Increase Traffic and Get High Page Rank

So you have sweated through the past several months, wrung your creative juices dry and finally there it is - your first web site uploaded into cyberspace - for all to rhapsodize over. But the days turn to weeks and you realise with a sinking feeling that far from being showered with accolades, no one knows about your site, except of course for family and friends and what is more important, it looks like no one ever will. So what do you do? You have two options - you can give up or you can go on, because if you use this first website that you have created as a spring board to mastering the ins and outs of succeeding online, there need be no limit to what you can do with your new found knowledge.

The first mistake that any newcomer to website creation makes is thinking that if he/she builds a great site, success immediately follows. Yes, it is true that the site should have lots of information relevant to what ever its central theme is, the graphics should be attractive and it should be user friendly. But that is just the beginning. The next part is the hardest and the most frustrating and yet it can be most rewarding. It is the actual promotion of your site, in other words, selling it to the vast masses who surf the net everyday. Whether your site deals with products - physical or digital, services or plain information, whether the content is free or has to be paid for, unless it comes to the attention of those who would benefit from it, it might just as well have remained just an idea unborn.

The dynamics of a successful website are easy to understand - High Page Rank when indexed by Google, Yahoo or any of the main search engines leads to greater amount of TRAFFIC to your site and the more the traffic, the higher the page rank. How do you get a high page rank on Google or Yahoo?

Let us look at a few options:

Build Links - Link building is an important part of ranking high in the search engine indexes. Search engines such as Google base the importance of your web site on the number of links that point to you. There are two types of links, reciprocal and one way. Reciprocal links are when you swap your link with someone else's website. You link to their web site and they link to yours. While this can help your ranking, most web sites rate one way links as being much more important. One way links are those from a web site that point to your site but you do not link to theirs.

Find Good Niches - There are plenty of great topics on the internet, but many are oversaturated. Why compete with 10 million web sites, when you can compete with only 10,000. Choose a niche that will draw visitors to your site. If you have to compete with millions of other web sites, your chance of success will be low.

Calculated Use of Keywords - Using keywords judicially on each web page enables the search engines to index your site faster provided that the keywords are not simply generic but targeted to the specific content of your web pages as well as to what the visitor is looking for when he/she comes to your site. The use of good keyword tools helps narrow the keywords that are relevant to the contents of your web pages.

Web Content - They say that content is king. Those websites that have lots of freshly updated content can expect to see many search engine spiders visit their web sites. Search engines want to give their customers information that they need, this comes down to content. The more good content you have, the better the odds of attracting search engine spiders and rating high in the search engine rankings.

Article Writing - Writing articles and web logs (blogs) are relatively easy ways of getting name recognition and building trust and loyalty between you and your readers as well as getting links to your site and adding fresh content to it. You can write articles on any subject, preferably one that is relevant to your site and submit them, free of charge, to various article directories from where they are picked up by those looking for content for their own sites.

Blogs - Blogging is an almost instant publishing of content to a website. It provides a powerful mode of interaction with your visitors as they can comment on your entries and as the author of the blog you can choose to publish them alongside your own writing. You can also link to other blogs that interest you and they can link back thus increasing the number of visitors reading your articles. Blogs are easy to install and usually free. There are also services such as and Typepad that can host your blog for free, though some sites do charge a hosting fee.

Today's guest author is Visit them to learn how to get your website ranked high by the search engines.

Writing and Publishing Newsletter

Writing and publishing a newsletter is one of the most satisfying ways to promote your business, get involved in your community, or exercise those creative muscles. Imagine it: you at the helm of your very own publication, organizing the content, calling all the shots. Sounds great, right?
It is great, but be forewarned: writing and publishing a newsletter takes a lot of work. You need to coordinate many things. Producing a newsletter can overwhelm even the most seasoned writers and business professionals. The following tips will help you organize and publish your first issue without problems.


You need to decide the format of your newsletter. How many pages will it be? How often will you publish it? Will you use spiral binding, perfect binding or simple staples? Will you accept ads; if so, how many? Will you publish your newsletter in full-color or black ink on white paper?
Typically, smaller newsletters run less than 20 pages with the text divided into four columns per page (except for headlines, pictures and ads, of course); they're usually one or four color, printed on both sides, and stapled. This is the most cost-effective way to produce a newsletter, but don't be afraid to get creative! There are no set rules for newsletter formatting; as long as it's readable, you've got little limitation.


Ah, the good part. Written content is the meat of your newsletter, so take time to plan it carefully. Will you report mainly news or include feature articles as well? Will the content be thematic or will you divide content into departments? What about advice columns or other regular material? There are no steadfast rules here, so get as creative as you want. Always make sure to include timely, interesting pieces. This will keep your readers engaged; the term "newsletter," after all, does indicate some devotion to news.


Your core readership and their interests will dictate your content and writing style. Take some time to think about your target demographic. How old are they? What is their income level? Where do they live? Do they have kids? What are their main interests? Then, glance at some publications with the same general demographic. Take a cue from their content and writing style. Really consider what your readers want to read, what you'd want to read if you were them. If you're not catering to your audience, you'll have no audience at all.


Sure, you may harbor grand dreams of producing every part of your newsletter all by yourself, but let's face it: that's a whole lot of work for just one person. Strongly consider getting others involved. Many writers, editors and designers are willing to help in exchange for, say, ad space or a byline. You can even ask for submissions in your first issue; just be sure that every piece you approve fits your newsletter's style.

Today's guest author is Brian Konradt. Brian Konradt has been a professional freelance writer for more than a decade. Visit his website at BusyEntrepreneur. He writes articles on english grammar and literacy for LousyWriter and LiteracyNews.

Publishing Your Articles

If you're interested in publishing your articles on the Web or in print, there are certain rules you must follow. Even if your articles sound interesting and marketable, publishing them will be impossible if you make spelling or grammar errors or your facts are not accurate.

An accomplished editor knows her or his subject area well and can often tell, even before the fact checkers start their work, that your facts are probably not provable. While editors might overlook one typo any more than that will indicate that you didn't take the time to go back and check your work - or, better yet, have someone else check it. Article publishing requires writing talent, an eye for marketability, but it also requires diligence and careful research.

Whether your desire is publishing your article in print, on the Web or in business marketing pieces, the rules you must follow to reach success are nearly the same.

The first hard and fast rule for successful article publishing is to familiarize yourself with the publication or site to which you are going to submit your query, article or proposal. Read at least two back issues so that you know that types of topics and style the publication publishes. That doesn't mean that you just follow the already-published article writing crowd. Find a new idea, with current statistics and facts, and examples in real life, but an idea that is in line with what the publication generally focuses on.

Without specific examples your article will be boring and publishing it will prove impossible. If, for example, you are writing an article about overcoming a fear of water and learning to swim as an adult, use one or two examples of real people that did it, with quotes from them about how they learned to overcome their fear and start swimming.

Discover your area or areas of expertise and write about these subjects. Everyone has at least one area of expertise, whether it's saving stray animals, or painting or advanced mathematical functions. Share some of that expertise with the general public or with a select few who are interested in knowing more.

While you may yearn to have your complete byline and resource information included in an article, publishing that may not be in keeping with a publication's style. Don't insist!

Today's article is written by guest author Peter Morgan.

About the Author: Peter Morgan is the CEO of JV Members - a new article writing and marketing system, which enables you to earn money online through writing and publishing short articles.

