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Building Websites with Articles

I've been blogging occasionally over the last two months about my ongoing experiment with writing articles. This is a super hot topic lately with the changes going on at Google and Yahoo that are impacting many websites and basically freaking people out.

Now everybody knows that writing articles is a powerful technique. You knew that, right? And everybody is writing articles, right? No. Did I? Not until recently, though I wrote a lot in blogs and did post some articles I wrote on my sites. There's two parts to this for me. Writing, which I have been doing. Distributing. Which I hadn't been doing.

I finally came out of that fog and decided that I had to see what distribution might really do. Content, such as original articles is still the basic currency of the internet. People come onto the web looking for information. Content provides that information.

But, if the content is just sitting on a blog or posted in an article directory on one website, it has very limited exposure without links. Content may be the flesh of the web, but links are the bones, the underlying structure that allows things to found and accessed.

It's in our faces right here - the two basics that you can combine to really power a successful website. Content and links. Write articles AND publish/distribute them. Simple, basic, old style site building.

One technique many are using to build sites is to get other people's articles and put them up on their sites to provide related content. I do it, you do it, nearly everyone seems to. Other people publish ezines, but can't possibly write all the content they want to provide. This is the demand that exists, right now, for your articles. There is a deep, apparently bottomless need for quality content on nearly anything imaginable. And it won't go away.

Original content on your site is a great traffic booster. Distributing your content all over the internet gets you lots of incoming links - which over time could well continue to increase as your articles are picked up and redistributed. Plus you are generating a name for yourself and qualifying yourself as an expert. Experts write about what they know and discover. They share their knowledge. I'm not talking about anyone being a genius and discovering anti-gravity (and finally eliminating rocket science). I'm talking about what's already in your head and what you can learn, research and write about.

I wrote three articles on some basics concepts to keep in mind in building and developing successful eCommerce websites. They aren't hot hot hot 6 steps to infinite wealth type writing. They're basic and based on research. Then I distributed them to a couple (not all) of the big article directories and to a large group of relevant directories and lists through SubmitYourArticle.com (which I do recommend if you're looking for an excellent and reasonable article submission service). Here are the results as of this writing (June 28, 2005):

======== Pages Reported
======== Yahoo = Google = MSN = Pub Date
Article 1 . . . 610 . . . 320 . . . . 436 . . May 19th
Article 2 . . . 253 . . . 246 . . . . 269 . . June 1st
Article 3 . . 2060 . . .1000 . . . .239 . . June 14th

. . Total . . .2923 . . .1566 . . . .944

That's a lot of pages. Now, some of those won't have any live link. Yes, it does happen even though it really shouldn't. A lot of the sites it's on won't have much or any page rank and probably quite a few sites are not relevant. People aren't always careful about selecting relevant articles. Some will be on pages that won't pass rank. However, what's left are relevant incoming one-way links - some of which will be from sites with at least some authority. Say even 20% of the links are relevant and/or from sites with some rank. That's a minimum (I believe I'm being pretty conservative with the 20% figure) of over 1000 useful incoming links based on relevant content.

I was astonished. And then I felt really stupid - I knew this, but I really didn't GET it or I would have been writing and distributing from day 1. You're looking at the truth behind the power of articles and article distribution. No tricks, no fancy high powered tools, no big expensive anything at all.

Are you telling yourself you can't write articles? I'm telling you that you can. If you can talk, you can write. If you need help, there are lots of resources about how to write - some very good ones are free, some are quite inexpensive. Other tools are more expensive.

Ghostwriters are another alternative. A little tricky and possibly slightly expensive for really high quality work, but there's also a lot of information available on how to do it right.

My advice here is - whatever it takes, start publishing your own original content on your website and start distributing it now. For building long term success, there's very little you can do that will have anywhere near the same results.

Copyright 2005 Richard Keir

Richard teaches, trains and consults, on and off-line, on business and professional presentations, programming, site building and eCommerce. Visit http://www.Building-eCommerce-Websites.com for eCommerce articles, information, resources and links and check our blog at http://www.Building-eCommerce-Websites/blog for opinion and ideas.

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