Article directories are those websites that allow you to post pretty much whatever you want, whenever you want, once you have signed up and had enough articles manually approved. One such site is Associated Content and Ezine are two examples of such sites.
Typically, these sites do not pay anything up front, although they may offer you a payment based upon the traffic your articles receive. As such, they are not necessarily good places to focus your money making efforts, but they can be a useful marketing and influence tool.
In order to make money writing online, you are eventually going to need to be able to show prospective clients that you can write, and write well. Showing your writing abilities is typically done via writing samples. In the offline world, writing samples are provided as printed copies, or perhaps via enclosed media such as a disk. In the online world, writing samples are provided via links or email attachments.
To avoid filling their inbox with attachments that could contain viruses, be improperly formatted, or just flat out too time consuming to read, many online writing opportunities will ask you to supply links to your writing rather than sending attachments. Obviously, articles published on your own website are a great source of writing samples, called clips, but article directories can provide a useful set of samples as well.
Since article directories allow you to publish on most any topic, you can build up an array of articles in the areas you are interested in writing about. For example, if you are interested in writing about finance, you might publish articles on credit reports, mortgages, budgets, savings accounts and credit cards on a couple of different sites. This provides two important advantages. First, if someone glances at your writing samples and notices they are all from the same site, it is possible that they might draw the wrong conclusion and assume you only write for one site. By having articles scattered around on multiple sites you can avoid this incorrect first impression.
Secondly, article directory sites provide you with a resource box or area where you get to include your information as a writer. Inside of this box, you will provide a link back to your own website which will both provide potential traffic, and just as importantly, aid in your site’s search engine rankings by providing solid targeted links from another site.
Too much time can be spend publishing on article directory sites. Even writers with many published articles don’t earn much money and those that do have published many, many articles, some over the course of multiple years. While those writers may indeed draw high residual income from those articles, one can only wonder how much more money such a writer could have made putting the same amount of effort into building an online writing business from higher paying clientele who generate referrals and repeat writing project work.
So, if you are just starting out, or if you are in a slow spot in your money making venture, take the opportunity to publish an article or two on the article directory websites. Then, go back to building up new contacts and improving your existing ones.