The Place To Be Today

WHAT: LIVE Micro-Fundraising Call with host & EzineArticles Expert Author Alex Mandossian of SmartStartGiving.com.

Alex Mandossian of SmartStartGiving.comWHERE: http://www.smartstartgiving.com/february09/

WHEN: TODAY at 8am PST, 9am MST, 10am CST, 11am EST

WHO: Alex will be interviewing Chris Knight, CEO of EzineArticles.com

WHY: Help us raise $5,000 USD for Kiva, an organization whose mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

Participate by donating $20-$40 and you’ll receive:

  1. Giving Option #1: Give the maximum donation of $40 to help entrepreneurs get a smart start; and do it before the end of today Friday Feb. 27th. In a special email newsletter issue to 100,000 of our members that will go out within a week or less, you’ll get your name mentioned along with (1) link to your website or blog, plus (1) link to your social media profile of choice (ex: FaceBook, Twitter, etc) and (1) optional link to your EzineArticles expert author URL.
  2. Giving Option #2: Give a donation of $20 before the end of today Friday Feb. 27th, and you’ll get a name mention plus (1) link to your website/blog or EzineArticles expert author profile (your choice).
  3. Send us an email with your receipt along with your full name and URL/website address for yourself or your business, one optional URL for your favorite social media profile, and lastly, your author name as listed on EzineArticles.com (optional), depending on whether you’re doing giving option #1 or #2.

What will we be covering? My answers to questions like these:
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Online Helper Sites

In an effort to make our member’s lives a little easier, today’s blog serves up (3) single-page websites that we’ve developed for fun. These “helper sites” serve as great little tools that each address one computing need:Web Tools

1) BitRateSpeed – http://bitratespeed.com/
When you go to this site it will immediately begin testing the speed of your Internet connection, both downloading and uploading. In a few moments you’ll know your current connection speed and have a comparison to other common connection speeds.

2) IPDoYou – http://ipdoyou.com/ and IPChillin – http://ipchillin.com/
These two sites offer almost identical content. They instantly tell you your computer’s IP address, remote host, remote port and browser information.

3) WhatIs.MyScreenResolution – http://whatis.myscreenresolution.com/
Like the name says, this site provides you with one simple piece of information: Monitor Resolution.

You may never have a need for any of these sites, but if you do they sure come in handy! And the best part is… they’re FREE! =)

Do you have other handy little one-page helper sites that you use? Share it with the EzineArticles world in the comments section of this posting.

The Art of Article Marketing

Simply put, writing for EzineArticles is an art.

Many occupations and activities are described as being both a skill and an art. For example, practicing the art of medicine; learning the martial arts; mastering the art of conversation; or enjoying the art of fine wine-making. One connotation of this turn-of-phrase implies that although the skill may be learned in a relatively short period of time, the art may take years, or even a lifetime, to master.

The same could be said of the “Art of Article Marketing”. True, you don’t often hear that reference, but think about it: The average person can typically learn the basic skill of writing, submitting and utilizing articles in their marketing efforts in a fairly short period of time (granted, some take longer than others). However, the art of article marketing may take years to master.

So what’s the point?
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Mason Ifejika – Author Spotlight

EzineArticles Expert Author Mason Ifejika from London, England is today’s Author Spotlight.Expert Author Mason Ifejika

Along with being an Expert Author, Mason is a web developer, video editor and rapper. He loves music and is into fitness and reading self-motivation books such as “Think & Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki.

What makes Mason truly unique in the EzineArticles world is the fact that his articles are written on his BlackBerry and then transferred to his PC for submission. Now that’s dedication!

Although he’s fairly new to article marketing, Mason is already utilizing many of the tools and techniques necessary to drive traffic to his website and blog. Mason’s one lament? “I wish I used article marketing earlier!” he says.
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Category Sort Order

We’re in the middle of a massive project to change the category sort order in order to correct an unintended consequence.

Right now, all articles in the category view (example of what today’s “Skiing” niche looks like in terms of the sort order) are currently sorted by SUBMIT DATE (date the article was originally submitted).

We thought “Submit Date” was the best sort order because this would ensure that articles that were edited after they were made live would never get an unfair exposure advantage by being able to cycle through the ‘category view’ each time their edited article was re-approved.

Very soon (late this week or early next week), all articles will be sorted by “1ST PUBLISHED DATE(date your article was 1st published on).

Most members who have complained about the current way we sort it feel that we should be sorting by MOST RECENTLY APPROVED date… but that doesn’t solve the fact that we can not give an edited & re-approved article an unfair position in the category view; thus the “1st Published Date” sort order solution.

Key Insights into our systems: We’re in 604 niche markets at this time and each of the 604 category views are pre-generated hourly (to improve site load speed). That means two things: (Continue Reading…)

Article Scheduling Update

Premium members received an update to their account today where you can now schedule articles to be released on-the-hour for increased control instead of on-the-day.

For now, it’s based on our local server time which is in CST (USA Central Standard Time) -6 GMT. Effective February 18, 2010, Premium Members can designate which timezone to use when scheduling articles for later release.

Let’s Go Shopping!

For some time we’ve been toying with the idea of making EzineArticles promotional items (aka: schwag, logo loot, tchotchke, etc.) available to all of our Expert Authors.