Freelance Writing - Making Money Online

One way to write for money online that is highly in demand is to write articles for webmasters. This is one that does not require any special writing skills. If you can write an article like this one you can be successful in this business. Just create a small sales page or announce your service in outsource programs. All you need to do once you receive the order is do a little research on the topic and write an article similar to this one on the subject. You can make anywhere from five dollars to fifty dollars per article doing this.

If you are an experienced ghostwriter you can make money by writing books. If this is your specialty there are many outsource programs out there that you can sign up for and bid on projects. If you win the bid you complete the project and the person will pay you through pay pal or another trusted payment method. The money paid for this type of project will vary but usually proves to be extremely profitable.

One of the best ways to get started is to create a small sales page and advertise on pay per click advertising programs like google adwords. With this type of advertising you create an ad and when someone is searching for a ghostwriter your ad will pop up on the sponsored search area. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad and you control how much you pay per click. If your ad is written well and it gets a lot of click compared to the number of times it shows up you will pay less than what you bid. You can pay as little as fifteen cents per click and have a very successful campaign.

If you prefer another method of advertising your ghostwriter business you have other options. You can join forums that relate to ghostwriters and put your link in the signature block. This way every post you make is a free advertisement for your service. You can start off with one or two good customers and if you do a good job they will refer your ghostwriter service to their friends.

When it comes down to it there are many ways to be successful being a ghostwriter. Taking action is the key, remember you do not have to be experienced or have a special talent in writing in order to profit from this. Create a plan, do a little research and stick with it.

Today's article is from guest writer Joshua Spalding.
About the Author: Joshua Spaulding is an Author and Webmaster providing Proven ways to Make Money Online including how to Make Money being a Ghostwriter. Joshua also runs a Quality Article Directory.

Internet Safety Programs

While I was researching Internet safety for this week’s article Internet Safety Programs, I happened upon the FBI’s publication, A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety. At first, I was a bit annoyed that this site seemed to underestimate parents’ ability to understand their children because the site listed some vague indicators that a child could be at risk online, such as:

-Your child spends large amounts of time on-line, especially at night.
-Your child turns the computer monitor off or quickly changes the screen on the monitor when you come into the room.
-Your child becomes withdrawn from the family.

There are several other symptoms listed, which seem much more indicative of a possible threat to a child’s Internet safety.

I suppose these warning signs offended me because my son, now 23-years-old, did these things when he was in college, exactly as quoted by the FBI, and my husband and I never once suspected he was in danger online, except of failing a test or two.

Then I realized that perhaps I was being just a bit defensive because we didn’t think that such a horrible thing could happen to a college student—someone who was, by most definitions, an adult, capable of making rational decisions about his online safety. It never even occurred to us, and I wonder how many other parents out there feel the same way.

Were we naive?

Take a look at a couple of the Internet Safety Programs available to parents, students, and educators. I think you’ll especially like the detective-style multimedia application MISSING.


I encounter freelance writing plagiarism daily on the Internet; and surprisingly, I encounter student plagiarism weekly in my classroom. It’s quite alarming that so many writers do not understand the definition: writing that contains someone else’s words or ideas, rewritten or copied verbatim, as your own. Simply put, plagiarism is the absence of credit to a person whose thoughts, ideas, or words are presented as your own.

Many SEO freelance writers believe that plagiarism is copying another writer or copywriter ‘s article, or perhaps a minor offense would be copying a paragraph. No, it’s not that. Plagiarism is the act of copying or REWRITING someone else’s words or ideas and not giving credit to that person—called CITING.

Many SEO copywriters say that paraphrasing relinquishes their obligation to cite another’s work—it does NOT. Paraphrasing without citation is plagiarism. It’s that simple.

Freelance Writing - SmartBoard Study

This week’s Teaching and Technology Freelance writing article, Interactive Whiteboard Study, reviews the interactive whiteboard (or SmartBoard as many call it, although that is a brand name). Learn how this interactive learning method works, and read about a study that reveals how this classroom technology can change your workload and your students’ learning.

Although the article is limited to the interactive whiteboard, there are other interactive learning products available. For example, there’s a portable interactive panel that can be connected to the PC and an interactive panel that attaches to a wall-mounted plasma screen that works well for roaming teachers.

Portable Interactive Panels
Interactive panels, when connected to the PC (desktop or notebook and a projector), also allow you to face your classroom while you teach, edit, and annotate computer applications directly from the panel. Using an interactive panel is very similar to using an interactive whiteboard, except the panels are usually much smaller: 15", 17" or 18". However, the screen image can be projected through a multimedia projector to various sizes onto a screen, making it perfect for large auditoriums and lecture halls. The advantage to an interactive panel is that it’s portable, making it ideal for roaming teachers or limited budgets.

Panels for Plasma
Plasma screens with an interactive panel or overlay have the same functionality as interactive whiteboards; however, they offer even more versatility because they can also be used as televisions to utilize public education channels or DVD’s.

The advantage of using a plasma screen is that the presenter doesn’t cast a shadow, unlike front-projection interactive whiteboards. The biggest disadvantage with the plasma screen is the cost and screen size (40-52”). However, Plasma screens do provide much sharper images than do similarly priced projectors.

If you would like to learn how the interactive whiteboard works or how it can impact your workload and your students’ learning, read Interactive Whiteboard Study. Also, participate in our poll: select SmartBoard if you already use an interactive whiteboard.

Building Website Content with Articles

The biggest and best tip to developing a successful website is content; search engines love it. Without content your website is doomed to failure before it even starts. Your content must include the keywords or keyword phrases that will increase your page rank; for example, if your website is about Internet freelance writing, your keywords may be seo, search engine optimization, copywriting, copywriter, editing, articles, free articles, writing service, write articles, and so on.

Your site should also have these keywords spread naturally throughout the content. Choose three to four of the most relevant keywords and place them on your home page. It's important to repeat them four to five times each, at a minimum. I have seen keywords repeated on successful websites over twenty times.

Choose between 50 - 100 keywords searches and have those repeated throughout your home page copy too. Your site should also have at least ten pages of content rich copy; successful sites have thousands of pages that are rich with good information.

Also, you need to update your site as frequently as possible. I suggest updating daily, if possible, using relevant copy while incorporating keywords.

Write articles to accomplish this task. If you hate to write articles or to create website content, you can easily and inexpensively hire someone to do it for you. There are several freelance writing and writer reference websites that encourage low bidding. For example, you can get a 400-500 word article for as little as $1 each. One such site is GetAFreelancer. You can also get free articles from public domains such as GoArticles, but you must include the author's name and copyright info.

Be careful about these cheap articles though: often they are written for spiders, not humans, so they don't read well, which will hurt your site. You must find a balance between keyword usage and good content.

Freelance Writing - Outlining isn't just for Beginners

When you begin to write, how often do you outline? If you’re a freelance writer, it’s imperative that you begin with this step because you’ll waste countless hours retracing and rewriting information.

Outlining causes you to think through the entire body of the work before you begin to write. It’s also a way to avoid writer’s block, since you’ll already have a map of where you need to go with your research or character development.

Steps for Outlining:

  1. Brainstorm
  2. Search engine
  3. Organize
  4. Elaborate

Whether you’re writing a novel, an academic essay, or a search engine optimization article, you need to outline. Begin by writing down your thoughts about the topic; don’t focus on order or clarity yet. Now, do a search on the topic to see what subsets of information you may have overlooked in your brainstorming.

Now, you can organize your list. I typically suggest to my students that the order depends upon your objective, but typically, list your strongest or most relevant points first. You may realize here that some of your points need not be included.

You’re ready to write, but don’t start at the top. The best way to write is to elaborate on each point, skipping around so that you can best connect your paragraphs. Elaborating will also help you write better topic sentences and better transitional sentences.

