How to Make Your Writing (a Little Bit) Better

The Director of Columbia University’s writing program and author of the new book To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction reveals a few ways to write a fresh and engaging story.

I came across this post on Oprah’s website and thought it was worth re-posting for my readers. There are some great tidbits, guidance and instructions for making your writing better. Now that online content is so huge, it’s always a good idea to tweak and work on your writing or hire a ghostwriter to assist you.

1) Be Bold (Even if You’re Not) Regardless of how timid you may feel inside, you need to project an assertive tone in your sentences, conveying that you have a right to speak and that know what you’re talking about. This may mean bluffing—both at the beginning and maybe throughout one’s writing life. One of the boldest openings is a confession of ignorance. You might tell people that you don’t know everything or that you’ve forgotten some of the story. Surprisingly, instead of alienating your readers, this tactic usually makes them believe you more, because it lets them know you’re a human being—imperfect, like all of us, but honest.

2) Make Yourself into a Real-Life Elizabeth Bennet Whatever you write, particularly if it’s an autobiography or any kind of nonfiction, you would do well to turn yourself into a character. The reader needs to sense very quickly the real individual behind the prose—in order to like or trust the narrator of the piece. To start, you may need to take inventory of yourself, so the reader will have some idea of who is talking. For instance, what are your geographical roots, family background, ethnicity, social class, religious training, sexual preferences, and political affiliations? Not that your entire identity can ever be explained by membership in this or that one category, but at least the sum of them helps define you—if nothing else, then in your opposition or refusal to identify with any of these assigned labels. What are your pet likes and dislikes? What are some of the crucial experiences in your life? Certainly, this is the heart of memoir or personal writing.

Now comes the “characterization” part of your character. You need to dramatize yourself. Paradoxically, this may mean putting on a mask, emphasizing just those aspects of your personality that throw you into sharper light, that make you seem a little more odd or idiosyncratic—in any case, not completely typical. The easiest way to do that is to single out those parts of your personality that are most vibrant, or even disparaging. Self-mockery is a perfect example. If you can laugh at yourself, you will find it easier to see yourself as a character.

3) Take the Contrarian Position It’s sometimes a good idea to go against the grain of accepted thought, simply because it takes the reader by surprise and engages him or her in a stimulating, feisty relationship. (It also helps to build the author quickly into a character—see number 2.) To advocate for Mom, apple pie, world peace or universal brotherhood can be pretty bland. Try airing a more antisocial or counterintuitive position, just for the fun of it. Some models to consult in this technique are Laura Kipnis’ “Against Love,” Witold Gombrowicz’s “Against Poetry,” Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation,” Joyce Carol Oates’ “Against Nature” or my own “Against Joie de Vivre.”

The other way to be contrarian is to praise something that usually inspires distaste. William Hazlitt’s “On the Pleasure of Hating” is one such topsy-turvy example. Think of something ostensibly negative—disappointment, envy, chagrin, obesity, air pollution—and make a case for it. Of course, this defense of the indefensible can be done ironically, as in Jonathan Swift’s classic “A Modest Proposal,” which purports to argue in favor of eating babies as a solution to overpopulation.

4) Don’t Forget Your Inner Adult When writing about your past, don’t be afraid to reflect on the way you were, from the standpoint of the way you are now. You don’t have to pretend that you’re still 9 years old or stay within the child mind: You can avail yourself of the perspective of acquired wisdom over the years and move back and forth in the narrative between the younger person you were and the older person you’ve become. This means you don’t have to tell every story entirely through scene and dialogue. You can forget about that “show, don’t tell” business. Do tell. But do it frankly, thoughtfully and, wherever possible without self-pity and with good-humored detachment.

5) Bring in the World Even if you are writing a memoir, and telling what you feel is just your own private story, there are ways of bringing greater relevance and resonance to the tale by hitching it to a broader perspective: historical, psychological, sociological, theological, whatever. You begin to see yourself as part of a larger pattern, and this will take you to the library, where you can gain new insights.

Research also helps to keep the material alive when you are starting to get sick of yourself and your story. If you start out knowing all the answers, your resulting writing will appear stale. But if you engage in an exploration, a need to get answers to questions that are still unresolved, there is a much greater chance that the writing will come alive. And research can certainly assist in any such exploration.

