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How to Write An Article Quickly

Updated on October 28, 2012

Having started my journey as a freelance writer only a few short months ago, I realize that the learning curve is steep. There are hundreds of ways to earn money as an online writer, each place with a slightly different protocol and set up. What I have noticed across the board however, is that the pay is low. Unfortunately, new writers must start somewhere, so many of us take these jobs despite the fact that the hourly pay is usually less than minimum wage! The only way to make decent money is to train your brain to write well- and fast.

Source

The standard 500 word article

For the purposes of this article, we will talk about the most common type of writing requested by copywriters; the standard 500 word article or blog post. In order to crank these out quickly with good quality writing, you need to break down the page into manageable pieces. Let's start with the big picture and work our way inward.

Just how long is 500 words?
If you have been writing for awhile, you know the "feel" of 500 words. Typically, it is approximately a 5 to 6 paragraph article that takes up one page (in 12 font, single spaced, with spacing between the paragraph headers). So when you begin, you want to think with the whole page in mind.

Get a title
If you are working on Textbroker or other similar sites, the subject matter will be laid out for you. If however you are bidding on a longterm oDesk contract, you may have to come up with ideas on your own. 500 word articles are typically narrowly generic. What do I mean by that? Let's say you are asked to write 10 articles on gardening. You want to pick narrow topics like, "Different Types of Lawn Grass" or "Great Crawling Perennials", but you want to keep the subject matter fairly general. You aren't going to go into the taxonomy of each type of plant species because that would take too much time and research. Rather you are going to outline different categories and give a few examples of each.

Here's the point- make your title specific and then you can keep the content general. This way, you aren't stuck doing hours of research for an article that is going to reap you a whopping $5.00. However, the specific title will force you to write an article that is not fluff, but can actually answer relevant questions your reader has about the topic.

Prepare the paragraphs
You need an introduction, conclusion, and then three or four paragraphs that contain the meat of the article. When I have a lot of articles to write, I make up all the titles, then write the introductions and conclusions. They may have to be tweaked a bit if your article goes in a different direction than you originally planned.

Prepare the keywords
How many times have you written an article, only to realize you forgot the keyword? Here's what you do: Write the sentences that contain the keyword first. It doesn't matter where they go just yet- you'll be able to figure that out as your article comes together. Once you have those sentences written, you can strategically place them where it makes the most sense.

Source
Writer's Checklist
Have you written a specific title?
Do you meet the word minimum?
Do you have an introduction and conclusion?
Have you run your article through copyscape?
Have you run your article through an advanced grammar checker?
Did you use the keywords?

An example

So, using the example above, let's say you are working on those 10 gardening articles. Let's choose the Different Types of Lawn Grass. The client wants you to insert the keywords "hardy green grass" at least twice.

Title: Different Types of Lawn Grass
Introduction: If you are about to give your backyard a makeover, it is important to do some research about the type of grass that would flourish in your yard. You need to assess your climate, the sun path on your property, and then make an informed choice. Here are few points to consider.
Conclusion: With some time and patience, your lawn will be ready for your next outdoor party. Keep in mind, it takes many species of grass at least two or three seasons to mature, so be sure to keep everything off the grass after a busy day. Water it during a dry spell, and mow regularly. You'll be the envy of the neighborhood in no time!

To write the introduction and conclusion took 116 words. I did it in five minutes! Now onto the keyword sentences.

Keywords:

  1. No one wants to spend gobs of money on a landscaping job unless you can be sure that you will have hardy green grass in a month or two.
  2. Hardy green grass should start to appear in several weeks with diligent watering.

Go through all ten articles and do this exercise. Once you are done, you can go back and add the meaty content.

Figuring out the meat of the article

So the above exercises took me about 10 minutes. Now it is time to do research (if you need to). The idea is that if you are writing generally about a specific topic, you shouldn't need to do too much in the way of research. If this article is going to give you $5.00 when you are done, you'll want to be able to crank out at least 3 an hour to make it worth your while.

For this green grass article, I need to do a bit of research to determine how to fill in this article. After about three minutes of looking on Google, I realized that it is not in my best interest to go through a lengthy dialogue of each type of grass. Rather, I am going to use a paragraph to discuss the different types of grass, a paragraph to discuss how to assess your lawn, and a paragraph about the different between sod and seed. I have just figured out my subheadings in those three minutes. Here is an example of a "meat" paragraph.

