You need content to build a website and this can be of various types and come from a number of sources.
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Your own material. Obviously this is the best if you are intending to build an authority site based on your own knowledge and/or an existing business. This is by far the best position to be in as you are likely to have a substantial interest and passion in the success of your online enterprise as you are already committed to it off-line.
If you are not in that position then having your material ghostwritten is commonplace. Beyond getting your articles ghost written by a writer from one of the Outsourcing websites you might also look at spinning a single article into multiple variants so you can use it in many places without being hit by the dreaded ‘duplicate content’ bogey. Be careful with this as there are some rubbish software out there. Two of the best are:
Content Composer – from Jason Potash. This is a limited edition product i.e. only a limited quantity is sold so if it’s not available when you visit the site then best subscribe if possible to make sure you are notified in case they open the doors again, which does happen occasionally.
There are a number of sites for Royalty Free Photos.
Audio & Video
There are literally thousands of pieces of audio and video equipment and software available. In practice relatively low resolution is quite adequate for use on the internet. So it is a matter of choosing something that is decent quality for the purpose but is not going to break the bank.
This is exactly the advice offered by Mike Stewart who makes his living showing you how to use it to best effect and solving all those techno glitches that always come up to prevent your success.
Public domain material is material that is out of copyright. i.e. written earlier than 1923 in the USA, possibly different in other countries. This can be an invaluable source of free material that can be re-packaged and re-purposed.
Making Your Product Look Good
There are any number of products to create those great looking images of ebooks that look so realistic. Bear in mind the standard advice that if you want something that looks really good then use a professional. If you are not that rich just yet then try this piece of Shareware: boxshot3d.com
Converting Word documents into .pdf format for eBooks.
www.OpenOffice.org is a free, open source suite of applications similar to Microsoft Office. The major advantage of the word processor is that it will save files immediately in .pdf format.
www.pdf995.com will convert your documents into pdf files for free – as long as you tolerate the sponsors ads every time you use it. Very easy actually. You can buy the pro version to get rid of the ads.
While you are working on building your website and the killer copy and graphics that will sell your product or service, don’t forget the affiliate tools that you will need as part of your marketing effort. Affiliate sales are magical in that your product is being sold to someone that you have made no effort to sell to and don’t know from Adam.
OK, you only get a percentage of the sales price but that’s because you have only made the product available. It is your affiliate who has made the sale. And its no good bleating that you have had to give half the revenue away to your affiliate when you remember that without your affiliate your sales revenue is a big fat $0.00! So, when you either produce your self or outsource your copy and graphics, don’t forget that you need follow up autoresponder copy and affiliate banner graphics.
The graphics generally come in a selection of sizes which are now commonly made the same size as the Google Adsense ads. That way they can be dropped in to the same locations in a website as were originally intended for Adsense – until the website owner discovered that selling your product was more profitable for him.
So you are looking for graphic banners sized:
For horizontal use: Banner (468 x 60) or Half Banner (234×60)
Vertical banners: Skyscraper (120×600) or Wide Skyscraper (160×600)
The internet is built for the dissemination of information so there is no better place to do your research. However, you should be aware that not all online information sources are as reliable as we would all like.
www.Ask.com has some advantages over Google as it provides sub-categories to your search results enabling you to drill down into a subject. However, www.scholar.google.com strikes back by providing access to academic articles and papers in the public domain.
Although www.Wikipedia.com is the best known online encyclopedia which is fine for substantive knowledge about objects and processes but it becomes very suspect where any opinion is required.
This is due to the collaborative nature of the project where anyone can contribute information and edit the existing information. The result is that politicians and any groups of humans seem to be fair game for adulteration of their biographies and/or their backgrounds/objectives/opinions as their opponents set out to rubbish them by changing the information held about them.
One of the founders of Wikipedia has recognised this problem and founded www.citizendium.org. This is more reliable as the entries are monitored by a panel of experts. It remains much smaller than Wikipedia.
You can also try www.RefDesk.com which is a portal to various free dictionaries and directories. Similary, www.ibiblio.org draws together various public domain sources, mostly academic.
For statistics, the CIA bogey men are usually the best source from the CIA World Factbook (well at least they are doing something useful!). For words you will find www.wordreference.com to be a great source of definitions in various languages.
Some of the big scientific publishers make some of their publications available online. You can try Elsevier at www.sciencedirect.com and Wiley at www.interscience.wiley.com. You will also find literature well represented at www.bartleby.com.
www.answers.Yahoo.com can respond to your specific questions but as, like Wikipedia, there is no quality control on the answers which can be contributed by anybody they can be both confused and incorrect. www.texperts.com will answer your questions for a £1 fee and even deliver the answer to your mobile phone. Dial 66000 to ask your question by phone.
Running Your Own Article Directory
Providing your own content by various methods is fine, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could get other people to contribute relevant content to your site. So why not add an article directory to your site? You are beginning to get into techie realms but one of the friendliest that has been recommended to me is Article Friendly.