Here is the feeback I got for my review after my first 10 articles (warning - it's LONG):
Thank you for completing 10 professional articles for Suite101 and for indicating an interest in taking on a topic as an FW. You have a lovely voice for the topic, an affinity for creating quick tips, and a firm grasp of the details readers will want to have at their fingertips. Before we suggest you for a particular topic and invite a section Editor to review your performance for consideration as an FW, we'd like to offer some helpful tips that should improve your chances of impressing everyone going forward. We hope this offers valuable information you can apply to all your existing articles prior to making this leap.
>Keywords could be improved - in title, subtitle, summary, subheadings and/or keyword field
Please improve the specificity of your titles using more appropriate targeted keywords. As just the title is displayed on our site this needs to stand alone. Search engines have no sense of wordplay - you must write titles that are transparent, direct, and offer context. Choose keywords that reflect the phrase someone would enter into a search engine to find your article. Stick to active verbs, proper nouns, location names, powerful pairings and keyword phrases.
Your subtitles should not echo your title, but instead rephrase it and offer new information key to your article's focus. Try to avoid repeating words from the title in the subtitle as the term need only appear once to register with search engines and alternatives increase your likelihood of being found under multiple keywords.
In your keyword field go for proper nouns, names, and places that reflect specific search terms and use adjectival phrases to provide context. Commas without spaces should separate phrases. Avoid overly vague or broad words that have multiple meanings and that apply to thousands of sites. Use complementary, distinct and focused word pairs.
To demonstrate, I've changed the title, subtitle and unembedded links in your Cold Sore article:
From "Hope for Cold Sore Sufferers: Treatment and Prevention of Fever Blisters" to "Cold Sore Treatment and Prevention: Home and Over-the-Counter Remedies for Fever Blisters".
Few people would use "Hope" or "sufferers" as actual search terms if they were looking for cold sore treatment and prevention. So why not call a spade a space and call the article "Cold Sore Treatment and Prevention"? In this way you cram as many keywords/keyword phrases (three) into this prime real estate, freeing up some space for additional, powerful keywords in your subtitle, like: home remedies, over the counter and fever blisters.
Or, why call it "Homework Tips for the Reluctant" when "reluctant" is not a search term (in this context) and it would be better as "Homework Help for Kids" (whereby "Homework Help" is considered by Google to be a popular search phrase). Eliminate any of those pesky words that wouldn't show up in a search - and save the space for really effective and powerful phrases instead.
Equally, your "loose keywords" can and should also be more powerful. Instead of just "cold sores" as the only phrase, why not "cold sores home remedies" - it needs to be specific to work, and shouldn't be a phrase (eg "home remedies") that would spit out hundreds of incorrectly matched pages (ie, you're not looking for all home remedies, just about cold sore home remedies - so your search terms should be as focused as you are!).
Understanding keywords is the single most important lesson regarding writing for the Web and as the economy of the Internet and all search algorithms depend on your accuracy in this regard it is essential to being found and to earning revenue that you fully appreciate this concept. Please read our "101 Tips and Tricks" seminars on "Article Titles" and "Keywords" (found in the left-hand nav in mysuite) and adjust these elements of your articles past and present as you will see a significant spike in pageviews and revenues accordingly.
>Unattributed content, quotes, or images
Some of your quotes, facts, and images are missing the required source information, ie the full title of the original publication from which they were drawn and author's name as well as its published copyright date and publisher. If you don't have specific permission from the author, don't quote more than 50 words in all per article as this is the legal limit.
Please do not use Wikipedia or other open-source, direct-to-publish sites as primary sources given that they can contain information that has not been vetted by a trusted editorial review. Many articles on these sites are factually incorrect and the content itself has been co-written by many unnamed individuals so you/your readers never know whom, exactly, you're citing.
Your references should be organically integrated into the article - not listed below it unless they inform the whole article rather than one quote or fact in particular. (eg, "In a study/book by publisher name in publication year, Doctor X stated that..." Please also integrate website URLs into your copy by embedding the links using anchor text (highlight this and use the globe and chain icon to insert the url). There should be NO exposed URLs as you had in the Cold Sore and Online Computer Shopping articles. Have a look to see what I mean in the Cold Sore piece - I embedded the links in your resources.
If you wish to be a go-to resource on your subject then cite references that don't directly mirror your own articles, but rather complement them and write articles that are themselves as comprehensive as possible. Try to avoid "rehashing" encyclopedic entries and instead try to cover the subject by offering a new, unique, or interesting angle that combines reputable references with your own knowledge and experience.
>Linking could be improved - too many external links, too few internal links and/or no anchor text
Interlink your related articles on Suite if content is clearly complementary. Highlight the keyword (this should ideally be a good search term and a noun) you want to 'embed' and then click on the globe-chain icon of your text editor tool on the body window and a new window will open with a blank field. Place the URL of the article or site to which you are linking in that field and close the window. You should now see the text you highlighted underlined in blue and when you click on it, it opens to the article or site you've named. Don't simply copy the url into a sentence as these "exposed" addresses are bad form and not considered protocol on the Web.
Try to limit the number of links off Suite101 (external) to 2 unless these are sources/references that are mandatory to identify where your information comes from. Limit the number of links to articles on Suite101 to 5 per article given that too many links appears to "stuff' an article and this is punished by search engine spiders crawling the site who see these articles as lists or link farms. Remember that browsing readers want to be directed to relevant work, not to everything you've ever written, so show discretion and place the links in context so that they know what to expect if they do click on them.
>Article structure could be improved - weak lead para, disorganized flow, needs conclusion
Your articles occasionally back into their subject matter with "throat clearing" (anecdotes, descriptive scene-setting, chatty banter, small talk) as you work up to the main thesis introducing your material. Because readers on the Net don't have time for a wandering lead, you need to get to the point in the first sentence or two by answering the 5Ws - who, what, when, where, why. Think of your article as a pyramid with the most important information at the top; text decreases in value to the reader as he/she moves toward the end. Many readers scan and stop reading before you've concluded - will they get the gist if they leave part way through?
For example in your Plant Zone article: global warming is not the real focus of the article. The article is an interpretation of the Royal Arbor's new study. Therefore, the lead shouldn't focus on the global warming aspect, when the bulk of the article is actually primarily about something else. Remember, in articles like this, be sure to bring something unique to the information and not just regurgitate the study's findings. You're partway there with the global warming approach, but the lead and titles can be a bit misleading. I would have started that piece with your second para, not your first. Get right to the point, quickly. If your article is about a new study released, then say so.
Group like ideas by paragraph and add bold keyword-friendly subheadings whenever you are changing direction so that readers can target the specifics. Your final paragraph should offer additional resources rather than summarize and it should also contain links to other Suite articles on related content or external links or books etc. that might be useful.
Another aspect to consider for plant articles - remember that we have an international readership. It's helpful to spell out which plants work in which zones and to clarify for different readers. Something to consider for any future articles.
So, where to from here? I think you're well on your way to being a FW, but I see that many of your articles are already in the Family Finances section, which already has a FW. If you're keen on any other open topics, let me know - but I would suggest that if you find a topic you like, you ensure that you have at least 5-10 articles in that topic so we can re-evaluate you with that topic in mind.
In the meantime, I would suggest reviewing these suggestions and applying the changes to your previous articles. The changes will help bring your articles in line with our editorial guidelines and should also help you to improve your traffic and earning potential.
I hope you find these tips helpful and that you apply them to your past and future articles.