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Tips for improving your handwriting

Tips for improving your handwriting

You’ve determined you want to improve your handwriting and you’re most likely hoping a fountain pen will do the trick — maybe a friend told you it would. Maybe you’re just adventurous and you want to attempt your forearm at calligraphy (or you might, once your handwriting improves). Good for you!

A fountain pen may make your writing look a bit better, but if your writing looks as if frantic chickens got liberate on the page, chances are this won’t be enough. Most likely, you’ll need to retrain your arm and forearm.

After coaching handwriting and instructing calligraphy over the years, I’ve learned to see the characteristics of those who’ll be able to pick up the necessary motions quickly from those who’ll have to work a bit stiffer.

Crampy, uneven letters are often the result of drawing the letters with the fingers rather than using the entire arm to write.

People who inevitably have trouble with handwriting and calligraphy write with their fingers. They “draw” the letters. A finger-writer puts the total weight of his/her arm on the paper, his fingers form the letters, and he picks his forearm up repeatedly to stir it across the paper as he writes.

If you use the right muscle groups, your writing will have a slick, effortless flow and not look tormented.

People for whom writing comes more lightly may rest their palms fairly strenuously on the paper, but their forearms and shoulders stir as they write. Their writing has a cadence that shows they’re using at least some of the right muscle groups. They don’t draw the letters with their fingers; the fingers serve more as guides.

This exercise may help you determine which category is yours: Sit down and write a paragraph. Doesn’t matter what. Pay attention to the muscles you use to form your letters. Do you draw each letter with your fingers? Pick your forearm up repeatedly to stir it? Have an unrecognizable scrawl? Does your forearm budge? Chances are, if you learned to write after 1955-60 (depending on where you went to grade school), you write with your fingers.

My aim isn’t to make you into a model Palmer-method writer or a 14th Century scribe. If you can compromise inbetween the “right” methods and the way you write now and improve your handwriting so you’re more satisfied with it, then I’m blessed, too.

A few people hold the pen inbetween very first and middle fingers, which feels truly awkward to me, but I’ve seen it work.

It will take time to re-train muscles and learn fresh habits. Finger-writing isn’t fatal, but it is slow and often painful (if you have to write much). The very first thing you must have (beg, buy, borrow or steal it) is patience and mildness with yourself. The 2nd requirement is determination.

If you finger-write, that is the very first, most significant thing you must un-learn: Do not draw your letters! Do not write with your fingers! Put up signs everywhere to remind you. Write it in the butter, on the pruning mirror, stick notes in the cereal boxes. But learn it!

I hesitate to include this, because it sounds much more difficult than it is. but. let’s look at the most basic things: holding the pen and positioning the palm.

Fig. 1. This is the most common pen-holding position, with pen inbetween very first and middle fingers, held in place by the thumb.

Most of us hold the pen inbetween the thumb and index finger, resting the barrel on the middle finger (fig. 1). This works better than holding it inbetween the thumb and the index and middle fingers, with the entire assembly resting on the ring finger (fig. Two). If you do it the very first way, you’re off to a good begin. If the 2nd, you’ll be okay. In both, the remaining fingers are curled under the arm.

Fig. Two. The two-fingers-on-top method for holding the pen while writing.

Pick up your pen and look at your palm. You’ll have better control and a better writing angle if your pen rests over or just forward of the bottom knuckle on your index finger, not inbetween thumb and index finger (see fig. Trio). (I hold my fountain pens in the latter position, but when I pick up a calligraphy pen, it drops humbly right over that big knuckle–go figure!)

Fig. Three. Note that with this position, usually used for calligraphy (or among indeed disciplined writers), causes the pen to rest atop the knuckle of the forefinger.

For handwriting, the pen position is less significant than for calligraphy. I recommend working in your familiar position unless it’s indeed bad. What’s essential is that you be convenient, the pen feel balanced and you have no pressure in your mitt. Rest the heel of your mitt and the angle of your curled-up little finger on the paper.

Hold the pen lightly; don’t squeeze it. Pretend the barrel is soft rubber and squeezing will get you a big, fat blot. (If you were using a quill, you’d hold it so lightly that the actual act of drawing the quill along the paper would create the decent contact.)

