Ezine Article Template: Take the Chore out of Article Writing and Submission
At the time of writing I have submitted 6 articles to 8 article directories. Not a lot of activity you might think but it was a mammoth task and a huge learning curve. I made a lot of mistakes in the first few articles but as I kept reading and experimenting I started to see how to simplify the process so that once the article is written it takes only five minutes to submit to each directory.
The aim of this article is to help you short cut that learning process by preparing your articles in a manner that makes submission easy using a simple template. This means writing to a set of rules that take account of the 10 main directories I use which are all listed on my Ezine Article Links page. If you click on the link below the page will open in a new browser window for reference.
At first I found some of the limitations frustrating, but when I look back I can see that the limitations of writing to suite the toughest submission and formatting rules has actually made my articles better. And having to edit the article for each different directory is a real pain and very time consuming.
There is software available now that submits to all the main directories and publishers. I am hearing mixed reactions to this software. Yes it’s incredibly time saving but the directories are responding to the overwhelming number of submissions with new rules limiting the number of articles you can submit per month. Most directories manually approve every article and more and more are specialising in specific topic areas so increasingly rejecting articles that do not fit their criteria. There is a risk that using submission software will do more harm than good as has happened with a lot of the search engine submission software.
I will keep an open mind and check it out later. However the same principle has to apply - you need to write to fit the toughest submission rules but as you will see there is some flexibility in my process to take advantage of the more flexible directories which can only really be done by submitting manually. You will also find that articles written to this template also are much easier to post on your own web site which requires exactly the same information.
Article Writing Template
Below are the key sections of an article and under each section are the rules you need to comply with and some suggestions for making your article more effective in search engine positioning. You are writing an article for three audiences.
The publisher – so it has to be short, punchy and topical, with no overt promotion and self serving links and invisible to spam filters.
The reader – so it has to be interesting and topical containing practical advice and ideas, and establish you as an expert.
The search engines - so it has to be focussed on a few keywords which are properly positioned to gain maximum ranking.
Maximum 100 characters (including spaces) - that’s about 12 words. Make it grabby for readers but start with your primary search engine keyword phrase.
This is very important. It is the title that will catch the attention of publishers, and their readers. However it is also what will go into the title tag for a web page so very important to search engines and it must contain your primary Keyword or phrase at the beginning. Check out this article on Keyword Research
In the printed world titles starting “How to…” or “10 top tips for… are very popular – they are not good for search engines. Have a look on the directories for some ideas.
Maximum 500 characters (including spaces) that's about 90 words but I recommend you keep it to 50 or 60. Make it enticing, hook the publisher and make them want to read the full article.
The abstract is primarily targeted at the publisher and it will be displayed just below the title on the search pages on the directory. It is secondary to the title in getting attention. Some publishers may use it. I use the abstract on my indexes of articles for the same reason, to help draw the reader to want to read the article.
maximum 200 characters (including spaces) but preferably 150 – two lines of text. This is a shorter punchier version of the abstract which must contain your primary keywords.
This is the entry in the Description Meta Tag for a web page. Some directories do ask for it, but you are definitely going to need it if your article is destined to become a web page. It is very important for some search engines so this must be keyword rich and contain your primary keyword phrase. Some search engines display this on the search results so it must be written to entice people to click.
Maximum 100 characters (inc spaces) – about - 12 words all lower case and comma separated – These are the your primary keywords for the article.
This must start with your primary keyword phrase, and than add all the keywords that are relevant to your article. It’s worth doing some keyword research and getting this sorted right at the beginning, because you want to get these keywords liberally sprinkled through the article. Check out this article on Keyword Research
Preferably about 250 to 750 words – liberal sprinkling of keywords. No advertising or self serving links – limit formatting and html.
I am not going to comment here on the content and how to write the article that’s for another time. My purpose here is to look at structure.
First off just write the article out in normal text with No Formatting at all. In particular the auto formatting in Word is not friendly to web sites especially things like Smart Quotes. It's also important that you have single line breaks not auto paragraphing, so set your line spacing to zero. I also recommend that you disable some or all of the default auto-formatting in Word.
Click on Tools/AutoCorrect Options – then click the tab AutoFormat as your type. In the first section Replace as you type uncheck "Smart quotes with straight quotes" and "Internet and network paths with hyperlinks." Most of the auto formatting will be a problem with articles required in text, so you may want to uncheck others. You can always reset them later.
In my first draft of this article I was going to say that the first article submitted was too long at 1700 words and would never be used so I was going to break it into three separate articles of about 500 to 700 words each. Just before I posted the page I received a request from the Malaysian Junior Chamber of Commerce seeking permission to publish.
Just remember rules are guides – Shorter articles are more popular and I am still going to do the three short articles but I will definitely still post longer more in depth articles. There is also a huge demand for the real sound byte stuff – 250-300 words that really focus on a practical topical issue so be creative and flexible
Get your Primary Keyword Phrase into the first sentence if you can – I know that may not be what you want to do, but the aim is to get this article out there on web sites, blogs and in ezines so that its being picked up by search engines, raising your ranking and bringing people to your web site, not because people are compelled by your advertising, but because they like what you have to say and want to read more. On the internet today Content is King
Absolutely no advertorial copy – Do not promote your products and services you will kill the article. No publisher is going to publish "Puff," they never have. Get people interested in the topic so they will come to your web site. You are trying to establish yourself as an expert.
Absolutely no self serving links – Do not put links back to your web site in the body of the article – that’s for the resource box – if you do you will not be published. Many sites do not allow any html links in the article – so if you use them you are going to have to have a version without them or where you just cite the web address in text. I so far have not used any links and I probably won’t. All the links are on my web site which I promote in the resource box.
© date name country
Only one directory asked me for this – but on reflection it makes sense. Either put it in the field requested or at the bottom of the article. Most directories allow plain text and I discovered that it didn't like the copyright symbol even though it is an ASCII character, So I simply typed 'Copyright'
Maximum 500 characters (including spaces and html code) – This is your opportunity to promote yourself and your business but limit to 1 or 2 self serving links and write it in the "Third Person"
Some sites allow 1000 characters but it is best to work to the lowest common denominator and many sites limit to 500 characters including spaces and html code which I found challenging at first. However I have also noticed that I hesitate to use an article where the resource box is long. Remember that the publisher has to live with this on their site or ezine – make it palatable for them. I now limit to 60 words and no more than two self serving links – lists of web sites will not work.
I also put a title About the Author: on some because I discovered they don't – You need to see how the article previews to decide. I also offer an incentive for people to visit my web site, but make sure that the link is for the Web address and not keywords contrary to most trends. If the article is used were live links are not possible I still want people to see the web address. Most directories allow HTML in the resource box so here is my usual resource box now – It took three weeks of experimenting to get it here.
About the Author: (optional if site doesn't show it)