Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Content, Content, Content

We know that good content drives people to your websites. We know that thoughtful, well-written, and informative articles brings interested people in, and that when those articles are written to include strong search terms, they power your site up on the search engines.

But where can you get the content?

Well, first of all, there’s a lot to be said for not re-inventing the wheel. If someone else has already said it, and said it well, why redo it? Why not just republish it in your site? Why not go out on the net, find articles already written, and put them on your site?

Plagiarism! Theft of intellectual property! Illegal! Copyright laws, and all that.

Well, the dictionary defines plagiarism as: “To use and pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as one's own.”

That means that republishing isn’t the problem. Republishing without credit given to the author, and/or without getting permission from the author is the problem.

So, that breaks it into three steps:

One, find an article
Two, contact the author and get permission
Three, put it in your site.

Finding an Article

There are a number of ways to accomplish this. The long way, but sometimes the best way, is to google up some sites that would interest your audience, and look for content there. This can be a lot more time-consuming, as you’re investigating site after site, but can get some really great articles that are well-focused on your audience.

Another is to find an article archive website, like eZine Articles ( This site has a huge number of articles on many many topics. Internet business, family life, current events, personal development, all kinds of topics are covered here. Check the topic directory tree, or just do a search.

Getting Permission

At eZine Articles, they have very clearly spelled out the instructions to use the articles. At this site (and I’ve found this to be common among others), articles can be used for free, but the publisher must agree to certain conditions, like not changing the text of the article, and including the links back to both eZine Articles, and the author’s website. The articles also can’t be sold or included in compilations for sale, etc…

If you find an article on another website, it’s usually just as simple as sending an email to the author (who is usually the site owner), and getting permission. In most cases, the authors will give permission in exchange only for a link back to their home page.

Putting the Article on Your Site

Finally, simply create a page and install the text of the article into it. Make sure that you include everything that you agreed to as you were getting permission, like the linkbacks.

Creating the Content

If your website is based on something that you’re passionate about, and knowledgeable in, then you have an advantage in that you can create your own articles. They don’t need to be long, maybe as short as 1000 words or so, but they do need to be informative, and useful. Don’t just write up more sales copy for your products.

Tell someone how to use the product in a new way. Keep in mind that products are based on experiences, and experiences can be shared. If you’re selling tents and sleeping bags, remember that they are all about the experience of camping. So, tell them some tips that relate to camping. Write an article about setting up a camp to stay dry if it rains. Write about how to store food and keep it away from animals. Include some dutch oven recipies.

Then post these to your website, just like the others.

And then, turn around and share those. Offer them to other websites. Post them at eZine Articles and other archive sites. Why? Because if people use them, they provide links back to your website, links that boost your traffic and your search engine ratings.

Remember that the web is all about information. Shopping, products, and e-commerce are relatively new additions to cyberspace. Provide something valuable, and they will come!


For the record, if any readers wishes to re-publish any of the articles at SOHOman, my policy is to allow it, stipulating that the text not be changed, and that there be included a link back to

1 comment:

  1. donald303:27 PM

    Very Useful! Good job.