If you get stuck, put the writing aside while you work on another project, but don’t just sit there and stare! Now, go write.

Freelance Writing - Tips for Writing SEO Titles

Tips for Writing Titles
One of the easiest things you can do to optimize your page is to write a title for it. You'd be surprised how many web pages don't have a title. To confirm that your web page has a title, open it in a browser and look up at the title line.

Now that you have a title, the best thing besides having good content is knowing how to write better titles. The most important thing to remember is that web page titles are normally read out of context: there is nothing else except for the title to tell people what your site is about (especially on a search engine listing).

Keep your titles short. The most common search engine cuts off titles at 64 characters. The other two top runners display more characters, but keeping it under 64 characters is a good practice.

Try to keep your most relevant keywords in the front. Make sure those keywords are on topic, precise, and represent your content. Search engines approximate word usage, so always place the keywords that matter at the beginning and close together. Keywords phrases that are split up and too far apart will not be considered as related.

Use separators instead of words such as AND or ALSO. Search engines ignore widely used words such as AND, OR, THE, etc. Instead, use characters such as a hyphen or vertical line. This will save space.

More on this topic later.

Freelance Writing - Write Often

If you are writing as a freelance writer or copywriter for the Web, especially in a blog that may be the source of referrals or affiliate programs, you must write consistently. You do not need to write constantly, and you do not need write lengthy pieces, but you must write often.

I read by another writer that B. F. Skinner remarked that writing as little as fifteen minutes a day, every day, adds up to approximately one book every year, which he suggested was as much writing as anyone should enjoy. I'm not sure I agree with the end, but you get the point: you do not need to write a lot, but you must write, and you must write often.

In my quest to write about why something matters, here's today's reason: this is important for ranking, relevant, seo or search engine optimization, among others.

Writing - Not what happened but why it matters

Poor blog writing includes trivial events and encounters, information that give readers no reason to care. Instead of telling readers what happens, them them why it matters.

I'm guilty of this writing as well because sometimes I need to digest my daily events, and one way I work through these events is by writing. In these times, consider yourself the reader, and for that reason, the writing matters. To become a better writer and reader, even for your own reading, try to find out why those events matter, and in the end, your writing will affect more people in a positive way.

This type of writing is important because rather than simply regurgitating information, we are working through it logically, to make sense of events and to connect them to other important events or people.

Digital Storytelling using Windows Movie Maker

Explore how digital storytelling increases student participation and memory, and review free resources for using this technology in the classroom.

Last week after posting the article
Digital Storytelling Simplified, I received two emails from teachers, one of whom was using a similar simplified method with success; the other teacher asked me why digital storytelling has become so popular in classrooms.

What a great question! How would you respond if someone asked you why you want to use digital storytelling?
Email me! I had my own suspicions, but I found several sources that claim digital storytelling can increase your students’ participation by involving them in the creation process; additionally, it can enhance your students’ comprehension and memory by associating events with emotions and images, for example.

Let’s compare reading a paragraph from a history book during a unit on World War I, with the same information shared through digital storytelling: the story reveals the events of Private Victor Silvester’s last week of life, in the trenches. One of your students reads the diary entry while images of soldiers in trenches appear on the projector screen and sounds of bombs exploding echo in the background: “As we were moving up to our sector along the communication trenches, a shell burst ahead of me and one of my platoon dropped. He was the first man I ever saw killed. Both his legs were blown off and the whole of his face and body was peppered with shrapnel. The sight turned my stomach. I was sick and terrified, but even more frightened of showing it” (War Diary extracts).

This is a real experience for students, not a paragraph in a textbook: the emotion of the story relayed through voice inflection, enhanced with images of the trenches and an audio clip of bombs exploding, all combine to pique each learning modality.

In this week’s article,
Digital Storytelling, I walk step-by-step through using Windows Movie Maker to create a digital storytelling presentation, and I include several Internet resources for free images and audio clips to enhance any digital story.

If you have a great resource that you use to create digital storytelling projects, please
email me.

Writing Academic Essays and Ghost Writing

While completing the last details of an eBook with a client yesterday, I was offered a project to write a thesis for a graduate student. I was told that the student's major is mechanical engineering, and he has only his thesis to submit to graduate.

I must admit that I was a bit miffed that they offered this project to me. I supposed they did need to test my ethical boundaries, since I do so much ghost writing. Which takes me to my dilemma of ghost writing...

Do any other ghost writers out there feel just a bit offended when clients ask to add an "about the author" page (about them, of course) when you've spent countless hours researching and writing? I'm not sure why this bothers me, but it does.

Digital Storytelling for Beginners

Digital storytelling increases student participation, yet many teachers feel the technology can be intimidating. Is there an easier way?

As I was researching digital storytelling for this week’s article, Part I of a two-part series, Digital Storytelling Simplified, I realized how intimidating this method of sharing and learning can be for educators and students who don’t use technology in this way. I think the intimidation comes from the term “digital.” When we see such a nebulous word, we fear the unknown. Then I realized that digital storytelling is simply show-and-tell with a twist.

Once we can associate the unknown with something we understand and feel comfortable with, it seems less tenuous, so I set out to simply the process of digital storytelling into three simple steps. After we become comfortable with sharing and learning this way, we can transition from graphic storytelling to digital storytelling, utilizing technology in the classroom. By graphic storytelling, I’m not referring to the use of simple comics; I’m including images, illustrations, photographs, etc.

Many schools in my area (suburbs of Chicago) have had digital storytelling programs for several years, but some of my friends who are teachers feel the delivery method is overwhelming or too complicated to try. They’ve attended workshops for a few Flash-based programs, or similar products, but they feel it’s just too difficult for them—and these are intelligent, resourceful teachers! They express the desire to participate in digital storytelling, but they often feel that some technology in the classroom is just too difficult to use.

Teachers have been participating in storytelling in their classrooms for years, but the gap hasn’t been bridged between what they’ve been doing and this new form of delivery: digital storytelling. It seems the workshops discuss the benefits and demonstrate a piece of software, but they don’t connect this form of teaching and learning to what teachers have been doing successfully. This gap leaves wonderful educators feeling left out.

If you’re ready to apply the principals of digital storytelling to a simpler format of delivery, graphic storytelling, take a look at Part I of Digital Storytelling Simplified. Next week, in Part II, I’ll include resources that will help you advance your storytelling to a digital delivery format, using Windows Movie Maker. If you've used WMM and have any questions or comments you'd like me to share in next week's article, please email me.

Freelance Writing Project Declined

How many writing projects have you declined? I turned down a second project offered by a site owner this morning. I think I've learned as much from this person as I can. His project's guidelines are nebulous, which leads us in circles after I submit a draft. I follow his instructions, without variation, and he "changes his mind" after he sees it in writing. I've decided that when it takes eight hours to create a $5 article, it's not worth it. What am I doing wrong with this owner?

RSS Feeds and Feed Sites

What I learned today: a RSS feed syndicates your content. Yes, yes, I know the rest of you have known this for a long time, but I've been teaching composition inside a classroom forever. I've been finding feed submission sites today, and I've managed to get through a short list so far to submit my Teaching & Technology feed.

I've kept the list of feed url's if you're interested, just send me a comment.

I'm assuming the goal of these feeds is to get people to visit the website, thereby increasing traffic to either a)make possible sales, b)get possible click-throughs, or c)get 15 minutes of fame. Maybe I'm missing something, but during my one-day self-tutorial on this, that's my take on it.

Oh, I also created my own RSS file, which was interesting, but terribly monotonous. I'm certainly glad I don't have to do that manually.

