While rating articles at Helium is, by design, a subjective activity, there are some specific things that are guaranteed to cost you votes. Here are the top ten reasons that most people, myself included, will vote against an article:
1. Length. If you have less than 300 words, I am going to flag you as “Limited.” You can’t cover most topics in less than 400 words, plain and simple. Short articles cost all of us money because they make Helium look like an Internet wasteland.
2. Format. Learn to use line breaks in between paragraphs. The fact that we cannot use HTML on Helium does not mean that our articles have to look like a long string of unbroken text. Writing your article as a single paragraph will lose my vote instantly.
3. Link-spam. Do you have a web site or product to promote? Great. Helium provides a place for you to do that – on your About Me page. Don’t write an article to promote your own product and pretend it is an informational article. Not only am I not going to buy your product, I’m also not going to vote for your article.
4. Organization. An article should have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Each paragraph should have a single topic sentence supported by the rest of the paragraph. There are exceptions to these rules, but you generally can’t go wrong if you keep article and paragraph structure firmly in your mind when writing.
5. Punctuation. Everyone misses or misuses a comma or a quotation mark here or there. But if your article has more than 1 or 2 punctuation errors, it will be voted down.
6. Grammar. To write an article that gets my vote, you have to understand enough about grammar for your writing to make sense and be readable. Few things turn me off of an article quicker than run-ons and incomplete sentences.
7. Voice. While this isn’t as common as some of the other types of article problems, I do see it from time to time. If you are writing in the third person, make sure you write in the third person throughout the article. If you are writing in a conversational style, don’t switch to a didactic style. Be consistent in your writing voice.
8. Logic. Your article has to make sense to get my vote. I don’t have to agree with the article; I just need to be able to follow the logic contained in the article. Ramblers need not apply.
9. Spelling. As with grammar and punctuation, anyone can make a mistake in the article format. However, if your spelling is consistently awful, don’t expect votes.
10. Interest. If you write in such a way that I am completely bored by your subject area, you probably aren’t going to get my vote. Good writing will make almost anything sound interesting.
Avoiding these things won’t guarantee that you will get highly rated articles, but it will improve your article quality. In the long run, it should boost your ratings at least a little bit.