Principles of X – Article Template

Searching for new article format ideas? Look no further than what I call the “Principles of X” article template.

Here’s how it works:

  • An article title that lets them know they will be learning principles of something.
  • Introductory paragraph that explains why your principles are important to the reader along with any social proof claims that can support your statements.
  • A sub-head that describes your top principles along with why each principle is important.
  • A closing paragraph that wraps up with either how to get started at applying the principles outlined or a helpful tip to help the reader overcome any objections they might have to understanding or applying one of your principles to their life or business.
  • Insert your benefits driven Resource Box

Examples of various ways I’ve seen the “Principles of X” template implemented:

There may be no ‘right’ way to do this template as you can see that some give a number to their principles, some call them “The Principles” (as if there were no other principles on the matter), some call the “Basic” or “Universal” principles, but they all usually give a numbered list with sub-heads that make it easy for the eye to see and read the principles outlined.

How can you apply this to your area of expertise?

Bonnie Murphy – Author Spotlight

EzineArticles expert author and Chief Fitness Officer Bonnie Murphy caught our eye because of something smart she did with her website. She used social proof to highlight her expertise as accepted by sites like ours and others. Check it out for yourself: bfitandwell.com

What else we love about Bonnie: She’s an expert in her field serving mature women who are seeking the benefits of personal fitness and her original quality article submissions spans 2005, 2006 and 2007…and that shows consistency. In addition, Bonnie has uploaded a professional author photo and uploaded her author bio…further enhancing her credibility as a true expert.

Nice job Bonnie! :-)

Article Writing Stopwatch Strategy

Writing quality original articles is a great investment of time and when you use the “Stopwatch Strategy,” you’ll be amazed at how much time you can shave off the process of writing your next set of articles.

The Stopwatch Strategy: Get yourself an inexpensive stopwatch or desk clock. Become aware of your article writing baseline by simply timing how long it takes you to write, edit and then upload an article. Challenge yourself to shave 5-10 minutes off the process until you’re down into the 20-40 minutes per article range.

Why this strategy works: It helps to bring your focus on the task at hand. When we do research or have multiple interruptions, it becomes very difficult to write efficiently. Using the stopwatch strategy, you honor your time more effectively by being consciously aware if you’re on task or not…and then returning your focus to the task at hand to accomplish writing your next quality original article in less time.

If you write 250 articles in a year and you’re able to shave off 10 minutes per article due to becoming aware of your production rate, that becomes 41.6 hours you’ve just reclaimed that can be used to write more articles or go do something else you’d like to do.

Have you ever tried this strategy and has it worked for you?

Member Support Phase III

The next phase of implementing our new member support tracking system is possibly one of the most painful because it means the elimination of email-based direct communication in favor of a closed direct web-based communication system (via the EzineArticles INBOX).

The challenge is that 100% of member support needs to funnel into our web-based email tracking system for it to be effective, allow for quality control and escalation rulesets for problem resolution priorities and management reporting.

What the change will be like: support @ EzineArticles as an email address will turn into an autoresponder that will encourage members & users to either log in and contact-us with a web form or use the public contact-us web form if they are not a registered member.

When a member sends in a query via their EzineArticles INBOX, they will get a reply to their inbox. They can then reply to the email and the thread continues until the problem is resolved.

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Member Support Phase II

Two weeks ago, we announced a new email ticket tracking system designed to provide more accurate support to our members while preventing losing any support requests through the cracks. 1,046 email tickets were opened up in the last two weeks, but less than half of the load is going through the ticket tracking system (see blog post in the near future about phase III).

Today we’re locked up in a policy decision that must be made and we’d like your opinion to help us decide which way we’ll go.

The Issue: To contact us for support, members currently log in to their EzineArticles INBOX system and send us a note. When we reply, the member receives an email notice that they have an email reply from member support and to log in to read the reply. The dilemma: Why make the member log in to see the reply when we could put it in the email being sent to the member?… if only the decision were this simple.

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Write Aspirationally

I bet no one has ever encouraged you to “write aspirationally”… until now. :)

An “aspiration” is the will to succeed or the desire to contemplate [your] dreams in a hopeful manner. It also means biologically to draw in air, to breathe or aspirate…but I really want you to key in on the “to aspire” side meaning of this word.

When you write aspirationally, it means that you are using your words to inspire others, to motivate, to encourage, to coach, and to help the reader feel better about him or herself after having read your article…knowing they can tackle a problem or dream with a higher sense of personal confidence.

While you’ll see this style of writing in our Self-Help section, especially the Inspirational articles, this inspirational tone and intent can easily apply to any article that gives the reader encouragement.

What do you think? Should our experts write more aspirationally or is “aspirationally” just a big dumb word that no one uses?

Domain Privacy Slows Trust

Many domain name service providers allow you to have a privacy protected domain registration for a small extra fee. This allows you to hide yourself from anyone who does a simple WHOIS lookup to see who owns your domain. The reasons domain owners do this range from wanting to be deceptive to not wanting to deal with the huge quantity of spam and silly link swap requests that get sent to the domain owners contact email address.