Assess your lawn
Before you decide on a species of grass, take a closer look at your lawn. How much of it receives sunlight all day? Do you have slopes and hills that cause rainwater to run down to a certain area? Do you have kids that will be on the lawn all the time, or is this mostly for looks? Get a piece of paper and write down the answers to all of these questions. Some grasses handle drought better than others, and there are specific shade versus sun varieties as well. Finally, pick a grass that is known to do well in your climate. You may love the look of Kentucky Blue Grass, but it isn't going to look pretty if it's dead. No one wants to spend gobs of money on a landscaping job unless you can be sure that you will have hardy green grass in a month or two. (154 words)

So as you can see, you have over 200 words between your intro, conclusion, and first subheading. If you add two more paragraphs approximately the same size as the first one, you have hit your 500 word mark.

How long does it take you to write a 500 word article?

See results

Some other tips

  • For paid online web content, stick to 2nd or 3rd person. When you write in 2nd person, you are talking to your reader. Be sure to use a qualified landscaper to seed your lawn is 2nd person. A person should use a qualified landscaper to seed his or her lawn is 3rd person. Don't use 1st person unless it is a personal blog post that the client has specifically asked for.
  • DO NOT copy and paste text from another article EVEN to use as a reference. I find that if I am staring at an already written paragraph from someone else, it is too easy to just "spin" it as my own. Rather, do your research like a typical browser. Peruse a couple of sites and read. Do not take notes- but rather try to absorb the information in your head. Once you sit down to write, do the best you can to write it from your head. You will lower the likelihood of any sort of copying or plagiarism. If its a difficult topic, you can go back and check on the facts and details after.
  • Watch your comma use. There are two types of writers in the world- those that use them too little and those that use them too much. Study up so you can keep your comma usage appropriate.
  • Watch contractions. When writing professionally, it is better to stick to words like "cannot" rather than "can't". Of course, there are plenty of clients that will not care, but you do not want to be the one who happened to find the jerk.

Longer articles

The beauty of this method is that it can adapt to any length you need! If you are writing 1000 word article, you will need to boost the meat of your introduction and conclusion, as well as add several more "meat" paragraphs in the middle.

With absolutely no prior experience with copywriting, I have spent the last three months working diligently to provide services that are competitive, but also worth my while. At this point, I can write between three and four 500 word articles in one hour (provided they are all in a similar niche). This is a drastic improvement from the day when I could barely squeeze out one of these articles in an hour!

I hope you are able to learn from this article today and your speed and quality improves to the point where you are making a decent hourly rate with copywriting. Happy writing!

Source

About the author

Julie DeNeen is a full-time freelance writer and mom of three. She has a background in music, psychology, and technology, and loves to write about how to do things quickly! She also has a Speedy Mom column where she gives tips to help fellow mom's learn tricks to do things faster.

Are you interested in Hubpages? Sign up and publish your first article today!

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    • AvineshP profile image

      Avinesh Prahladi 3 years ago from Chandigarh

      Thanks Julie DeNeen, as I am a content writer by profession, these tips will surely help me.

      Thanks.

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 4 years ago from United States

      Thank you so much for this excellent hub full of helpful tips! Voted up and awesome!

    • josephbarrett profile image

      Joseph Barrett 4 years ago from South Carolina

      This hub is simply great, very informative for new writers and professionals as well. There are lots tips to learn to make our article much better. Thanks for sharing helpful information.

    • Zebedeerox profile image

      Jason Darrell 4 years ago from Tipton, West Mids, UK

      Seriously, I've paid money for software to help achieve the fast article, but it's useless without this type of overview 'how and why'.

      Absolutely brilliant and informative - it's like I bought a self-assembly wardrobe from IKEA five years ago and they've just decided to send me the instructions so that I can build it. Top marks!

    • chef stella profile image

      chef stella 4 years ago

      Yup, commas are always difficult for me to handle!

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      This is a very detailed and well-written article designed to give really useful and practical tips to be successful in the freelance market. Great job.

    • TycoonSam profile image

      TycoonSam 4 years ago from Washington, MI

      Excellent Hub Julie! I will definitely bookmark this one and use it as a reference.

      Voted up and useful.

