Articles

Does Article Writing Produce New Visitors?

At the end of October I started a little Article Directory experiment, in which I wrote and published an article for several article directories and then watched what happened. The main aim was to produce new blog readers, but there might also have been a few other benefits that I’ll also explore.

Article Experiment

Reviewing The Experiment

I wrote articles, each to the minimum standards for each directory, and submitted them all. The targeted article directories were: EzineArticles.com, LargeArticle.com, ArticleCube.com, ArticleSpy.com, FreeContentArticles.com, ArticleDunia.com and ArticleMobi.com.

However, the signup to ArticleMobi.com never went through so I was not able to publish it there and FreeContentArticles.com wanted links to them before they would publish it, so I backed out there too.

Where Did I Receive Traffic From?

This one is very simple to answer by searching back on Google Analytics:

  • ArticleCube.com – 27 sessions, 76 page views
  • EzineArticles.com – 3 sessions, 9 page views

You may notice that the list is a lot shorter than the list of directories that I actually managed to get articles live on!

Out Of Interest, Sites Linking In According To Google Webmaster

  • ArticleCube.com
  • ArticleDunia.com
  • ArticleSpy.com
  • EineArticles.com

So 2 of the directories might not have sent any traffic, but at least Google is seeing and recognising their links. However, if you look back to the original part of the experiment, I was extremely unhappy with both of these 2 sites.

ArticleDunia.com sent me some spam about unrelated articles and inflicted constant popups onto me (probably why there are no readers clicking through) and ArticleSpy.com reviewed articles very infrequently (although I’m told it’s usually very quick) but it’s filling with a lot of spun content, which is also probably why it’s not sending real readers.

It’s Quality That Counts

EzineArticles.com has always been very strict about it’s quality controls. In years past I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to get articles accepted by their editors. In the past it has sent tons of traffic to my sites and I think it’s a matter of hit and miss as to whether 1 single article will work. Previously this has certainly been the case with 1 article having loads of readers and the next hardly any.

ArticleCube.com, whilst easy to get it reviewed, takes a lot more effort to prepare the article now requiring at least 1 dedicated image to be included in the article. However, they are a small directory, which I first thought would mean they wouldn’t send much traffic. I was wrong!

The smallness of the directory actually means it concentrates readers into a few articles. I’ve noticed on the directory a few areas in which there have not been posts recently that are relevant to my ramblings, so I will be targeting writing over the Christmas break at some of these areas.

Because of the way these directories work though, I’ll prepare the articles and release them over a few weeks. Best levels of traffic are achieved when the article is “new”. I expect this is because it also appears on the home screen for a few weeks after publication.

Coming Up

If you have found this useful then before you go off and submit your own articles do feel free to Stumble ad Tweet this article!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and the newsletter as I will shortly be coming back to my blog commenting experiment from November. Some of the blogs sent plenty of traffic whilst others sent next to nothing (or indeed exactly nothing). I think there’s a very obvious pattern in which blogs are sending traffic through commenting so if you apply a little bit of thought you can concentrate on posting comments to just a few blogs and probably enjoy the experience much more. Commenting isn’t just about commenting to get visitors – it can be enjoyable too and that’s when it works.

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Did The Articles Send Any Traffic?

Following on from the article directory experiment that I set up last week, what benefits have I seen?

1weekWhat Am I Looking For?

There are 2 possible benefits to look at here. First, is anyone reading the articles, clicking my author biography links / in post links and then visiting my site. This, in modern days, is where I see the greatest potential benefit.

The second possibility is in link building. But this is slow, hard to prove and search engines are so wary of this type of link building that it’s value is very much reduced. It would be difficult to find any such links, especially after a week, so not a measure I’m intending to look at.

What Actually Happened?

How much traffic have I received? A grand total of 11 new visitors. 10 from ArticleCube and 1 from EzineArticles. These are the 2 that are the most protective of what they do, so I was expecting them to be ahead of the rest.

Obviously, this is just 1 article rewritten and posted to a few sites. I have recently seen ArticleSpy sending traffic to another of my websites, but not in this case. Their method of releasing loads of articles at once can potentially hide this submitted just after a release. However, my 1 article was published quickly and before the site went quiet, so probably not an issue.

