Writing articles for publication on the Internet is, at the time I write this, every Internet marketer's favourite way to get free publicity for his website. If you are an Internet marketer and haven't heard the buzz that's going around about writing articles, where have you been? No, forget I asked, there can't be a single Internet marketer hasn't heard that writing articles is an essential part of website promotion.
Suddenly everyone wants to be writing articles. Hundreds of wannabe authors are writing articles and flooding the article directories with items they have specially written for publicity purposes. Many Internet marketers are writing articles to a high standard but there are plenty of others who are churning out poorly written articles or ones that are no more than thinly disguised advertisements for their affiliate programme. I recently saw an article that claimed to be original but where the "author" had taken someone else's article and added a paragraph or two before putting his own copyright on it. It got published with the result that there are additional links back to his website and that's all he cares about. Prosecution for copyright infringement is unlikely as this article will quickly get lost in the growing crowd.
All sorts of liberties are being taken in the name of writing articles, but does it matter? I am sorry to say the answer is no: as far as writing articles is concerned, anything goes. If you are writing articles to advertise your website, you can get away with poor spelling, bad grammar and boring subject matter. You can get away with plagiarism and even with cheating by having a robot writing articles for you. About the only thing you are not allowed to do when writing articles is use obscenities or incite people to violence. The torture of the English language is, however, widely condoned.
This situation makes me sad because I love reading and I just can't help writing. I am not alone in writing articles because of an inner compulsion. If you have read John Colanzi's article, My Magnificent Obsession, where he says, "It didn't matter who read my writings. I was doing it for me. I had to keep writing", you will realise that I am not the only writing junkie on the Internet. If you have never read this article, you can find it at my website; John Colanzi is one of my favourite Internet writers (one reason for this being that he is does not take himself too seriously).
The idea of writing articles for the sole purpose of advertising depresses me, it makes me feel that writing is being devalued. Please don't think I'm saying the fact that I can't help writing articles makes me superior, I don't feel that way at all. Being a word addict is no more a matter of talent or education than being a drug addict or an alcoholic. An Internet marketer who is writing articles with his mind more on his resource box than his topic has just as much right to have his work published as anyone else. What I am saying is that this great stampede to be writing articles is causing our standards to be lowered so that we now accept spelling and grammatical errors as the norm and cheating at writing articles as acceptable business practice. Our unresisting acceptance of the lowest common denominator as our benchmark is the aspect of the writing articles craze that I detest.
This lowering of standards in regard to writing articles does, however, have a positive effect in that a level playing field is being established for Internet marketers who are writing articles for publication. Lack of writing skills or the fact that English is not their first language need no longer deter Internet marketers from writing articles. If the current craze continues perhaps the article writing practise will result in an improvement to writing skills which would not otherwise have happened. Maybe writing articles will turn out to be the antidote to txt type spelling and that is definitely a good thing.
When writing articles offline, the author's intention will be to communicate with potential readers but when writing articles for the Internet, the author's aim is to attract the attention of the search engines. Writing articles for Internet publicity purposes is tackled in an entirely different way from writing articles for offline use. When you are writing articles for the Internet, the most important thing is to include hot keywords in your article. The best way to start is to identify a popular keyword or two and build an article around them. As long as you choose your keywords wisely and repeat them frequently enough, the quality of the prose surrounding them is of little importance. Writing articles for Internet publicity is more of a mathematical exercise than anything to do with language skills. This is not as strange as it might at first seem: after all, Googlebot is a robot, not a literary critic.
Copyright 2005 Elaine Currie
Elaine Currie publishes articles at her Plug-in Profit Site at: http://www.huntingvenus.com/plug-in_profit_site.htm