Freelance Writing - This Week's Project

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For the last week, I’ve been ghost writing an eBook on head lice, yes head lice. When I was offered the project, which required 50 pages of text, I honestly didn’t think that there were 50 pages of text that could be written about the little critters.

Besides having an itching head all week, I’ve learned more than one would ever want to know about these blood-sucking parasites. Perhaps one day, I’ll be able to use this wealth of information for my own benefit, but I certainly hope not.

So what have I learned about freelance writing from this project? Pictures are worth at least 200 words; a thousand is pushing it. Write on my friends.

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Article - Teachers & Online Degree Program

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With affordable technology and easy access to the Internet, teachers today have the option, but is there a stigma associated with an online degree program for teachers?

When I was completing my student teaching, I finally saw the end of my education nearing—or so I thought, and I couldn’t have been happier: I was ready to finally start making some money, but I had no idea that teachers with a BA were earning about 5% less than teachers holding a MA, with the same tenure. Knowing that fact probably wouldn’t have prompted me to get my MA that early anyway, because my first few years of teaching were hectic.

If you’ve finally gotten all your preps honed to an art, you may want to look into some of the options that allow teachers to earn a degree online, specifically an online accredited degree that will help you expand your knowledge and increase your salary, and what teacher doesn’t want both of those?

Take a look at the key factors that will help you decide if an online graduate degree is right for you. You’ll find that not every online degree program is worth the time or money. This week's article,
Teachers Earn a Degree Online, will help you understand crucial elements that help you select an online graduate degree in Education. Explore accreditation, district acceptance, technology/equipment required, programs, costs, and more.

Is there a stigma attached to this type of degree? Have you considered an online degree program, but you're afraid your district won't accept it as credible or valid? With affordable technology and easy access to the Internet, at least teachers today have the option of getting an online graduate degree, an opportunity so many teachers in the past never even dreamed of having.

I have a girlfriend who teaches high school English in Virginia; she and I were discussing the acceptability of online degree programs, and she’s spoken with her department chair about them. Her chairperson is relatively tech-savvy, so she had positive things to say about the opportunity to earn a degree online, but I’m sure there are some administrators out there who frown upon it.

What do you think? Have you spoken to any of your colleagues or administrators about an online graduate degree? I’m curious to hear what you have to say. Please email me -- I’d love to hear and share your comments.
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Search Engine Results - User Statistics

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When people perform internet searches, and search results pages appear, 47% of people scroll down to see more results than those shown above the fold, the remaining 53% do not scroll down.

They are looking only at the top portion of the results page. Most people (93%) don’t look beyond the first page. And a miniscule 7% click through to a subsequent page.

If you can believe it, 38% of people don’t click on any result, which is odd to me… Half the people click on one result. Less than 10% click on two results, and it just decreases from there. When someone clicks a result, 51% of the time s/he clicks the first item (top result); 16% of the time, the person clicks the second item from the top, 6% of the time s/he clicks the third, and again, it just declines from there.

A New Freelance Job

Hello fellow freelance writers. I've just begun writing for Suite101's Teaching & Technology. Please stop by and say hello. I'd love to hear from you there as well.
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SEO Copywriting - How do these writers survive?

I’m developing a brick-and-mortar course on writing for the web that will include SEO (search engine optimization) copywriting, which I will teach next semester. As a result, I’ve been doing a few freelance writing projects for the web, and all I have to say is, HOW IN THE WORLD DO THESE WRITERS PAY THEIR BILLS?

First, I registered on several freelance websites just to browse and explore the types of writing jobs available. I’ve received several projects from one bidding site, but these contract providers expect to pay only about .01 cent per word; it’s quite ghastly. If I didn’t teach, which certainly doesn’t pay well, I’m not sure I’d even be able to eat on this pittance. freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo copywriter
For example, I wrote a 1500-word article for one website owner who has totally rewritten the article, in substandard language I should add, and he has yet to offer payment, which is a mere $5, if you can imagine that! On the up side, I have learned a great deal about (SEO) copywriting and how website owners use it to gain higher search result page ranking.

It’s obvious that most of the writers are using content generators or simply plagiarizing, or possibly paraphrasing. My next objective is to research content generators; I’m very curious about this…freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo copywriter

SEO - What is it anyway?

Many think that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is marketing, and some believe it's technical, still others will argue that it's writing. It certainly aids in the promotion of sites if the writer has the requisite technical knowledge and a bit of marketing knowledge--and it doesn't hurt to understand hypertext markup language. So is search engine optimization a method better accomplished by a marketing strategist, a technical person, or a copywriter?

Some would define this "technical marketing copy" as the method of optimizing web pages to enable a higher search-engine ranking when specific words used to search (keywords) are strategically placed within a page. Since a writer can easily acquire the skills necessary (keyword understanding, soft selling, and basic HTML-know-how) much easier and more efficiently than a technical person can learn to write, I’d say that this method is better accomplished by a copywriter. I don't even need to mention that a marketing guru's time is much better served analyzing demographics and market niches for her clients...but I did. The industry would probably agree since writers and copywriters conduct the majority of this type of work, although they may not always be the best writers for the subjects chosen.

Unfortunately for the website owners, even if a good writer is well versed in keyword placement and HTML, that doesn’t mean the site will rank high; it doesn't even mean that the page(s) will find its place in the top 50. At the same time, if one doesn’t follow SEO rules, high rankings will definitely not be achieved. Ultimately, SEO is not advertising, although it may help push page ranking, amplify exposure, and increase traffic.

Advertising to increase a web page’s ranking can be guaranteed with techniques such as Google AdWords or paid placement, those ads you see on the side panels. Of course, everyone’s dream is to get top placement on search engine result pages without paying for that type of advertising, and of course to have some relevancy to the consumers’ search.

Some of the easiest SEO copywriting can be simple strategic placement of the keywords, according to SEO rules; some of the most difficult can be making the copy appeal to human readers after doing so. The time necessary for such endeavors depends on the subject, the writer, and the keywords. SEO may be a one-time endeavor for a site, or it may be a continuing work-in-progress, as popular search terms change.

If you’re just starting to write for SEO, pay special attention to the site owner’s keywords and the specific rules she’s given, and of course, when you research, make sure you do not use someone else’s work as your own…paraphrase, cite, or rewrite.

Now, can you tell what the keywords are in this article?

Writing the Successful Freelance Copywriter Inquiry Letter

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As a freelance copywriter, have you finally created (or found) the perfect inquiry letter that lands jobs? That seems to be the beginning freelance copywriter’s problem: he doesn’t understand the importance of the inquiry, or he doesn’t address the key points.freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
Here are a few tips that I’ve found help when writing a successful freelance copywriting inquiry letter. If your letter isn’t getting at least a response from 50% of your inquiries, consider rewriting it, addressing these points in this order:freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter

  1. Address owner’s needs
  2. List your credentials and/or qualifications (no diatribes)
  3. List your applicable experience (again, keep it short)
  4. Offer a link to (related, if available) samples but don’t include or attach any unless they’re requested. I would opt for a link or pasting rather than attaching, if possible
  5. Briefly address any industry concerns: one major industry concern is originality
  6. Include your rates, if applicable
  7. Use a professional format
  8. Avoid overly formal or informal language
  9. End with the assumption that you’ll hear from the owner
  10. Be enthusiastic

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There are some creative approaches that I've used with publishers, but I wouldn't advise using them when you're inquiring for copy jobs. These tips should get you started writing your successful freelance inquiry letter. If you have someone who can proofread the letter, take advantage of it. Now go get those jobs!

