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Writing quality articles is time consuming for the very best writers. First, finding the time to write is probably the first real challenge. Then securing a topic or something to write about is the next obstacle. Finally, wondering if all this effort as a small business owner is going to secure the desired marketing end result of increased web traffic to your web site is always present. After writing articles for the last four and a half months, I have developed some strategies to improve article quality and to increase traffic to my website.

Strategy #1 ? Set aside time every week to write and establish a goal for the number of articles that you will write during the week. I schedule time with myself to write. This is usually a several hours during the weekend and possibly a couple of hours each week depending upon my schedule. Currently, my weekly goal is 2 articles. With other writing commitments including my website, this sometimes is quite a stretch for me.

Strategy #2 ? Create an easy format that you can easily copy and paste your efforts into those sites where you regularly contribute. For me, I used Microsoft Word. Also, I included within my M.S. Word document beyond the actual article are the following: (1) A title that meets the site's policies such as www.ezinearticls.com of 100 characters (2) Word Count (3) Copyright Statement (4) Bio or Signature statement that meets the character guidelines (1101 for Ezine Articles) (5) key words (100 characters for Ezine Articles) (6) A table for key words to be used within the article and as search words.

The table is probably the most beneficial element within this format. As I write the article, I plug in phrases that I believe have high key word value. The table can be easily copied and pasted into a new article with similar key words. These key words then can be prioritized from highest to lowest and used as the keywords within the article submission site. By using the highlight tool, I can quickly determine what words are used within the article's content.

Strategy #3 ? Write from your own personal experience and avoid the royal ?We.? People look to the Internet to find answers to their questions from people who have actual experiences. Share your failures and successes while you are demonstrating your expertise. Use the personal touch to begin to build a relationship and not to 'sell? your product or service. Be real and respectful to each and every reader. Also include some humor if possible. Again, remember you want them to want more and click through to your website.

Strategy #4 ? When selecting the topic, determine the focus through researching the key word popularity. A site such as http://inventory.overture.com helps. Short articles also contribute to greater focus. If you have an exceptionally long article, break it into 2 or more shorter articles. I try to keep my articles between 400 and 800 words depending upon the topic or subject.

Strategy #5 ? After writing your article, review the content and begin to actively search for words or phrases that will increase the "hits? to your articles. Many times I believe I have an incredibly great title. By using a key word search, I can truly learn if the title is extraordinary or just plain ordinary. For example, in a recent article I had planned to use the phrase ?bulls eye? in the title. As I am a very visual individual, this word conjured up an arrow hitting a target. Inventory overture revealed 3,190 searches for ?bulls eye? while the word ?target? had 1,814,599. My next action was to quickly change the title to maximize this key word.

In MS Word, under the Edit Button, you can scroll down to Find and enter each key word to determine if that word or phrase is included within your article. With Search Engine Optimization (SEO), using the right amount of key words is also important. An overload of key words is just as harmful as not enough key words. My strategy is to identify 20 top key words for every article and incorporate them at least one time and not more than three times into the article.

Strategy #5 Plus ? Upon completion of your article, find a colleague or friend and ask them for their opinion. I currently review many of efforts with two close friends. Suggestions are freely given and changes are made. The end result is always a much high quality of article.

Hopefully, these 5 plus one strategies will not only improve your Internet marketing through increased traffic to your web site, but will also improve the quality of your articles and potentially start to build those relationships with future customers or clients.

Copyright 2005(c) Leanne Hoagland-Smith, www.processspecialist.com

This article may be freely published. Permission to publish this article, electronically or in print, as long as the bylines are included, with a live link, and the article is not changed in any way (grammatical corrections accepted).

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S. CEO of ADVANCED SYSTEMS located outside of Chicago, IL, is the Learning & Process Specialist. With over 25 years of business & education experience, she helps her clients to double their performance. By uniting systems, strategies and people to create loyal internal customers, Leanne delivers ROI solutions in 4 key areas: financials, leadership, relationships and growth & innovation within a variety of industries including education, healthcare, manufacturing and professional services. As co-author of M.A.G.I.C.A.L. Potential: 7 Capacities for Living an Amazing Life Beyond Purpose to Achievement due for 2005 release, Leanne speaks nationally to a variety of audiences. Please contact Leanne at 219.759.5601 or visit http://www.processspecialist.com if you are seeking to connect your passion to your purpose to double your performance for unheard of results.




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