LargeArticle kept telling me my brand new article of 540 words was either already published or under 500 words, so they never published it for me. ArticleDunia, which I added when I had problems with submitting to ArticleSpy, and which I hated for it’s over use of pounder adverts has sent no visitors to.

What is interesting though is at the same time I submitted links to 1 of my posts to GrowthHacker. I didn’t expect anything to come of these links as the articles weren’t as deep and meaningful as others on their website. However, it only took seconds to submit. By pure fluke it has also sent 11 visitors my way – exactly the same number as this whole experiment.

It Could Be Improved…

What wasn’t fair on the ArticleCube article (my fault) is that because you put the links into the text I had forgotten to make sure I had 2 choices of places to link back. I’d written all of the articles with the anticipation of linking from a biography.

Next time, I’d make sure there is an opportunity for a link towards the bottom of the page (my only link being at the top). Catch the readers when they have finished reading, rather than when they are starting to read. It makes more sense. If I’m allowed 2 links then I should be using them

Conclusion

So far, I’m unimpressed with a lot of the sites. I know from previous experience that some articles will really hit the mark and get thousands of readers generating hundreds of click, whilst others will languish in obscurity and never be read. A fair experiment would involve a whole pile of articles to each directory. But when that involves rewriting the same article 5 times, some times to 600+ words, that’s a huge commitment especially if I wanted to ry to publish to each one a few times per week!

But, I think I have the general measure of them and know where to continue trying with. EzineArticles I am disappointed with compared to previous results – the view figures provided by the site are down on what I’d hoped for. ArticleCube I need to think a little more about the content to include a link to the site at the right point.

One good point about these 2 sites – neither seems to insist on the article being unique to them. I see further investigations coming up!

 

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How Long Did It Take For The Articles To Go Live?

Following on from my article directory experiment, how long did each of the directories take to get back to me on the articles that I submitted?

EzineArticles.com Blogging Home PageEzineArticles – Reviewed and live the very next morning. This is what you want! I know from experience that this site will reject articles for grammatical, spelling and other errors, so I’ve learnt to write them all to a reasonable quality. All articles in this experiment were written to the same quality standards.

I didn’t find my article on the home page of the site (no idea if I looked too late or whether the editors select which articles are shown there), but I did see it on the Blogging category page which, I hope, is well ranked on Google. The oldest article on that page is just over  month old, so hopefully my post will sit there for that long too.

Article Spy ListArticleSpy – the article, once over the myriad of submission difficulties, was reviewed within a couple of hours. (My other recent articles have taken a week on this site, maybe someone has been on holiday?)

However, without a confirmation email it’s difficult to know exactly when it went live, but on this occasion it was certainly very quick and well within an acceptable time.

LargeArticle – one of the first directories that I managed to get submitted to, however the last of the group to review my article. No articles at all reviewed in the 24 hours after I submitted my submission and when finally they looked at it I received an email saying either it was under 500 words or it was published elsewhere. I double checked the word count – 512 words. And it’s never been published elsewhere, so no idea why they just deleted it. Just in case I submitted the wrong article, I’ve sent it again with some additions and a nice image. 541 words and I’ve checked that it is all unique. Fingers crossed.

Article CubeArticleCube – this one took about 5 or 6 hours to be approved. Not sure exactly what time I submitted it and there wasn’t a confirmation email that it went live, but it’s on the website and in my list of approved articles.

I am impressed with this directory. It took a little bit more time than others to submit to, but the finished published article does look really great. Even the article summary makes it look great in both the Blogging category and within my author profile page.

A lot of time and effort has been put into making this site look good. They are protecting the site by asking for quality articles. I just hope the payback is quality traffic, which looks to be the case as it was the first of the directories to send me any visitors.

ArticleDuniaArticleDunia – 4 minutes! Then apparently 4 minutes later I also submitted and had instantly approved a Casino article. I tried to logon to check this out but with all of the popups, fake virus scams appearing and it just not remembering me there was no chance. Looking at my author profile the additional article has not been attributed to me. Both mine and the incorrect article were showing 9 views within 4 hours. Seems too good to be true.

Even if traffic is  high, the inability to logon and the annoying background adverts (even when you are browsing articles) just make this site totally unworkable.

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Home Page Of ArticleCube!

I don’t know how long it will last there, but I’ve noticed that my submission has made it to the front page or ArticleCube. Whether all new articles get there or not only time will tell, but it’s nice to see it up there!

