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    Articles and responses length versus quality

    Dear Vandana,

    I have read lot of your guidelines on writing articles and I really appreciate them. Here I am having some queries on Articles and Ask Expert section regarding length of the content and their quality so I would be glad if you could clarify them. Below are my queries.

    1. The cash credit and points earned for writing articles and posting responses in Ask expert section depends on the length of the content or does it depends on its quality? Is it possible to get same rewards if we write short but good quality article or response rather than long and unimpressive one?

    2. Does the lengthy written article or lengthy response to ask expert question result in more cash credits and points rather than the short ones, assuming both are of same quality?

    3. I know for articles we need to have limit from 500 to 1500 words. If we happen to write article lengthier than 1500 words does it result in reduction of points and cash credits?

    4, For the Ask experts sections is there any lower and upper limit for length of the answer ?
  • #604239

    1. Always quality. Yes, it is possible to get good cash credits if you write a short but good quality article. Never worry about the number of words. We have given 50 points and 50 cc to short articles too due to the informative and well-presented content with no writing flaws.

    2. No; in both the sections, the depth of the content matters. We do not expect too lengthy answers to an Ask Expert query, but do expect informative answers, just as we expect informative content on the topic of an article. In an Ask Expert answer we give some leeway when the answer may not directly answer the query asked, but is somewhat having some relevance to the topic of the query & is thus providing some knowledge.

    Note that for an article which is really lengthy, we will definitely consider giving even Rs.100 or Rs.120 if there is lot of really informative content, English is very good, overall presentation is well done, etc. If, on the other hand, we find there is needless repetition of content merely to lengthen the article, then, naturally, we will not give it high cc.

    3. No, of course not. We are not going to penalize an author for writing extra lengthy articles (just as I won't be penalized for writing such a long response here!!) If I am not mistaken, I too have written a couple of articles that shot beyond the 1500 mark. What we generally suggest to members is that if a topic needs to be covered extensively, it can be split into 2 or even 3 parts. Let's say I am writing about some place I visited, such as Jaipur. I could split the article into multiple articles. For example, I can write one entire article on a particular Fort which I visited, another about my stay at a particular hotel, a third about the popular markets in the city & what are the products tourists can buy, a fourth about popular tourist attractions, with one paragraph each on about 4 most popular ones...and so on. I would then prepare all these, submit them on a single day and then in each give a link to the others. This would be far better for me in terms of getting good cc for each as well as traffic & AdSense revenue, rather than cramming all the possible things in a single article on Jaipur. Interlinking of related articles plays a key role, as what you are doing is keeping the reader browsing through your articles / retaining the reader's interest for a little longer with ISC rather than simply going away. If you put good long keywords for an internal link, it is more likely the reader will click on it for sure and go to the other article too.

    Taking the example of Jaipur, instead of one single article headed "Visiting Jaipur's tourist attractions":
    (a) Visiting Amber Fort Jaipur - Traveller tips
    (b) Staying at Hotel Shiv Aangan Budget Hotel Jaipur
    (c) Shopping at popular local markets in Jaipur
    (d) Best unique places to visit in Jaipur
    - As you can see, I have not only divided various aspects into min-articles, I have used some keywords too in the titles to attract traffic. I could even write a short article on special tips for first time travellers to the city, recommending where to dine for local cuisine, which tourist places can be avoided by senior citizens due to lot of climbing, where to go for children also to enjoy, etc.
    [I learnt about this splitting of article when writing on tourism-based articles from Tony Sir when I was contributing to partner sites of various cities]

    4. Partly answered in #2 above. As such, we do not expect answers to be like full-fledged articles. Just be as concise as possible. However, it is perfectly fine to write a lot if the answer really requires it, such as when we give in-depth advice on a particular career or giving tips for a health issue. Also, keep in mind that if there are already responses prior to yours, you should avoid repeating what has already been stated clearly in the previous responses since then you may get fewer cc than what you would expect.

    The bottom line-
    Remember to keep in mind for articles - focus on topics which will fetch traffic and avoid common topics like skin problems, hair fall, the usual type of investment suggestions, etc. Relevant links in another article, an AE thread or forum thread or to a particular section's main page (such as the Study Abroad section when you write on a career-based article for taking up a course abroad) can get you additional points & cc.

