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How to Attract Readers and Make Money Writing Online
Published March 2013
by Anne DiGeorge
Updated November 22, 2014 by Rachael O'Halloran
How To Attract Readers
Now that I have you here, I have to deliver on part of my title or I will very quickly lose you as a reader.
How do you attract readers?
1. The first of many ways to attract readers is to have a good title.
- Ideally your title should contain at least one searchable keyword to grab the reader's attention. That way when they enter a search word looking for information on their subject matter, your keyword in title will come up relatively quickly in the results list.
- In the next section, I'll show you how to obtain a list of keywords for your topic, and how and where it is best use them in your article.
2. Make a promise in the wording of your title that will give the reader some additional information. You want to grab the reader's attention and keep him/her interested to stay on your site, to read all the way to the end of your article. Promise words in this article are "How To."
3. Attract readers by learning to proofread, a lot. If you have grammar and punctuation errors or poorly worded text, you will not keep the reader on your site very long. Ask a friend to proofread for you because once you hve read something often enough, the errors don't look like errors anymore.
4. Keep your Bounce Rates down. This is done by engaging the reader. Bounce rate is one of those areas where you don't want to see a high percentage on your Google Analytics report.
- A high bounce rate of 90% and above is not good. It means you didn't keep the reader's attention and/or that the reader did not stay on your site very long or complete reading your article.
- You always want to see Bounce Rates of 60% or below. The lower the percentage, the longer the reader was on your site - hopefully reading more of your work after reading the entry article.
5. Include links to your other similar articles. If a reader liked what they read, they may click to read more of your work.
What Is Trending?
Choosing your topic is the most important part of article writing. In order to choose subjects which are timely and in demand, it is best to learn what trends and keywords people are talking about and searching for.
Many websites provide trending in their news scrolls - a list of which topics are popular. Sometimes there is a section "This Just In," "What's Hot" or "In The News."
A few ways to see what is trending are:
- a) Visit your favorite major news websites (CNN, ABC, etc.).
- b) Use Google Keyword Tool.
RACHAEL'S UPDATE: 1/20/2014 - Keyword Planner has replaced Keyword Tool. You need an Adwords account to access the site. It is free, get it here.
- c) Use Google Trends. - has many sub-categories (health, fashion, home, food, etc.) with current hourly trends.
d) If you don't want to use Trends or Adwords, but still want to see how much interest there is in any story you see trending, choose a few keywords from your topic (wordsyou would enter if you were performing a search to read it) and enter them in your search box. If the results come back high in articles (not ads or news reports), you might want to reconsider your topic because the story is probably already be saturated.
- e) If you want to write about it anyway, put your own spin on your title and content to make it unique.
On Google Trends link, you will land on "Hot Searches" screen.
- Click "Explore." Change the country from the top drop down menu to your choice. You can also choose -Worldwide.
- Under the year, select dates then from drop down menu select last month and this month or longer if you wish.
- Choose a category of interest or leave the setting on "all categories." Play around with the settings. Each result is clickable.
In order to steer your article to interested readers, you will need to create a list of keywords that people would enter in search engines when they are searching for an article like yours. So take a look at your project, and pull out at least 10 keywords. If you can't or don't want to, here are a couple of helpful search tools:
REVISED 5/20/2015 due to Wordpot.com site outage.
- a) Wordpot.com - Type in your topic to get list of keywords. Click "Total Daily" column to sort highest to lowest. You don't need an account, but it wouldn't hurt to sign up because you can create projects. Also, they have a great tool to analyze your finished article for keyword density. Note: Access to the site is not reliable since it is under construction often.
- b) Bing's Keyword Tool - You need to sign in with a Microsoft (Windows Live, hotmail, etc.) account for any of Bing's goodies. Also, use your visit to verify your hubs so Bing will index them.
- c) Google's Adwords- enter your topic. You will get a list of keywords and phrases people are entering for searches. Sort highest to lowest. This is the one most people use, but any of these three are adequate for your needs.
