Tony Leather’s column "Sticking with Triond" is compelling reading in that it talks about reasons that keep him loyal to Triond and continue his writing.
Tony feels that the introduction of the Flag Button has contributed to an improvement in writing on the site; bringing “positive change to the Triond experience” yet it is still possible to find many uses of very bad English across the site. In saying this I am not talking about the typos that we all commit from time to time, more about articles that are, badly researched, inadequately proof-read etc. For some pieces it is clear that the author is merely looking to load something on a daily basis with the home of getting cash into their pockets. On Wikinut I authored an article entitled “Quantity or Quality: The Mark of a Good Column” where I criticised those writers that seem intent on publishing dozens of articles on a single day, more often than not quality suffers.
One of the reasons that it is possible for people to publish large volumes of articles is the fact that they can spin them. Yet article spinning software in and of itself does not guarantee good quality results. I have tried spinning articles myself. The net result in my experience is that the end result of the spin does not always make good reading. Where I have used spinning to create a second article I have found that it is very important to proof read the whole thing from the very beginning. Furthermore to do the new piece justice it is necessary to make it move in a new direction. During editing it is possible to see a new direction that had not previously been explored. Thus the spun article takes on a new life. In that respect it is not spun, it is merely using the old as a basis for new ideas. To me quality is always important, which is why I rarely spin today.
Ultimately volume of readership is what brings in the earnings to the writer and this is what drives many writers to write in large volumes. I fear this approach is wrong, because the end result is lower quality which sadly does not encourage future readership.
Search engine rankings are always vital in gaining a readership, but it can be difficult at times to select the right keyword. When I do a search based on the full title of of an article it ranks very highly, perhaps first of second on Google. It is the keyword searches that are a tougher challenge and rarely perform as well. Part of this problem is that Google negatively ranks pages from sites like Triond because of being an article farm and that makes getting articles seen by the general public tough. As authors we need good rankings in order to get paid. Yet thankfully there are ways to improve SEO and visibility, including cross-linking articles through a variety of free and paid web-sites.
I agree that having an excellent network is vital in getting visitors. I have everything I publish posted in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other Social Media sites. This helps bring in new readers, well actually they may be new to Triond, but they are existing members of my network and will have seen things that I have previously published and that is important on many levels. Every writer should investigate the value of outbound links from their articles and social media is one of the best ways to achieve that. A writers network should go beyond the website they write on. These social sites bring in about 5% of my readership currently.
It is important that new writers are encouraged to cut their teeth on any site that will accept them, yet they should always think about improving quality with every new item they contribute. Each new writer should remember to use the spelling checker key at a very minimum.
To conclude there is a great sense of belonging here, but it is also true with a great many other sites that I use. Contribution is vital. The more we contribute the more others understand what professional skills we have to offer. Ultimately professionalism is vital and should be seen as key to being taken seriously.