    Remember to keep in mind for AE answers – conciseness, preciseness, relevance. Relevant links in an answer to a related article or any other page can get you additional points & cc.

    If you wish for further guidance, put the URL of some article you have written in a response in this thread and I will explain if anything is lacking in it & how to improve on it.

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #604256
    Thanks for your detailed response. It is really helpful.

    Furthur few things come to my mind so it would be nice if you can clarify those.

    1. In writing articles and Ask Expert responses does it give added advantage if we use good english vocabulary and words rather than normal daily language and common words? For example instead of writing "He was thinking whether to go or not" if we write "He was in dilemma whether to go or not", does the use of the word dilemma give advantage and extra cc?

    2. Furthur, I would like to know that as a Silver member can I still participate in ISC Google Adsense and other revenue sharing program? I had read that it is only possible starting from gold membership.

    3. What is the maximum cash credit one can earn in Articles and Ask Expert section section and for that matter any other section of ISC, is there an upper limit to it.?

    4. By your experience I would like to know that with ideas and points in mind and average typing speed, how long should one take to publish a 500 word article complete in all respects including formatting part? Similarly, how long should it take to answer ask expert queries?

  • #604263
    1. No. Understandable English is required for Ask Expert section. For articles we are more particular and expect good grammar and no errors in spellings & capitalization, correct sentence formation, etc.

    2. Yes, gold level membership is required.

    3. Yes, there are upper limits but we cannot give specifics of each section. For articles I have mentioned it in #2 of my response above.

    4. That all depends on you, your determination and your skills!

    May I suggest that instead of asking further questions, please start contributing in the Ask Expert section and then move on to articles, also participating in forum discussions regularly & not forgetting submitting entries for contests. You will automatically understand what is what. Then, after you have done some posting at ISC, if you require further guidance about the content posting as such, you could take help from fellow ISCians via forum threads.

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #604301

    Thanks for your reply.
    I have already contributed in Articles and Ask Expert sections of ISC in past and hence I had few doubts which I asked you previously in this thread.

    As you had said in your first reply that I can send you url to any of my posts so that you can review it, I am pasting url below for one of my articles in ISC. Kindly go through it, if possible and let me know areas of improvement..

  • #604312

    As such it is a fairly good article and definitely something unique. What you need to do is:
    1. Take care not to drop 'the'. This seems to be absent in a number of places.

    2. Avoid over lengthy sentences. Randomly I picked up this one:
    "As per me it is really appreciated when HR gives honest feedback about interview to a candidate even if its negative as at least they are not keeping candidate in dark and he or she can move on from there and prepare for further interviews and not get into false hope and keep on waiting for the feedback from HR."

    - Just read it out loud to yourself. Did you run out of breath? Well, then you know for sure it is far too long! Just looking at it, you can see the sentence stretches over four and a half lines. Readers lose interest in such articles because, simply, they often skim through and pick on specific aspects which they are interested in. So if you repeatedly put such long sentences (and there are quite a few of them in your article), they would not really be keen on reading it in its entirety. Basically, when you start reading a sentence and it stretches too far, you tend to forget completely what it was that the sentence started with. Meaning, what was that sentence telling you? Likely you need to go back to the beginning of that sentence!

    So, if I were to write the above, it would be like this:
    As per what I feel, it is really appreciated when the HR personnel give honest feedback about the interview to a candidate even if it is negative. At least, then, the candidate is not kept in the dark and he or she can move on from there and prepare for further interviews, rather than having false hope, awaiting feedback from HR.
    (even shorter sentences)
    As per what I feel, it is really appreciated when the HR personnel give honest feedback about the interview to a candidate even if it is negative. At least, then, the candidate is not kept in the dark, having false hope, awaiting feedback from HR. Instead, he or she can move on from there and prepare for further interviews.

    As I said earlier, we look for good grammar, but even if it is not fully polished and the article is overall fine, we will approve it. Authors who submit quality articles where there is no room for corrections at all (editors can correct minor typing errors or a few grammar errors) will right away get high points and cc.

    I would advise you to immerse yourself in regular forum discussions. Use the forum to polish your writing skills, learning on the way to be more concise, write shorter sentences, put correct punctuation, etc. Seriously, it will really help you.

    You may find this article I wrote way back in 2010 helpful too, which has very basic tips: Good article writing tips

    Hope now all your doubts are cleared!