Many books recommend you write with your table at a 45-degree angle, but that’s impractical for most of us. If you can prop up a board or write with one on your lap, that’s a good place to begin, but a vapid surface is fine. Once you attempt an angled surface, you’re likely not to want to abandon, so be careful– here goes a entire fresh budget’s worth of art supplies!

Sit up straight, but not stiffly; don’t sit hunched over or slumped. Don’t worry too much about this position stuff; the significant thing is what makes you feel relaxed and convenient. Your writing arm needs to be free to stir, so squished into the La-Z-Boy most likely won’t be productive.

Hold your fingers fairly straight and write slightly above and just inbetween your thumb and index finger, right where you’re holding the pen. Don’t curl your palm over and write to the left of your palm; that’s a crampy, pathetic position. More lefties do this than righties.

Commonly called the “hook” position, this is often seen in left-handers. It makes it stiffer, but not unlikely, for them to use a fountain pen, because their palms tend to haul over the humid ink.

When you’re practising and you reach the level on the paper at which it becomes awkward to proceed to budge your arm down the paper to write, stir the paper up. Once you recognize your “writing level,” the paper should budge up at that spot rather than your arm moving down the paper. (This isn’t critical. If you notice it and it bothers you, that’s what you do about it. If it doesn’t bother you, skip it.)

I’ve found only one reference to using the right muscle groups to write, and this is critical. I can’t be the only person who knows this; I’m neither that brainy nor that good. Calligraphy instruction books address palm position, desk position, lighting, paper, you name it–but for some reason, not using the right muscles.

As you’ve most likely surmised, the “right muscles” are not those in the fingers. You must use the shoulder-girdle and forearm muscles. This muscle group is capable of much more intricate act than you think and tires much less lightly than fingers, besides providing a sleek, clean, sweeping look to the finished writing. Tho’ it seems paradoxical, since we’re acquainted to thinking of petite muscles having better control, the shoulder-girdle group, once trained, does the job better.

To get a feel for the decent muscles (and begin training them correctly), hold your arm out in front of you, elbow arched, and write in the air. Write big. Use your arm and shoulder to form letters; hold your forearm, wrist and fingers stationary and in writing position. You’ll feel your shoulder, arm, chest and some back muscles doing most of the work. That’s good. That’s what they’re supposed to do. Attempt to duplicate it each time you practice.

People always look puzzled when I mention the shoulder girdle. If you raise your mitt in the air and make large circles, note the muscles you use in doing so (here, shown in darker pink). That’s the shoulder girdle.

Write in the air until it becomes as natural as breathing. It’ll be awkward and feel foolish at very first. If you have a little kid around, get him/her to do it with you. You’ll both have joy, you won’t feel so alone, and it’ll be good for the child’s handwriting, too. If you don’t have a kid, tell your co-workers you’re improving your financial karma or hexing your boss.

As you become convenient, reduce the size of the air-letters you make. If you have access to a chalkboard or a stick and a fence (or even a finger and a wall), write on them. They’ll give you a feel for the muscles you need to use and writing on a vertical surface makes it virtually unlikely to finger-write. (If you’re one of the people who can’t write on a blackboard because you keep wanting to shrink the writing down so your fingers can do it, this is indeed significant for you.) If you keep wanting to hunch up close and put your mitt on the chalkboard or wall to write, stand against the urge! You’ll be indulging those dratted fingers.

Recall: Your fingers should budge very little and your wrist even less. Your forearm does most of the guiding, while your shoulder provides the power.

At some point, you’ll want to attempt this with a pen. Hold it gently. Place it on the paper in an ordinary lined spiral notebook (the lines act as ready-made guidelines for size and spacing). If you can get hold of a first-grader’s Big Chief tablet, which offers big lines with a dotted line inbetween two bold lines, use it. There’s a reason children embark out writing big and the letters get smaller as they get older and more skilled—-that’s the easiest way to learn.

Begin making Xs and ///s and \\\s and OOOOs and overlapped OOOs and spirals and |||||s. Do not draw these strokes and figures! Use the same shoulder-forearm muscles you’ve been practising with. Make your lines, loops, circles and spirals loosely. Work into a rhythm and make it a habit.