- d) Google's FREE Keyword Tool - This tool that goes a step further than regular Googling because it says it can handle long-tail keywords. It also promises to give at least 750 suggestions for each keyword you enter. The advertisement reads: The Best Alternative To Google Keyword Planner And Ubersuggest. Beware: There are ads for subscribing to Keyword Tool Pro which is a fee-based service from $48 to $88 per month. Those who think they will be using this service often may consider this option, but investigate the other free tools here and on web first.
Each one of the above keyword tools will give you a different number of results for your search term. (see screen shots below)
Each one will also give you some slightly different words and phrases which will help you make an informed decision.
For my example, I searched "Fibromyalgia" and the results ranged from 20,000 to 400,000. While "Fibromyalgia" is a broad term, I will go on to choose more specific keywords - for example, fibro fog, fibro pain, medications for Fibromyalgia, diet and exercise for autoimmune diseases, etc.
This was just to give an idea of my search results, to show you that more keywords will show up in your list. I suggest using more than one keyword tool to give yourself lots of ideas.
When you have your list, sort them down to a list of the highest generating keywords to work them into your article.
Bing Search: 460,279 Results (Highest)
Google Adwords Search: 368,000
Wordpot.com Search: 20,000 Results (Least but best refined search)
What To Do With Keyword Results
Why do we have to spend so much time on "keyword research?"
The reason you are doing any keyword research at all is 1) because you want your article to rank higher in Google's search results when people enter certain text, and 2) so you can generate more traffic to your site.
You need to know who is competing with your topic on other sites/blogs for a few reasons.
What you are looking for in your list of results are real people who wrote real articles,
- When you view your search results, skip over entries like About.com, Wikipedia, medical community and research websites as well as advertisements. You aren't concerned with them on this list of results.. They are not your competition. All of the others are the sites you will have to "pass" as you climb up the list to take your place in the top two pages.
The only way to have your article rank higher is to make it better than all the others you see in your results. So with a critical eye, follow these steps.
1. Take a look at your search results for articles that are written on your topic.
- Look to see how those writers set their article up with text, photos, how much detail (or lack of) they put into the subject matter, how often they used keywords, and if the article is well written, free of errors.
2. Did they provide links to any other sites as resources or for continued reading? Has any of the text been copied from other sites?
3. Do their sentences make sense or did the writer keyword pack their sentences just for the sake of using a lot of keywords?
4. Notice if they have a "visit counter" on their site, because this will tell you how many readers the site actually has ... if the site is truly bringing in traffic.
5. When done, bookmark each site and write down the stats, so you can go back in a couple of weeks to see if they linked your site in their resource list OR if they have copied any of your text into their article. Whenever there is a new kid on the block, their work runs the risk being copied. Keep a check on the competition for that reason.
Advice About Keyword Packing
I think when you read some of the articles of those top 100 results for your topic - your competition - you will see that they "keyword packed" many of their paragraphs.
And because they are sitting in the first two pages of Google's results, you might think that keyword packing worked out just fine for them.
In a way it is good for making money if your site gets paid per visit.
But really, it isn't very good for your reader, your writing expression or your growth as a writer.
No one wants to read the same keywords over and over in every paragraph unless the words are serving a viable purpose. Keyword packing your article is not going to make it any better or different from the others sites that showed up in your search results.
Your goal is to write a much better article on the same topic than any of your competition.
You want to be unique, offer decent and accurate information not found elsewhere (or at least presented in a creative way) and you should get to Google's top 100 results with good writing - "the honest way." LOL
Human nature is to click on an article showing up in the first two pages of results.
Your objective is for your article to BE in those first two pages of results.
The way to do that is to be more precise in your information, use interactive polls (readers like quizzes and poll) and offer links within your text or a list of resources so readers can continue researching.
When you write honestly, be true to your reader in delivering what you promised in title, summary and content, you will create a following that your competition can only dream of.
Linking To Other HubPages Articles
How Do I Pick A Hubber To Link To?
To keep my health articles from getting crazy long - over 5000 words, I will search for some exceptional hubbers who wrote similar articles with more detail on one or two aspects and I'll link to them.
I do this to keep traffic moving between hubbers and so I don't have to write longer text on the part of my topic which other hubbers have already written extensively. Saves me time, work, and fosters good will.