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This Week's Projects

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Besides the course I'm teaching this semester, Composition 105, I'm working this week on two projects:freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
The first of which is for Wedding Planners. I'm writing 15 articles per month, and I've submitted three this week. The project owner is great to work with: his guidelines were clear, thorough, and consistent. This truly makes the difference between enjoying your work and dreading contact with an owner. Because he submitted samples of what he LIKES, I was able to match the style, tone, readability, etc., hence fewer iterations/edits have been required. In fact, I've added only one sentence to one article that I've submitted thus far. I am thoroughly enjoying working on the topic and with this project owner.freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
The other project I am working on is for a photographer's website, specifically I am writing an article on how to find talent; the article thus far is about 1500 words in length and contains keyword density of about 5%. The original guidelines stated 500 words. The website owner knows exactly what he wants, but he is having a bit of a struggle putting that into solid guidelines. We have one completed and accepted article thus far.
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Hélène Cixous: A Dichotomy of Styles (Sample Writing Excerpt)

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Audience: Academic; Length: 1000 words.

In her 1975 essay “The Laugh of the Medusa,” Hélène Cixous presents a treatise that manifests "écriture féminine" and the theoretical views of the French feminist school of literary thought, according to Bizzell and Herzberg (1521). In this manner, the essay presents itself as an elevated, academic text; however, the essay differs in style from conventional academic works--it includes an informal style of prose. Cixous writes without the more usual scholarly restraint, her words seeming to spill onto the page in a stream-of-consciousness manner.freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
In her essay, Cixous calls for and demonstrates what she hopes is a new way of writing for women. The tone is one of passion and excitement, and there is a strong sense of exhortation: Cixous is urging to women to write, not using the constraints of man's language, but in a liquid expression of feminine identity. She is appealing to others to follow her, to join her in a literary campaign away from man's language and toward woman's. Bizzell and Hertzberg state that Cixous "hopes to bring about, by celebrating in this essay, a rejection of male-dominated systems of interpretation that classify female bodies, mouths, and words as inferior" (1522). In this way, the text may seem to have more in common with a feminist movement pamphlet than with an academic study:freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter

"And why don’t you write? Write! Writing is for you, you are for you; your body is yours, take it. I know why you haven’t written. (And why I didn’t write before the age of twenty-seven.) Because writing is at once too high, too great for you, it’s reserved for the great – that is for ‘great men’; and it’s ‘silly’." (Cixous 1525)

Cixous's unconventional style is further illustrated in her method of appealing to the audience. She wants not only to address her readers as a collective being, that is, woman, but also to appeal to each reader as an individual. To achieve this, she adopts a personal--intimate--manner, using both language and techniques. Many of her appeals are in the form of questions. Hans Guth recommends using questions in writing when making appeals or calling for action from the reader (697). Conversely, in writing academic text, one would not normally use this method, but the technique used would display detachment and formality--without personal appeals. (End of excerpt)

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Questions to ask before you begin your freelance writing project.

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Many new freelance writers find it frustrating when working with clients who seem to change guidelines AFTER a draft is submitted. Here are a few format- and content-related questions that you can ask BEFORE writing that will help you better understand a client's needs. There are so many others, so please post a comment if you have more.

  1. Who is the audience, i.e., academic, Internet, newspaper, etc.? This will affect the readability level.
  2. If the audience is Internet, do humans, spiders, or both read the writing?
  3. If the audience is Internet, what keyword density is required, and what are the keywords?
  4. If the audience is Internet, what percentage or number of links is required, if any?
  5. What voice of writing is preferred? Here are a couple examples:
    · First-person, conversational (informal) – written using the pronoun “I” as if the writer is having a conversation with the reader, used to make a personal connection.
    · Authoritative (formal) – written primarily to gain respect and credibility from the reader and avoids first-person; appropriate for providing factual information, used often with medical or legal topics, for example.
  6. If research is required, should it be cited (provide references/links to original information)?
  7. Related to question #1, does the client prefer more bulleted items or paragraph format?
  8. Are images required? If so, is it the writer’s responsibility to gather them, or is there a library?
  9. Will the writer release copyrights when payment is made?
  10. May the writer have a byline?

There are so many other questions that will be asked before and after a project is received, but this should get you started on the content. I'll create another list related to fees and payment.

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Cultural Pluralism and Ethnic Violence in America (Sample Writing Excerpt)

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Audience: Academic; Length: 3000 words.

Since early in the 20th century, the dominant goal of American liberalism, in relation to minorities, has been that of assimilation into the mainstream of American life. “Cultural pluralism” is a term sometimes used to describe a society in which various cultures co-exist in a state of mutual tolerance and respect. Cultural tolerance is usually equated with democracy and progress. The liberal claim that all human beings are essentially equal, and so deserve fair and equal treatment and protection under the law, is now so generally accepted that even the most conservative politicians pay lip service to it. Liberalism could be considered the dominant ideological “discourse” of modern industrial (and post-industrial) society, although it has certainly been threatened by other ideologies – for example, by Fascism and Communism.freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
According to the liberal ideal, different communities, with different beliefs and traditions, ought to be able to co-exist peacefully within a democratic framework. To their credit, liberals have always recognized that the presence of many different cultures within American life is not only a necessity for the functioning of an industrial system, but also, ultimately, beneficial to the political order. Yet, throughout American history, the co-existence of different cultures has often been a locus of intense conflict. The liberal ideology of cultural pluralism within a democratic framework has not always been able to contain or to resolve these conflicts. Why?freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
The mass immigrations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries created enormous tensions in American society and political culture. Yet, one might argue, it was this very immigration that fueled rapid industrial progress, and with it the creation of fortunes like that of the Mellons and the Carnegies. Here is a perfect example of what the Marxists called “the contradictions of capitalism.” Capitalism, in its dynamic, unrestrained phase, transformed American life from top to bottom. But it did not transform every part of American life in the same way, or at the same rate of speed. Nor did it make every American financially secure. As American transformed itself into the world’s greatest industrial power, it was also drawn into an international monetary and trade system. The current fashionable word for this process, still going on at more rarified levels, is “globalization.” On the plus side, globalization increased American wealth through trade relationships. On the minus side, it drew the country into brutal international conflicts such as the First World War.freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
These developments were threatening to many Americans, particularly to those who did not benefit in any obvious way from industrial capitalism. Instead of sharing exuberantly in the liberal vision of universal equality and social progress, such Americans longed for the hierarchical, pre-industrial past. This was particularly true in the American South, where entire communities of white Anglo-Saxon Americans fastened onto romantic myths about the Old South of the type generated by films like The Birth of a Nation.freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
So, even as the United States emerged from World War I as the most powerful industrial nation in the world and the major champion of liberal democracy, many American citizens – and not only in the backwoods – were clamoring for isolationism, segregation, and the closing of America’s borders to new immigration. Capitalism’s discontents, one might call them – although they did not see themselves in this way. Quite often, they seem to have seen themselves as heroic defenders of cherished moral values. Racist and anti-ethnic attitudes are, more than likely, part of our anthropological nature as human beings, yet such attitudes normally exist in an inchoate form. Something happened to American political culture during this period to focus the energies of racism into specific kinds of deadly action. (End of excerpt)

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Need a Writer Reference?

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I strongly suggest Diana Hacker's Writer Reference, published by Bedford/St.Martins.

I use this handbook in all my Composition 101 and 102 courses.
Check out her website for online reference material, model essays, even grammar exercises.

Now go write.

