Writing articles is and excellent way to promote yourself and your online business, that is for certain. Most people also agree that it is a more effective strategy to offer valuable information and advice in these articles instead of hard-selling your product or service. But even so, there is a place for you to legitimately plug the stuff you want to sell.

If the article itself contains only valuable information (not advertising), at the end of the article it is customary to add a subtle promotion for yourself or your product in the form of an authors resource box. This usually takes the form of a signature file, short biography and/or a disclaimer. In this article we will have a look at the two first mentioned ones.

The all important signature file

The signature file you use can be part of your bio, or it can appear separately following the bio. It contains one or several links to your website and a brief one or two sentence description of what is available there.

The active link displayed in your signature file is what allows search engines to catalogue your website and track the inbound links. This is a very important part of article marketing that some people overlook. You should make it a habit to include a signature file with every piece of information you post on the web.

When submitting articles to directories, you should carefully read their terms and conditions. Most article directories will allow only a few links in your resource box, and a few do not allow text linking directly to an affiliate offer for instance.

Your author bio: where you get to toot your own horn

Author bios are always written in third person (Mark Jones is a SEO expert specializing in generating backlinks to the websites of many important organizations…etc.), and the purpose is to establish yourself as a credible source of information on this particular topic. Don’t exaggerate though, and stick to one short paragraph or two. Generating trust from other Internet users it what you are looking for.

But what if you actually have no professional experience? No problem. You can include anything in your bio that relates to your topic in some way. It doesn’t have to be exactly what linkpad you have written about, and could be related to one of your hobbies or personal interests. If you’re just starting out in your field mentioning the reasons you decided to enter this particular business, is a good way to formulate your bio.

Here’s a sample bio for someone with limited experience:

“Mark Jones has been a keen writer since he learned how to hold a pen. After high school he has studied economics and brain science at Brown University. After almost ten years as a journalist at the Daily planet he decided to shift focus to online writing and publishing full time. You can read about his ongoing project as his blog [Here Mark would have inserted an anchored link to his blog].

Note: The above is of course strictly fictional, I don’t know if you can actually study brain science at Brown and the Daily Planet is where Clark Kent works.

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