The one challenge we faced, however, was figuring out what items people would like. Would t-shirts be all the rage? Or would mugs be on the top of our Expert Authors’ wish lists? Or perhaps mouse pads would be the item of choice. Frankly we had no way of knowing.

We’re happy to report that we’ve come up with a solution: beta testing.

In true Internet fashion, we’ve created a fully-functional beta version of our EzineArticles Online Store. Your purchases at this store over the next few weeks will help us determine which items make it into our final product offering and which ones die a horrible death.

In essence we’re asking you, our Expert Authors, to tell us what you like best.

Plus for a limited time only, all items are available at cost. We’ve included absolutely no mark-up, so what we’d pay is what you pay!

So what are you waiting for? Check out the whole line-up of EzineArticles promotional items, purchase your favorite items and show the world that YOU are a proud EzineArticles Expert Author!

EzineArticles API

Call for Developers & Programmers:

Seven months ago we began a journey to offer an API into our data silo’s so that applications could be written that would interact with the EzineArticles database (that would also adhere to the author & publisher terms of service).

This week we’re rolling it out to anyone who would like to create an API key (for free) and try it out.

Ideal initial developers include 3rd party article submission service providers, existing membership sites that want to identify which of their members are also our members and compile their own directory similar what we did with twitter, portal developers, SMS developers who might want to offer an alert service to their users when key queries are fulfilled, or stats researchers who want to identify most viewed/published/emailed articles.

The ideal developer is interested in figuring out how to use our data in a way that adds value to their users.

Our API system was developed with a load-balanced scalable back-end designed to serve billions of queries per month…giving developers confidence that this is a set of services we’re committed to providing way beyond this initial launch.
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Article Sets: More Quality Articles in Less Time

Writing articles is fun and you can get a higher return on your articles when you discover how to produce more in less time. Let’s look at the simple concept of writing articles in “sets” instead of one at a time.

Article Sets Defined:

A “set of articles” is produced anytime you write 2 or more articles at a time. Typical types of article sets that you could produce:

1) Article sets by topic or sub-topic.

Example: If you were writing about racquetball as your topic, you could make a plan to write 2 articles on racquetball nutrition, 4 articles that go into detail about each of the different color of racquetballs on the market and what they mean, and a 10-pak of articles on forehand or backhand drills.

2) Article sets by style of writing.

Example: One style might be all bullet points, another lists of things, another is a Q&A approach, another might be conversational or discussion of issues. Note that each type of writing is best when done in sets of the same style.

3) Accidental article sets.

Example: Your target is to produce (2) articles that are ~500 words each. While getting started, you get on a roll and accidentally produce a fantastic 800-1000 word article. Break the article in half, give the other half a new title and you have an instant article set… even if it was created by accident.

4) Article sets based on customer or prospect frequently asked questions.

Example: Customers or prospects are always asking questions. Tune into them, group them by topic, and then hammer out some article sets that answer each question. Using the racquetball topic, you might have 7 questions from your audience on how to prepare for a tournament. Each of them makes excellent article topics.

Bottom line: Writing articles in sets, whether on purpose or by accident, is a great way to produce more articles in less time. Give it a shot and make it part of your article production system today.

Do you write articles in sets or can you see the time-savings value in this strategy?

Member Support – Who Are They?


From left to right: Kirk, Briana, Wade

EzineArticles Member Support team’s role is in assisting members with direct questions related to their membership account. The three of them address 500+ email-based questions daily. They have shared some details about themselves and also offered a few tips to help you get answers faster or in some cases alleviate the need to contact support all-together.

Kirk enjoys listening to and making music, watching films, playing disc golf and softball, and spending time with his girlfriend. He also likes goofing around online despite spending over 8 hours a day elbow-deep in the internet.

Tip 1: Keep syndication in mind. Do not make your article dependent on images, graphs, charts, bolded text, etc. because these things can be ‘lost in translation’. SIMPLIFY. Don’t paste from MS Word. Use plain text editors like NotePad. If you are going to paste from MS Word, use the “PASTE FROM WORD” tool within the WYSIWYG editor.

Tip 2: Use your real name, upload an [author photo] image, and use the same name and image everywhere. This builds on your brand and your credibility.

Briana enjoys reading Jodi Picoult novels in her spare time and spending time with her family. She also loves to travel and experience new places. Her favorite season is summer and if she could wear flip flops all year round in Wisconsin, she would gladly do so.

Tip 1: Understand the difference between the article body and resource box. Save your links and hard sell for the resource box, and make your article submission genuinely informative.

Tip 2: Make use of all of the free article writing & marketing training that we provide to you.

Wade runs a local Karaoke show and loves to sing and play guitar. He also enjoys golf, (sometimes softball) and is eagerly anticipating summer as he is an avid Harley Davidson motorcycle rider.

Tip 1: ALL your messages are read and responded to, so there is no need to write multiple messages on the same issue. When writing in on account related issues, you can save your time and ours by writing in from your EzineArticles membership interface (also known as the “Authors Area”). We prioritize member support queries ahead of people who use our public contact us page.

Tip 2: Think of the user experience. Make sure the reader really gains value from your article and website. If your primary interest is the reader’s experience, it will show in the quality of your articles and website, and less articles will be rejected requiring less support from us.

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