Enda McLarnon’s Guide continues with an explanation of how to choose article topics
- About types of articles
- How to generate ideas
- How to write more quickly
So far, we’ve covered the ‘proof of concept and validation’ of the topic we’ve chosen for our market. In my case study, that is making great-tasting coffee with a focus on coffee grinders. I know my main keyword phrases have good search volume and the competition is there, but I can compete.
I’ve set my financial goal to make this a website that will earn me good commissions in about one year’s time. In the longer term, I’ll also think about creating my own information product about coffee to sell. Going forward, my focus will now be on doing good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)on my website.
I’ll be concentrating will on physical products such as coffee grinders and coffee machines on sale at Amazon. The coffee-grinder market also has other successful affiliate websites, which means there’s proven success in the market. I need to find exactly what to write about, so I have some high-quality articles on my site. Some will be product reviews, but I like to keep that type of article to about 20 to 30 per cent of all of my article types.
You want to have well written, helpful and informative articles of course, but to make money, you’ll also need product review articles. It’s all about getting the balance of that correct. In my experience, the type of sites that work best will primarily focus on ‘how to‘ or general information-style articles.
These won’t contain Affiliate Links, but may link to one or more of my product reviews. This is about getting the balance right between a website offering value to a reader and one that’s just about selling stuff.
I like to use 80 per cent information and 20 per cent product reviews as a general guideline.
Later, we’ll create some basic pages for our website. For now, though, we want to concentrate on completing 20 articles to get our website published and begin the ranking process. You should never publish a blank website – it offers no value and is overlooked by the search engines.
To meet my 80/20 rule, I’ll want 16 general-information articles about coffee-related material and four product reviews. I tend to start by simply writing down what I already know about the market. If you know about your market, this makes this phase a great deal easier.
So, from my own knowledge when I bought my first grinder, I know there are a few types available:
- Burr grinders
- Blade grinders
- Manual grinders
- Bean-to-cup grinders
I also know grinders built into a machine are the most expensive, burr grinders are also expensive and the other blade and manual ones are cheaper and more popular.
I also know people with an interest in coffee grinders are also interested in coffee beans and the different types of roasts; people use different methods to make their coffee, and people like to drink different types, such as espresso, latte, cappuccino etc. So there’s a lot that can be written about.
You now need to do this for your chosen topic. Don’t over-complicate this process – we’re going to research the market and develop the knowledge. For now, we are simply collecting information and later we can sort it out into various categories and groups.
With this general information, I want to validate it and make sure I have my observations correct. As I’m building an Amazon Associates site, the best place to start this is at the UK Amazon website. I go there and type in ‘coffee grinder’. All I do at the beginning is scan over the products that it brings back:
Right away, I see hand coffee grinders, ceramic burr grinders, twin-blade, nut and spice grinders, and stainless-steel grinders. Looking through the pages, I also find mini grinders, professional grinders, manual grinders, different-coloured grinders etc. On the left-hand side, I see brands such as Krups, Bodum, De’Longhi, Andrew James etc.
I also notice the prices range from £10 to £70. Clearly, there are more than enough products to write about, so finding four product reviews will be a very easy task. The important thing here is to ensure there are a lot of products available, at good price points and with lots of sales. This is validation that this is a good buying market.
Finding Informational Articles
People building new websites find this the most difficult part to do. That is for two reasons:
- Knowing exactly what to write about
- Believing that these type of articles do not make them money
The second point is a huge misconception. If I write an article on the various types of ways that coffee beans are roasted, it helps inform my visitors and many of them will find it interesting. They may share it with friends; more people may visit my website.
When they’re there, they may look around and read other articles and may buy something. These articles are never a waste of time. So where can you find what to write about?
Method 1 – Ezine Articles
My favourite place to start is at a website called Ezine Articles. This is a website where various authors write articles on a whole variety of topics. I go there to get my ideas for writing, because the authors have already done most of the research for you. Almost 500,000 authors write there about a whole variety of topics.