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Using AdWords to drive Competitors’ Traffic to Your Site

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Are you an established, well-known sales person or service provider who relies on the Internet for a good deal of your inquiries? If you are, your client base could be in jeopardy. If you’re an up and coming sales person, you’ll want to read this article as much as your well-known competitor.freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
Recently, I received a call from a local real estate professional; we’ll call her Mary. She’s done business in the area for over 30 years. Mary was concerned because her web hits had dropped substantially in the last couple of months, and she asked me if I could review her website to see if there was a problem. I’m not a web developer, but I’ve written keyword content for Mary’s site, and I’ve known her for years.freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
After realizing that I didn’t have her URL, I did a Google search for her name, and to my surprise, a different salesperson’s website appeared; we’ll call her Jane. I reviewed Jane’s keywords to see if my client’s name was being used there. No. Then I remembered using Google’s Adwords last year for my own promotion.
AdWords are one of Google’s Internet advertising programs. In this program, you can be in the top list of results when people are actively looking for information about your—-or your competitors’--products and services online. By creating a list of search terms, such as “Mary Smith,” Google’s AdWords will direct traffic to you every time that phrase is searched and clicked on Google. With AdWords' “cost-per-click” pricing, you pay only when people click your ad.freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
It was immediately clear that Jane was using Mary’s name in her AdWords list. Because Jane’s site appeared at the top, as a paid advertiser, my suspicions were nearly confirmed. A pleasant call to Jane’s webmaster sealed the deal.

If you’re an established salesperson or service provider who is known by name, do yourself a favor and search for your name on Google and Yahoo. If you’re a member of a local board, such as a Board of Realtors, you can report using this type of AdWords advertising as unethical, not that it necessarily is. What do you think? I invite comments.

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What Animal Would You Be?

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Lately, I’ve really been feeling like a territorial cat, so I’m certain, if I were an animal in another life, that’s what I would have been.

Not just a house cat, mind you. I would have been a Puma, also known as a mountain lion, sneak cat, deer tiger, Mexican lion, purple feather, mountain screamer, brown tiger, catamount, king cat, silver lion, cougar, mountain demon, Indian devil, and a panther.freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
Have you ever, just on a whim, decided you didn’t like your name? Well, no problem as a puma; you can pick from a variety of names—today, I feel like an Indian Devil!

My home would span from the tips of Canada to the depths of South America, and what girl doesn’t like a big house—a mansion even?freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
And what self-respecting woman doesn’t want to change her look occasionally? Hmmm? Tell me you’ve never wanted to color your hair! As a Mountain Screamer, I could be spotted, light gray, various shades of cinnamon to rust-red, light tan or red-brown, or possibly silver-gray. And for an even more sophisticated look, I may have black, mysterious markings around my face and white splatters under my neck. You girls tell me you wouldn’t want that kind of variety.freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
Now, I don’t know about you, but this girl can get moody, and when I’m feeling mean, nothing could be better than stalking and attacking my prey. Okay, that sounds a bit neurotic, I’ll admit; but as a cat, it’s totally normal, right? As a Sneak Cat, when someone takes my parking place, I’ll have the ability to leap on him from 45-feet away, and don’t even get me started if it’s mating season!freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
Having twins in this life certainly makes me understand the demands I would have as a Panther. With up to three cubs, I’d have my hands (or paws) full, not to mention I’d be the one hunting for food, while my no-good husband lies around in the shade. Oh, did I mention that I’d be pregnant for only THREE months? What busy woman today wouldn’t love that?freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
Yes, I’m certain that if I were an animal in another life, I would have been a Purple Feather. What about you? What animal would you be?

This post is dedicated to a Blog Carnival, "What Animal Would You Be." I'll provide a link to all the other animals once the roundup is done.

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It’s That Time of Year Again…Eating Season

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The Eating Season starts with Halloween, if you’re a sugar fiend, and it doesn’t end until the Yule Tide rolls in. It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent, who’ll snatch a bag of M&Ms here or Twizzlers there, or if you’re a singleton, because if you live anywhere besides your car, you’re going to have a few pounds of goodies to hand out--and to eat!freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
Not to fear! We’ve got a plan to keep this year’s Eating Season from ruining your waistline. These suggestions come from people who’ve been healthy and fit for years:

1) Plan to eat a lot! No, I’m not kidding. The best plan of attack before any tempting event is to FILL up on healthy food before you leave the house. Cut up some raw vegetables and eat until you can’t eat any more. If you’re in a pinch, you can drink a large glass of water just before your meal, but this method is not as successful as filling up on veggies.

2) Slow down! When you eat slower, you appreciate aromas, tastes, and textures, and you’ll begin to feel full before you manage to eat an entire pecan pie. If you must, count the number of times you chew each bite (silently, of course). This will force you to slow down. After a few times, you’ll get the hang of it. I tried this, and it’s actually interesting what you notice when you focus on the qualities of a particular dish.freelance, freelance jobs, freelance writer, writer, copywriter, seo, seo optimization, seo copywriter
3) During hor’devours, keep a glass in one hand and a napkin in the other. Do not let go of either. Okay, this does sound bit neurotic, but if anything can ruin a reasonable diet, it’s the meal before the meal. If you can’t hold on to those items, put a piece of gum in your mouth or sip on a cocktail. This is the most dangerous of all temptations: most appetizers contain some of the highest fat-content foods: cheese, lard, butter, you name it.

The bottom line is that we’re going to be tempted this Eating Season. The question is…what are YOU going to do about it?

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Eastern Europe: Traveling Tips

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Last year, my husband and I decided to travel to Kiev. Yes, we went to the Ukraine. If you’ve never been to Eastern Europe, I’ll share some basic tips, but I’ll save the shopping, dining, and site-seeing details for the next installment of this series.

We decided to travel to Eastern Europe in early summer because we knew the weather there would be similar to our Chicago spring temperatures, and that’s about as good as it gets, unless you’re craving a tropical island. Just like Chicago, we did get a day or two of spring showers, but overall, it was gorgeous. TIP: Make sure you know the climate of your destination, and pack accordingly.

The Language
Because we were traveling to a country with a different language, we did a little research online regarding our ability to communicate in Eastern Europe, because we didn’t want a translator. Since both Ukrainian and Russian are spoken (and written) in Kiev, we had to be prepared for both. And in case you’ve never seen the Cyrillic alphabet, let me just say that it was Greek to me. What worked? I printed a few common phrases and the alphabets (for both languages) from the Internet. The good news: many businesses also had English signage, menus, etc. TIP: Understand the language barrier and make a plan: hire a translator or take reference material, such as a translation device or a translation book.

Of course our cell phone wouldn't work in Eastern Europe. If you’re planning a trip similar to this, I would also suggest contacting your telephone carrier, to get the best rates for making calls internationally, or you may want to rent an international cell phone. We didn’t opt for the cell phone on this trip, but we did during our trip to the Mediterranean. We decided to sign up with our telephone carrier for one month of international calls for one low rate--what a great decision. TIP: get an international calling card, sign up for a temporary international calling plan, or rent an international cell phone.

Finally, instead of staying in a hotel, we decided to rent a short-stay apartment while in Eastern Europe. The rate was far less than a hotel, and our apartment was furnished with everything you’d need. The one suggestion I would make when finding an apartment: ask about cable television, specifically, is it available in English, and whether or not DVD players are available. TIP: Research the different accommodations according to your budget; amenities matter!