For more information on writing techniques, consult Phillip Lopate’s new book To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Expert-Writing-Strategies-How-to-Write-Better#ixzz2LMYAJ4yF

What do Petticoats and Writing Have in Common?

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As I was sitting in my recliner last night, trying my best to find that light-bulb moment or the next viral blog post, for some reason the petticoat came to mind.

I know you’re thinking…what!? My sentiments exactly! I had no idea where I was going with this, but something sparked inside me to simply start writing. I was hoping it would come to me as fast as my speedy typing.

Wikipedia defines the Petticoat as follows:

“In historical contexts (sixteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries), petticoat refers to any separate skirt worn with a gown, bedgown, bodice or jacket; these petticoats are not strictly speaking underwear as they were made to be seen. In both historical and modern contexts, petticoat refers to skirt-like undergarments worn for warmth or to give the skirt or dress the desired fashionable shape. In this context a petticoat may be called a waist slip or underskirt (UK) or half-slip (US), with petticoat restricted to extremely full garments. Petticoat can also refer to a full-length slip in the UK,  although this usage is somewhat old-fashioned.”

Going way back to my childhood, (and yes, that was quite some time ago), I can remember having such frilly, foo-foo dresses. They were just not quite completed until I had all those petticoats underneath my dress. Once those were on and fluffed, then I felt as though I was completely dressed.

As I reminisced about those days, I saw myself running and playing and jumping around, just to experience all the fluffiness, fullness and the sounds of crinkling petticoats. Not only did they make me feel feminine and girly, they also made me feel extremely dressed up and exquisite. Like I’m sure some of those on the red carpet feel when they are all dolled up. That is how I felt! Like a model! Simply beautiful.

There was something about the sound of all that crinkly material and the crushing, rustling-type sound they made. The way they would fly up into your face when you sat down. The manner in which you would lay your hands on top of your dress to push it down just so you could see. The gorgeous way they looked under such a beautiful and frilly dress. Of course, in most cases there were matching shoes and socks, as well as gloves and purse.

The more you had under your dress, the better you felt.

So, how does that relate to writing, you ask?

Well, think about this. How do you feel when you have completed an awesome article or blog post that gets raving reviews, or increases your followers, or is shared amongst your friends, family and social network?

Doesn’t that make you feel all frilly and foo-foo and tingly inside? The sounds of the petticoats are similar to the sounds of raving fans applauding like you’ve just finished a Tony award-winning performance.

You feel like running and jumping and twirling around exhibiting tons of glee and excitement. Well, maybe not to that extent, but you are excited and thoroughly happy with yourself. Right?

If you have created compelling content that others want to read and share, you should be proud.

Petticoats are Meant to be Seen

Remembering back to those petticoat days, I can remember how cool it was to have layers upon layers of petticoats. The colors were also something to be admired. From pinks, purples, red (yep…had to have red, it’s my favorite color) to the simple white and beige. Whatever color I wore, it was meant to be seen. Imagine that. You wanted to show them off.

Which brings me right back to writing, (you knew I was coming back to it). Whatever you write, whether it’s a blog post, article, eBook or white paper, you want it to be seen, admired and appreciated. You want to provide solutions to problems and issues people are having.

You want to be the one they search for when they are in need of answers. You want to be that “go-to” person. But exactly how do you do that? Well, you do your homework and figure out what problems your readers or clients are having. And then give them what they want.

If you can teach your readers something they don’t know you’ll have a robust following. Then those readers will share your content with their friends, and so on and so on.

What happens when you create valuable, informing, educational and even humorous content? It will be seen by many.

Desired Fashionable Shape

What does the petticoat’s fashionable shape have to do with writing? You need to make sure your articles and blogs posts are fashioned in a readable and shareable format.

For example, include compelling images to your articles as well as shaping your post in an appealing manner. Make sure you have enough white space between paragraphs. Chunk your content so it’s easier to scan. Create intriguing headlines and paragraph titles. Use a font that is easy on the eyes to online readers. Always add something personal, emotional or some sort of life experiences.