- I try not to link any of my articles with writers outside of HP. I'm not in the business of sending traffic to other sites. I want readers to read here on HubPages.
The type of hubber I'm looking for on HP is someone who learned how to micro-specialize their information:
- Fibromyalgia and Insomnia,
- Fibromyalgia and Diet,
- Fibromyalgia and Medication.
How Many Articles Were Written On Your Topic?
Using the phrase "pain management for Fibromyalgia" I did a Google search to see how many articles were written about the topic. The list returned over 5,000 in results, with a lot of medical sites written by bots, as well as some written by real people.
In my search results, because many entries were already published articles, not just advertisements, I knew there was good interest in Fibromyalgia.
But the question begs: do I really want to write on that topic since the results were saturated with hundreds of articles?
Where is my article going to rank with all that competition?
I had to decide: either abandon the topic or find another way to present the information.
- The solution? Micro-specialize, with my content and my title.
I selected the top "Fibromyalgia" story results for "Fibromyalgia pain relief treatment or management." Then I opened the first 15 in separate tabs
What I did was bounce from tab to tab, looking for something unique that all the other stories did not detail about "pain."
- I looked to see If each article dedicated some part of their text to pain management. If there were too many, then I knew to choose another keyword that wasn't so saturated.
- But in this example, when I found only one or two authors offering specifics, I knew I had found room to squeeze in my article, make it better than theirs and rank higher in search engines. The higher your article ranks on a Google search, the more traffic your article can expect.
Then I went to work studying like I was taking a mid-term exam.
I interviewed five patients at HealthCentral.com who were living with Fibromyalgia to learn from their prospective. My medical information had to be up to date, refreshing, and not read like stale news.
On January 2, 2012, I wrote and published my article on how commonly Fibromyalgia is misdiagnosed, and included the latest medical news about pain management and a little pep talk to inspire readers who were dealing with the disease. My published title was "How Fibromyalgia Is Misdiagnosed."
About two weeks later, a search showed I ranked somewhere around number 300 in the results using search term "Fibromyalgia."
It was disappointing. My stats showed I was not getting traffic, only 22 views in 2 weeks. I was confident my article was well written, contained good keywords, photos and links to other hubs and medical websites. I just wasn't happy my article was showing up so far down the search engines list.
I decided fine tuning the title might help.
I changed my title to "Commonly Misdiagnosed Illnesses: Fibromyalgia." I used the word "Illnesses" instead of Diseases in the title on purpose. I needed to make the title more unique so it would get noticed and using a word no other articles had in their title was the way to go.
My traffic increased to 40 views in the next week. To date, the hub has over 1200 views.
By January 29, 2012, I was 19th on the list of results for "Misdiagnosis Fibromyalgia", just under Health Central, where I also write.
A search for "Commonly Misdiagnosed Fibromyalgia" moved me to 13th position. Searching "Fibromyalgia misdiagnosis" ranks down the list in the 30's. I moved to the top 50, which in my view, trumped sitting at number 300.
As was my usual way, I had linked to a number of other hubbers who wrote on Fibromyalgia. On a self-contained site like HubPages, it is always a risk due to people coming, going, being censored, or just deciding to unpublish.
For me, the risk didn't pay off because on January 30, 2012, I had to remove most of the links because the hubs I linked to were unpublished, making them invalid.
I also decided I didn't want to keep an eye on who cancelled their HubPages account or whose content was unpublished for whatever reason, so I didn't hook up to anyone else.
On January 31, 2012, some of my links to several other medical communities were flagged as promotional, so I removed them as well. The article is not my highest viewing hub but it isn't my lowest either. It stands alone on its own merit.
As long as all your article is well written, some pertinent keywords are in your article title, headings, links and picture captions, you will rank well in category.
The more unique your article and title is to the general topic, the higher it will rank in the search engines for people to find you.
The Value of Content
It should go without saying that to attract readers, your content has to be top shelf quality.
Your article has to actually say something of value, provide information and be interesting or entertaining.
- a) You should know your topic inside and out.
- b) Generally, the more in-depth information you can provide, supported with links and photographs, the more likely you'll hold your reader's attention and create a following.
