This article on the 10 (no, 11... yes, 11) tips for newbies is not written from the catbird seat point of view of the article host or database manager. Rather it is by and from the perspective of an author who remembers the early misgivings. It is written especially for the beginning article writer. The Tennessee Mountain Man has written and submitted hundreds of articles for publication to thousands of article hosts and database managers and still finds article writing his nemesis.
1. Necessity vs Desire:
Articles and Blogs are necessary in today's scheme of search engine indexing. Not what the newbie wants to hear. Just remember what the Bible says, "there has nothing over taken you that is not common to man". That's right! All of us hate article and Blog writing at times, and some of us dread the journey to pen and paper (or keyboard as the case may be) all the time. Many a webmaster would call them "a necessary evil" as they are not generally anyone's best liked house keeping chores.
2. Just Start, It Gets Easier:
First it is sometimes difficult to get a subject or theme and to get the first couple of lines scribbled down. The Tennessee Mountain Man knows authors who literally get sick thinking about the process. Lighten up. Once an author has a starting point and gets passed the initial thoughts, article and Blog writing usually goes fairly smoothly.
The main thing is that you get started. Pick a subject you know something about and just start. You will be pleasantly surprised at just how easily ideasflow. Don't assume everyone knows what you know. They don't. Will Rogers once said, "all men are ignorant, just on different subjects". And, so it is!
3. Good vs Perfection:
Your old English comp professor is not looking over your shoulder. This paper does not have to be perfect. That is not to say it does not have to be on point or to say that it does not have to be correct. It does or at least it should be. But, perfection is not the goal and is, in fact, seldom possible. Too much detail and you run the risk of losing your reader on several levels. Too long and most readers simply don't have the time or interest to wade through the material regardless of how important it is.
4. Blog Length vs Article Length:
Most publishers want a minimum of six hundred (600) words per article - some will let you slide with four hundred (400) words. Blogs can be much smaller. Blogs can and maybe should support appropriate pictures and embedded links.
Just don't over do it. Too gaudy or too slow to load and you have wasted your time, ticked off a potential reader, and probably upset a host who can ban you from their publications. Articles, on the other hand, typically cannot carry these extra touches according to the requirements of most publishers.
Prepare your article in American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) format. There are many tools from which to choose to get the job done. A search for 'free ASCII editor' or for 'free plain text editors' will provide one with a multitude of free options. Word Press is a popular choice. If all else fails simply use notepad to turn out your masterpiece.
6. Spelling and Grammar:
Once you have your article or Blog run it through a good spell checker and a good grammar checker. Microsoft Word works well for these purposes. Just don't use the MS Word copy for publication of your article. Rather use it's suggestions to make any necessary corrections to your plain text copy. The MS Word copy will work for Blogs although the Computerman prefers other editors.
Just like the days when you were pushed by Profs, you will find Article and Blog writing skills become easier with time and practice.
7. Publish and Announce:
Once your Blog is ready you may want to use some automatic tools to publish and announce it. First do a search for Blog hosts and select those which best suit your needs. Join one or more and publish your Blog there. Then search for Blog announcers and rss announcers and use them to get your Blog noticed.
Now that you have that out of the way find an article wizard that will post your Articles to free publishers. You can post them one at a time by hand if you are really bored and have absolutely nothing else in life to do. Using an automatic poster you can publish to hundreds of hosts in an hour or so. The only way to go.
Now, have some patience. Here is where you lose control. Many of the men and women who host articles are timely and your articles will be reviewed within twenty-four (24) to forty-eight (48) hours. But, many others will be days and weeks down the road therefore never date an article - a sure way to get rejected.
9. Rejection - "sorry your article has been declined":
Be prepared for most hosts to reject your articles. Do not take it personally. It usually has little to do with you or your article.
Some databases routinely reject articles for spelling errors when there are none or where there is more than way to spell a word. And, just as in any other endeavor some hosts are simply too lazy and get so far behind, the easiest and fastest thing to do (and perhaps the only alternative) is to reject everything. You will learn who these are over time.
Then there are those who run your articles through the sausage grinder and if they find certain words, irrespective of how they are used, your article gets no farther. These are the people who can't publish the Holy Bible because it contains words that offend them or their readers. Don't worry about these folks who are so heavenly minded they are of no earthly use. Remember, just as in everything else in life, for every rule there is an exception
10. Keep the faith, and keep cranking out articles:
Since most authors, especially newbies, prepare only one copy of an article against the advice of most seasoned authors it is important that the newbie keep his chin up - keep the faith. That will be easier as more and more of your articles are accepted and published driving visitors to your website while creating those all important back links.
It is not necessary that every host to accept everything submitted to them. After one or two hosts publish your article on any given subject, the search engines tend to penalize you anyway by ignoring additional postings. This is close to spamming and while it could help someone find you, it probably won't. It is not necessarily, the more the merrier. The additional listings will not increase your page rankings or links reported by the search engines. It is more important to get published by hosts with the highest Google page rank possible.
Now, one BONUS TIP for you: Along with "the rejection slip" will usually come a suggestion on how to "fix" your article and a request that you resubmit it. Don't waste your time. While trying comply with one database manager's request you could have written a new article from which you get much more punch. Enough publishers will pick your article up so move on and save yourself some time and heartburn.
Everybody has a thought or idea at least once a day usually at the most inopportune time. How many good ideas have you lost because of waiting? Don't procrastinate! Go! Capture that thought before it is gone forever.