    • Learning in Life profile image

      Megan Sisko 4 years ago from SW Florida

      Great hub and extremely useful! I wanted to get started on textbroker but 500 word articles for that pay just didn't seem feasible then.

    • slackermom profile image

      Lisa Palmer 4 years ago from Attapulgus GA

      These are some great tips. I'm guilty of not churning out enough work to be very profitable. I am also one of those writers that tends to overuse commas. I think I'm going to try your tips and see if it helps me.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Great information. I know I read it before but I caught it again on twitter so it was a great refresher.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great advice! I tend to spend too much time on content articles when I really need to just get them out there. Thanks!

    • HoneyBB profile image

      Honey Halley 5 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for the awesome tips. I will definitely try to use them when writing my next article.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 5 years ago

      Great information and tips - some so plainly laid out that even this techno-tard understood...

      i see how busy you are and...i remember those days - and i have the scars to prove it..lol

      truth is - i am not 'allowed' to do anything fast anymore - it's bad for my mental health..

      so..i do my best to plod along - doing everything i can to turn a natural Type A personality into a nice, calm Type B-minus..

      lol..

      well done!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Wow--you are a goddess--I am never so organized!!

    • lindalou1963 profile image

      Linda 5 years ago from Texas

      Some very useful, great tips, I'm headed over to text broker now to see what I can do! Thanks for sharing!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Smearing this around to help other writers out there. :)

    • AliceFSpencer profile image

      AliceFSpencer 5 years ago from Texas

      Thanks Julie great read being a mother of 4 I need to do eveything quickly~ voted up and looking forward to reading more tips !!

    • stayingalivemoma profile image

      Valerie Washington 5 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

      Great tips for freelancers on here! I write for Textbroker as well and you definitely have to step your game up to make some money on there. Voted up and awesome and also pinned to Pinterest!

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 5 years ago from New York City

      I just hit that thumbs up and beautiful button & many others because you my friend truly are the real deal true to life freelance writer type, and you're nothing like many of us inexperienced hub writers here who simply aim, and fire at that infamous publish button most of the time, cranking out at random only what we thought was a good write up to ourselves.

      Content writing for clients sure seems tough, and that's why I'll stick it out here on hubpages, where I'm not as pressured to perfect my craft even though, it does take a great deal of skill & time investment to become a powerful hub writer as well.

      I know that grammatically I may be one of the worst best hub writers LOL, I love misusing commas and the likes. Oh and especially, misspelling, and misplacing words by mistake actually.

      I hate these darn keyboards the most though, and I prefer a number 2 pencil as well as a pad or loose-leaf binder to get the job done, but that just isn't the reality here in cyber world right!

      You have definitely made an impression on me here, and your article writing techniques are truly superb to say the least. I love the way you've infused the whole gardening tips directly into the article, while teaching the sort of lesson here, it was very useful, and highly valuable, as well as instructional.

      Awesome job! Julie

      You are a definitely a force to be reckoned with here on hubpages and the web as a whole, and this article tells the tale, oh one more thing it was also highly motivating as well. Thanks!!!!!!

    • profile image

      Casimiro 5 years ago

      Excellent tips on productive writing plus even more great links on the side to help out. I bow down to you! :) Will be sure to come back for more as I develop more hubs.

    • bizwin profile image

      Christabel Evans 5 years ago from England, UK

      This is a very useful hub on writing articles when I have less time for research. Voted across.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Great tips about writing the introduction and conclusion first. It really helps to round out the idea of the article before having to dig deeper. It also opens up some doors as to what direction to go in when digging deeper.

      Voted up and useful!

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 5 years ago from New Jersey

      These are excellent tips and tricks. I love that you provide examples of how to include specifics based on what a client wants, like certain key phrases and how many times. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    • profile image

      chrisinhawaii 5 years ago

      You're my hero, Julie haha! Voted up and awesome and shared!

    • brianlokker profile image

      Brian Lokker 5 years ago from Bethesda, Maryland

      This is an excellent approach to the article writing process. Speed is definitely not my forte, but I would absolutely like to improve that, so I will be trying out your method. Great article!

    • danielleantosz profile image

      danielleantosz 5 years ago from Florida

      Good tips! Speed and quality are a hard balance.

    • Rfordin profile image

      Rfordin 5 years ago from Florida

      Voted useful, which it is.

      Thanks for sharing with us.