When you embark making slashes and circles, they’ll be uneven. With practice, they’ll become more uniform, and uniformity is your objective.

Your aim is sleek, uniform, evenly spaced lines, loops, circles and spirals, without drawing them.

This is where you’re most likely to get discouraged. If you use a spiral notebook for practice, you can leaf back and see your progress. At very first, your strokes and lines will be bad—over-running and under-running the lines, too puny, too big, crooked, uneven, just ugly. Check your position; check your muscle groups; and attempt again. And again.

Concentrate on keeping wrist-hand-fingers largely stationary and in decent alignment. Let the big muscles do the work. It will be more tiring at very first, because you’re using muscles that aren’t acquainted to that kind of work. It’ll be hard and frustrating, ’cause your bod will want to do it the way it’s done it since very first grade… even however that way is wrong. It may help to concentrate less on the accuracy of the shapes you’re making than on the muscles making them. Retraining your arm is the aim, not making pretty little circles and lines very first time out.

Uniformity and consistency are your aim in all the exercises, whether loopy or slashy. Tho’ it seems awkward, these exercises will make a large difference in your control and smoothness.

When you commence putting the strokes and lines on paper, commence out big. Three, four, even more lines in your notebook. (Big Chiefs are handy for this.) This helps ensure that you proceed to use the shoulder girdle. Don’t attempt to make pretty letters at this stage. Do the exercises as much as you can—-shoot for every day. Ten or fifteen minutes a day should display results in a few weeks for most people. And note that both air-writing and paper exercises can be doodledduring meetings and while on holdwaiting for somebody!

Concentrate on that shoulder girdle. Let it do the work. Write big. Write words and sentences at the same time you’re doing strokes and exercises. You need both working together to succeed.

Little by little, as your control increases, make your strokes and letters smaller until they’re the size you normally write. You’ll know when you get there. By this time, you very likely won’t have to make extra effort to incorporate this stuff into your writing; it’ll be automatic. And your writing should look much better (and be lighter and feel better, to boot).

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Tips for improving your handwriting

You’ve determined you want to improve your handwriting and you’re most likely hoping a fountain pen will do the trick — maybe a friend told you it would. Maybe you’re just adventurous and you want to attempt your arm at calligraphy (or you might, once your handwriting improves). Good for you!

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Posted on: December 17th, 2015 by Julie Bestry | No Comments

Posted on: December 17th, 2015 by Julie Bestry | No Comments

Serendipity is an interesting thing. Last year, an unexpected project introduced me to a wide-format clipboard, and a little research into that novelty turned into a revelation about the option of landscape-oriented office supplies. At the time, I mentioned the relative rarity of landscape-formatted writing pads, sourced one, and promptly left behind about them.

Then, just this week, while attempting to solve the conundrum of my dearest (and abruptly unavailable) purple legal pads. two different blogs would prove to be the inspiration for this post. But not because they were profiling pastels — because they talking about writing pads with landscape orientation .

All of a sudden, that previously discovered line of landscape-orientation, Roaring Springs Broad LandscapePads , have become this week’s must-have office supply. They come in four varieties:

  • 11″ x 9.Five″, WHITE, college-ruled. Each pad includes 40 sheets of 20-pound, 30% post-consumer recycled paper per pad, with left-side margins. Micro-perforations at the top yield an 11″ x 8.Five″ sheet. (Available singly or in two-pad packs.)
  • 11″ x 9.Five″, CANARY (yellow), college-ruled. Each pad includes 40 sheets of 20-pound, 30% post-consumer recycled paper per pad, with left-side margins. Mirco-perforations at the top yield an 11″ x 8.Five″ sheet. (Available singly or in two-pad packs.)
  • 11″ x 9.Five″, ASSORTED* PASTELS (orchid, pink and blue), college-ruled. Each pad includes 40 sheets of 15-pound 30% post-consumer recycled paper per pad, consumer recycled paper, with left-side margins. Micro-perforations at the top yield an 11″ x 8.Five″ sheet. (Available in three-pad packs .)
  • 11″ x 9.Five″, WHITE, gridded with Five×Five graph paper. Each pad includes 40 sheets of 20-pound, 30% post-consumer recycled paper per pad, with left-side margins and micro-perforations at the top. (Sold singly and in packs of two, four and six .)
  • Punched (for effortless storage in traditional three-ring binders)