Electricity: Converters and Adapters
When traveling to any European destination, research their electrical outlets: you'll see a lot about converters and adapters. First, adapters and converters are not the same. An adapter allows you to “retrofit” an electric cord plug into various styles of wall outlets. A voltage converter downgrades 220 (or 225) voltages to 110, to keep from frying our appliances. We had to use both them with the hair dryer and electric razor. Don’t overlook the laptop while in Eastern Europe. Ours came from the factory with a converter/adapter on the cord, but yours may not! TIP: if you’re staying in a hotel, don’t assume they have converters and adapters, although most do; ask them prior to making reservations.

Find out what currency is used. Most European counties use both the Euro and their own currency, so you’ll have a choice. The currency exchange rate will affect you, no matter what, and it could mean the difference between eating and shopping like a prince or a pauper. TIP: Don’t exchange a large amount of cash since the rates change hourly; you can lose money this way. Exchange as needed!

Your trip to Eastern Europe can be an absolute thrill; ours was! Just make sure you plan ahead, and with these tips, you’re sure to have a great time.

Easing Joint Pain

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One in every three adults in the US suffers from joint pain (1). It’s common for adults over 45, but people as young as 25 may also suffer from joint pain. If you’ve spent time running, playing tennis, or golfing, you probably know that ache.

If you have persistent joint pain, the first step is to see your healthcare provider. You may be suffering from arthritis; it can affect anyone at any age. The most common type of arthritis is Osteoarthritis (OA), afflicting nearly 21-million people (1).

OA occurs when the joint cartilage begins to deteriorate—from wear and tear, which causes stiffness and join pain, primarily upon waking (2).

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is another common condition that causes joint pain, and it affects just over 2-million Americans. RA symptoms include burning, inflammation, stiffness, and swelling around the affected joints. The difference between RA and OA is that RA is not the result of wear and tear, but an attack from the body’s immune system, which confuses healthy tissue with foreign matter (2).

While the joint pain from Osteoarthritis is attributed to wear and tear on the body, researchers believe that Rheumatoid Arthritis may be attributed to genetics, environmental factors, or even vitamin D deficiency (2).

A once common cause of joint pain is gout. Sufferers have a metabolic defect in which the body produces excess levels of uric acid-—or the kidneys are unable to process normal levels. The uric acid deposits in joints, primarily in the toes, and causes swelling, redness, and pain (3).

You may also have joint pain caused by an injury, such as a sprain or even a fracture. It’s important to see your healthcare provider if you experience persistent joint pain.

Treatment Options
Most physicians' treatment plans for arthritis include steroids, and research has shown long-term steroid use may prevent the liver from functioning properly (4). If you’ve ruled out an injury, you may be searching for relief over-the-counter. Recently, the market has been flooded with supplements for joint pain: Glucosamine, MSM (MethylSulfonylMethane), and Condroitin, to name a few. Glucosamine and Chondroitin are produced naturally in the body and have been well documented for easing pain, but there’s no proof that these therapies will repair damaged cartilage (5). MethylSulfonylMethane is a substance found readily in fresh produce, dairy, grains, and fish; like Glucosamine and Chondroitin, MSM is well documented for reducing pain, but researchers are still wary of its ability to produce any cures (6).

Arthritis is a serious condition, and as such, healthcare providers should monitor joint pain sufferers regularly. If you choose to take a supplement to ease your joint pain, remember to tell to your healthcare provider.


The Smaller Side of Agriculture and Its Importance

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Sample Excerpt: Audience: Political, Length: 2000 words.
Please contact me for the entire essay.

[Synopsis: This article looks at the influence and power of small farmers and the role they play in globalization. It is the goal of this article to prove the need and importance of keeping smaller agricultural operations alive around the world.]

When looking at the relationship between small farmers in the developing world and international agricultural trade, two main questions arise. First, how can small-scale agriculture compete more effectively with imported products, and what degree of trade protection is appropriate? Second, can small-scale farmers take greater advantage of export opportunities, and what are the supply-side and market-access constraints that need to be lifted? This paper attempts to provide some answers, focusing initially on the role of developing-country governments in making small-scale agriculture and related rural industries more productive, sustainable and able to compete in open markets, and then considering the ways in which Northern governments can provide a fairer international marketplace. (Butcher, 2000)

The livelihoods of 2.6 billion people depend on agriculture. Most of them are poor farming families in the developing world. The absolute number is increasing, though they comprise a declining share of the total population. In the least-developed countries in 1996, 73% of the workforce was engaged in agricultural activities, the great majority of them poor smallholders and laborers. For developing countries as a whole, the figure was 59%. Small-scale agriculture is not small in aggregate terms, accounting for much more employment and staple food production than larger commercial concerns, though the latter are dominant in food and other commodity trade. It is inconceivable, for the foreseeable future, that the cities, or commercial agriculture, could offer employment to the vast numbers of poor people in the countryside. For this reason alone, due attention to small-scale agriculture is essential for progress towards the OECD development targets for poverty reduction and sustainability. (Butcher, 2000)

Style and Arrangement

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Sample Excerpt: Audience: Academic, Length: 5000 words.
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The author of "Rhetorica ad Herennium" and "Aristotle in Rhetoric" share an interest in teaching rhetoric and those aspects of oratory most congruous during the periods in which they wrote. Though they both approach rhetoric with instructional intent, they handle several aspects of rhetoric differently. Aristotle appears less concerned with style or form than with proof, which makes him less authoritative or knowledgeable in the area of style if compared to the author of Rhetorica ad Herennium--who achieves a more systematic approach at defining style. The apparent opposition in the handling of style may come from the natural development of rhetoric based on the knowledge gained during the period that elapsed between the development of the two texts--the latter text gleaning and extrapolating, building on the relevant theories of the former. Additionally, Aristotle and the author of Rhetorica ad Herennium contrast with regard to their ideas on the arrangement of a speech.

Aristotle appears less authoritative or knowledgeable in the area of style, which appears to be the result of his greater concern with proof than style or form if compared to the author of Rhetorica ad Herennium--who achieves a more systematic approach at defining style. Aristotle begins his discussion of style unexpectedly vague: "let the virtue of style be defined as 'to be clear'…and neither flat nor above the dignity of the subject, but appropriate" (On Rhetoric 221). He stresses appropriateness, or clarity, but fails to match the prescriptive tone in Rhetorica ad Herennium, except in Chapter 6. Aristotle's handling of style is divided into roughly two areas: diction and composition. His discussion on diction focuses on word choice, yet he lacks the systematic approach of presenting the material as achieved in Books 1 and 2: "authors should compose without being noticed and should seem to speak not artificially but naturally" (On Rhetoric 222); "There is a fault in the syllables if the indications of sound are unpleasant" (224); "And the source of the metaphor should be something beautiful" (225). These statements lack the detail and exactness we read earlier in Rhetoric; therefore, he loses some credibility on the issue of style when compared to the author of Rhetorica ad Herennium.

A Case of Meningococcal Disease in Healthcare Workers

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Sample Excerpt: Audience: Healthcare; Length: 1700 words.

An infectious disease is one that is triggered by various pathogens that can be transmitted by means of either a biological or physical agent to a host. Some of the common infectious diseases are as follows: influenza, mononucleosis, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), hepatitis, and tuberculosis, and meningococcal disease. Having an infectious disease management program in place can cut down considerably on the possibility of spreading the infection and thus putting more people, including both hospital staff and patients at risk.

In the journal Lancet, of November 11, 2000, researchers Anna Gilmore, James Stuart, and Nick Andrews, describe the risk to health-care workers who are exposed to meningococcal disease. In the particular situation discussed by these researchers, modes of contact for the primary infection included while doctor was performing a full clinical admission when patient coughed in doctor's face, daily contact with infected patients, during the process of airway insertion of a patient on an ambulance, during delivery and fitting of oxygen while patient was restless, and close contact with coughing, crying child over a prolonged period of time.