      ~Becky

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      Good advice here, Julie. I find myself wandering off the subject at hand, especially is I need to research something. I don't think I could ever master your technique: you are good!

      I voted this UP, etc

    • mbergo profile image

      mbergo 5 years ago from Porto Alegre, Brazil

      Very informative and useful information.

    • editorsupremo profile image

      editorsupremo 5 years ago from London, England

      Super tips and information on writing speedy articles. Once I have my title and keywords I'm off like a shot writing the introduction, but I might now consider doing the conclusion at the same time. I like that tip. Anything that will cut the time of writing when you have several articles to write. Good Job Julie.

      Voted up and shared

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Great information! Thanks so much for sharing your technique. I recently began freelance writing articles for a company, but find that I sometimes ramble for too long. I will use your advice. :-) Voted up and useful!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very useful suggestions and an interesting read. I'm bookmarking this. Voted up, useful and interesting. Shared this one too.

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 5 years ago from Virginia

      Great tips Julie, and a very well put together hub, thanks for the advice!

    • Deepak Chaturvedi profile image

      Deepak Chaturvedi 5 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Informative and useful hub.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      So much great information here. I'm going to have to bookmark this and refer to it often. Thank you! voted up, useful and shared ^_^

    • laptopfinger profile image

      Christiano Odhiambo 5 years ago from Nairobi

      I have read the info again, and looks like I will print this hub and stick it on my desk. Very useful.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Wow, this is a great comprehensive overview for both veteran and new freelance writers!

    • annerivendell profile image

      annerivendell 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Brilliant! This has got to be one of the best Hubs I've read in a while. Informative, to the point and well written. I'm going to print this and stick it up above my screen so that I can refer to it when I'm writing. Thank you.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      This hub is full of great ideas! It makes it sound so easy, and I have always made it so hard. I can't wait to more fully digest this and then give it a try. Great hub!

    • MissyGear profile image

      MissyGear 5 years ago

      An extremely useful article! School has made me so use to writing long, drawn out papers that the idea of writing an informative piece that is only 1 page has become a total nightmare! This makes it so much more manageable. And a good reminder that you don't need 5-7 pages to get your point across. What a refreshing realization.

    • laptopfinger profile image

      Christiano Odhiambo 5 years ago from Nairobi

      Hello new hackwriters, there is a way to check your style and grammar, and its painless. Get MS Word 2010 and go to:

      (File) - (Options) - (Proofing) - (When correcting spelling and grammar in Word) - (Writing style)

      then ensure that settings are 'ON' for 'grammar and style'; also, click on the setting tabs, just beside grammar and style option, and ensure everything is 'ON'.

      Thank the hub author, because she triggered this thought.

    • Elise-Loyacano profile image

      Elise-Loyacano 5 years ago from San Juan, Puerto Rico

      These are some nice tips, Julie. I tend to finish one article before moving onto the next, but I can see how working on several at once can be a time saver. Thanks for posting.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      These are great tips here Julie. Simply knowing that it is possible to write three to four articles in an hour is a start, and you have provided a great strategy on how to do it. I will definitely be following this strategy from now on.

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 5 years ago from Finland

      Wow, this is a great hub with many helpful tips. I find it hard to plan what to write about. I start writing and don't really know if it's a 500 word hub or a 1000 word hub. Now I know how to do it. Thank you for sharing what you know, Julie.

      I don't write fast, and writing in English is a little difficult for me. I have to search for words that I only know in Swedish and see if I can use those words in my hubs and if they make any sense. I really feel that my writing has improved the last months. My first hubs took me days to write and my comments were just a few words. It has taken me one year and 50 hubs to see a big improvement in my writing.

      I think this hub has a potential to become a HOTD. :)

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Very good information. You fill in all the blanks and provide explanations as to the reality of making money, and how much. Many Thanks!

    • sweethearts2 profile image

      sweethearts2 5 years ago from Northwest Indiana

      Very helpful and interesting advise. Will take to heart. Nothing is more encouraging than to finish an article quickly. Very useful.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Very great tips here! I also find that I need to close out email, Facebook and other distractions and not open them up again until I get to a desired point in my writing (or finish the article). Another hurdle for me is to stop self-editing before writing and just get words on the screen. I can edit later. Rated up!

    • patchofearth profile image

      patchofearth 5 years ago from somewhere in the appalachian foothills

      This is completely awesome! And just what I was looking for. I too am making my foray into the freelance writing market. Thanks for these great pointers. I will use them for sure!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great looking, informative and very well done!