  • 11″ x 9.Five″, WHITE, college-ruled, three-hole-punched across the top. Each pad includes 75 sheets of 20-pound, 30% post-consumer recycled paper per pad, with left-side margins, backed by an extra-stiff 80-pt. chipboard backing. Mirco-perforations at the top yield an 11″ x 8.Five″ sheet. (Sold in singly .)
  • 11″ x 9.Five″, CANARY (yellow), college-ruled, three-hole-punched across the top. Each pad includes 75 sheets of 20-pound, 30% post-consumer recycled paper per pad, with left-side margins, backed by an extra-stiff 80-pt. chipboard backing. Micro-perforations at the top yield an 11″ x 8.Five″ sheet. (Sold singly .)
  • 8″ x 6″, WHITE, college-ruled. Each pad includes 40 sheets of 20-pound, 30% post-consumer recycled paper per pad, with left-side margins. Micro-perforations at the top yield an 8″ x Five″ sheet. (Available as individual pads or in multi-packs .)
  • 8″ x 6″, CANARY (yellow), college-ruled. Each pad includes 40 sheets of 20-pound, 30% post-consumer recycled paper per pad, with left-side margins. Micro-perforations at the top yield an 8″ x Five″ sheet. (Available as individual pads in multi-packs .)
  • 8″ x 6″, ASSORTED* PASTELS (orchid, pink and blue), college-ruled. Each pad includes 40 sheets of 15-pound 30% post-consumer recycled paper per pad, consumer recycled paper, with left-side margins. Micro-perforations at the top yield an 8″ x Five″ sheet. (Available in three-pad assorted packs .)
  • *Note: Assorted pastel pads are listed on the website as 50 sheets/pad, but specifications and packaging verify they are 40 sheets/pad.

    Roaring Springs Broad Landscape Pads are sold in office supply stores and on Amazon, and range from $Five.28 for single pads to $13 for three-packs.

    Thanks to Office Supply Geek for reminding me that these pads exist, and The Well-Appointed Desk. for inspiring me to dig more deeply.

    At very first glance, landscape notepads may look a little funny to us — one client said she thought if legal pads were business suits, these landscape pads were more like crop tops. The question, however, is what can you do with them? In fact, Office Supply Geek ‘s Brian Greene actually stated, «To be totally fair, after having them in my palms I still don’t indeed know what I’d do with them that I wouldn’t do with a regular legal pad.»

    Well, Brian, that’s why Paper Doll is here!

    Most of the time, when we hand-write, we are in portrait mode, and it usually makes sense. However, I can think of a sampling of reasons why we might want to have some side-to-side breathing room.

    1) Notetaking — When we’re taking notes in a committee meeting or for class, we’re often creating a linear, outline-style set of notes. But, as we discussed when we reviewed the exceptional Cornell Notetaking Method. we need to make room for cues or other special attention-getting markings on the left side.

    With traditional 8.Five″ broad paper, that either reduces our notetaking space or compels us to write in the narrow margin, making it more likely that we’ll get inky smudges on that all-important cue-section. Landscape orientation provides more breathing room.

    Two) Ergonomics — Look at the available space on and around your desk. If your computer is in front of you, your keyboard is most likely somewhere inbetween elbow-and-wrist distance away, not leaving you very much space for alternating typed notes and handwritten notes. Because of that limited space, you may find you’re turning your traditional (portrait-orientation) notepad sideways, with the top to your left (unless you’re a southpaw). This lets you take written notes, but you’re most likely twisting at the mid-body to do so. This is not sustainable or ergonomically friendly.

    Three) Expansive thought — When we take notes, journal, free-write, or craft letters, we’re often thinking linearly. It’s effortless to go after a unidirectional flow of ideas, or paths, with a narrower chunk of paper. When we’re on the computer, using Microsoft Word or any other word processing program, unless we’re using design features for creating signs or brochures, we echo that same tall/narrow format.

