Scott R. Asher gives you great WordPress blogging tips. When starting your first site, you will probably be writing a lot of the articles yourself. Knowing what to write, how to write it, and how to format it will keep your members longer.
Rules for creating articles:
- Make your article timeless – You want your content to last as long as possible on your website. Don’t write any articles at first that are tied to current events or give how-to instructions for a system that will work today but will be obsolete next week. This way you can build up a library of content that will be relevant for years to come.
- Make your articles sell your website – I know, your member’s have already been sold, but you need to keep selling them so they don’t cancel their membership. Make each article you write benefit driven, and don’t be afraid to tell the reader what benefits they are getting out of the article.
- Know your members – If you have a membership site geared towards stock trading and your members are already savvy traders then don’t write a lot of content with “common knowledge”; things like “How to Open a Brokerage Account”. But if your members are newbie investors, then write articles that would be considered “common knowledge” for a more seasoned investor.
Elements of an Article
An article needs to have just a few simple elements to be effective.
1. Headline – Put the benefits of the article into the headline. If it’s the transcript of an interview you did, don’t have a headline that says “Transcript of Interview with John Smith”. Make it say something like “How John Smith gets a 47% annual yield with commodities using a simple checklist that will work for you!”
2. Introduction – Make your article start with the description of a problem that most of your member’s are probably facing. Then begin a story about how you or someone else had the same problem. The introduction doesn’t have to be a single paragraph.
3. Body – Discuss all the solutions to the problem outlined in the Introduction. Continue the story telling them how they can fix the problem, or how someone came up with a solution to the problem.
4. Conclusion – Wrap up the article to give the story an ending. This would be a good place to put a link to an affiliate website if you have one.
5. Provide Resources – Try not to send your reader outside of your site unless it’s an affiliate link. Post links to related resources at the end of the article. If you have to, create some resources to match the article and put them into your site.
Format the Article
You can have the greatest content in the world, but if it’s hard to read, your member’s will cancel their membership. You need to format all the content that goes up onto your site whether it was written by you or submitted by someone else. Here are some basic guidelines for formatting your articles:
1. Make the headline stand out – The headline is what attracts the member into reading the article. Don’t make the font the same size as the text of the article. Make it bigger, bolder, or in a different color… or all three. However don’t go overboard and make it fit the look and feel of your site.
2. Use short paragraphs – Make sure that most paragraphs are no longer than 5 lines long; 3 is even better. Long paragraphs are hard to read, so your members will skip the article instead of reading long paragraphs. Don’t be afraid to break apart longer paragraphs, even if it means breaking some grammatical rules.
3. Use lots of sub-heads – No matter what you do, not all of your members will read the articles. Many of them will just skim. So add benefit driven sub-heads to highlight the important parts of the article so the reader knows the article is filled with valuable content even if he doesn’t read it.
4. Create bullet lists – When possible, take content from the article and turn it into numbered or bulleted lists. Studies show that people will take the time to read lists even if they don’t read the article. People seem to find lists more valuable than article content.