Making the decision to submit articles to build my website traffic has been one of the smartest online marketing decisions I’ve made recently. I’ve been publishing an email newsletter since 2001, but only started exploring article submission as a way to build website traffic a little over a year ago, and finally got serious about it a few months ago.
My article-writing routine consists of setting aside time in my calendar (every Wednesday from 9 AM – noon) to write my article, post it on my website, set up my email newsletter to go out, and submit my article through a submission service. Creating this routine for myself has now become habit, and I have at my disposal a bank of 25 articles that I’ve written, along with another 35 or so that I have yet to submit to the article banks.
Writing articles is a challenging task, and many of my clients cringe when I mention it to them as a marketing strategy. However, I think it’s one of the smartest marketing strategies in your marketing arsenal. Why? The best articles reflect the writer’s character and voice, and contain valuable content gleaned from the writer’s personal experiences. Non-writers are encouraged to hire ghost writers, but I think It’s difficult for a ghost writer to make an article sound like you — enough so that someone feels as though you’re sitting across the table from them over a cup of coffee. After reading an article in one of my newsletters, I’ve been repeatedly told by numerous readers who know me, "Oh, that sounded just like you!" There is no higher compliment to my ears — I know that my authenticity is coming across to my readers. That’s an important aspect of article writing to me — I want my readers to get to know, like, and trust me so that at some point they feel comfortable doing business with me.
Here’s how writing and submitting articles are helping me find clients online:
1. Establishes you as an expert. I’m submitting 6-10 articles per month through an article submission service. Anyone searching for articles that I’ve written in any of the major article banks will probably find at least 10 that I’ve authored. Today I Googled my name, and found 18,300 sites listing me. I would say that about 98% of the listings actually refer to me, and that 98% of that number are links to articles banks, blogs, ezines, etc. publishing my articles. Much to my surprise, I recently discovered that I’m a SmartBiz Industry Expert at https://www.smartbiz.com/industryexpert/445
2. Demonstrates your credibility. The fact that I write the majority of my articles from my personal experiences establishes my credibility in the eyes of my readers. In fact, I’ve had some newsletter subscribers whom I’ve never met call me on the phone and start a conversation with me, as though we’re old friends. In their minds, we are old friends, as they’ve been reading my material for some time, I, on the other hand, have to run to catch up, because I don’t know anything about them. I take my time and put much effort and energy into my writing, and I think it shows in the finished pieces. There is a great deal of junk being submitted as articles to article banks, but I’m not willing to dash off a piece of fluff with little value and attach my name to it.
3. Have articles published by other publications. As I conduct online searches for my articles or set up Yahoo alerts to track my article submissions, I continue to be amazed at where some of my articles end up. I recently had one of my articles published by SitePro News, www.sitepronews.com, which brought a great deal of traffic to my website, more subscribers to my ezine, and a number of sales of products for which I’m an affiliate. You can read all about this experience here on this blog.
4. Encourages joint ventures/strategic alliances with business owners in other industries pursuing the same target market. I’ve been approached by a number of other companies who are seeking strategic alliances, link exchanges and referrals solely based on reading about me from one of my articles and liking what I had to say. I’ve chosen to pursue some of these offers, and I would have never had the opportunity without using article submissions as a way to get the word out about my services and my company.
5. Enables you to be found in search engines on a variety of terms. One of the strategies of article submission is to intersperse your primary website keywords into your article so that your articles help boost your search engine ranking on your search terms. I haven’t yet gotten that sophisticated in my website optimization. As I write from my heart in terms of what’s happening to me or my business in any given week, my articles, in many cases, have little to do with the keywords I’m using to optimize my website. What I have discovered, however, is that I’m getting organic traffic to my site on all kinds of keywords, most of which would have never occurred to me as search terms. However, these terms are present in one (or more) articles that I’ve written. Now, my goal is to create a call to action on my individual article pages to increase the number of subscribers to my newsletter, which is my primary call to action on my website.
6. Increases inbound links to your site. Creating inbound links (links from other sites to yours) seems to be one of the hottest SEO techniques today. However, I’ve heard that article bank links are not considered viable inbound links. I partially agree with that sentiment. Google apparently still loves them, given the number of inbound links it shows to my website. The strategy seems to be less popular for Yahoo and MSN.
7. Enhances your search engine ranking. If you have a carefully-crafted SEO strategy and optimize your articles with the same keywords you use to optimize your site, you can increase your organic ranking in search engines (how your site shows up in the rankings without using any pay-per-click services). Higher rankings ultimately result in higher page rank (greater relevance) in Google, and better your traffic rank in Alexa. In the last month, due to my article submissions, my Google page rank has gone from a 2 to a 4 (an 8 or 9 is considered great, so I have a way to go) and my Alexa traffic ranking has made a phenomenal leap, from number 1,964,770 one month ago (the higher the number, the poorer the rank) to 321,460, which means that Alexa considers the relevance and usage of my website to have increased dramatically in the last month.
8. Increases responses to your website’s "call to action". Typically, on your homepage, you should create one clear call to action that you’d like your visitors to take. On my homepage, that call to action is clear. Visitors get a free ebook and a subscription to my email newsletter if they give me their name and primary email address. When someone reads your article and decides to check out your website as a result, there is a greater likelihood that the visitor will part with his/her contact information in your call to action, as you have already established some credibility via the article you wrote.
9. Creates free advertising and free publicity. Most article banks give you space to publish a 1-3 sentence bio about yourself, your services, and your website at the end of the article. This is commonly known as a resource box. Your resource box should give a short, succinct, compelling statement of who you are and what you do, and why someone would want to visit your website. Once your article is published in blogs, ezines, websites, etc, your "free advertising" increases exponentially. As many article banks now offer RSS feeds of an author’s articles, a website owner could choose to syndicate your feed on his website, giving you wonderful publicity that would normally cost a great deal of money.
10. Creates opportunities for speaking, training or consulting. Publication of several articles on a particular topic can easily brand you as a credible expert on this topic, which may lead to an invitation to speak at a conference, or an opportunity to get paid for training or consulting time. Several of my clients have gotten radio and television interviews and speaking opportunities because an article that they wrote was published in a credible trade magazine. Interviews and speaking gigs get you in front of many people at once, which allows them to get to know you, get into your marketing funnel, and eventually purchase your goods or services.
Are you spending too much money, time and energy in promoting your website and having lackluster results? Submitting articles is a low-cost way to increase the traffic to your website and enable you to find more clients online.
Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.