a great family vacation on a low budget, consider a title such as: “Low Budget Family Vacations – Ten Ways to Have a Great Time for Less,” instead of “ Ten Ways to Have a Fun, Low Budget Family Vacation.” The first, more powerful example has the most important words- “low budget family vacations” - at the beginning of the line, the location where search engines will most easily find them.

Tip #2: Create an Article Instead of an Ad

Your article should be an informative, useful, well-written piece that simultaneously serves as a showcase for your strengths and expertise in your field. It should not be an advertisement. In fact, publishers will likely reject an article that reads too much like an ad, or includes too many promotional references to the author’s website. Correct formatting, then, requires that you simply include a reference to your URL in the resource box at the end of the article rather than directly into the body itself.

Tip #3: Understand the Rules of Submission

Online directories will often reject articles which do not follow their submission rules. Some e-zines and newsletters accept articles with word counts in the thousands, but the optimal article length is somewhere between 400 and 800 words. You want people to read your whole article, so keep it concise and focused.

Many e-zines require authors to format their own pieces in HTML, so it’s a good idea to acquire some basic HTML skills. That way, you can include basic text styles and follow the correct formatting procedure for whatever e-zine or directory to which you are submitting.

Lastly, make sure you proofread your article for clarity, grammar, spelling and correct formatting. Correct formatting of article marketing helps build your reputation, too, as the quality of your work is extremely important.

Tip #4: Utilize the Resource Box.

The resource box is an essential tool of article marketing. It is a short paragraph at the end of your article where you present yourself, your company and, most importantly, your URL.

Generally, correct formatting of a resource box calls for the author to give his or her name first, and then explain in a few sentences what services his or her enterprise offers. This is a pitch, but many article directories and marketing experts suggest keeping it from sounding like a “hard sell.” Again, publishers will reject articles with “abusive” resource boxes such as those which are either too long or ad-like, or rife with links to websites with no relevance to the article topic.

There are different schools of thought regarding other elements to include in the resource box, such as direct contact information or a free offer. However, as long as you adhere to correct formatting principles, you can be somewhat inventive.

Online marketing through article submissions is a critical component of many website marketing strategies. Understanding the rules governing correct formatting of online submissions, though, is critical to maximizing the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

For additional information on how to appropriately submit online articles for publication, please visit the following resources:

Knight, Christopher. "Article Marketing 101: The Perfect Author Resource Box" ezinearticles.com. Ed. Christopher Knight. http://ezinearticles.com/?Article-Marketing-101:-The-Perfect-Author-Resource-Box&id=17172

Carraro, Deborah. "The Ins and Outs of Article Submissions" Websition.com. Ed. John Doetsch. http://www.websition.com/articles/121/1/The-Ins-and-Outs-of-Article-Submissions

Shaw, Steve. "Online Article Submission Tips" Onlinebusiness.about.com. http://onlinebusiness.about.com/od/marketing/a/articlesub.htm

John Doetsch is the editor of Websition.com where you will find additional articles and web site content written by the Internet's most gifted authors. Authors are encouraged to submit articles to boost your web site traffic and link popularity by presenting your articles to thousands of targeted publishers, ezine editors, and webmasters. http://www.websition.com