Writing Quality Articles on Wizzley (and beyond)

by nightowl

Writing quality articles that reach and engage your audience is not hard at all. It's actually very easy if you follow this list of basic do's and don'ts.

Good writers have known this all along. Since the web became a publishing platform for "citizen authors", many of which are looking to generate some form of revenue from their writings, I realized that the concept of "quality content" may not be quite as obvious as one might think.

Regardless of the finer details and nuances of quality, there are certainly some clear-cut guidelines that will help those who are still unsure what actually constitutes a quality article, at least as far as winning the approval of Wizzley editors is concerned.

Definition of "Quality Content"

How do you judge whether an article is good or "less than good"

Writing good content for the web really boils down to whether

  1. the search engines like it
  2. the readers like it

No earth shattering revelation here. If the search engines don't like it they will either bury your work on page 276 of the SERPs, or they will flat out ignore it. In both cases don't expect to gain any new readers for your article that aren't already in your fan club.

If readers don't find what they were looking for, and if they don't take the actions you would like them to take, then the author has wasted all his time and effort and might be better off spending some quality time with the family.

The fun part is, there isn't really a whole lot of difference between content that pleases the reader and the search engines. If the reader finds, loves and shares your stuff the search engines will most likely follow suit.

Wizzley, being a community of smart and caring writers, will help you create articles that satisfy both, the search engines and the audience. Based on our experience, some common sense, and what search engines like Google openly tell us, here are some guidelines for creating that elusive piece of quality content.

Step Into Your Reader's Shoes

What prompted the visitor to click to your page?

Imagine what the person who visits your article was typing into the search engine. Were they looking for the solution to a problem? Are they doing research for a project? Did they seek an authoritative answer to a burning question?

Keeping this in mind helps to create the exact page that your searcher was hoping to find. The reader is then more inclined to engage with your content in the way you intended, whether that be the purchase of a product you recommend, the subscription to your mailing list, the order of your services, or the spreading of your ideas.

  • Craft a descriptive and interesting title
  • Write a useful article that follows established guidelines for high quality
  • Revisit your page from time to time and update or improve it, if necessary

Write Your Own Stuff

This one's the single most important rule for Wizzley authors - be original! Don't copy large chunks of text that have already been published elsewhere. Write in your own words and voice. If you must quote, always give credit to the originator and keep verbatim copy to an absolute minimum.

Find out if the topic hasn't already been discussed and written about ad nauseam. Can you present a different angle, a unique view, or add new insight?

The Internet is full of dupes, clones, copies, rehash... Nobody needs them. Duplicate content is annoying at best, and illegal at worst. At the very least, it's a huge waste of time and resources.

 copy of applesdifferent apple

Be an Expert (or become one)

Or, why should I believe YOU?

The information you present should be trustworthy if you want the reader to take specific actions. This requires that the facts are correct and up to date. If you aren't already an expert on the topic you are writing about then it's fairly easy to become one (Google and Wikipedia are your friend).

Do your research before starting a new article. Gather authoritative sources and don't be afraid to cite them, if applicable.

Try to give as much detail as possible and necessary. The more exhaustive your coverage of the subject, the less likely the reader will leave in search of more (and better) information.

author trust


More stringent standards apply to article topics of a medical nature! 


When the health and safety of people, possibly kids, are at stake, we want to see your credentials. Preferably, you should be a medical professional and be able to back it up with proof. Again, put yourself in the position of the reader: 

  • Would you trust the information enough to administer the recommended product to your kids or another family member?

Chances are, if the author appears to be a cartoon character that goes by the name of "CoolTips4U" who claims in their profile to be "passionate about making money from home", you would probably refrain from following their advice.
.

Content Authority
Content Authority
Pixabay.com

Quality Content: Authority

Do

  • research your topic meticulously
  • get the facts straight
  • have current or up-to-date information
  • provide all relevant details
  • add your unique opinions, ideas, analyses
  • include contrasting views if the topic is controversial

Don't

  • copy content without permission
  • state the obvious without adding something new
  • rehash what has been written about from every possible angle

 

Take Pride in Your Work

Would you be comfortable to show your article to your boss, your competitor, your mother-in-law, your first school principal? It doesn't need to be a literary masterpiece, but using correct grammar and spelling is a basic courtesy to your reader.

The same goes for the readability of your artice. Large blocks of text without paragraph breaks, tiny or fancy fonts, gaudy colors, flashing and blinking graphics - anything that will put a strain on the reader's eyes will diminish the value of your work.

In essence, the content should not just be useful but also visually pleasing to capture and hold the reader's attention.

Quality Content: Appearance

 

Appearance

Do

  • use a spell checker
  • ask someone to proofread
  • break up large text passages into shorter paragraphs
  • structure your article with headers and sub-headers
  • follow a logical flow: introduction, main content, conclusion/summary
  • add images to help visualize your content
  • keep it crisp and clean

Don't

  • publish without a final read-through of your article
  • use long paragraphs of text without visual breaks
  • use too many uncoordinated colors on the page
  • use fancy fonts in the body of the article. Readability rules!
  • mix various (more than 2) fonts on the same page
  • clutter the page with flashy ads or blinking graphics

 

Hey, what about the Search Engines?

If you'll notice, we've focused mainly on the reader; how to best meet the expectations of the visitor who lands on your page and get them to take specific actions.

But what about the search engines? Without their "love" your target audience might not even know your wonderful article even exists. What about SEO, keywords, meta tags, backlinks...?

Well, that'll be the subject of another article.

Quality Articles go Hand in Hand with...

(Hint: You will want to brush up on these skills as well)
Keywords and keyphrases are very important terms for every online author. Find out about what they are, how to use them, and why we need them.
If you are writing online, then you need to know who you are writing to. This group is called your target market or target audience. Do you know who they are?
Updated: 08/27/2014, nightowl
 
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Comments


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Angeles on 07/11/2016

Thanks for the article, good information, I'm new here.

iggy on 12/29/2015

Good information I learned and remembered something here.

Telesto on 08/20/2014

All makes sense, thank you.

Lilysnape on 07/10/2013

Good advice, nicely set out. Very helpful as I am new.

AnomalousArtist on 05/11/2013

Great information, thanks for this article!

georgettejohn on 03/08/2013

This articles contained some great advice and reminders! Thank you!

nightowl on 11/01/2012

Thank you, Bard. Although, you certainly don't need it. I love all your work!

BardofEly on 11/01/2012

Lots of really great advice here and I can see why you are doing so well on Wizzley.

Tolovaj on 06/02/2012

I agree, originality is great, but talking from my experience reader is not always predictable. Sometimes he (she) really doesn't want to read original point of view, or he (she) is just looking for a quick answer to a problem which in author's opinion can't be solved quickly...

Well, I guess my grumbling is taking us to writing niches, right?

Thanks for some good points and reminding me about proofreading. It can be worth of gold...

Guest on 01/05/2012

Lots of helpful information here. You definitely wrote for your reader. Thanks!


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