Before writing your next article or blog post, think about something in your personal life you can use to relate to your product or services.

Don’t be afraid to get a little personal. People can relate to those types of experiences and it’s quite possible they are going through something you’ve already been through. Think about how helpful that could be to others.

Add flare, experiences, emotion, humor, solid advice, and you will dazzle your audience to no end.

What have you found in your articles and blog posts that have increased readers and followers? Do you find by adding life experiences to help tell your story beneficial?

Columbine Student’s Father 12 Years Later

Since the horrific tragedy in Newtown, CT, I felt this post speaks volumes and will give you something to ponder as we try to come to grips with everything that happened.

Darrell Scott, father of Rachel Scott, Columbine High School victim, sums it up brilliantly on what he feels is happening in our schools. I totally agree with him. See if you agree. It is definitely worth reading.

Here we go:

Guess our national leaders didn’t expect this. On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal.

There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript: “Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,

Your words are empty air. You’ve stripped away our heritage, You’ve outlawed simple prayer. Now gunshots fill our classrooms, And precious children die. You seek for answers everywhere, And ask the question “Why?” You regulate restrictive laws, Through legislative creed. And yet you fail to understand, That God is what we need!

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge.. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!” –Darrell Scott

————–

My prayers continue to go out to all those affected by that tragedy in Newtown, CT. How has it impacted your life? Do you check with your kids at school more frequently? Do you simply thank God for protecting them? Has it changed the way you do things? Please let us know.

The Ten Best Ways to Get More Traffic to Your Site

The number one goal of website owners is a heavy traffic flow. Trying to accomplish that on your own can be difficult. You can spend the majority of your time trying to optimize your site for search engines or spending hard-earned money on marketing techniques, like pay-per-click. Luckily, there are easier ways to attract more visitors to your website in less time, and for free!

Some of the best ways to generate a higher, steadier flow of traffic to your site are as simple as leveraging another website’s traffic and resources. Here are ten of the best ways you can get other people to direct traffic to your site.

Become a Guest Blogger

A lot of popular bloggers will solicit submissions from guest writers to post to their site. Even some bloggers who don’t advertise a desire to have a guest blogger on their site may be open to the idea of accepting guest posts, so long as you give them reasons for using your post.

For example, you can offer to:

Trade article space with the blogger, letting them post to your site as well

Include their affiliate links in your article so that they will still be able to make money when a reader buys their product

Give them some free advertising by writing a glowing review of them in your newsletter or on your site

Recruit People to Your Affiliate Program

One of the best ways to sell more products through other peoples’ traffic is by asking them to take part in your affiliate program.

For example, if you are selling digital products, offering a 50% commission to your affiliates could be very enticing. Offer a higher rate for those who send a lot of site traffic your way. Consider offering additional perks too, like bonuses or discounts to their customers.

An easy way to set up your own affiliate program for digital merchandise is through Clickbank.com. It also works as a payment processor.

Swap Blog Links

Blogrolling is a fantastic way to trade blog links with your fellow bloggers who focus on your niche. This has the long-term benefit of being listed permanently on the front page of another person’s blog. Also, if the blog has a high Google Page Rank, you’ll benefit from the search engine optimization that comes with trading blog links with that blogger. Include keywords in your anchor text for your link, too.

Swap Newsletter Articles

If the idea of trading content seems great, think about the possibility of trading newsletters with other people who focus on the same topics as you. When you’re visiting other blogs, find out if they post their newsletter issues to their blogs. Then you’ll also have the added benefit of a backlink and continuous traffic.

Team Up to Promote

If you offer a similar product or service offered by another marketer, consider swapping product links with them on your download or thank you pages. You could also see if the marketer would be interested in using their affiliate link to direct traffic to your product sales page.

This is a great way to draw responsive traffic. When people have already made a purchase of one product, they could still be in the mood to buy more.

Trade Links on Your Confirmation Pages

Subscription confirmation pages are another great place to trade links. You may also consider trading endorsements in the welcome emails you send to new subscribers.

Consider Joint Mailings

If you sell physical merchandise, look for other marketers who sell related physical goods as well. Request that they include a flyer advertising your products with any shipment they send out, and offer to do the same for them.