Many of them use this type of website to write an article and then link that back to their own website. The site has strict standards for writing, so the information is good. The people writing there also want to rank their articles, so they also have to do the keyword research. All of this adds up to a very useful resource for finding examples of articles to write.
After I’ve stoked up my inspiration in this way, I compile my list of 20 articles I’d like to write about. 16 will be informational and four will be product reviews. I place these into categories – you should do the same.
- Product Reviews
- Coffee-grinder Tips
- Roasting Coffee Beans
- Coffee Beans
Then I decide how many of each article I will put in each category:
- Product Reviews (4)
- Coffee Grinder Tips (6)
- Roasting Coffee Beans (4)
- Coffee Beans (6)
Now all I have to do is list out my headings for my articles and that is the first part completed.
Method 2 – What Is The Competition Writing About?
Again, we aren’t talking about copying any articles from anyone else. We are simply trying to come up with some article ideas of our own that would make great reading on our website. Go to the websites of your competitors and come up with some ideas based on what they’re writing about.
Again, they will likely have done some time-consuming keyword research. Make a note of article titles you think would fit your website, then write your own version or response to them later, with your own opinion and slant.
Method 3 – Use Google Suggest
You can use a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner, or use Google Suggest (aka Google Instant Search). When you type a search into Google, it pops up a list with suggestions based on what other people are searching for. You can make this more useful by typing in your keyword phrase followed by each letter of the alphabet.
This will reveal lots of keyword phrases. Just by doing this simple task, I found a coffee grinder cleaning brush and coffee grinder cleaning tablets which I had no idea existed. A faster way to do this is by using a website called Ubersuggest, which enables you to put in a general search term and then do a search with each letter of the alphabet. Results can then be downloaded as a list.
Creating A List
The next task is to come up with the list of articles. For the first four product reviews, I always write about the four best-selling products on Amazon – they give me a much better chance of making sales.
How Long Should An Article Be?
This is one of the most common questions asked by newbies. There’s no exact number of words; instead, focus on writing each article to help inform your reader without boring them. Try to ensure your articles all answer a question a reader may well ask.
You’ll always want an introduction to your article so as people know what it is going to be about. Normally this is about 50 to 100 words long. Then break your article into sections with a heading for each section. Keep paragraphs to around three-to-four lines; people will not read long blocks of text.
You may also want to add images and videos – that will be covered in the next section.
When Should You Write Your First Articles?
The first 20 articles should be written before you build your website. One of the biggest reasons why new people fail to make any money from their websites is they don’t have enough regular content. By writing your first 20 articles, you can determine if building a website is something you really want to do.
If you can’t finish 20 articles and have them ready to publish, then there’s just no point in continuing. For a blogger, it is all about writing and publishing regular useful content. This is the acid test of whether you can become a blogger or not.
I could have named this section: ‘how to write an article quickly’. For most people, this will be hard at first, but if you master it, then you can create articles very quickly. I can write 750 words in about 20 minutes. The following approach works for me: write and never focus on spelling or grammar.
If you make mistakes, just ignore them and keep going. Focus on gathering and writing the information and get the articles written. Write for 20 minutes and take a break for five minutes. Then repeat that process, save them and leave them.
The next day, you can then go into editing and correcting mode and fix any mistakes. Remember the life blood of your website will always be content, so find a way to write as many as you can as often as you can.
If you wrote just three articles a week for two years, you’d have 300 articles on your site – that would build up great authority. As long as you’ve picked a topic that’s wide-ranging enough, there will always be plenty to write about. You need to strike a balance between writing helpful informational articles and quality product reviews.
To get ideas, use any or all of the three methods above and create a list of 20 articles to get started. If you’re able to write those articles and enjoy it, then going forward adding more content will never be an issue for you. It’s always best when starting out to write your own articles.
When you start to earn money from your website, then re-invest some of it in outsourcing some of the writing, as that can make things happen a great deal faster.