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Every week, there are another several webmasters jumping on the bandwagon and opening their own article directory. These article directories are each developed on different software platforms. There are several article directory platforms available now, and others are in the pipeline.

THE ECONOMIC ENGINE OF ARTICLE DIRECTORIES

These days, most article directories exist to offer advertising space to others. Some utilize Google Adsense at: http://adsense.google.com/ . Some are utilizing the newest competitor in this field, Yahoo's Publisher Network (YPN) at: http://publisher.yahoo.com/ . Others are using any of a number of competing ad networks including the 7Search program which is actually hosted at: http://www.pay-per-search.com/ . Another contextual ad network is Chitika at: http://www.chitika.com/ .

A few article directories are using their sites to deliver advertising for their own products and services.

For each of these sites, the content is hoped to bring traffic to the website via the search engines. And, the website owners hope that the web surfers will arrive to read the articles, and then click their links or purchase their wares.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF ARTICLE DIRECTORIES

For years, posting reprint articles on your website has been a good, solid method of getting targeted traffic to your website.

There are directories that serve the publishing community by only listing articles that have been pre-approved by their authors to be available for reprint by ezine publishers and other webmasters.

A few examples of the bigger reprint article directories include:

http://www.EzineArticles.com/
http://www.GoArticles.com/
http://www.ArticleCity.com/
http://www.Articles4Reprint.com/
http://www.Articles411.com/
http://www.IdeaMarketers.com/

These are only a few examples of the article directories, where you as the writer can go to place your articles, and the ezine publisher and the webmaster can go to find content they can use in their ezines or websites.

There are other free reprint article directories who present articles for reprint to publishers and webmasters, but these directories are a by-product of a paid article distribution services. Those reprint article directories can be found at:

http://www.Isnare.com/
http://www.SubmitYourArticle.com/
http://www.EzineTrendz.com/articles.htm
http://Content.thePhantomWriters.com/

The third type of article directories are niche content websites. Most of these directories do not have the permission to re-offer articles for reprint. Even if they do, this is not their focus.

Their focus is on helping their visitors answer questions pertinent to their specific needs. They provide content to their visitors on their pre-defined and specific niche topic.

A few examples of this type of website include:

http://www.Publish101.com/ - Business, Health & Self-Improvement
http://www.HillsOrient.com/ - Online Marketing
http://www.CapeHostPro.com/ - Business and Computing
http://www.InvisibleMBA.com/ - Education
http://www.HardwareHell.com/ - Computer Support
http://www.AllThingsFrugal.com/ - Saving Money

WHERE MOST NEW ARTICLE DIRECTORIES GO WRONG

Where most new article directories go wrong is the same place most new webmasters go wrong.

Hey, even I was guilty of this when I first came to the internet. I did not know what exactly I wanted to do online. I just knew that I wanted to make money online.

So, what did I do?

I did the same thing most new webmasters do. I tried to be "everything to everyone"!

Then one day, I decided to start an ezine. That actually worked out well for me. I ran the WindstormComputing.com ezine for a couple of years, until I just ran out of time to keep it going. I let the ezine fall into disuse, while I focused my time and efforts on making money. ;-)

The ezine itself was not the platform for making an income, but it did help to launch me into a real money making venture. The ezine gave me the confidence to begin writing articles, which helped me to create my own specific niche on the internet.

CAN ANY WEBMASTER HOPE TO BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE?

There is no one website on the internet that can be "everything to everyone".

Some have tried to be "everything to everyone" (Yahoo.com, MSN.com), but no internet user spends all of their time on one site, not even on Yahoo or MSN. They still occasionally use the Yahoo or MSN search to find another website to visit. They still occasionally use Yahoo and MSN's competitors to find other websites to visit.

If Yahoo and MSN cannot be everything to everyone, why would you think that you can? They have millions to spend on advertising to help them to become the "destination" website of the internet, and still they cannot pull it off.

THE NICHE RULES THE INTERNET

Large or small in stature, the most successful websites on the internet focus on a niche.

Think about the following niche websites and their focus:

http://www.Cnet.com - Computers and Technology
http://www.Travelocity.com/ - Travel
http://www.Ebay.com/ - Online Auctions
http://www.Overstock.com/ - Product Closeouts

Websites and article directories that take the decision to focus their presence on a "niche" will always outperform the website and article directory that tries to be "everything to everyone".

DECIDING ON THE NICHE

It is hard sometimes to pick your niche.

Honestly, you should try to pick a niche that is consistent with what you enjoy.

There is no point in creating a website that you will not enjoy managing. If you pick a topic that bores you, your website will soon bore you, and you will slowly begin to let it fall to neglect.

I know a lady who has built a successful internet business around her love for kitty cat knick-knacks. She buys and sells more kitty cat knick-knacks than you might imagine. She runs her business almost exclusively through Ebay.

For her, there is a thrill every day when she begins her day. She is able to buy the kitty cat goodies she wants, but she buys them in bulk and then sells off all but the one she keeps for her own collection. The most exciting part of her day is when the UPS man knocks on her front door.

Some niches will generate a better income than others.

It is not enough to pick a topic that you will enjoy. You will also need to make a determination as to whether your chosen niche has the capacity to generate a nice income for you.

If you are trying to determine the financial incentives for contextual advertising, this 7search tool will give you some idea as to what pays well on their network: http://7search.com/scripts/searchterms/top_paying.asp?n=500

If your chosen niche looks promising in the financial arena, what is the level of competition in your niche?

THE NICHE INSIDE OF THE NICHE

Every day, new sites pop up addressing the internet marketing niche. To put this in perspective, check out Google with the search terms "internet marketing": http://www.google.com/search?num=100&q=%22internet+marketing%22

With more than 21 million sites containing the words "internet marketing", one can assume, rightly so, that this is a market with tons of competition.

That is why the most successful internet marketing companies focus their niche to an even tighter definition, such as: "search engine optimization" or "natural links seo".

SUCCESS IN YOUR CHOSEN NICHE

When you find a niche that is being served by fewer competitors, it is much easier to become the best in your niche.

Check out the competition in your chosen niche, before taking the leap. In most of the smaller niches, it is far too easy to become the very best resource in your category.

Number one search results become easier to accomplish because you have fewer competitors.

Top search rankings are also easier to accomplish, because the search engines like Google prefer to point their users to tightly niched websites that carries the information their users are requesting. The tighter your focus, the more Google will like your website for your keyword phrases.

CHOOSE YOUR NICHE TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SUCCESS

If you are ready to take the leap into your first website or article directory, don't make the mistake of failing to properly define yourself.

I know that you want to grow quickly. But, if you choose to take in all content on all topics, you will only hurt your long-term prospects.

Accepting content on all topics may help your website might grow faster, but it will also minimize your ability to attract targeted traffic. Always remember that true success will be found in the niche.

Bill Platt is the owner of http://www.LinksAndTraffic.com

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