Home Page of ArticleCube

Something on this website to work on for any future submissions is the size of the image. To fit in with the styling it’s been cropped, removing my site URL from the image! Doesn’t really matter, but would have been nice had Google Images picked it up.

Having the article on the home page gives a double whammy effect. First, people and search engines can easily find the post. Second, the category is also listed on the home page so might help to keep it, and my article within the category, well ranked.

It will be a few days realistically before I see which of the directories are sending traffic and that will ‘peak’ over the next few weeks. So we’ll watch carefully all of the directories for now.

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Starting The Article Directory Experiment

The experiment is under way and here’s my first observations.

Signing Up & Article Submission
Article ExperimentEzineArticles – article was submitted very easily, however I have worked with this site for many years so I knew exactly what I was doing here.

LargeArticle – took a few attempts to get through their game validation, but eventually I had a new account set up and the article submitted.

ArticleCube – this one was so frustrating I almost gave up. ‘Can’t use that email it already exists‘ and ‘Can’t reset password email not registered‘. That was after it took about 10 minutes for the page to come back to me to register following 2 of the most confusing captchas I’ve seen. On about the 5th attempt, using a different email, I finally received a notification that my application to be an author was going to an administrator.

The next day I received confirmations that both email addresses were accepted and I could logon and submit the article. It takes a bit longer to submit to here, not only because they want longer articles, but they also want an image (at least one, embed more in the post if you want) and you place the link in the content of the article, rather than the biography. This could work in their favour long term.

Article Spy is becoming full of spun articles.ArticleSpy – submitted the article and the site lost it straight away. I’ve had this before on this site – it doesn’t seem to like my laptop. Luckily the article was saved on the computer before I submitted it, so all was not lost. But after further attempts on 2 browsers on another computer, I almost gave up. To be honest, this site has recently become full of spam / spun articles (see image – click to read) but I persevered and eventually had my article submitted.

Extra Directories

The one that I almost removed from the list, ArticleSpy, was chosen as a fairly simple one to get past the review process. So I decided to add some similar directories in case I did lose it. I decided to go with a few new directories in case one let me down, which happened immediately!

FreeContentArticles.com – you submit the article via a form, without any logon (how can you make changes later?). However, big issue is that they insist on you linking to them first. Seemed too much like link farming to me, so I left.

ArticleMobi.com – I signed up, but then couldn’t find where to submit an article. Presumably there’s a manual accept to become an author, which I’m waiting for.

ArticleDunia.com – this one came ranked well in a chart that I was looking at so I thought I’d give it a go. Reasonably easy to sign up and then submit an article (but why did it want my postal address?). However, a really annoying habit of updating a sort of popup window in the background frequently, which causes a horrible flicker. By adding in this advertising, which I’ve totally ignored, unless I see a lot of traffic I’ll not be continuing with this site.

 

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A Little Article Directory Experiment

I talked last week about my thoughts on article directories and how years ago I as able to produce a lot of traffic from them, so I’ve decided to research a few popular such directories and see which of them produce results. I’ve chosen 4 to start off with, 2 that were recommendations from Google searches, 1 that was a personal recommendation and one my stalwart for the last 7 or 8 years.

The Article Directory Experiment!I’m employing the tactic I also wrote about last week in which you rewrite a post a few times to be able to distribute this post to multiple sites. I am NOT talking spinning here, in which you use an automated tool. I am talking starting again with a blank page and writing the post from scratch, but with a different slant on it.

The 4 chosen article directories are as follows and have these requirements:

EzineArticles.com – my old favourite

Asking for articles of 400-700 words that are very well written. They offer traffic in return for articles as they use the re-nofollow tag in anchors.

ArticleSpy.com – a personal recommendation

I’m not convinced that this one is going to send much direct traffic. It’s a recommendation as it has helped the person build the SEO of their website, but there seems to be next to no checking of the articles, even though I’ve waited almost a week (and counting) for a recent submission to go live.

ArticleCube.com

Quite tight guidelines on this new-to-me site, requiring minimum 120 characters in the summary and 600 words in the article body. However, although they are supposed to have a lot of search engine ranking and high traffic, they have very few articles in my areas. So this could be an opportunity to site for a long time on a good page, or it could be an opportunity to sit on an irrelevant website and gain no traffic. We’ll have to see.

