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Properly Formatting Articles – Article Submission!
By: Martin Lemieux
Do you submit articles online? Did you know that 90% or more of all articles submitted are wrongly formatted? Learn how to make it easier for editors world wide by following these simple-to-use steps on formatting your articles for submission online!
How Do I Know How To Format An Article Properly?
My company owns and operates 5 article directories that have over 10,000 articles listed online. I’ve seen every type of article submission there is. We typically get 100’s of submissions every single day!!!
Convinced? Let’s move on!
Before we can get into the steps to take for formatting articles, we need to learn about the different types of submissions you may come across.
1) Real Time Article Submission:
These types of directories simply offer an online contact form which you can copy & paste your article into. Most of these forms go to the editors/webmasters email account directly. If you don’t format your article properly, editors may simply delete the email since it may take them a lot longer to add your article to their site.
2) Author Login Article Submission:
These types of article directories require that you sign up as an author to get your own personal account. You then need to login and submit articles. These directories usually have all their article format requirements listed when you submit your articles. This process is where many fail to format their articles properly.
3) Text Only Article Submission:
Some "Real Time" directories and "Author Login" directories demand that you ONLY submit raw-text when submitting your article to them. In this case, they do not want HTML edited text, they just want the raw text in order to give them the ability to format your article by their own editor requirements. Below I will show you how to format a "raw-text" article the right way.
4) HTML Edited Article Submission:
Some, not many but some ezine article directories allow you to pre-format your article with simple HTML included within the article. Typically these directories are strict on what HTML code commands you can add within your articles. Below I will show you easy to use HTML that will not offend any editor’s world wide.
Now that we have gone through the types of ezine article directories out there that we may encounter, we can now break down how to format your articles for the above submission types.
1) Article Formatting – Text Only (Raw Text)
This type is the most commonly used for all article directories. The reason why editors want you to submit raw text only, is because when you submit HTML formatted articles, you may compromise the websites FONT properties, COLOUR co-ordination, and will probably make the destined directory look pretty gimmicky. Many webmasters spend a lot of time on the "look & feel" of their directory. By not adhering to their specifications, your articles might simply get deleted as fast as they are submitted.
Step 1) Always use "Notepad (Windows)", or "PlainText (Mac)" for copying & pasting your articles to and from Word Document, etc. Ideally, you want to simply type your article right unto "Notepad" or "PainText".
"Notepad" & "PlainText" are simple programs that don’t jumble up your article with dead code hiding in the background.
DO NOT USE MICROSOFT WORD…
Programs like Microsoft Word are THE WORST to copy & paste your articles from. This style of program always hides useless code in the background that only article directory editors will be able to see.
As an editor, if we see this garbage code generated from Microsoft Word, we will simply rip your article out of our system and copy it into "Notepad". Once we do that, you will have lost any bolding, italics, active links that you may have wanted within your article.
DO NOT USE YOUR WEBSITE…
Just like Microsoft Word, when you copy & paste articles directly from your website, you will ultimately copy all the code along with it. This website code will result in deletion of your article right away or editing from an editor that you didn’t want happening.
HOW TO LOCATE NOTEPAD & USE IT EFFECTIVELY…
Click on: Start – All Programs – Accessories – Notepad
Once notepad is opened, you need to make sure that "Word Wrap" is NOT active. Without de-activating word wrap, your article might get submitted all broken up with major line breaks, and may end up looking like Mickey Mouse wrote it.
DE-ACTIVATE "WORD WRAP"…
In order to check to see whether or not word wrap is active, simply click on "FORMAT" up top. Make sure that "Word Wrap" does NOT have a checkmark beside it. If a checkmark is present, click on the checkmark to remove word wrap.
Now that notepad is ready for use, it’s time to copy & paste your article within it. You can copy & paste your article directly from either Microsoft Word or your website. You’ll notice that once you do, all the "bold", "italics", "website links" won’t be active. This is exactly what you want. Take a minute to go through and find areas where you had active links. You’ll need to add the actual website address were it’s needed. If you find it difficult to edit your article with "word wrap" off, simply re-activate it for the time being.
Once you’ve edited your article and fixed any improper line breaks, you’re now ready to start submitting your article. Simply remove word wrap from Notepad and copy & paste the information directly into the article submission form.
If you use Notepad(Windows) & PlainText(Mac) properly, there is no reason why editors may delete or edit your articles accordingly.
One last thing! Make sure to make use of proper paragraphs within your articles. There is nothing worst than viewing an article that never ends and looks like one massively long blob of text.
2) Article Formatting – HTML Ready (Simple code)
This step gets a little trickier. I will have to assume that you have some basic knowledge on using HTML!!!
Here are the top 4 HTML commands you typically can use:
1) Font properties (Bold,Italics,Underline)
2) Header Command (H1 / H2 / H3)
3) Bullets (Dotted / Numbered)
4) Active Web Links
Anything besides those are usually forbidden within most article submission websites that allow HTML to be used. Within your HTML editor, I suggest you prepare your article these commands only…
Do’s & Don’ts:
DO NOT – Use "Microsoft FrontPage". This program is not good when trying to create simple code that will be acceptable throughout the submission process. Editors usually delete articles that have been edited by Microsoft FrontPage.
DO NOT – class="something"… This is not necessary for websites other than your own.
DO NOT – <"span="Something","something"">… This style of command is real difficult to remove from within articles and usually take up a lot of extra time for the editor. Time they may not be willing to take.
DO NOT – <"font face="Times New Roman" size="3"">… This is usually a NO NO for most sites simply because the website you’re submitting to might be using another type of font which does not match the one you submitted. Also, sometimes size does matter. I would refrain from using a font style & size all together.
DO NOT – Use any images at all. Images never stay active forever and affect speed time. I’ll bet that 99.9% of ezine article directories online do not allow image tags & commands within your article. Even if you need to show a graph or something similar to prove a point, it is usually not acceptable. You’ll need to find other ways and use text instead.
DO – Use "p" for paragraphs instead of "span" & class" tags.
DO – Use either "strong" or "b" for bolding text.
DO – Use "em" for italics.
DO – Use "u" for underline text.
DO – Use "ul" to create a list of information with dots/numbers.
DO – Use "H1","H2","H3" tags for larger headlines if it’s accepted.
DO – ahref="www.yoursite" if permitted, for activating links.
That’s all you really want to use when preparing your articles with HTML commands. Anything more than those specified above usually are not accepted and may mean the difference between articles that get accepted by editors, or simply deleted by editors.
=== IN CONCLUSION ===
Make sure to pay special attention to ezine article directories "Editor Guidelines" and follow the guidelines. When formatting articles, use only "NOTEPAD" or "PLAINTEXT" for raw-text submissions and use only simply HTML tags for HTML accepted articles.
Some article directories may reward you if you closely follow their guidelines and only submit properly formatted articles to them. Just remember, 99% of article submissions are incorrect. As more and more authors start submitting articles, you’ll want to set yourself aside from the rest. Your articles will get approved quicker and the less chances you’ll have that some editor simply deletes your articles all together!