Getting traffic to your website or blog is the only way to make it pay, but not everyone who launches a website or blog has the money to spend on promotion. Good news. There's a promotional method that really works for attracting site or blog traffic and it's free, free, free. It's called article marketing and it is a sure way of raising a site's profile.
Step 1: Find An Article Directory
To get started, find a suitable article directory.
Article directories are sites that have hundreds and thousands of articles and there are new ones emerging every day. Some are all-purpose, covering everything from family issues to healthcare, while others have a niche, such as computer advice or art. All of them are hungry for content.
With so many to pick from, choosing an article directory can be a minefield. To make it easier, look at the directory to see:
- how many authors there are - if only a handful, forget it and move on.
- how many articles there are - ditto; come back when they've got some content
- can the site be found on Google, Yahoo or MSN - if you can't find many links to the site, then no-one will find your articles either.
One of the best and most effective article directories I have used is EzineArticles.com. EzineArticles is easy to use and articles published on the site appear in the search engines very quickly.
Step 2: Start Writing
Once you've decided on the right article directory or directories, write an article. Bloggers will find that blog posts are a good starting point for a web article. If you're not a writer, there are plenty of writers who will whip up an article for a few dollars. Some will even help you get it published. The article you write or commission can be about almost anything related to the site, blog or business you are promoting. The ideal article should be short (say 300-600 words) and error-free, so remember to proofread and spell check.
Many article directories vet articles before publishing. Stick to the guidelines that are published on every site and approval should be a formality. Most article directories prohibit self-promotion in the body of the article. Direct promotion of a site, blog or business is reserved for the resource box.
Step 3: Work That Resource Box
The resource box is where article writers can put all the self-promotional information. Readers who have found the article useful are likely to click on the links to see what else a site, blog or business has to offer. Article directories typically allow up to three links in the resource box. A good resource box has the name of the writer or the person being promoted, the name of the business and the keywords that the site or business owner would like to promote. See the resource box at the end of this article for an example. Other resource boxes may link to a sales letter page (with the product name highlighted) and include a short elevator pitch and call to action.
Step 4: Submit Like Crazy
Once the article has been submitted to the directories the site owner has chosen, it's time to move the strategy to the next level. Article submission services extend the potential reach of an article, giving another opportunity to boost traffic. Like many article directories, article submission services allow people to upload articles for approval. Once the articles are approved, these services send them out to article directories, article groups, ezine publishers and website owners to be considered for publication. Two options for article submission are Article Marketer, which has free and paid options and Isnare, which is a paid service. There are also
free and commercial programs to automate article submission.
Pros And Cons Of Article Marketing
The big question, of course, is whether submitting articles to hundreds of directories counts as duplicate content. It's hard to tell. Some of them end up in the sandbox after a while; others don't. Staggering submissions is a good way to avoid this. However, in my opinion, the advantages outweigh the potential disadvantages. With article marketing, sites can receive hundreds of inbound links in only a few days or weeks and thousands of people will be visiting the site that's being promoted. That can't be bad, can it?
Sharon Hurley Hall is a freelance writer, ghostwriter and editor, who has seen article marketing work for her. Sharon worked in publishing for 19 years, writing articles and editing and designing books and magazines. Sharon writes on freelance writing for InspiredAuthor.com. For more information or to contact Sharon, visit doublehdesign.com.