LargeArticle.com

The other new one and some strange requirements. No more than 55 characters in the title, but 500 words or more in the body of the article. However, the thing I don’t like here is that they review the post ‘within 5 days’ and either it goes live or is deleted. No in-between and allowing you to make corrections.

The plan

I’ve written the on the same topic 4 times, each from scratch and each aiming for a different word count. I’ll post the articles to each of the sites and then watch to see what happens. Hopefully, and this is the main aim, I’ll start to see some readers coming to this site from the new posts.

It’s harder to establish and monitor any SEO benefits that they produce, but this little experiment is about driving visitors directly to this website, not moving the site up the search engine rankings.

If any of the sites send lots of traffic then I can become a regular contributor. For those that fail, then I’m can strike them off the list, write the article again and try another site.

In time, I’ll also come back with a few review of each of the sites as to how they perform and how easy they are to use. I might even extend the experiment over time to include paid to post sites!

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Write A Good Post, Rewrite It Then Write It A Few More Times

Sometimes you will sit down to write a post and a really cracking piece of writing unfolds before you. This is then a fantastic opportunity to write it again and again and again. Why???

startup-photos5What I don’t mean

It is always very good practice to review what you have written and check it, many times, before you publish it. But it’s not your editing skills at the keyboard which I am referring to here.

Repurposing the proper way.

What I am referring to here is ‘repurposing’ your articles. There are three ways of doing this:

  1. The ugly – put the article through a “spinner” which automatically changes various words for you, whilst producing a piece of writing that is totally incoherent and looks like a random algorithm generator has created it.
  2. The bad – just share the same article, thus creating a network of duplicate content over the internet. Search engines will then ignore all but one occurrence of your work and people you share it with may also choose to ignore you.
  3. The good – start again and write it from scratch. You’ve done it once before, you can do it again now. But this time, why not make it even better!

Why rewrite a perfectly good article?

If you are looking for more traffic to your website then there are various ways of increasing your traffic that involve sharing your writing on different sites. Whether that be guest blogging, paid blogging or article syndication.

However, some of these insist on and all work best with brand new material. You can share images, link back to more detailed posts and data, but there’s nothing better as far as the search engines are concerned as when you write the posts from scratch every time and share them from new.

It’s not easy!

But then in no way is getting a lot of new visitors to your website. But if you have come up with an idea for a post and suddenly it has run away with you and become a really great piece of writing, that could just be the starting point that you need for spreading the word of your efforts.

The best goes to…

So where does the best piece of writing go to? Of course, it’s tempting to write that article 4 times and then share it, publishing the best to your own blog. But remember that other people are going to be reviewing your work and they might not think that the one that’s not the best is fit for them.

Tackle it in an ordered manner

Save all of the revisions of your masterpiece – don’t publish any. Then review the order of them and where to send them to.

If you are thinking of trying for a paid post then the best one just has to go to there. After that guests blogging then high traffic article sites. Why not submit them all, in that order, and wait to see what happens? If they are all accepted then bingo, else if one is rejected and you don’t want to rework it that’s the one for your site.

Think clever with your writing, don’t keep the best to yourself as you want to showcase it. And you might just be seeing even more visitors to your site next week!

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Is Article Writing For Traffic Worth The Effort?

ezineviewsIs writing articles and sharing them on suitable websites worth the effort? There are are plenty of article websites out there offering you different “benefits”, but do they really give you anything back for the efforts that you put into them?

What do you hope to get out of writing articles?

There are 2 possible reasons for writing articles:

  1. The articles will link back to you and give you some form or SEO advantage
  2. Readers will visit the sites, read your articles and then visit your site.

My article writing experience

My experience goes back quite a few years, as you will see from the chart! It lasted a couple of years when I was a prolific writer (almost 700 articles published!) and then I stopped.

I wrote in many niches – sport, internet, finance, travel and home working plus a few for customers that I was doing a favour for.

But I felt I was seeing less and less return from these articles. The site that I chose to use decided to apply the rel=”nofollow” tag to all links and there were few visitors heading my way from the published articles.

It seemed that only new articles, being top of the listings, were being read and sending a few readers over and for the effort to write these articles that wasn’t worth it. On top of that I was finding less and less time to support these sites, so I quietly dropped out.

What’s involved in article writing?

