Evergreen articles are articles that gain page views long after they are published. Most articles, when they are first published, do gather some page views; however, the real money-making articles are the so-called evergreen articles, and they generate high page views for months and even years after they are first published. These are the articles that every writer on Associated Content strives to (or should strive to) produce.
As many of you already know, Associated Content offers freelance writers a wonderful tool to check the Daily Estimated Page Views of published articles. This tool does more than report page views; used wisely, it can also provide you with a fair assessment of which articles continue to pique reader interest, and thus, page views.
When submitting content to Associated Content, I’ve found that the majority of the page views are generated on articles that have some kind of pragmatic value. For example, the article titled Low-Fat Hollandaise Sauce Recipe has performed quite well for me, garnering 295 page views for this month alone. Another article, titled How to Repair Old Windows Instead of Replacing Them, has 192 page views going for it this month. Incidentally, both of these articles were initially created as Assignment Desk Alerts.
What have not performed as well for me are articles that are either too abstract, personal, humorous, or overly technical. While I have always considered my article The Top 7 Most Annoying Foods of All Time to be a humorous classic, sadly, the article has had only 519 page views since it was published 2 years ago. Give Me the Night, a poem that I first wrote when I was 17, has had 43 page views since its publication in 2007. Novel Potential Immunotherapy Discovered for Food Allergy has also suffered page view obscurity, having been viewed only 150 times since publication over 3 years ago.
So, what articles have generated significant page views for me? Here is my top 10 list of evergreen articles on Associated Content:
1. How to Make Your Own Face Cream. My all-time high for page views from a single article is 49,435, which is the feat of my face cream article. I wrote this article for an Associated Content “How-To” writing request back in early 2007.
2. Top 7 Reasons to Not Get Married (or at Least Not Yet) is probably one of my most controversial articles to date. The article holds 43,094 page views, but it’s the additional 32 comments that really make it. I am still stunned over how upset people become when they read this article.
3. HerbaLife: Legitimate Business or Scam? This article comes in at 38,318 page views, and has some of the most heated commentary to boot. I have never been a HerbaLife distributor, disgruntled or otherwise. I merely became intrigued by the HerbaLife business model and decided to write about it. I am very glad that I did.
4. Top 10 Restaurants in Madison, Wisconsin. This article now boasts 32,346 page views, but it did not start out as a very popular article. It took over a year before readers really noticed my restaurant article and started frequenting it, well, rather frequently.
5. How to Install Wood Flooring. This article holds 16,134 page views so far. I wrote the article after installing wood parquet flooring in my fireplace room, as well as refurbishing three additional parquet wood floor-containing rooms. I did some additional research in order to round out all the details that are provided in this article, but most of the information is taken from personal experience.
6. My Experiences with 3 Freelance Writing Sites: Daytipper, EHow and Textbroker now stands at 6,673 page views and seems to actually be gaining in popularity. Apparently, writers like to read about writing experiences that are written by other writers.
7. Why You Should NOT Invest in Treasury Bills, Notes, or Bonds is a more recently published article of mine and thus holds only 3,327 page views so far. However, its popularity is really picking up as of late, and its page view stats will often be at 25 page views/day or higher.
8. Low-Fat Hollandaise Sauce Recipe holds 2,830 page views at the moment and gains quite a few interested looks during the holidays. I wrote this article for an Assignment Desk request.
9. How to Repair Old Windows Instead of Replacing Them was another Assignment Desk request that I completed last year. It now holds 2,264 page views and never fails to gain a few hundred page views per month.
10. Why Your Small Business Needs a Safety Manual was an article I submitted to Associated Content after the Constant Content client for whom I wrote it rejected it. Associated Content then posted the article to its featured articles section and the article’s popularity really took off. Currently, it holds 1,740 page views.
There were many other articles that also had impressive page views which I did not include in my list. For example, there is my festival review article Chili Cook-Off and Oktoberfest in Monroe, Wisconsin, which always gathers some great seasonal page views; for this month alone, it has generated 198 page views. But this lasts only through the fall season. A Quick History of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Soft Drinks has also become quite popular, touting 307 page views for this month. I am quite happy to see such a change, since I did quite a lot of research before writing this particular piece. However, unless I see this trend continue, this article will not be my biggest page view earner and money-maker.
So, what advice would I give to writers who are just starting out with Associated Content? First of all, keep in mind that Associated Content maintains a general reader audience. As such, this audience will not be too interested in very technical, emotional/personal, or politically motivated pieces. Rather, this audience will prefer to read informative, helpful, and intriguing articles. Think of Associated Content as that in-flight magazine that you might find tucked away in the seat pocket in front of you; those in-flight articles, although a bit dry and clinical at times, are the articles that are going to garner the most reads/page views.
That’s not to say that controversy doesn’t sell on Associated Content. Looking at my most popular articles, I can definitely state that some of my more controversial articles have become quite popular. However, controversy is very often a hit-or-miss tactic. Out of 10 controversial articles that are written, perhaps only 1 will become very popular. This leads to an article “lottery” that does not provide the greatest profit for the input effort.
In summary, and after nearly four years of writing articles to Associated Content, my advice for writing page view-generating articles is the following:
1. Do your research. If you plan to write an article about a certain disease, or an event, then spend the time and do the research on this topic. Also, do not divide the published content into several articles simply because you want to multiply your page views or because you didn’t want to do any further research at that time. However, if the total article content spans more than 3,000 words, you may consider doing a two or even three part article series.
2. Write with the intention of answering a question. The reason eHow became as popular as it did is because every article on that site attempts to answer a potential reader question. Examples include “Developing a Market Plan,” “Conflict in the Workplace Activities,” and “How Long Does a Company Hold Termination Records.”
3. Explain esoteric/technical terms. If you are attempting to explain a topic like stock market trading, don’t leave readers wondering what are short sales or limit orders; explain those terms before delving into them.
4. Consider who will find this article worthwhile to read. While you might be very interested in finding out who are the top 10 Asian actresses living in America, don’t assume your readers will also want to know such information. As you write towards a smaller and smaller audience, your article page views will decrease accordingly.
5. Proofread your work. I cannot begin to express just how annoying it is when I am trying to read an article and find it riddled with all kinds of spelling and grammatical errors. There is a certain writer on Associated Content who used to write to me and ask me why her articles never generated any decent page views. When I checked her content, I found it almost unreadable, thanks to all the spelling and grammatical errors. This deterred me from ever wanting to read her content again.
So, when it comes to writing popular content for Associated Content, the bottom line is this: have fun, write interesting content that you yourself would enjoy reading a week or even a year from now, and make sure that your content is free of those pesky spelling and grammar mistakes.