    But what happens when we want to think more broadly (no pun intended)? When we’re on the computer, using a spreadsheet like Excel, we create numerous columns so that we can visualize information best seen side-by-side, like numerous fields in a record. But what’s the paper version? I can think of a number of times when I’ve been working with a client to brainstorm ideas in parallel (like how different departments will treat particular situations), and we end up turning a notepad sideways. The lines go the wrong way, and the content gets messy ; it suffices, but it’s not optimum.

    Four) Mind mappingPaper Doll is a fairly linear thinker, but when I’m attempting to mind-map, or showcase the relationship inbetween different processes, or do anything that’s more visual, I need more space. With some clients, we may choose mind mapping software or apps like MindNode or XMind. but we often find that an analog solution is swifter and more instant. Most often, we end up using numerous Post-It! Notes on a wall or window. That’s excellent when we’re in a house or office, but not so optimal when we’re in the field (even in a field), in a warehouse, or going mobile. That’s where these landscape notepads (and the aforementioned landscape clipboards) indeed come into their own.

    Five) Flow Charts — It might not be instantaneously apparent, but a number of law students have posted online comments regarding how landscape writing pads make it lighter to visualize case-law timelines, precedents and conceptual flow. Scientists have also reported that wide-format paper helps conceptualize scientific reactions more clearly.

    6) Computer/TV Screen Dimensions — Tablets and phones aside, we spend a lot of time looking at screens in landscape orientation, and sometimes we still need to make our analog notes approximate what we’re observing, or make our digital notes approximate what we’d like to be watching on the screen. Writing pads that parallel those dimensions are helpful.

    Granted, web designers are more likely to use paper prototyping implements like the kind we discussed in Tech Planning on Paper: From Old-Fashioned to Cutting Edge. but the rest of us just need a good lump of paper that’s broader than it is tall.

    Oh, but you ARE a web designer (or you play one on television)? Well, then, UI Stencils’ landscape-orientation Responsive Sketchpad may be just what you want.

    Printed on both sides, the landscape-orientation, letter-sized pad is dot-gridded (150 PPI), includes fields for a project’s name, screen, date of work, and notes, as well as two device silhouettes on the front and three on the switch sides.

    The Responsive Sketchpad comes 50 sheets/pad, with a cardboard backing and rounded bottom corners. It runs $12.95/pad and is available at discounted rates in three-packs, five-packs and with other UI Stencils’ sketchpads.

    Upgrading the Landscape

    The Roaring Springs Broad LandscapePads, as well as the more tech oriented UI Stencils’ Responsive Sketchpads, aren’t the haute couture of office supplies. You’ve got something to say, and you can get it down. Function is generally prioritized over form. The Roaring Springs pads are made of recycled paper, and the concentrate for all is in on utility rather than beauty.

    As Ana Reinert pointed out in this week’s The Well-Appointed Desk’s «Ask the Desk» feature. there’s an assumption among notebook/notepad makers that landscape orientation is for the visual artists and not for the scribblers, writers, note-takers and wordsmiths. I think that’s short-sighted, and a bit of frustration.

    Ana’s post suggested up some options for the individual who asked «the Desk» about finding attractive, non-black, fountain-pen-friendly landscape-oriented notebooks. Tall order! The Well-Appointed Desk covered a nice multitude of these, but most of the options were for unlined sketchbook-type pages. For those of us looking for a broad spot in the road to make our (written) mark, the choices are limited. There are handmade options, of course, but whether we’re talking bespoke Etsy creations or fin Italian handcrafted leather bindings, veering from the ordinary is not inexpensive .

    How limited are the choices? One of the only mid-range lined landscape-orientation notebooks I found was an intriguingly named Duller Croquis Note. It’s manufactured in Japan by I.D.E.A. Internationals, with a German name, as part of the Schreibwaren Kollektion. The website is only written in Japanese (the English-language URL yields an error), and the only English-language sales information I could find was through AAREVALO Ltd. in London!

    The notebook contains recycled paper and a mysteriously unexplained «specially textured writing surface.» There’s a «practical pocket» on the back cover, and the notebook also comes in black or light grey.
    So, a Japanese company, selling a notebook described in German, is most lightly accessed through a British stationery company’s online catalog. It shouldn’t have to be so hard!