This very much depends on the quality of the site you are working for. Some will insist on quite high minimum word counts and will carefully read every letter that you write and complain at the slightest grammatical error. I did, once or twice, have a “battle” with my preferred site as being an English writer and writing articles aimed at English readers, they were trying to “correct” my writings using “Americanisms“. I eventually won that battle when I pointed out that in English English I was correct.

However, you can spend a long time researching and writing a good article, so you want something back in return.

What am I seeing now?

So with almost 700 articles live, many with researched titles, I was expecting loads of article views per month and a good number of click throughs. I will be honest at this point and say that the click throughs are lower than they could be as a lot of the articles are pointing at now dead sites, so the site has removed the links.

But this is why I was looking at the counts. I wanted to see which articles are getting traffic. I wrote last week about how I was auditing some of my articles to make sure that suitable posts are pointing any clicks through to this site, but when I checked today I’ve received no visitors from that source.

So I pulled out the attached report of article views over the last 90 days. One has done very well – 73 clicks. However that’s a sporting article that really doesn’t fit any sites that I currently own. Yet it’s recorded 3 clicks out – the new owner of the URL must be happy!

In 3 months my total article views is 726 – that’s only just 1 view per article per month. With 10% of that going to 1 article, that means that a lot of articles haven’t been read at all. In fact, only 426 articles of the near 700 do actually record at least 1 view.

Even stranger…

Even stranger is this chart:

ezine2

91 of those 726 views (1 in 8) occurred on a single day in August. Why? I’ve really no idea. Maybe someone was bored, discovered a batch of my articles and started to read them. More likely they found a few and started copying them – either plain and simple to their website or at least with a bit of work and rewrote them.

Is it always that bad?

It’s a few years since I wrote prolifically. So, going back to then (around the time that I published these articles) what were the view like? Well I picked a high traffic 6 month period when most of these articles were live and looking at that I can see that there was a staggering 36,000 article views with almost 2,000 click throughs to my sites – that’s a much healthier 30 clicks per article – over 1 per week per article.

ezine3

In conclusion

So maybe article writing just isn’t about long term advantage. Maybe we should write an article to a high traffic site, let it sit there for a while doing it’s job and then pull it and repurpose it elsewhere.

Maybe, instead of me spending time going through changing the articles to point to the new websites it would be thousands of times more efficient to spend that time writing a couple of new articles and publishing them to a high traffic website?

Certainly, I’ve changed the links to 50 publications on that article website and in a week not seen a single reader arriving here from that source. What harm could there be in “refreshing” a few of those posts that worked well previously and bringing them up to date and seeing if that can send traffic in this direction?

Time will tell and no doubt I’ll report back when I try it out!

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Writing Articles For More Traffic

Here’s a tactic that some people have good experiences of and others try to avoid, for various reasons.

Writing Articles For More TrafficWhat is article writing?

In short, you write about whatever you know and publish it to an article directory, Sounds easy, but the best directories have very stringent requirements as to post length, topics and even the standard of the English used. Quite often the post must be unique, so you cannot have published it elsewhere.

Why write?

It does seem daft to give some of your best work to another site to publish, but in theory there are two possible advantages?

First, the site publishing your posts will link back to you, usually in the author biography section. If they don’t add the rel=”nofollow” tag to the anchor then you might gain some small SEO advantage.

This link also gives you the second bonus. If the site is getting genuine readers and what you write is interesting they might just pop over to your site to read more of your musings.

Why can it go wrong?

Each bonus has its own problem. Search engines, especially Google, are clamping down on this form of link building as it is “unnatural”. Many of the best directories are following orders and adding the nofollow tag thus making it clear that there is no search engine advantage.

As for readers, it really depends whether the site has a genuine readership. The higher the genuine readership the more likely it is that you will get visitors.

And in practice?

I’ve previously submitted hundreds of articles to one of the most popular directories and have seen traffic on those blogs. However, as mentioned previously these pages those blogs no longer exist whereas the articles are still there, without any links that I am gaining advantage from (the site has removed the dead links, a good policy).

So I’ve selected a number of related articles from that site and slowly going through the site and switching the links to point to this site. There won’t be any SEO advantage and the articles are quite old so won’t be featuring heavily on the site, but it will be a good indicator of whether it’s a tactic that works long term.

More about this once the links have been switched over and allowed to do their job. Almost 50 articles so far have been updated!

 

 

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