You can find marketers that sell large quantities of products similar or related to your own on sites like EBay.

Offer to Interview Marketers

Some of the larger marketers in your niche may not agree to some of the other suggestions we’ve gone over, especially if you are still an unknown in the blogosphere and have a small amount of traffic.

They may be open to the idea of being interviewed, though, maybe via teleseminar. If they’re keen on the idea, they may help with advertising your interview, which means more free traffic for you!

Don’t forget to mention your website during the interview, ensuring additional traffic long after the interview has been recorded.

Co-Author Articles

Another option to consider is writing an article with another marketer. You can write an article together about tips that focus on your niche. You’ll both benefit from the additional traffic when they post it to their blog and mention it to followers.

Make Rebrandable Reports

With tools like ViralPDF.com, you can get traffic sent to you when you create rebrandable reports. This means allowing others to change the affiliate links in a report you create. Then, anyone distributing that report will have the chance to make money on the backend.

By implementing some, or all, of these simple techniques, you’ll see a greater boost in your Internet traffic and in less time. This will save you plenty of time and money, just by using the traffic generated by another person’s website.

Article Marketing Tips Successful Affiliates Use

When you start looking for advice on improving your article marketing techniques, who better to turn to than someone who has been down the same road you’ve traveled and come out on the other end a success? The thing to remember about advice is that it only helps when you make use of it! So, here are a few of the top tips from some superstar affiliates who have made a success out of article marketing.

1. Do your research. No matter how fantastic your articles are or which directories you submit them to, if the affiliate program you choose to work with isn’t a good one, then all of your efforts will be worthless. Always do a little research into the many affiliate programs out there. Read reviews, find out what fellow affiliates are saying in forums and writing about in their blogs.

2. Write original content. It’s important for you to create unique articles. Resubmitting the same article over and over again will lower your search engine rankings. If that happens, your articles won’t be getting the attention and page views you hope for. Take the time to write new content at least once each week.

3. Send articles out to newsletter subscribers. When you submit your articles to directories and post them on your social media sites, it’s also a good idea to put your article into a newsletter and send it out to your subscribers. If your article is a little lengthy, trim it up a bit so that readers won’t delete it before getting to the good parts.

4. Think quality along with quantity. Make sure your content is valuable. While it’s important to put out a good number of articles, they won’t be as effective if they are poorly written. Take the time to write content your readers will enjoy and benefit from.

There is a lot to be learned from affiliates who have made a successful business in article marketing. They learned how to make the most of article marketing without shelling out a lot of money. Take advantage of any free tools that are out there, like article directories. There are some directories that will charge you for submitting articles, and their rates aren’t cheap. There are plenty of reputable directories out there that are absolutely free, so don’t feel pressured to sign up for a service you need to pay for.

It’s important to build a solid reputation in the marketing community. You can have hundreds of articles out there on the Web, a fantastic website and popular blogs, but those things won’t matter much if you link yourself with a scamming affiliate program. Always investigate the companies you are considering linking up with and make sure there are no claims that they are scams.

If you’re going to write about a product and endorse it in your articles, you want to choose something that is familiar to you. If you have no experience in software programs, you might find it difficult to write persuasive articles about it. Use products that you are comfortable with writing about. It’s important to your readers that you present yourself as an expert in your niche. This will boost your reputation as an article marketer, which is the key to becoming a success in this industry.

What article marketing tips have you found that work for you? Here is your chance to have the floor. Please leave a comment.

Article Marketing Suggestions for Web 2.0

Submitting articles into various directories is the best way to help gain more exposure for your business. It establishes you and your company as an expert in your field. As the saying goes, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”

If you restrict yourself to submitting articles to only one directory, then what happens if that directory shuts down? All of the hard work and effort you put into writing those articles (or money if you pay a ghostwriting service to write for you) will have been for nothing. So don’t be afraid to branch out and submit your content to a wide range of sites. Squidoo There are sites, for example, like Squidoo.com that allow writers to post as many articles on a subject as they choose. Web pages on Squidoo, called “lenses,” cover a wide variety of topics. This gives you more opportunities for interacting with readers. Using social media will give you an edge and increase your conversion rate with simple word-of-mouth communication. Be aware, though, that Squidoo takes spamming very seriously and has restrictions on some topics that receive an overabundance of spam submissions.