    It’s a little bit shocking that the go-to journal purveyor for hipsters, scholars, soccer moms and pundits, Moleskine, doesn’t have a single lined landscape-orientation journal or notebook. There indeed should be other widely available options aside from the Rhodia lined landscape Webnotebooks . with orange or black covers.

    Paper Doll will be on the lookout (across the landscape, and over the horizon). Until then, I welcome your ideas for how you’d use landscape notepads and notebooks. and hope you will share your resources for finding lined landscape-orientation journals, notebooks and otherwise upscale writing pads.

    Paper Doll Post:

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    6 Critical ethical principles associated with research in traditional medicine

    6 Critical ethical principles associated with research in traditional medicine

    In latest years, there has been a substantial debate on the ethics of research in traditional medicine (TM). In general, the controversies have revolved around the unreasonable harvesting of medicinal plants from the wild, ethical accountability of researchers towards local skill holders, and the credibility of TM as a complementary and alternative mode of treatment [1]. Since enhanced publications are the only way to maximize research outreach, it is significant to understand the ethical principles governing publication in TM journals. There are six broad things to consider here:

    1. Ethical policies and declarations
    2. Sustenance
    3. Scientific validation
    4. Informed consent
    5. Proprietary issues
    6. Reporting standards

    1. Ethical policies and declarations

    The Helsinki declaration outlined the basic ethics of human experimentation and marked the beginning of resolutions and policies in research studies. However, the Chiang Mai declaration (March 1988), the WHO Traditional Medicines Strategy 2002–2005, and the WHO general guidelines for Methodologies on Research and Evaluation of Traditional Medicine have a greater concentrate on the ethical principles for research in TM. For example:

    • The Chiang Mai declaration endorses international cooperation and coordination for the conservation of medicinal plants to ensure their adequate availability for future generations [Two].
    • The WHO Traditional Medicines Strategy mainly concentrates on policies related to the safety, efficacy, quality, access to, and rational use of medicinal plants [Trio].
    • The WHO guidelines for Methodologies on Research and Evaluation of Traditional Medicine concentrate on the current major debates on safety and efficacy of TM and are intended to raise and response some challenging questions concerning the evidence base. The document also presents national regulations for the evaluation of herbal medicines and recommends fresh approaches for carrying out clinical research [Four]; for example, as per the document traditional medicines with a deep-rooted history of use can be directly taken to phase Trio clinical trials, after a toxicity explore has been conducted.
    • Additionally, the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) suggest a standard format for authors to prepare reports of trial findings, which facilitates finish and see-through reporting, and helps authors in critical appraisal and interpretation of data [Five].

    Two. Sustenance is key

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    How to Get through the Google Penguin Update with Effective Content Writing

    How to Get through the Google Penguin Update with Effective Content Writing

    If search engine traffic from Google matters to your business, then there is little chance that you haven’t heard of the latest Google Penguin update. What exactly is this?

    Evidently, on April 24, 2012 Google activated fresh ranking algorithm switches to take care of websites and blogs that indulge in:

    • Excessive link building with no regard for quality
    • Deceptive doorway pages
    • Lots of keyword stuffing
    • Publishing lots of meaningless content just to get traffic from search engines

    Which, basically, means all websites that don’t conform with Google’s SEO guidelines.

    In terms of improving search quality, this is a good switch. It is also good for businesses and entrepreneurs legitimately attempting to get good rankings without the headache of contesting with websites that attempt to game the system.

    But, as happens with most “simple” switches like this, there has been some collateral harm. Albeit Google claims that the fresh update has affected just Trio percent of websites, there have been numerous declarations across the internet of it causing a bloodbath. People are even going to the extent of laying off their employees and considerably scaling down their businesses.

    Are you one of those negatively affected by the Google Penguin update? If you are, you can salvage the situation by taking corrective measures. If you’re not, you should also take preventive measures so that you do not get caught in the fray the next time something like this happens.

    How do you do this? With effective content writing, of course.

    What is effective content writing, and how does it help?