- c) If you are writing a "how to" article, include diagrams or photos with your step by step directions as well as what you estimate it will cost for the project.
- d) If you are an expert in your field, support it with credentials and links to your other work.
- e) Don't write like a reporter. Write like you are a real person talking to real people.
(♥♥) We live in a society where people want to be instantly gratified. Your readers are no different.
(♥♥) When they are reading an article that promises to give information, make sure you deliver.
Make Good on Your Title's Promise
You need to supply the information that your title is promising to the reader - preferably in detail.
- a) It is best to address this early on, so the reader doesn't quit reading by the third paragraph.
- b) Even if you don't answer the question in full, at least keep providing new information throughout the article to hold the reader's attention.
- c) Some readers surf every other word, every few sentences, or sometimes full paragraphs. Make your point in each paragraph and make each paragraph relevant to your article.
Advice For Paragraphs
(♥♥) Keep each paragraph to one topic.
(♥♥) If you are going to start talking about something else, start a new paragraph.
Let Your Paragraphs Breathe!
Write short paragraphs with a few sentences.
Think of each sentence as a chance to pause, and each paragraph as a chance to take a breath.
- a) Short paragraphs are easier to read and look neater.
- b) Large paragraphs with very few breaks may make your reader skip your article.
- c) For headings and subtitles, use just a few keywords from your search results to increase the standing of your article in search engines which will, in turn, bring visitors.
"How To" Articles
(♥♥) Step by step instructions with pictures will attract readers to your "how to" articles.
Are You An Expert?
Readers love "how to" articles, but sometimes it is hard to understand an expert's language.
Write your article as if you were having a chat with your reader. You can still supply expert information through the use of diagrams, photographs and resource links.
Photographs Attract Readers
Photographs can make or break the success of an article. Including photos that correspond to pertinent sections of your article can make it more user-friendly.
- a) If the photo has a watermark, signature or an "all rights reserved" copyright, they are off limits.
- b) In addition to other free-to-use sites, many people use photographs they find on Pinterest. Just be sure to link back to the actual posting party or owner of photograph, not just to the general website -Pinterest.com.
- c) Many photographs offer use through a special license called a CC or Creative Commons use. You must credit the photograph using the language of the license. Refer to the CC link for how to word photo credits. Always list the site where you found the photograph.
- d) If permission is needed to use a photograph, get it. Nothing is worth going to court over a copyright infringement allegation or paying out $150,000 in fines, per image.
Using Bold or Underlining For Emphasis
For an informational article on the web, numbers, bullets, underlining and boldface are good tools.
- a) While drawing the reader's eye and nicely emphasizing important points, too much can make the reader ignore them and your message will be lost. Use each feature sparingly.
- b) If you use numbers or bullets, keep each to one topic.
- c) On HubPages, there are hub guidelines for using underlining and bold face. It is good advice whether writing on HubPages or other websites.
As you can see from my hubs, it is not advice that I always follow. I believe bold print and underlining draw the eye and my readers remember the information long after they have left my site. I often use Heading 2 and 3 to break up my paragraphs within a text capsule when they pertain to the same topic as that text capsule. Otherwise, if it is a new topic, I start a new text capsule. Readers tell me that it is easier to read my hubs because of the amount of information that is in them and the way I break the info up makes it more digestible.
Do you ask specific poll questions to motivate your readers to answer?
Readers like polls because it gives them a chance to voice their opinion. Even if some readers don't vote, they will check results because they are curious what others think.
- a) Use your polls as a "lead-in," wording them to be on the topic of the corresponding paragraph.
BTW, The above poll was a lead-in to this paragraph.
(♥♥) Sidebars are a good way to bring out a main idea, a snippet or to emphasize a point.
(♥♥) Readers will remember snippets before they remember full content.
Sidebars - an acceptable form of emphasis
In case you haven't noticed, I like to slug text to the right using sidebars.
- a) Make sure the topic of the sidebar text is positioned to the correct paragraph topic. No one wants to read about something in a sidebar if it is going off on another topic, nor do they want to search the sidebars looking for something you were talking about in your text.
- b) Sidebars make an article look organized.