Always review a site’s Terms of Service to see which topics they will and will not allow to be admitted into their directories. On Squidoo, writers and readers get to interact with each other through things like polls, guestbooks, and questionnaires. You can include affiliate links and social media buttons that allow readers to follow you on Facebook and Twitter. Readers can also share your content with a “Like” or “Tweet” button. Hub Pages Articles submitted to HubPages.com are placed on pages called “Hubs.” The more relevant and interesting the article you write, the higher it will rise in the ranks. Hub Pages rank highly on Google, so by submitting your articles to this directory, your company will see an increase in web traffic. Google Knol GoogleKnol is a unique way to implement an article marketing strategy. You can write as many articles as you want on various topics and post them under your account. This is a great tool for helping to build up a stronger web presence. Some of the highest rated articles can be found on Knol, along with new and highly talked about articles. An author’s most popular articles will feature at the top of their homepage. Each of these article submission sites are valuable tools that will have an amazing impact on your article marketing campaign and your business. And best of all, they’re free to use! Don’t limit yourself by submitting only to a few article directories. In order for your business to grow, you need to plant strong roots.

Are there other article marketing suggestions for Web 2.0? I’d love to hear them. You have the floor. Don’t be shy, please leave a comment.

Promoting Your Business and Products With Article Marketing

Businesses are starting to see the benefits of using article marketing as a means of promoting their products and services. It is one of the most effective tools in driving traffic to your website. Many people see article marketing as a tool just for affiliate marketers, but this is far from the truth.

Many affiliate marketers are finding success through the use of article marketing, but your business can benefit from the use of this marketing tool and gain an increase in the number of customers seeking out the product or services you offer. Articles will help boost your brand power and visibility on the Web. Picture article marketing as a big highway sign that directs web traffic to your business.

Article marketing can be used for any product, whether it’s purely informational or a physical item. With this tech-savvy way of promoting your products, you’ll build up a solid reputation and online persona. This strategy works well for all business types, from new entrepreneurs to large companies that have been around for ages.

The best part about implementing an article marketing strategy? It doesn’t have to cost you one red cent. It does, however, require an investment in time if you choose to write your own articles. You may also choose to pay someone else to do the writing for you if you aren’t too confident in your own writing abilities. Content submitted to article directories can include links, which helps with your link building as well.

Once you start submitting articles, don’t stop. Make sure you’re adding fresh content all the time and writing articles that have meaning to site visitors. In order to set yourself apart as an expert in your niche, you need to stay on top of your article submissions. Having relevant content will also help boost your page rankings.

When writing articles, make sure your content is easy for readers to take in. Large blocks of text will induce readers to just skim your article instead of reading it thoroughly. Break up your article and include bullet lists to help make it easier to digest.

If you have your own affiliate program, you’ll want to have articles already prepared for your affiliates. They can use those articles on their websites, blogs, and newsletters.

Your article titles need to be clear, concise and straightforward. Titles that make a cute play on words or have a vague meaning will not help with readers. You want a title that will help with search engine optimization, so try to include your keywords in your headline.

Article marketing is meant to be used for promotion, not selling. You want your articles to promote your products through hints. You don’t want to answer their problems up front, because then there’s no need for them to visit your website or purchase your product. The point of article marketing is to draw traffic to your website so you can offer visitors the solutions they seek.

What results have you seen in your article marketing campaign? Share your outstanding results with us. Or, are you having issues and problems with your article marketing campaign? We’d love to help.

What You Need to Know Before Hiring an Article Marketing Service

There are many article marketing services out there that will be happy to take your money and submit your articles to any number of article directories. If you are considering using such a service, it’s important to know that you shouldn’t hang all of your hopes on it before committing your hard earned money into it. It’s important to find out from the companies beforehand what their policies are regarding keyword density and search engine optimization.

When an article is written without an eye towards search engine optimization, that article is going to fall way short of its target. That will just make your efforts a waste of time and money.

