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Article Writing - Beware of 10 Don'ts

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Let me ask you a question that's critical to your success as an article writer. Do you know what NOT to do? There are some mistakes that will wreck your writing career in a hurry.

Here's my list of 10 article writing don'ts:

1. Don't forget to choose your audience.

What are your chances of reaching a destination if you haven't chosen where you want to go? It's the same way with article writing. If you haven't selected your audience, your chances of appealing to them are greatly reduced. Choose a specific group of readers with a burning interest in a defined topic before you begin writing.

Then select keywords or phrases with this audience in mind.

2. Don't write an ineffective title.

Your title should reach out and grab your reader's attention. Be sure to include your chosen keyword or phrase. Keep your title short as well. Don't put quotation marks around the title since search engines don't like it.

3. Don't open with a weak paragraph.

Your chosen topic presented in the first sentence of the first paragraph must compel your reader to keep reading. Be sure to include your keyword or phrase in this paragraph. Show your reader the benefit of reading your article from the start.

4. Don't neglect flow.

Before you even start writing, you should have outlined the main points and sub points so that you don't veer off the track.

After you've written a paragraph, try using some of the words in the last sentence of that paragraph to start the following paragraph. This simple tip will help your writing to flow.

5. Don't steal content from other writers.

Don't rewrite another author's article in your own words either. You may get by with this unethical practice at first, but in the long run you'll be discovered. However, it's fine to get ideas from other sources.

6. Don't bore your readers.

For example, don't try to sell a product or put affiliate links in the body of your article. Instead give away useful up-to-date information.

Keep in mind that newspapers are aimed at the sixth grade reading level. Include dashes of humor if possible. Personal stories are good, but don't overdo it. Remember, all your readers are interested in what's in it for them.

You should write between 500 and 800 words so you have time to develop the subject, but not so long to be tedious.

Remove all unneeded words. Whenever possible use strong verbs instead of adverbs and adjectives to get across your ideas.

Use active rather than passive voice: "A hungry lion attacked his victim," instead of "The victim was attacked by a hungry lion."

Use lots of white space with short paragraphs.

7. Don't create mirror content.

Mirror content means that the author box in your reprinted article is pointing to your website with the identical article on it. That's asking for trouble since Google doesn't like it.

You can use a different version of the article you send out on your website. Be sure to publish your own version first before you circulate the other version so search engines will give your site the edge.

8. Don't leave readers hanging with a bad ending.

Don't say "in conclusion." Don't summarize what you've written. Instead bring up a fresh point to illustrate your theme or to inspire action.

9. Don't misuse your Author Resource Box.

Don't forget to include one, but don't let it be too long either. The author box should be no more than 5 or 6 lines long. Don't brag, but entice readers with a great offer. Briefly write about yourself and include a link to your professional-looking website. Don't include more than one or two links.

10. Don't let errors and detractors remain.

Check your article carefully for spelling and grammar errors before sending it to publishers and directories.

Ask a knowledgeable friend to proofread your work for errors or hire a proofreader. There are a number of services available on the Internet.

Don't put the date on your copyright notice. In no time what you've written will appear to be out of date and not worth reading.

Don't ask readers to email you for permission to reprint your article. They probably won't use it if they have to notify you.

Paying attention to these 10 don'ts will help you avoid some of the biggest blunders in writing articles.

Now go on to a more successful writing career without these damaging mistakes.

Authors, submit your articles to Content Corral Article Directory -- Webmasters, grab fresh content there. Content Corral owner Patricia Wagner is also an artist.
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