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #604313
    Very informative and valuable exchange of writing tips for various sections and I find it immensely beneficial for not only new members but all of us.

    Many questions which cropped up in the mind of Jignesh came in our minds also but due to inherent shyness in human minds for asking things, probably we deferred it for some later period till someone else asks those things.

    Today same thing has happened. Anyway I have gone through the thread and learned a lot of things and enjoyed the flow of information therein.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #604324
    Yes. Very useful. The questions and answers are very apt and useful for persons who are working on this site. As mentioned by Mr.Umesh even though we have one or two doubts we have never seek the clarification. But today as Mr. Jignesh Vora asked many questions and Ms. Vandana answered all the questions in a very clear and elaborate way we also acquired good knowledge about articles and responses. A very useful thread.
    always confident

  • #604425
    An excellent Forum post by Mr. Vora and very informative responses from our ME. As an ordinary Member with very limited writing skill, I have gained valuable insight from the responses. I hope I would be able to do justice to the guidance received from Ms. Vandana in my future articles.

    However, I want to seek a small clarification. In her first response, Ms. Vandana has stated: "The bottom line-
    Remember to keep in mind for articles - focus on topics which will fetch traffic and avoid common topics like skin problems, hair fall, the usual type of investment suggestions, etc."

    In this connection, I would like to know whether writing articles on personal finance and different investment vehicles should be avoided, despite the fact that even today, majority Indians are unaware of the basic investment information?

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #604434
    No Partha, definitely do not avoid articles on finance & investment. In fact, there is good readership for such articles as, based on conversations I have had about investments with sundry people -
    (a) People are constantly looking for ways to become rich quickly!
    (b) People worry, worry, worry about finances all the time, especially thinking that, after they are aged and no longer fit to work, will they have enough funds for medical & other daily expenses?
    (c) Most people genuinely don't understand head nor tail about investing and would dearly love somebody explaining things to them easily rather than listening to complicated explanations given by their C.A.
    (d) They may be a bit wary of relying solely on their investment advisor / broker and would likely look up information on the Net before deciding.

    Since I am aware you like writing finance articles, I would like to point out one article which is quite good:

    - Here, you have chosen to compare two things. I would advise you to write on such types of articles with the similar title 'Know the difference between _______, as also articles like 'Mutual funds vs _________. You see, people do like to compare things, be it clothes or property or financial investments before taking a final call on it. This would be better than say, simply on writing the usual "How to invest in mutual funds" or "Why to invest in mutual funds" or even your mundane article on types of insurance policies in India (mundane because it is a generalized, common topic I believe.)

    Of course, all this what I am stating about finance topics is as per based on my little SEO experience and may not necessarily be perfect advice.

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #604446
    The advice of Ms. Vandana has been noted. Sincere thanks for the guidance. I will try to follow the valuable advice.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #604476
    Thanks to my fellow ISCians for acknowledging my questions and equal thanks to Ms Vandana for clarifying my doubts. I think as we write more and more we get furthur questions in mind so it is better to get them clarified.

    I have one more question for Ms Vandana. Whenever we are writing responses in Ask Experts section and suppose if we have many suggestions or advise to give, such that the answer is becoming very long. In such cases is it advisable to split our answers in two separate posts one after other or it is better to write a single long answer? In case of two separate answers one after another does cc awarded gets evenly distributed between the two?

  • #604550

    As I said, conciseness is the key. Suppose somebody asks for home remedies for cough. I may know 50 of them. Will I give all? No. I will either give details of 5 or 6 in sentence construction format or simply list the best 10 maximum.

    It also makes no sense to give two answers to a query unless you are updating some info in your already approved response based on something new you are aware of, or pointing out some incorrect info of another member or answering a further query posted.

    Some rare cases come up, such as helping to resolve some personal relationship problem, where it makes sense to give a lengthy response. Otherwise it is best to avoid turning an Ask Expert answer into a forum-type response. In fact, if you feel your answer has potential for great content, then why not write a proper full-fledged article on it? Submit the article, then give a brief synopsis of it as an AE answer and give a link to your article. Voila! You get points and cc for a quality article as well as points cc for a an AE answer with a relevant link.

    Ultimately, we expect members to use plain common sense and use their best judgement as to when a long answer is required and when not.

    (Would this be your last "one more" question? Asking only so as to know whether to lock this thread now if no further guidance is needed.)

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

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