The following ten guidelines for writing articles are meant specifically for articles that are used to promote a website or blog. These are typically distributed through directories where readers can access them and other webmasters can take them for free to use as content on their websites. It is one of the best ways to optimize and promote your site or blog.

1. Have an Optimized and Interesting Title

The title should catch the attention of readers. It doesn't have to be unusual or outrageous, although that can help when it is possible. But it should tell the reader what the article is about. To be optimized for search engines it also needs to contain the primary keyword that you are targeting, which leads us to our second guideline.

2. Target One Primary Keyword

In my experience (well over a thousand articles and thousands of web pages), it isn't worth trying to get traffic for more than one keyword phrase per article. You will use related ones in any case. For example, how do you write about "online articles" without mentioning the keywords "articles" and "writing" a few times? Focus on one for best results.

3. Tell the Reader What to Expect

Most directories require a one or two sentence description. Include the primary keyword in this and tell potential readers what they'll find - why they should read the article. Keep it short so it doesn't have to be edited for some directories that only allow a line or two.

4. Have Interesting, Entertaining or Useful Content

If you can have all three it's even better. A good rule of thumb for purely informational articles is to try to have one or two things that the average reader probably hasn't read elsewhere, or at least present the information from a new perspective.

5. Have an Easy, Optimized Article Body

The article should be between about 400 and 800 words to meet the requirements of most directories. Short paragraphs are easier on the eyes. You can break some articles up with headings or a list to make them more attractive to readers. To properly optimize it, so it can be found in the search engines, include the primary keyword a couple times in the body, in a heading if you have one, and in the final paragraph.

6. Sell Your Site

This is perhaps the most important of these guidelines. When writing articles you can't promote your website or products in the article itself or directories will not take it. Promotion is done in the "about the author" or "author's resource box" that immediately follows the article. You can say something about yourself if you wish, but I have found that it is better to just include your name and then focus on giving the reader a reason to click the link to your website. A free course, newsletter, ebook or other ethical bribe can help a lot with this.

7. Link Properly

Test your link to be sure that it is working. Consider where it should go as well. Much of the time that will be your homepage, but not always. For example, if you wrote about hiring a home inspector, a link to a page with a home inspection checklist might get more clicks - as long as you tell them that's what they'll get. You can also optimize your site better if you link specific keywords to it. If you are allowed two links in a given directory, you may want to link a keyword and then also link your URL.

8. Use The Tools The Directories Have

Directories are not all the same, and some have special tools you can use. Start by picking the right category for your article, of course. If the directory has an "author profile" page you should fill in the information and upload a photo if possible. Some readers will check that page for other articles if they liked the first one they read. Use any other promotional tools provided.

9. Keep Your Articles Organized

Over time, you will find new places to submit articles, and you need to keep track of which articles have gone to which directories. Number them from the start, and note the number of each one you where you have an article. In this way you can go back periodically and submit old articles to new directories on your list to get additional exposure. You may also want to organize your articles in other ways, such as by the sites they promote or the date written.

10. Learn To Write Efficiently

Rushing doesn't help, but efficiency does mean making more money in the long run. Star by having a system for writing and submitting. Then learn the article formats that are easiest and still of value to readers. These include ""top ten" and "list" articles, as well as "question and answer" articles.

Follow these ten guidlines for writing articles and you'll be doing better than most of the internet marketers out there.

Author's Bio: 

Copyright Steve Gillman. To get your Free Online Writing Course, visit :