If you’re using articles to market your business, you could be losing a lot of potential visitors. Articles are a good way to get the word out and build your business, but using good articles, instead of excellent articles, can cost you visitors, and money.

How do you turn your “pretty good” articles into really great articles? It’s much easier, and much faster, than you might think.

First, start with the title. If you’re writing an article on, say, time management, an okay title might be “Learn Time Management Skills for Better Productivity.” Nothing wrong with that, but it could be turned into an eye-catching headline that would draw people into your article. “5 Time Management Tips for Doing More in Less Time” is much more interesting.

Next, take a look at your lead sentence. This needs to be something that really grabs your reader. Let’s say you currently have, “Time management helps you get your work done more quickly. Try changing that to, “If you manage your time well, you could save up to ten hours a week—hours that you can spend doing things you need to do, not things you have to do.” See how much more effectively that draws the reader in?

In journalism, there’s a saying that if you can get someone to read your headline, they’ll read the first sentence. If they read the first sentence, they’ll read the first paragraph, and if they read the first paragraph, they’ll read the whole article.

So your goal with your first paragraph is to keep the readers who liked your headline and your first sentence. You need to convince them to read the rest of your article. You can do that by telling them, clearly, what they’re going to get from your article. For instance, after your great first sentence on time management, you could continue with, “By making a few very simple changes to your routine, you can create over an hour of free time each week.” Then in the next paragraph, you can start explaining what those simple routine changes are, and how to make them.

One of the biggest errors people make in writing articles to market their business, is in style. Many people try to write in a very journalistic style, like they’re writing for a newspaper. But the people who find your article online are more interested in reading articles that are clear and interesting. A relaxed, personal style is more appealing in this type of article. Fortunately, it’s also easier to write.

Many business owners are uneasy about writing their own articles, because they feel they “can’t write.” Chances are that you can write well about your own business, because you know it better than anyone. If you want to write your own articles, you can, and you can do it well.

Pretend you’re writing your best friend a letter about your business. Start out with a great first line (your headline) with the benefits of what you’re going to say. Follow up with a sentence that explains clearly what’s coming and builds it up, and then start telling your reader what they need to know.

Finish up with a final paragraph pointing out the most important parts of your “letter,” and you’re done.

It is well worth your time to write articles that really grab your readers’ attention and keep them reading. If you do that, they will visit your web site and buy your products. And that’s your main goal, after all.