If everybody knows that article marketing, (the writing and submitting of articles to article repositories), is a sure fire winner for an online business then how come hardly anybody is doing it? Or is it more likely they are just not doing it right?Article marketing is not just about knocking out a few articles and waiting for the cash to roll in. Like everything else it takes planning and commitment.TIP: We all like spending money on the latest product but let’s not continually fool ourselves that the next $97 we spend is definitely going to make us rich. It wont happen. In all honesty if you buy your domain name and make sure you have great hosting that’s all you really need to spend at the outset.There is some initial leg work to do such as finding your niche, choosing a domain name, setting up a website to build your list, choosing how you are going to monetize your site to name a few tasks.TIP: Set up your website initially to give people some quality freebies. Let me just repeat the word quality. Don’t use just any old junk anybody can get for free from other websites. Choose things that have been of real value to you in setting up your business. You can use these freebies to build your list as well.For instance, I use one particular SEO book by an established expert that covers on-site and off-site optimization in sufficient detail without overwhelming you with too much detail or unnecessary jargon designed to impress rather than educate.TIP: Forget, and I seriously mean forget, trying to monetize your site with AdSense or affiliate programs. Until you have your site set up and are receiving a nice flow of traffic nothing you will not make any money no matter how many E-Books and software packages you buy.Like most people running an online business I am reading all the time to learn and also keep up to date with the latest happenings. As you read delete the junk and file the good.So let’s just recap. You have your website all set up, your list building forms/splash pages are in place and your auto responder is set up with a list of trust building information messages for your prospective clients.I would not advise starting a forum. There are few people who can run these effectively. What normally happens is that everything works great starting out because there are few people to deal with and their questions can be answered promptly.Once your list grows you will find that all you are doing is answering questions in the forum and woe betide you if you are a little late in getting back to people. Folk are generally impatient and selfish and it can create bad feeling. If you have like minded, trustworthy friends who can act as moderators this is definitely worth doing.TIP: Use forums as a means of getting prospective clients to your site by participating in the discussions and displaying your bio box. This will also build you up as an authority on your subject. There are free ebooks around with niche forum lists.The latest craze for joint ventures resulting in free PLR and other giveaways is taking over our lives. It is possible to be subscribed to dozens and dozens of differing lists. I subscribe to lists for good information but unfortunately most of these lists are just sending out continual, (sometimes 3 times a day), sales rubbish for products that you don’t have a hope in hell of making any money with.TIP: Try to remain focused if at all possible. There are many distractions which will not put jam on your bread.How many of these people will respond to you personally if you have a pre-sales query about their affiliate product? Try it and see what responses you get.TIP: Have no compunction in removing yourself from these lists otherwise the incessant “buy now” emails will either drive you crazy or make you poor. There are very few of these freebies that are even worth a minute of your time and it is not uncommon for the download links to result in 404 error pages.Once your website is set up and ready to receive visitors now is the time to start writing and submitting your articles. You will definitely have been bombarded with emails for PLR software and membership clubs promising you thousands of unique articles which takes no effort at all.It’s up to you but I have been a member of these clubs, I have tried the software, (in fact I am trying out the latest $150 package at the moment), and what I have found so far is if you are looking for quality content then it is just as quick and the content far superior to do it yourself.The craze with having to have thousands of pages on your site is to do with Adsense. The search engines will get around to weeding out what information they want to present to their customers and I reckon the AdSense “mega sites” will shortly be a thing of the past, at least in their present form.TIP: Don’t become obsessed with being listed in Google and making money with Adsense. Google can take months to index your pages and AdSense is just one way of earning your living.So why is article marketing being hailed as THE way to build your online business?Consider this flow of events:* An author submits their article to an article directory.* The article is approved and published by the article directory.* The article is now visible for everyone, (and the search engines), to see.* The article can be used on websites or in publications as long as the authors resource box is left intact.This can result in many thousands of article views and if the article is posted on other web sites it is now producing those all important one way anchor text links back to your site that Google loves so much.Now this is where the commitment comes in. You must produce and submit articles as often as you can. Some people can write one a day others 1 a week, just do as many as you can as often as you can. Once you start you will very quickly see your articles being indexed on the Net.WARNING: Be aware that if you are using software to produce thousands of pages, if you upload them all at once then the major search engines will pick up on this and penalize you. They are very smart and know it is not humanly possible to produce that many articles in that time frame.TIP: Try using an Article Submission service. A good one is almost, but not quite, submit and forget. Note these article submission services are not all created equal and it can be trial and error to find a reliable and cost effective service unless you know someone who is already using one.There is article submitting software available ranging from free to around $400. They all have to be set up initially so try the free or very low cost ones first to get a feel for what you are doing.Manual article submission is possible but not very time efficient. It is total, mind numbing drudgery which needs automating as much as possible.