Submitting your blog posts to article archive sites is widely recognized not only as a good way to create credible links back to your web site, but also as a means to get more people to read your prose. In January of this year I started submitting to the top article directories. I’ll save you a lot of pain and suffering by telling you what I’ve learned of each during this process. They’re listed below in order of popularity.
Ehow: With over 20 million unique visitors per month, this is one of the top sites in the world. I enthusiastically joined, but haven’t been able to post any articles as apparently there’s a bug in their system. On the other hand, over a hundred other users asked to become my “friend” in the first couple days after I signed-up, even though we don’t know each other from Adam! I can’t yet fathom what advantage they get from adding friends, but it’s likely because you can spam them! I must point out that you won’t be able to publish your article as is on Ehow, as its format requires you to enter step by step instructions on how to do something. You can adapt a lot of your material, of course, but it’s a lengthy process which can end in frustration if the aforementioned bug rears its head. So far, my participation is eHow has generated no tangible benefits!
EzineArticles: The precursor to all article archives! Its readership is still in the millions, and putting your articles here will get you quality backlinks overnight. The major difference between EzineArticles and the competition is that your articles will always be reviewed before being published. Your accepted submissions will be syndicated by default.
Associated Content: A very well regarded credible archive, with the most polished look. At first, humans review your submissions, and they take a long time to do so, but after a few are accepted, inclusion is immediate. My first article was rejected for plagiarism, citing my own duplicate article I had posted at EzineArticles! I eventually had them correct their mistake, but while you’re still in probationary mode, I recommend you submit to Associated Content first, and once its approved, then submit to the rest, to avoid any problems. Associated Content’s RSS feeds are picked-up by some the major news sites, including USA Today.
Squidoo: Despite being part of a site that has millions of visitors, my Squidoo content took the longest to get crawled by Google, and some of it was mangled. Squidoo, although often referred to as an article site, is actually a kind of social network. You sign-up and create unlimited “lenses” which are pages where you stick any number of items via a wide variety of widgets. The only widget that serves our purposes here is the RSS one that you can use to display your posts, but since it’s dynamic content it won’t generate a bunch of backlinks. The number of people that read my lenses in two months is in the single digits, probably because there’s several other million lenses to compete with. Unless it’s for the backlinks you can put via some of the widgets, I can’t recommend you waste your time with Squidoo.
Zimbio: This one is one of the easiest to work with. You add your RSS feeds via your member interface and then simply choose which posts you want to include. You’re only asked to select an appropriate category and your content will immediately appear online. You’re given the option to edit the download text, which might be a good idea in order to avoid having duplicate content (see bottom of this article). In order to have the entire article text uploaded, make sure your RSS feed is not set to only use an excerpt. Despite its limitations, Zimbio shouldn’t be ignored, since it has monthly readership numbering in the millions.
Searchwarp: It has a rather outdated look, with ugly colorful icons and logo, but don’t let that prevent you from becoming an active member, as this is a credible site and the articles you submit here will be crawled quickly by the major search engines. Initially, all your uploads will be reviewed by Searchwarp staff, but they usually give you a quick approval unless it’s a weekend or holiday. Searchwarp bills itself as a writers’ community and for the privilege of publishing you’re expected to participate in a number of ways, all of which will add to your “community interaction score”. You need three points to submit a new article. The main activity for accumulating points is to review other members’ articles and assign them a rating for a variety of criteria. Posting a comment gives you more points, but learn from my mistakes by not criticizing even the worst articles, as that will beget threats of retaliation and insults, as happened to me. If you must absolutely let the author know how much it stinks, use the anonymous comment option! After a number of submissions, your articles will be automatically approved. Searchwarp does allow site visitors to copy its articles and put them on their own sites, if you enable that option on a per article basis. Searchwarp is like a social network for amateur writers, and thus requires the most time to be involved with.
GoArticles: Has only a fraction of the visitors of Ezinearticles, but its backlinks were crawled overnight. Unlike the other top article sites, this one never subjects your uploads to any scrutiny by their staff. It also makes money from content contributors by charging for preferential positioning.
An important point: if you’re going to participate in any of these sites is that duplicating your own site’s content in this manner will carry consequences with Google. Contrary to popular belief, Google won’t penalize your site’s pagerank rating, but instead will seek to not list the duplicated content in search results, thus likely resulting in your site’s version being omitted in favor of one of the more highly ranked article archives. The solution is to produce two versions of each article: one that appears only on your site, and another for syndicating. Each version should differ significantly from the other, although it need not be a total rewrite.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if other sites republish your material, they’ll rarely respect the terms of the article site’s syndication agreement. Even if they keep your bio, I’ve often found my articles with different titles and additional paragraphs tacked on. Content theft is of epidemic proportions on the web, and all of these article archives have a disclaimer absolving themselves of any responsibility. It’s incumbent upon you to find and contact any infractor. One way to locate violations is to search for exact phrases from your article.
For all these sites, the number of page views for your articles will probably be quite low, and clicks back to your web sites via your bio links even fewer. Several offer monetary rewards based on the number of page views your posts get, but it will amount to only a pittance even if you wind-up being one of the top authors. Post in article archives for the quality backlinks they generate, and for the joy of having others read your words!