Organizational Management Behavior
Awareness: The first step in dealing with the potential threat for infections is awareness. Health care workers are, or should be aware of the potential for infection in the hospital setting but this should not be taken for granted. A good program that will cut down on the potential for infections should start with ascertaining that these health care workers do have the necessary knowledge. While the most effective way might be to test the knowledge of these workers with respect to modes of transmission of various infectious diseases, a more effective method might be a regular program of discussions among health care workers regarding how they could avoid being the victims of such infections. Probably quarterly meetings of health care staff where issues of this nature are discussed are likely to keep the issue on the forefront for all health care workers, at least, until the next meeting. At such meetings, staff may focus both on the possibility of avoiding such infections in their particular setting and also discuss what might have occurred in other settings. The citing of current or past journal articles should be encouraged. Since it might appear unnecessary to focus on only one topic every three months, staff may focus on different particular issues regarding the health care setting but with the view to protecting both staff and patients foremost on everyone's mind.

Hygiene regime:
Nurses and health care staff, as part of their routine operations, often have to touch patients or articles that are infected. A regular program of hand hygiene, through either washing or hand disinfections, can cut down on the rate of cross-infection in hospitals (Pittet 2). Though this seems to be an elementary item in the health care setting it appears that in many cases there is poor compliance among health care workers, with doctors being the worst offenders (Pittet 2). To increase compliance, it is important to raise what seems to be a minor matter to one of giant proportions. By dramatizing the situation and showing what some of the negative outcomes might be for neglecting hand washing, it might be possible to increase compliance. A Hand Washing campaign that enlists the help of patients is likely to be the most effective. This might meet with initial resistance from health care workers, but plastering the hospital with posters that empower patients to ask health care workers if they have washed their hands prior to dealing with them could be very useful. Since health care workers would want to say yes rather than go and wash their hands to show that they have not already done so, it appears that such a campaign would promote hand-washing frequency among health care workers. But it should not be limited to health care workers.

The Role of Grandiloquence in Advancing Humor

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Sample Excerpt: Audience: Academic, Length: 500 words.

In the Old Southwestern story, “Parson John Bullen’s Lizards,” written by George Washington Harris, is humor found in the juxtaposition of the narrator’s grandiloquence to the speaker’s orality or in the union of the speaker’s somewhat advanced vocabulary and sentence structure to his obvious level of education and speech patterns?

For this text, it would be difficult to successfully argue that the humor is derived from the juxtaposition of the narrator’s grandiloquence to the speaker’s orality because there is little presence of the narrator—in terms of dialog. But, the text is humorous, and it is not because of the irony in the “hell-sarpint aplicashun.”

The text is humorous because, Sut Lovingood, the main character, has an above-expected level vocabulary, detail, and sentence structure nestled in the middle a down-home dialog. The grandiloquence shines even brighter through the sentence structure and spelling. The reader expects to see, after five or six words of dialog, short, simple sentences and little detail, but Sut’s long, drawn-out sentences, sentence structure, and attention to detail pull the reader into a text made up of social irony. The bigger the words he uses, the funnier it is, the misspelling adding a good deal of the humor. The misspelling and truncated words are important to the style because they confirm the reader’s belief that the character is uneducated. This excerpt exemplifies the detail, structure, vocabulary, and spelling that combine in a synergic mix to make the story laugh-out-loud-funny.

“He tole ‘em how the ole Hell-sarpints wud sarve em if they didn’t repent; how cold they’d crawl over thar nakid bodys, an’ how like ontu pitch they’d stick tu ‘em es they crawled; how they’d rap thar tails roun’ thar naiks chokin clost, poke thar tungs up thar noses, an’ hiss intu thar years.”

Cicero’s Philosophy of Style

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Sample Excerpt: Audience: Academic; Length: 1770 words.
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Through the voice of Crassus in Book III of De Oratore, Cicero discusses embellishing style by making language correct, brilliant, ornamental, and appropriate; additionally, the orator must be suitably knowledgeable, cultured, and gifted in delivery. However complex this style, the key component—to this reader—is knowledge, reflected through Cicero’s desire to see the reuniting of the schools of philosophy and speaking. Throughout Book III of De Oratore, philosophy of style is developed through the principles of knowledge.

The subject of the orator’s level of knowledge is given great attention by Crassus, making this a significant component of Cicero’s philosophy of style. Crassus begins his exposition by asserting that philosophy and oratory are inseparable (De Oratore 17); this is a strong indication that knowledge is a key component of his style. Cicero appears to value Socrates’ notion that knowledge is most important, but he does not agree with the subsequent separation of knowledge and oratory: “This is the source from which has sprung the undoubtedly absurd and unprofitable and reprehensible severance between the tongue and the brain…” (De Oratore 49).

Socrates and Plato would have commended Cicero on his defense for knowledge as the foundation for any speaker. First in Plato’s Gorgias, and again his sentiments are echoed in Phaedrus when Socrates states an important method for obtaining knowledge—the definition: “In every discussion, my dear boy, there is one and only one way of beginning…that is to know what it is that one is discussing” (Phaedrus 46).


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Sample Excerpt: Audience: Healthcare; Length: 1650 words.

In the mid 1970s psychologist Charles Tart (1975, 1972) showed that consciousness can be usefully understood from a systems perspective. He argued that ordinary waking consciousness, or ordinary reality, can be seen as a state of consciousness surrounded by a large number of alternative or “altered” states. Dream sleep is another system, although several states may be accessible in dreams (Krippner, 1994). Others include an unknown number of ecstatic states that can erupt spontaneously into ordinary consciousness, plus states that are accessible through meditation, the shamanic trance, hypnosis, and drug induced states, as well as ordinary non- dream sleep. Tart states that consciousness is composed of a harmonious set of psychological functions, which include memory, cognition, sense of humor, sense of self, external perception (exteroception), and perception of internal body states (interoception). Together they form a gestalt- like whole, or a working system.

According to William James, “Our normal waking consciousness…is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are all there in all their completeness” (James,1929, 378).

Allan Combs’ Theory of Consciousness

According to Combs, transitions between states of consciousness can be brought about by disrupting the stabilizing processes and the positive patterning of forces in the direction of the new desired state. For example the technologies of consciousness, found in yoga or shamanism, involve many patterning techniques designed both to disrupt ordinary consciousness and to move the practitioner toward extraordinary states (Combs, 1993, 1995).

Print Remediation: Expanding our Boundaries

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Sample Excerpt: Audience: Academic, Length: 1360 words.

The printed text is finite in content, allowing the reader to blind herself to all other texts while she pages through the contained subject. The very nature of this printed text limits its reader, during the reading of the text, to the information captured on the pages. These borders may, for some readers, proffer a devaluation of the printed text.

Devaluation of the printed text, with regard to its limitations, may be acerbated by the increasingly accessible Internet, which presents to its readers an encyclopedic selection of related material from which to browse. The advent of the World Wide Web offers an alternative, or supplement, to the printed text: hypertext.

Most Web pages contain hypertext, displayed images and/or text that are linked to other information--most often related or supportive. In some ways, these hypertextual links are the "electronic equivalent of the footnote" found in the printed text, offering a network of related information and immediacy not available through the purely textual state of the footnote (Bolter 27). The Internet's boundless reservoir of information, immediacy, and ease of accessibility entice many writers to deliver their texts, or alternative versions of them, via the World Wide Web.