    Effective content writing provides the true value. It is not done simply to improve your search engine rankings. Albeit there is nothing wrong in attempting to improve your rankings, the problem comes up when you write and publish content for that purpose alone.

    The days of cheap and low-cost SEO articles are rapidly going away — gratefully. With its successive updates, Google is attempting to shove forward content that truly is worth its place in the ranking index. In turn, this means pushing down content that doesn’t carry much value: Content that just rambles on will not be ranked well no matter how brilliantly it has been “optimized.”

    So how do you create effective content that Google and other search engines love? Here are a few things you can keep in mind while creating content for your website or blog:

  • Use your keywords only when needed: Keywords are fine, but don’t over-use them because this will make your content reek of spam. For example, if I needlessly go on repeating “great content writer ” everywhere on my website, not only will I fail to rank well for the phrase, I might even get penalized and liquidated from the rankings altogether. Use keywords but only when there is a relevant context. Don’t worry too much about keyword-optimizing your copy – just concentrate on quality and value .
  • Make your content social: Create your content in such a manner that it gains some popularity on social media and social networking websites. This way you don’t have to depend solely on Google for all your traffic. Create compelling and meaningful headlines. Provide content that is bang on target. Develop an original style and concentrate on quality rather than quantity.
  • Create a resource that is very useful: An capability to write and publish content is a superb privilege. There is so much you can train and communicate to your audience. Make use of it. Whether you share your own information, or gather it from the internet, make sure you create content that addresses topics your audience is interested in and will have a use for. This will naturally make it irresistible for search engines, bloggers, and social media users, alike.
  • Create content for other websites and blogs: Prepare an editorial calendar for writing articles and guest blog posts that can be published on websites and blogs other than your own. This helps you build up fresh exposure and earn quality backlinks – just make sure you only suggest your content to trusted and reputable content publishers .
  • Create engaging content for online forums and blog comment sections: Online forums are still alive and kicking, and so are blog comment communities. Good interactions go on at these places. There is a misconception that you interact on online forums and blogs just to get backlinks, and when you don’t get those link benefits, there is no use leaving comments there. Yes, sometimes you get some link juice, but even if you don’t, the added exposure you get — and the potential for greater traffic — is well worth the effort.
  • Regularly publish a newsletter: Newsletter publishing still rules the roost, as evidenced by the many quality email marketing newsletter publishing services that have been cropping up. It is the best way of keeping in touch with your readers and subscribers, and once you have built yourself a mailing list of a few thousand subscribers, you can instantly broadcast your ideas and offers to these people without having to rely upon search engine traffic.
  • Maximize your conversion rate: Re-examine your content writing and see how well it is working to convert your website visitors into customers. A higher conversion rate can compensate for low traffic periods, so look for ways to measure, analyze, and improve your content wherever necessary to make sure that those who do find your site (through search or through other means) are getting what they want from the practice.
  • All the points mentioned above will not only help you improve your search engine rankings, they will also strengthen your overall online presence — both on your own blog or website and across the web. Content writing with integrity and purpose is the way to go after the arrival of Penguin.

    Want more content marketing inspiration? Download our ultimate eBook with100 content marketing examples.

    Author: Amrit Hallan

    Amrit Hallan is an online content writer helping businesses and individuals improve their overall content quality and, consequently, conversion rate. He regularly shares his thoughts on content writing, content publishing and content strategy on his Content Gyan blog. You can go after him on Twitter @amrithallan . Nick Stamoulis

    To improve your presence not only in the search engines but across the entire web it’s necessary to create good content. Content should be created with target audience members in mind very first, not the search engines. Keywords are significant, but should only be included if they can fit naturally. Amrit Hallan

    Good point Nick. By the end of the day what matters is the quality of content on your website. It gets you targeted traffic and it converts your visitors into your paying customers and clients, or maybe subscribers. So every content marketing strategy needs to evolve towards creating quality content for visitors and ideally, good rankings among search engines like Google should be considered as an add-on, a natural byproduct of quality content. John Fox

    I’d also add: Stop relying on Google for your traffic. I know you preach this message, too, Joe, so it’s nothing fresh to regular readers. Putting all your eggs in one basket never made sense and it especially doesn’t today. There are many other avenues to pursue, and if this latest update doesn’t provide the incentive to broaden your horizons, nothing will.

