For Some Reason the Read More Link is Broken. If you will click the title you can read the whole article. I'm sorry for the trouble.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Writing Process

Do you have a writing process you use to compose your articles with? I do. Because I am new at this I often discovered "a skipped step" as I was trying to research why I am not overflowing with eHow and adsense money. So, little by little, I am learning from experience. So this article is part writing help for newbies and writing skills evolution for rookies. Hopefully some of the veteran writers will throw in their own writing help tips.

I've listed the steps that I am following for all new articles. I will also be trying to retrofit the already published ones into this mold if possible. Again, this is also about writing skills evolution. If you have a better writing technique or any tweaks to what I wrote by all means share them if you will. Thanks.

Conceptualize the Article: For this step in my writing process I rely on Google Suggest & MS Commercial Intent. These are my personal favorites when I need help finalizing the concept for an article. All artistic thoughts aside, we write for two audiences most of the time. The first is the reader who will gain something from us. The second is usually Google Adsense bots. The tools mentioned above each have a different function. The first one tells you what people are looking for. The second one tells you what they are buying. It may not be art from a purist writers perspective, but the days of making a living by getting paid to write have changed drastically. Whether we like it or not, I am discovering that to make money online requires an article that is part editorial, part advertising copy, and a bit of "spark" to humanize it.

KW Research for the Title: Titles are so important nowadays. They are the first thing the ad and searchbots hit. And they carry more weight than any single part of the article. I have learned on eHow that my titles tend to run a bit long. So I try to locate a primary and secondary keyword that gel for the title.

Assign Title: Using those keywords I assign a title to the document. I use the title to remind me to stay on the topic. Every paragraph should somehow move the reader toward the final desired result which is hopefully called out in the title and description/opening paragraph.

KW Research for the Body: I take the keywords in the title and use them to generate a list of synonyms both at the keyword and key phrase levels. Repeating the same keywords over and over is apparently a google no-no. But, repeating the same keywords a bit, and packing in synonymous alternatives seems to be fine.

Rough Draft: With KW stuff handled I can now sit down and write. The artistic writers may sniff in disapproval but I really believe that it takes more of the "write stuff" to produce high quality content that is SEO optimized. My roughs tend to be long winded and meandering. That's ok for a start since some brutal editing will fix that... I hope.

Initial SEO w/Google Adwords/Sites and SEO Workers:
I have a blank blog. It has nothing in it. There are no widgets, no adsense, and only the bare minimum formatting to allow it to publish. I post my rough to this blog. Then I run the URL through the Adwords Keyword Site and I also use the SEO Workers Extension for Firefox on it. What I get is an SEO report on my content as opposed to the eHow or IB page that it is on. There are far less keywords listed, no related articles, no extra links, IOW.... nothing but (for better or worse) me. Between the two I get a pretty good picture of how the page might fare in the real world. Normally, it needs some help.

Final Draft:
Help has arrived. I make the edits that the rough and SEO work has shown me to need. I read the article out loud several times to make sure it flows. I spell check it on every platform I intend to publish from. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: I DOUBLE CHECK THE TOS of the publishing platform. I started doing that after the eHow Binge and Purge.

Final SEO with all the previously mentioned tools: The reason I do this is that in all the writing, the message can become blurred and fuzzy. This is the final sanity check.

SEO Tweaks Edit: It's pretty likely that you gained some insight that needs an edit or two. Since we are writing for two audiences, we have to have quality going both ways. Hopefully at this stage of the articles birth it won't be but a tweak or three.

Publish: By now I've done everything I can to show the world my high quality content. So I go ahead and publish it on the platform of choice.

30 Day Review: This is the time to look at the articles performance over the last month. How many views did it get? Did it earn anything? I would strongly suggest a spreadsheet or database to track your stats. I like numbers because once I "get it" I can make intuitive leaps. So, I have gotten really good at making database templates. I could care less about the reports and the bells or whistles though. I want the data, formatted for my brain housing group, right now. I'm laughing as I type this since I am building the database as we "speak".

Final Edit: After the 30 day review I plan to make any last minute adjustments and walk away. It's all over. The article is complete and parked. The SEO is done and I am simply waiting for it to fully mature.