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain

      What a great hub, interesting, full of great advice and loads of great information.

      It has given me a lot to think about, I see that I am not organised and that is the main reason it takes me forever to write a hub, and I tend to go over things minutely to check I have my facts right.

      It is clear that if I had to make a living I would have to find something else to do lol...

      However, your hub has given me some insight as to where I have been going wrong.

      Thank you so much for sharing it is very helpful and I am bookmarking it for later.

      Voting up+ and hitting the relevant buttons on my way out :D

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      Interesting hub with lots of good information that a person like me needs. Voted Up.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Good ideas here Julie. You are right that speed is needed for any writer who is full-time. Well outlined and giving it a vote up

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Very useful information. Reading your hub has given me the kick in the pants I needed to start another hub. I am sure I will be referring back to this from time time. Voted up and useful!

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      I like the idea of capitalizing on a specific title and a general content, that way i can find the content of the article in minutes. From this article, i have learnt that i need to work on my "conclusions". I think many of my articles' conclusions are not that catchy. Great and useful article you have here Julie DeNeen, voted up, useful and shared.

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Thanks for the tips! This is a real growing point for me; my article production is terribly slow, but I got some great ideas here.

    • Daniella Lopez profile image

      Danielle Lopez Newcomb 5 years ago from Arkansas

      Great information! I love how you condensed everything down to lessen the amount of time required. Great article, voted up.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Great information. I know I tried writing for textbroker for awhile and it just unneccessarily stressed me out. One of the main reasons, was because I wasn't interested in any of the subjects they wanted to be written about and I wasn't knowledgeable either so everything seemed to require a lot of research and little reward. That is why I ended up sticking with Hupbages. I am also on Xomba but I haven't been really active over there in a very long time. And I am even thinking of starting my own blog. I guess, it is good to make solid money but I think I would burn out writing that. These writing tips however can be applied to anything you do. Whether it is pounding out a hub or pounding out a keyword type article for a client. Great job and great hub. Here is to success as writers!

    • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

      ThoughtSandwiches 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Julie,

      So this is how it's done?? Thank you so much for doing this informative article! With this information in hand I think I can grow my business like (wait for it) "hardy green grass." Voting all the Ups and bookmarking!

      Thomas

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      Georgianna Lowery 5 years ago from Lubbock, TX

      Sometimes it does take me a while to get 500 words, especially if it's something that requires a lot of research, but I can generally get them done three or four an hour.

      Right now, I'm sticking to very short articles, around 200 words each, and I can pop them about about ten an hour because they're all on related topics.

      Good information in this Hub, I'll pass it along because I have a few freelancing friends!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Great tips Julie...I'm really not experienced at Freelance but it's something I'd like to do when I feel qualified! Lol so far...nope!

      Up and everything!

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      Julie! Fabulous hub. Your outline, suggestions, and helpful tips should be read by anyone who is interested in becoming a good writer. I am one who loves to learn and appreciates everything you have shared. Thumbs up and definitely shared! Thank you so much! Lisa

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      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Wow, these are some really useful tips! Thanks for sharing this - I'll get back to you as soon as I'm able to conquer 3 articles in an hour....phew, sounds impossible right now, but I'm sure after following your tips and more practice it will get better over time :)

    • joanveronica profile image

      Joan Veronica Robertson 5 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      Extremely enlightening! I have been wandering round the whole idea of freelance, since I get $zero on Hubpages, no Adsense, I seem to be stuck there, Google won't oblige.

      I see myself more as a teller of nonfiction stories, and couldn't imagine how to go about the freelance thing. Thanks for the info, I will think on it some more, but it's a start!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      You are also speaking my language too and thanks for the helpful hints. I too have mastered writing an article quickly in a pinch by doing a quick outline with a working title, but you did give some very useful suggestions here that I anyone can definitely put to good use. Have voted up, shared and tweeted too!!

    • profile image

      Website Examiner 5 years ago

      This hub is very instructive, concise, and nicely done. Not an enviable profession, article writing, but you are right that the methodical approach may be the only way to survival.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Talking my language here Julie! I do this each and every day for customers. I have gotten to the point where I can do one of these in 15 minutes....not bad money per hour at that rate. :) Useful suggestions!