    Hello John. Thanks for your feedback. Yes, you’re absolutely right and I have been of late mentioning this on my Twitter account — that it’s not prudent to just depend on search engine traffic in general and Google in particular. There are many channels that can be utilized for creating a constant stream of targeted traffic. Jeff Berezny

    Fine post! What are your thoughts about companies employing SEO specialists? Is this age going away and being substituted with content optimization specialists? In other words – after we get past the basic principles of SEO (ie: naming photos, pages, alt text, tags, keywords etc) all we should indeed worry about is awesome, relevant content? Or are we missing out if we don’t have an SEO specialist comb our sites? -Jeff

    I will be frank, I’m not an experienced on this, but as a content writer I have repeatedly observed businesses doing fairly well without caring about Seo. I myself have spent lots of time attempting to optimize my website (with not much success I must confess). I think there is nothing wrong in attempting to create and organize your content in such a manner that it becomes lighter for search engine crawlers to make sense of it, the problem arises when we begin to rely solely upon search engine traffic while disregarding other channels. There has to be a mix of different activities and strategies.

    Regarding the need to work with SEO companies, the actual SEO companies don’t just make tweaks to your website, they also help you analyse your overall web traffic and suggest switches accordingly. So they’re going to remain in the business for a long time I think. Richard M Barrios

    Nice article we are presently doing about Five out of the 7 items you suggested and working on Two others. As well as other things that proven to be helpful over time. I must tell you making those switches have made a big difference. After the Google algorithm update my company kept or improved 80% our keyword and phrase positions and the other 20% lost about an average of Ten to 20 catches sight of. But out of no where we gained 40 catches sight of on Two key phrases all the way to page one.

    That’s excellent Richard. Thanks for sharing some real-time insight.

    many sites good or bad had killed by this google update Cheryl Smithem

    Thank you for this article. As a public relations and web development rock-hard, we counsel clients to create a content strategy and editorial calendar and most tell us that they don’t have the time to do so. We find that many people want a magic bullet. And that there are still those who believe that just by paying a rock-hard $300 a month, they can be at the top of Google…and when you ask them what the rock hard is doing for them…they don’t know. Of course, we’ll gladly plan and create content for clients, but many youthfull companies fail to budget resources to either accomplish content development or believe services cost too much. We’ve found that creating good content that positions our rock hard helps us in the search for fresh clients. We’ve also found that companies who put in place a content creation/curation plan, also do better. I think the question puny companies need to ask themselves is, «what is the price of NOT doing this?»

    Hi Amrit, good post, but a duo of inconsistencies with what the data is displaying: So far, there is little to no indication that Penguin has targeted any actual on-page «spam tactics». Things like keyword stuffing, duplicate content, poor content, etc. show up to not have played any major role in who got hit and who didn’t. Which makes sense, since Penguin has been openly talked about by everyone from Google employees to top SEOs as specifically targeting a websites «link-graph», or the types and structure of the links they receive from outer pages.

    In other words, if you have a ton of spammy links coming in, the best content in the world won’t save you, and if you have an immaculately clean link profile, you can have the most abysmal content in the world and this update won’t have touched you at all.

    It’s also not almost the catastrophe many people are making out to be. Having been following the hum around Penguin since it hit (the sites I oversee SEO for actually went up in rankings across the board, btw), many of the people complaining about getting penalized or deindexed were on the border-line inbetween spam and legitimate at best, and downright plagues on the internet at worst. Sure, there were some virginal bystanders caught in the cross-fire, but most of the complaints come from people who were either ignorant of Google’s webmaster guidelines in regards to building backlinks or chose to disregard them, and are now upset about getting smacked on the wrist.

    And this, to reaction another poster up-thread, is why SEO is still significant. Writers write. SEO’s make sure that what they write makes sense for improving your rankings, help you to build strong backlinks, plan out your objectives and strategy for contesting, and do 101 extra things that content generators don’t bother to think about or simply don’t know.

    Google Penguin isat filtering spam websites, however most of the top Ten result websites are not the fine contents as Google and Visitors want yet.

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