Google 2 sentences to see if someone stole your work. Don't rely on URL checkers. They will show your own URL. If stolen, follow DMCA
Talk To Your Reader
In life, I try to talk "to" people ... not "at" people and I believe it carries over in my writing.
That is my style, my voice - if you will. I try not to be too technical and I aim to keep it simple so readers don't have to look up words in the dictionary. I use plain English.
It doesn't work for all writers, but I think it works for me judging from my hub view statistics.
I'm not saying you should dumb it down or talk down to a reader, but don't make them run for a dictionary either - or worse, click off your site on their way to another.
K. I. S. S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) -- the commanding officer said to the soldier.
Try to be personable so you connect with your reader. The more articles you write (and the feedback you get from readers) will lead to finding your own voice.
Validating your information with links to the source location adds to your credibility so the reader knows you didn't just make it all up.
- a) Giving resource links for your readers to follow saves them time and builds readership following.
- b) Make sure links work so readers don't land on a 404 or 305 error.
- c) Do timely checkups on your completed articles to make sure links are still valid.
It's Not All About Grammar, Read Out Loud
(♥♥) If you have grammar and spelling errors, you will lose a reader very quickly.
(♥♥) While grammar is important, so is double-checking that all of your links work and your photos have the correct credits.
(♥♥) Stop reading your article for 24 hour after you have completed it. Then next day, go back to it and read your article out loud to yourself. You will find errors more easily than if you just proofread silently. You don't have to have someone in front of you to read to, just read it out loud while sitting at your computer.
Proofreading Is Important
Proofreading is your last chance to look over your work for errors before submission. Once a search engine's robot roams your article and puts it in search results, it makes a "cached" copy of your text. Catch your errors before the robot comes roaming.
- a) Proofread your article twice from beginning to end.
- b) Walk away from the computer for at least half an hour, then come back and proofread again.
- c) If possible, ask someone to proofread it for you.
- d) See sidebar. I like to let articles sleep for 24 hours, then read them out loud to see if I spot any more errors.
Making Money Writing On HubPages, Suggested by awordlover
If you are not already a member, you should sign up for HubPages. It is a great place to write and meet other writers. Here's a little about how payment works:
- a) $50 must be earned before HubPages pays you. If you don't make payout one month, HubPages will carry it over month to month until you do reach $50. I have been meeting payout about six times per year. So I don't get paid every month, however many hubbers do.
- b) On your stat page, your earnings total will be reset to zero every month, but you don't lose earnings that have been tallying from the previous month. The HubPages Earnings tab keeps a running total and allows you to view your earnings for each month.
- c) You will need a PayPal account in order to be paid by HubPages.
- d) You will need a bank account to be paid by Google Adsense. Go to My Account, then click the "Earnings" tab, then click "configure" for each one to sign up.
- e) To make additional revenue on HubPages, use your referral tracker on the hubs of your choice to advertise sign up. You never know who will click to join HubPages. When they do, you get paid and the program is explained here.
- f) If you find you are not making money on HubPages, it could be due to a lack of traffic. Take a look at your stats, your title, the quality of your content, and your comment activity on other hubs and forums (or lack of it). It may be that you just need to change the title of your article, however the URL will remain the same. You are ranked in search engines by title, content and keywords.
- g) After 3 to 6 weeks, if a hub is not getting traffic like your others, it's the hub, not you. Rework the hub, follow proofreading and grammar rules, add more photos and resource lists, keyword your text and photo capsules and re-publish.
- h) The title you chose when you wrote the hub is one you are stuck with in the URL. But you can change it on your hub as many times as you wish. It is that title which is picked up by search engines. The URL is just how readers find it. How many times have you noticed a URL is not the same as a title? That's why. Tweak, tweak, tweak!
Advertising Your HubPages Article
Whenever you publish a new hub on HubPages, share it ... everywhere.
- a) Click the Facebook "like" button to share the hub to your own Facebook page. This is when it would behoove you to have 5000 Facebook friends!
- b) Copy and paste URL to your Google page so your circles see it.
- c) If you have a blog, either make a post about it or list it in the sidebar near your bio.
- d) Tweet your URL on Twitter.