The whole reason behind search engine optimization is to get your article noticed by search engines and boost your rankings within them. It takes the use of specific keywords used throughout each article. But there is a definite balance that has to be maintained when it comes to keywords.

When you over-do-it with your keywords, it’s called “keyword stuffing.” If your article is overflowing with keywords like stuffing in a Thanksgiving turkey, it’s going to be rejected by many article directories and even ignored by the bigger search engines (like Google) altogether.

Keyword density is an easy area to make mistakes when someone is new to the article marketing game. Even people who have been working in this area for a greater period of time can find the exact balance difficult to determine.

Articles are either so full of keywords that reading one is like trying to chew a mouthful of marshmallows, or there are nowhere near enough to give search engine spiders a clue to what the article is even about.

When search engine spiders can’t recognize your article for what it is, you won’t show up in search engine rankings. That means not seeing the traffic you’ve hoped for and you’re conversion rate will take a long walk off a short pier.

So what does it take to keep that perfect balance? You might be surprised to learn that it’s only about 2%. A mere two percent of your entire article can contain keywords to keep it in balance.

Not every article directory site is indexed. Look into the directory and find out what their article submission strategy is. Flooding article directories with articles in an attempt to boost your rankings will not win over search engines. Doing that could get you thrown out of the game before you even get the chance to play.

The purpose of article marketing is to promote your business and website. If you fail to utilize this powerful tool correctly, you won’t see the amount of exposure you’re looking for. When used properly, article directories will bring you the traffic and search engine rankings you’ve been working towards. Directories want to get your articles, but they don’t want poorly written ones that don’t meet keyword density guidelines.

Do you have an article marketing service nightmare? Please share it with us. We would love to learn from you.

The Ten Best Ways to Get More Traffic to Your Site

The number one goal of website owners is a heavy traffic flow. Trying to accomplish that on your own can be difficult. You can spend the majority of your time trying to optimize your site for search engines or spending hard-earned money on marketing techniques, like pay-per-click. Luckily, there are easier ways to attract more visitors to your website in less time, and for free!

Some of the best ways to generate a higher, steadier flow of traffic to your site are as simple as leveraging another website’s traffic and resources. Here are ten of the best ways you can get other people to direct traffic to your site.

Become a Guest Blogger

A lot of popular bloggers will solicit submissions from guest writers to post to their site. Even some bloggers who don’t advertise a desire to have a guest blogger on their site may be open to the idea of accepting guest posts, so long as you give them reasons for using your post.

For example, you can offer to:

  • Trade article space with the blogger, letting them post to your site as well
  • Include their affiliate links in your article so that they will still be able to make money when a reader buys their product
  • Give them some free advertising by writing a glowing review of them in your newsletter or on your site

Recruit People to Your Affiliate Program

One of the best ways to sell more products through other peoples’ traffic is by asking them to take part in your affiliate program.

For example, if you are selling digital products, offering a 50% commission to your affiliates could be very enticing. Offer a higher rate for those who send a lot of site traffic your way. Consider offering additional perks too, like bonuses or discounts to their customers.

An easy way to set up your own affiliate program for digital merchandise is through Clickbank.com. It also works as a payment processor.

Swap Blog Links

Blogrolling is a fantastic way to trade blog links with your fellow bloggers who focus on your niche. This has the long-term benefit of being listed permanently on the front page of another person’s blog. Also, if the blog has a high Google Page Rank, you’ll benefit from the search engine optimization that comes with trading blog links with that blogger. Include keywords in your anchor text for your link, too.

Swap Newsletter Articles

If the idea of trading content seems great, think about the possibility of trading newsletters with other people who focus on the same topics as you. When you’re visiting other blogs, find out if they post their newsletter issues to their blogs. Then you’ll also have the added benefit of a backlink and continuous traffic.

Team Up to Promote

If you offer a similar product or service offered by another marketer, consider swapping product links with them on your download or thank you pages. You could also see if the marketer would be interested in using their affiliate link to direct traffic to your product sales page.

This is a great way to draw responsive traffic. When people have already made a purchase of one product, they could still be in the mood to buy more.

