“What do I do with these domains?” It’s not an uncommon question. An inspired mind has an idea for a website or blog and runs out to purchase the matching domain. Then, once they have it, they don’t quite know how to completely develop their idea.

Yesterday I was reading a forum post at Young Entrepreneur in which the original poster asked, “What do I do with these domains?” He owns Greenandeconomic.com, americancasinosociety.com and wedding-finance.com. The responses ranged from “nothing, just put some google ads on them,” to “write some content for them.” The best solution is probably somewhere between the two answers.

Google ads work best when your site has traffic, and the best way to get traffic to your site is to have relevant, frequent content. “Relevant, frequent content,” though, can be intimidating. Where do you start when creating content? Yaro at www.Entreprenuers-Journey.com has long recommended creating Pillar Articles for your site. I’m not just linking for link’s sake, either. I use these pillars myself here at My Name Is Angie. Here are examples of Pillar Articles that can help you get writing for your site today:

Here are typical pillar article concepts that you can post to your blog:

1. THE “HOW-TO” ARTICLE

This is a staple pillar article concept. Think about your industry and write an article that teaches how to do something in it. Be certain to only write how-to articles on topics you genuinely understand how to do and have experience with.

Some possible examples:

  • If you are a marketing consultant, write some advice on how to market a business using no money.
  • If you blog about dogs, write how to choose an appropriate dog name
  • If you blog about how to write a book, produce a how-to guide on approaching publishers.
  • If you blog about food, write recipe guides on how to prepare popular dishes.
  • If you blog about your life, write how-to guides on self development from the life lessons you have learnt (e.g. How you got a job, how you dealt with breaking up with your boyfriend, etc.). It should be reasonably obvious which how-to topics are popular and relevant to your audience and which you feel capable of explaining well. Remember to tell a story if you can!

2. THE DEFINITION ARTICLE

Many industries have key concepts which new readers won’t know. If a concept is complicated, produce a pillar article that defines the concept, clearly explaining what it means and how it can be mplemented. It may seem simple and obvious to you, but remember you are an expert in your field, so explain it to the newbies in simple terms and, of course, try and tell a story as an example. A glossary definition page is a good pillar article. If there are a handful of key concepts in your industry, write an article that lists the concepts and provides a one-paragraph definition for each. A resource page like this is good as a reference piece and often referred back to by other bloggers and websites. You may say why bother doing this if most terms are already defined elsewhere on the web at sites like Wikipedia?

It’s okay to link to other websites for definitions, especially in the short term when you are just getting things set up, but it’s a lot better if you write your own definitions. It keeps readers on your blog, increases your pageviews (the total number of pages of your blog readers view) and visitor length (how long readers stay at your blog). You can describe a concept in your own words, using your own unique story and voice. This helps to build credibility and trust. It’s always smarter to include your own version of a definition if you are capable of explaining a term or concept, rather than link to other sites and drive traffic away from your blog.

3. PRESENT A THEORY OR ARGUMENT

If you blog about politics, writing an article discussing your theories about communism, democracy or capitalism can make a great pillar article. The important thing here is to present some unique thought. Give your opinion on a major issue in your industry, or even on a mainstream topic that you suspect your readers will take an interest in. Try not to simply rehash what other people have said and clearly present your own thesis argument. Stimulate conversation, perhaps controversy, about a topic that is often discussed and is not time-dependent and you will draw traffic to your blog.

4. CREATE A RESOURCE LIKE A FREE REPORT, WHITEPAPER OR E-COURSE

This is one of my favorite pillar concepts. A document such as a whitepaper (a small document, 2-10 pages, which teaches how to do something) or a series of articles combined to create a course, is a fantastic pillar. You have a few options to present this information:

  • Create a PDF which your readers can download, just like what you are reading now. The benefit of this method is that the file can be shared easily (forwarded through email for example – hint, hint 😉 ) and you may benefit from viral marketing effects, especially if you produce a top quality e-book or report.

Type the content into several blog posts and interlink them together. You can also highlight them as a stand-alone series in your archives or articles page. If you visit the articles section of my blog under the “Free Reports” heading, you will see an example of a PDF report that Brian Clark and myself put together, which is a good example of free resource pillar content. If you can’t decide what is the best method to distribute your free resource, my suggestion is to offer it in as many ways as possible. Make a PDF available for download, publish the articles individually and make them available from an email list too. That way you maximize your exposure and cater to the widest possible audience. The important thing with this concept is to create a complete all-in-one solution to a common problem. Similar to the how-to article, a free resource is a powerful pillar concept because it demonstrates your expertise and brings in consistent.

 

5. ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR PILLAR CONCEPTS IS A LIST ARTICLE

You have probably seen many of these at other blogs. The usual titles are “Top 7 Ways To…” or “10 Tips To Improve…” etc. These work well for a couple of reasons –

1. Lists are easily digested by human beings. It’s been tested and proven that articles in the 300-700 word range with lots of clear dot-point bulleted lists and a compelling headline are good traffic pullers. In this case it’s all about simplicity of consumption for people with short attention spans – i.e. most web surfers.

2. Lists provide directly actionable lessons and people love to share lists with other people. Consequently list articles are often linked to by other bloggers and added to social bookmarking sites that drive traffic. Provided your list follows all the standard pillar concept rules – timeless, original content, problem solving ideas – and you keep it directly applicable to your audience, most lists will become pillars. Be wary of doing lists of topics well covered by other people or on really simple concepts. As usual the more “you” included through stories and a unique style, the more likely your list will perform well.

6. A TECHNICAL BLUEPRINT

A technical blueprint is very much like a how-to or a whitepaper, but is focused on the technical aspects of a problem. Technology-focused bloggers are good at blueprint pillar articles because they love to use graphs, spreadsheets and images to demonstrate how to do something. A technical blueprint is a step-by-step, visually enhanced article demonstrating exactly how to complete a task. Often the pictures tell the story more than the words do. Designers and programmers use this style of blog post to show how they code a website, design an image using Photoshop, code software, or simpler activities like attach a file to an email. You can apply the principle to almost any industry that has common tasks which may be complex to understand. In this case it’s more about the imagery and less about the story. Personally, I find it easier to write an explanation using words rather than take lots of screenshots or photographs, but this may not be the same for you. If you have access to the necessary resources, making a blueprint-style blog post that clearly demonstrates how to do something is a perfect pillar concept.

That covers some of the most basic and powerful pillar article concepts you can apply to your blog and test. If you write an article each day using one of the concepts above, you will have a solid foundation for a successful blog. All you need to add to the mix is effective marketing…

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