- e) Ask your friends to click the Facebook "Like" button on your hub to share it to their Facebook page so it is shared with all of their friends.
- f) Many times you will see someone leave a hub comment that they "voted up and shared" your hub. It could be on Facebook, on Twitter or on HubPages. Hubbers who click the "Hub Page Followers" button are sharing it to HubPages front page feed so that their followers will see your hub.
You can also rephrase your hubs into new articles to submit them to other websites. As long as you don't copy them word for word you can get more earning power out of your hubs.
Don't forget to include a link back to the actual hub on HubPages at the end of every article. Check the website you are writing for to see if they allow backlinking.
If you think this article gave you helpful info, I'd appreciate your rating. TY
How To List Your Articles With Search Engines - awordlover's best suggestions
No matter what website you are writing for, if you don't have traffic, you aren't earning money. To maximize the publicity of your articles, you can submit your links to other search engines and directories.
- a) Although some experts say it isn't necessary to list hubs because their "bots" roam anyway, I always suggest submitting your work to Google, using Webmaster Tools. I think it improves hub traffic. Google's help section says it can take several weeks for them to complete indexing, but I've seen my traffic pick up within 5 days on average.
- b) Submit each of your articles to other search engines. Do it at the time of publishing so you don't miss any of your articles.
Jan 21, 2014 UPDATED BY RACHAEL - hub was cited for being overly promotional so I had to remove some of awordlover's links. Here are other suggestions:.
Here's a sample of the listing sites I use and how I rate them for bringing traffic to hubs: Google Webmaster Tools above is BEST rating.
- Submit to Yandex using their webmaster tool. GOOD rating
- Submit to ineedhits.com for free here. sign up for the FREE version. Sends to 20 search engines. GOOD to VERY GOOD rating.
- Sign up for Bing in order to submit to Bing and Yahoo using their webmaster tool. FAIR TO GOOD rating.
- You will need a Google account to submit your site to Feedburner.com. Sends to 25 search engines. Traffic improves within a week on Anne's hubs. VERY GOOD rating.
NOTE: Submit Express was removed from this list due to a potentially broken link, which I did fix, but also for being overly promotional. Although they submit to 70 search engines, you only have to submit your hubpages URL and their bots will roam all the hubs. Copy and paste this link into your browser and follow the prompts. www.submitexpress.com/free-submission.html
- If you have other domains besides HubPages, you can submit 5 sites per day, but only one from HubPages.
Ask, don't take!
Dear Reader: Please do not copy my work to other websites. That infringes on my copyright, and makes me lose money on HubPages.
If you wish to share with your readers, you can send them this link or insert the link in your own article.
All Rights Reserved - Do Not Copy
How To Make Money Writing Online (Resource List)
(♥♥) This is a list of writing websites (in no order of importance) that are active and accepting new signups. UPDATED: November 22, 2014.
Triond - you keep 50% of advertising earnings. PayPal, check, Western Union money transfer
Epinions - You write reviews (positive or negative) of products currently for sale on web. USA cashout at $10, non USA cashout $100
Yahoo Network Contributor - assignments pay between $2 and $25. Paypal. No payout limit.
Demand Media Studios - write for eHow.com, livestrong, legalzoom, USA Today and many other similar sites. Pays between $15 and $30. PayPal. No payout limit. Pays twice a week.
Digital Journal - pays for likes and page views. PayPal.
About.com - this site is listed as a "real job." lol Click link to read about their benefit package and perks.
Blogging.org - over 13,000 writers, 800 articles. From $1.50 to $20. No mention of PayPal. Read TOS.
Constant Content - Payout is 65%. PayPal.
Thank you for not copying this article.
Final words by awordlover
Thank you for hanging in there until the end of this lengthy article.
I hope you have picked up some useful information to help attract readers and to earn some extra money with your writing.
March 2013 by Anne DiGeorge
Updated 1/20/2014, 2/8/2014, 11/22/2014 by Rachael O'Halloran to replace pixelated copyscape logos and to correct links, format issues and remove links to sites who reported for malware.
Updated April 6, 2017 by Rachael O'Halloran to remove broken links.
© 2014 awordlover