Article writing tips, techniques, strategies

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Resource Box

By Richard Lowe

Resource boxes are mandatory of you are writing articles which you give out for free reprint. These are short, 2-4 line blurbs which describe you and your web site. This is generally considered the exchange for allowing your articles to be reprinted: they get your article, you get a small resource box on their web site, in their ezine or on the pages of their ebook.

Following are some good suggestions to follow for your resource boxes. I have found that by following these I get a much higher response rate.

Remember it's permanent - Your resource box will be reprinted (if your material is good) on dozens (or more) web sites, in newsletters and even included in a few ebooks. Most of these will NOT be changeable once they are published. So be sure your resource box is exactly what you want before you send it out.

Include a link to your web site - Always include a link to your web site in your resource box.

Make sure the link is a domain name - This should be a domain name like Avoid long URLs with subfolders and parameters.

Make sure you own the domain name - Remember you will not be changing anything in the resource box once it goes out. Thus, you should be sure you own and have full control over the domain name in your link before you send it out. Why? If you have to move your site, you can move it without worrying about breaking all of those painfully accumulated links if you have your own domain.

Include an autoresponder if appropriate - It might be a good idea to set up an autoresponder to allow people to get more information. These are very easy to set up. These can be used to join a mailing list, start an email course or get an ebook. They are great ways to get people to communicate with you. CAUTION: these autoresponders will be picked up by spam harvesters. Make sure you've accounted for this by choosing a good autoresponder package.

Keep the links short - Keep all links short and to the point. If you have long URLs, then use some method to make them shorter for your newsletter. You can shorten long directory paths by intelligently using subdomains; for example, might become You can also use redirects on your website, as might redirect to your affiliate link (using a 403 redirect). The point is you can get very clever and shorten those URLs in your resource box.

Do not include affiliate links in the resource box - Use your web site, ezine or ebooks to promote your products. Adding affiliate links directly to your resource box is a great way to prevent editors and publishers from including your article. Why should they be promoting your products on their sites? Generally they are willing to help promote your site or publication, but directly selling for you (without a commission) is being a little too charitable.

Maximum of 4 lines - A resource box should be short: no more than 4 lines at 60 characters or so per line. Longer is more likely to be rejected by an editor.

Give out your name - One of the reasons resource boxes are useful is to build up your credibility. Always include your name in the resource box so people start to recognize who you are.

Try not to be too slick - Avoid salesperson-speak and the like in your resource boxes. Why? Because the first person you have to sell to is the publisher or webmaster who wants to include your article. If you turn him off, he or she will not include your article. Sales-speak tends to raise the hackles on people's necks. Just say who you are, what you do and include the web site and/or autoresponder link.

Check your spelling and grammar - Again, you will not be able to change it later, so be sure your grammar and spelling is correct.



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