Trade Links on Your Confirmation Pages

Subscription confirmation pages are another great place to trade links. You may also consider trading endorsements in the welcome emails you send to new subscribers.

Consider Joint Mailings

If you sell physical merchandise, look for other marketers who sell related physical goods as well. Request that they include a flyer advertising your products with any shipment they send out, and offer to do the same for them.

You can find marketers that sell large quantities of products similar or related to your own on sites like EBay.

Offer to Interview Marketers

Some of the larger marketers in your niche may not agree to some of the other suggestions we’ve gone over, especially if you are still an unknown in the blogosphere and have a small amount of traffic.

They may be open to the idea of being interviewed, though, maybe via teleseminar. If they’re keen on the idea, they may help with advertising your interview, which means more free traffic for you!

Don’t forget to mention your website during the interview, ensuring additional traffic long after the interview has been recorded.

Co-Author Articles

Another option to consider is writing an article with another marketer. You can write an article together about tips that focus on your niche. You’ll both benefit from the additional traffic when they post it to their blog and mention it to followers.

Make Rebrandable Reports

With tools like ViralPDF.com, you can get traffic sent to you when you create rebrandable reports. This means allowing others to change the affiliate links in a report you create. Then, anyone distributing that report will have the chance to make money on the backend.

By implementing some, or all, of these simple techniques, you’ll see a greater boost in your Internet traffic and in less time. This will save you plenty of time and money, just by using the traffic generated by another person’s website.

Feel free to share your experiences with us and leave a comment.

The 7 Best Article Marketing Tips to Boost Page Views and Conversions

When it comes to increasing your page views for your articles, everyone can use a little help. Even top article marketers will adjust their styles from time to time in order to achieve the highest possible article conversion rates.

Here are seven different tips to help boost the number of page views and conversion rates for your articles so that you can see greater success with your marketing campaigns.

#1 Your Title is the Main Attraction

Your title is the first thing a reader is going to see when looking for an article and if it falls flat, they aren’t going to take the time to read the rest. Think of your title as a storefront window: if there’s nothing in it to attract attention, nobody’s going to be walking in. Spend the time you need to make a title that will grab a reader’s attention and convince them that your article is worth the read.

#2 Maintain the Proper Keyword Density

Many of the best article directories will set a limit to keyword density in your articles. This is because search engine spiders will pick up on any keyword “stuffing” in articles and reject them. The acceptable amount of keywords is 2%. So, if your article is 400 words, you should keep the number of times your keyword phrase appears to eight.

#3 Break it Up with Bullets

Reading through large blocks of text can be tiresome, so include a list of bullet points to help ease the monotony. Highlight key points in a bullet list to help break up the article. Many readers prefer to skim over a bullet list and if they like what they read, they’ll go back to the start of your article and read it more thoroughly.

#4 Always Double Check Your Spelling

Spellcheck is a very handy tool to use but it doesn’t catch everything. You may write “to” and mean “too” or “your” when you meant to say “you’re.” Go through your article one word at a time to make sure everything is spelled the way it’s supposed to be. There are also grammar check tools that you can run your article through that may catch some of your grammar mistakes that spellcheckers tend to miss.

#5 Keep Up with Trends

At any given time, you can find current topics that are trending right now. This will give you some great ideas about what topics you can write about that have a good chance of ranking highly. Search magazines and read newspapers for new topics. Yahoo has a constant list of trending topics that you can watch as well.

#6 Get Viral with Your Articles

Once you’ve submitted your article to a directory and it gets accepted and published, work on your campaign doesn’t end there. You want to give your article a boost by pinging your link, bookmarking it on websites like StumbleUpon, and also adding it to your own blogs and websites.

#7 Change Up Your Resource Box Info

The “About Me” section in the author’s resource area shouldn’t be an afterthought. This is the spot where you get to self-promote and persuade your reader to go from your article to your website and take action. Offer them something worthwhile, like a free ebook or download. Try a few different styles with your bio box and see what works best for you.

When you take each of these tips into account, you’ll see an improvement in the number of views your articles get and an increase in the number of conversions. These tips will help you manage a successful article marketing campaign that produces results you’ll be pleased with for years to come.

Want to add more to this list? Please leave a comment and share your expertise.