Once you've got your website mapped out, know what your important keywords are and have a site structure in mind, it's time to start creating some content. If you're blessed with time, writing talent and a firm grasp of your topic, you can write your content yourself. However, if you're short of any of these commodities you might want to consider some more creative methods of sourcing content for your site; in this lesson we'll cover several easy ways to get content.
If you have more money than time or literary skills, you could pay someone to write your articles for you; there are a number of websites that connect publishers (like you) with freelance writers - one popular example is Upwork.com. Just post a project and writers ("Upworkers") will "bid" for the job, offering to write X number of articles for Y dollars per article. At the bottom end of the scale you can spend around $5 per article but, typically, the more you spend the higher the quality of the writing.
This can be a hit and miss way to get content for your site; a lot of writers out there (particularly the very cheap ones) don't have English as a first language, or seem to specialize in writing vague, confusing passages that really contribute very little to your site except for bulk. Good writers do exist on these sites, but you may need to try a few before you hit on a winner (and you might need to pay a little more!)
Another option for outsourcing your writing is to hire a student from your local college to write for you - this way you have the benefit of being able to interview your candidates beforehand and discuss the topic with them in person, and (if you're in an English-speaking country) you can generally be sure that their English skills will be reasonable!
Private label rights (PLR) articles are articles that essentially become "yours" once you purchase them: you can edit them, alter them, put your name on them, post them on your website, bind them together into a book and sell it... The choice is yours; when you buy PLR articles, the author relinquishes almost all rights to the content.
There are a number of ways to get PLR content; usually you will need to either:
Some PLR sites will also include market research information with their articles, and have chosen the topic based on keyword search volumes or other salient measures.
The good thing with PLR articles is that the quality tends to be considerably higher than articles you get for bottom-dollar on Upwork. In fact, you'll see PLR membership sites emphasizing the fact that their writers are native English speakers! This seems like a ridiculous point to advertise, but you will come to appreciate it once you experience the alternative.
The biggest issue with PLR articles is that they get around! Others will be using them too. To avoid duplicate content issues, you'll need to heavily edit the content. In saying that, it’s often much easier to re-write something than to write it from scratch, and you’ll often get good ideas from PLR content.
So basically, it's best to see PLR content as topic generation and research, rather than content to use as-is. Keep in mind that it's only worthwhile if you can get them for a low cost, because you will need to spend time rewriting them yourself, or money hiring someone else to rewrite them for you.
You can also source a wide range of articles, reviews and other content from free article directories such as ezinearticles.com. With content from article directories you're free to post it on your site, as long as you don't edit the content at all; this includes keeping the author's "bio box" and any links in the content intact.
There are some obvious and major downsides with this kind of content: Firstly, since you're not allowed to edit this content it will suffer from serious duplicate content penalties from the search engines. Only one site with particular content will receive the credit for that article in the form of a search engine listing, while all other sites with this content will be relegated to the "supplementary results", and often the site that makes it into the search engines is the article directory itself!
Secondly, you're forced to link to whatever sites the author wants to link to in their bio box or within the article itself. Thirdly, you're not able to insert your own affiliate links into the content. Fourth and finally, the quality of these articles is often not all that great. All that hassle for lackluster content. Is it really worth it?
In general, if you're planning to build a site for search engine optimization, or if you're looking for content for your newsletter series, you should steer well clear of article directories. If you're simply looking for something to beef up the back end of your PPC site, this might be an acceptable solution for the meantime. (No guarantees for the future though - the search engines are getting pickier all the time!)
(Read more about the perils of article directories in our lesson on avoiding duplicate content)
If you're not much of a writer one easy way to create a lot of content for your site, fast, is to get a Dictaphone and record conversations between you and a partner on a particular topic. Often it's much easier to talk about a topic than to write about it, and one hour of conversation can yield around 40 pages of content! You could even find an expert in your field and interview them.
Once you've recorded your conversation you can hire an Upworker (or a student) to transcribe it for you; an hour of talking will typically cost around US$25 for an Upworker to transcribe.
If you're really keen, you could also add the audio to your site with an audio play button. It's a bit of a gimmick, but a lot of people prefer to listen rather than read. It can also add some "real person" credibility to your site. Just be aware that you can't rely solely on audio for all your content, since the search engines can't spider it!
If you're able to write an email to your friends or family updating them on what you've been up to, then you're able to blog. Blogging is a lot less formal than article writing, and a lot of affiliates find it much easier. It's also a lot more engaging for your readers since you're able to let your own personality shine through.
The other benefit to blogging is that, by allowing comments on your blog, you can get visitors to your site to help build your content for you! Don't think it gets you out of targeting your keywords though — you should try to work your keywords into your blog posts, particularly in the titles.
In this lesson you've learned a number of approaches to finding content for your website that don't involve pulling articles out of your own head.