Our article review and quality control team routinely performs domain WHOIS lookups to determine if the author of an article owns the domain name(s) in their resource box. If there’s a perfect match, it becomes easier to trust the author or at least give them a bump in credibility. If a URL in your Resource Box returns a privacy-protected whois lookup, it becomes harder for our editors to trust you/and your content.

Bottom line: If you’re in business, think twice before buying privacy guard or hiding your domain WHOIS data from the public. Your market credibility may depend on it.

Use Nobility When Article Marketing

Sometimes it becomes tempting to promote your EzineArticles everyplace you can strategically find to promote them, but in this short article, you’ll discover that a little ‘nobility’ goes a long way to ensuring that no one gets hurt along the way. Let me explain…

Here’s what’s acceptable if you intend to promote your articles on EzineArticles to others:

  • Sending a title, summary and a link to the full article to your clients and other permission-based email members on your list.
  • Mentioning your newest EzineArticles in your blog (heck, why not load up your EzineArticles RSS feed to do this automatically?)
  • Any promotion or announcement on any web property that you own or to any permission-based email list that you own/control.

But, what if you want to promote your EzineArticles beyond web properties that you own or control, such as social networking, social bookmarking or other social media sites? That’s where the concept of ‘nobility’ comes into play.

When you are contributing to websites that you don’t own or control for the purposes of promoting your articles as listed on EzineArticles, it’s important to be noble… meaning, to not promote your URL if it’s clearly self serving (that would be un-noble). Since it’s always self-serving, how do you go about promoting your EzineArticles if you want to?

Answer = You don’t. Instead, only promote your EzineArticles to web and permission-based email properties that you own and let the universe take care of promoting your EzineArticles to the appropriate 3rd party social media sites. When you produce a high enough quanity of quality articles, your content will get picked up and promoted in the appropriate places.

Updated: Butterfly asked us:

Hi Chris, I have 12 articles on EA and have been given the title of Platinum Author, but still can’t figure how some authors manage to gather so many comments. My articles are well written and offer insight or you would not have selected them for publication. My rankngs are good but few comments are submitted. What am I not doing to attract comments?

Answer = Authors who receive a lot of comments do one of two things: 1) They submit a lot of articles and therefore have a higher chance of attracting a comment or 2) They promote their new articles to their clients and/or permission-based email list member and thus drive thousands of eyeballs to view the article with a request for them to vote and comment on the article.

Milestone 50k Members

Earlier this week, we passed 50,000 registered members with articles live. We’re humbled and honored by the confidence that you and every single EzineArticles member & user have placed in us and will continue to work hard, to innovate and find new ways to provide more value to each of our members & users… and other nice words that are true. :)

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about the gravity of the responsibilities that we have with every ideal member that we value as well as our leadership with the overall market. Things are quite a bit more complex today than they were only a few years ago and while our development team has done very well with scaling the website from a technical perspective, we’re working every single day on building additional systems to scale the human side of our support & quality assurance systems.

I still think there is a huge opportunity for us to unlock the potential trapped within EzineArticles.com…similar to the potential energy that is released out of a tiny atom, we’ve got a long ways to go to find additional ways to help our members and users to contribute, participate and use the opportunity connected within this site for their and your reasons and not ours.

As always, we appreciate every single suggestion submitted, even if we’re unable to act on it immediately.

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SES NY 2007

This week I’m in New York visiting clients and attending Incisive Media’s Search Engine Strategies 2007.

The major players are well represented in exhibits as well as panel experts and if Google & Yahoo didn’t have people on the panels, the quality of the sessions would have suffered. Thankfully they sent quite a few of their managers and various engineers and business leaders.

This was my first time attending this conference as I didn’t think I’d be able to learn any actionable best practice strategies, but I was wrong. One of my primary goals in attending was to make sure we’re helping the major search engines to efficiently find our members content while ignoring content that shouldn’t be indexed (example: the *print an article* view). Our long-standing SE strategy has been to simply add lots of fresh high-quality content, provide a fast and positive user experience and make decisions to ensure long-term success (skipping all short term fads).

It was good to hear from many pay-per-click advertisers talk about the type of quality they want from their PPC investments. Remember the quality landing page thread from last year? Many of the same concerns are still important to providing a positive user experience. The last thing we want is poor quality content leading to a poor quality website as it violates the trust of our users and those who bring traffic to our members content.

We’re not involved in paid search abritrage (the act of creating revenue by purchasing traffic on a PPC basis and then immediately selling it through affiliate marketing or other revenue means), but it’s clear that the most egregious offense in terms of advertisers and end-users are MFA’s (Made For Adsense) sites. If you’re an author that drives traffic to a MFA site, this is your early wake up call that you need to find a way to add unique value with your site beyond the ads.

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