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To Plug or Not to Plug? When is it okay to mention your own material?

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In my opinion nothing is more frustrating or more of an eye sore when I happen across comments that are nothing more than blatant plugs for useless, unrelated, self-promotional articles/tutorials/services. You might be wondering, just what is blatant plugging? I'm glad you asked :) Below are a few examples I've come across as well as some ways to avoid plugging in an unethical manner.

Keywords/Business name in the screen name

We've all seen this. Something like, 'Bestcellphoneprovider' as a screen name for a commenter who leaves a useless comment. Even if the comment was of value, the fact this person used a key phrase as a screen name with a link is still sad. Why? Most of the forums that allow users to place URLs in the screen names are NO FOLLOW. There isn't anything to benefit from this. Am I saying linking to your site bad? No, not at all. Consider the following:
Use your real name or a normal screen name. Don't hide behind shady tactics, if you are making comments to be proud of, why hide it?

If you do use a regular screen name, use one that you go by online and use in multiple sites. Take me for instance, my name is Joshua Titsworth, but online I also go by seiko_08 (pronounced 'say-ko'). In my profiles I have my real name so everyone knows seiko_08 is Joshua Titsworth.

Referencing an article/tutorial that has no validity behind it

How can a freshly written tutorial, or article be passed as a solution or verified how-to guide when it hasn't been tested? A writer may know the subject perfectly, but when the writer's eyes are the only ones that have seen it how good can it really be? Then the question becomes, how can you get something written to be tested/reviewed/critiqued? Here are a few ways:
Post a link to it here. Let your peers review it. The thing is, you have to be able to handle constructive criticism.
If you don't want to post it here and you've got friends in the industry ask them to take a look at it.
Don't send it to 'Yes Men', that will only praise it. The best materials are the ones that have been scrutinized. The chances that something will be perfect the very first time is extremely rare.
Getting clients to review any writings for technicality is also mistake. Rather have them read it for simplicity. This ensures that when you prepare a document for client it isn't just technically sound but is written in such a manner that anyone can understand it. While it is good to have stuff for clients to read to get a better grasp of the subject at hand, chances are your clients won't know the technical details.

Dropping business names & services provided

Thankfully most of the really good forums remove these comments, and here on EE when they are flagged also get removed. That being said, trolling forums and EE for clientele is pathetic. Now before you think, 'If I build it they won't come' keep reading:
If you are just getting started, or are looking for more work; make good, valid, profound comments/answers to prove your knowledge. Why? Remember that link that can be embedded in your screen name directing back to your site? Making a good impression in the forums is a way to get users to visit your site without having to mention it.
With EE, if you make awesome answers and really stand out as a member, it will provoke the asker to visit your member profile. If a link to your site is there, it will be visited. From that point it is up to you to have information about the services you provide on your site, not in your profile.
Another great way is to write guest posts/articles. Doing so will help to create a name for yourself in a good way. Not to mention it's a great way to get one way links back to your site. Which is want you want right? Write good posts and earn the links.

In closing, some may read this as a condemning post. In some ways it may be; but the intent isn't. We are here on this site and in this industry because we've got a passion for helping others. Shameless plugging will cloud that and result in bad first impressions. I'll admit, I'm still new to this industry and like all SEOs I'm always learning. I've messed up a few times, but I learned from those mistakes to make my next project that much better.
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:Eric AKA Netminder
Not a problem; better to take your time and get it right than rush it out there.
0
 
 

Administrative Comment

by:Eric AKA Netminder
seiko_08,

I have published your article, and added a few bonus points to it.

Nice work!

ep
PE
0
 
LVL 12

Author Comment

by:Joshua Titsworth
Thanks! Let the frenzy commence!
0

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