Blog Content from Article Sites

In our previous article, I mentioned article sites (also called article directories, or rarely, article libraries) as “tried and tested sources of free, free, free (can’t emphasize that enough) website content”. So, what is an article directory?

Basically, an article directory plays host and categorizes thousands of ~500-700 word articles written by the ‘experts’ of various fields – from Internet marketing to pet dog care, from yoga to trucks, and everything in between. Most of all, they’re free to be republished (with the original author’s byline, of course).

I wrote ‘experts’, because it’s up to the reader to decide if the information presented by the article is indeed useful and credible. Usually, article writers are freelance writers, probloggers, affiliate marketers, and webmasters looking to promote their products and websites at the end of each article. (Disclosure: I used to be an article writer before I finally opened my own directory.)

That said, article directories can provide a wealth of information for any blogger who’s a bit short on blog entries to post. The depth and breadth (as well as the intuitive categorization) of good article sites make them especially attractive.

Here are some good article directories to visit:

  • EzineArticles.com – a long-time favorite of mine, with strict attention to quality
  • ArticleCrux.com – the article directory I co-maintain, where we pay extra attention to categorization
  • GoArticles.com – a popular directory, though there’s not much of an editorial/review process, so quality might be compromised a bit
  • IdeaMarketers.com – a directory where you can associate authors with their faces for that ‘sense of trust’
  • ArticleGarden.com – another good article site in my ‘favorite list’

For those previously unacquainted with article content, I’ve given you a start…but don’t go filling up your blogs with articles from these sites! Here’s why:

Article directories are often abused by bloggers and webmasters looking for effortless, keyword-rich content.

In fact, many “splogs” (spam blogs) polluting the Net today rely on content from article directories. (The spammers’ favorite alternative is blog content scraped off someone else’s blog feed.)

Why would extensively using article content be ‘bad’ for you and your blog? Well, do you want your site penalized by Google for having duplicate (word-for-word) content? Do you want to appear as an unoriginal blogger in the eyes of your readers?

Still, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use these free articles for your blog. For example, you can use one article every dozen blog posts.

But there’s something better – you can use articles more frequently as long as you use them in creative ways. Here are some ‘techniques’ (for the lack of a better term), originally written in my April 2007 Performancing article:

  • Add images. Quite the simplest thing to do in this list!
  • Combine the most interesting points from different related articles. Several bits of quoted text + own opinions = new blog post.
  • React to the article. Praise or condemn, support or rectify.
  • Relate the article to a previous blog post. “In retrospect” + new info = new blog post.
  • Compare and contrast the article’s points with those of a blog post from another blogger in your field. Better if he/she’s established.

The five items above can also be applied to other ‘borrowed’ blog content, such as when you’re quoting news reports and other blog entries. Just remember: borrowing blog content from other sites doesn’t mean you have to be unoriginal.