There are four main sources of free content I use when creating a one-day or weekend website.
1) Free articles from article directories
2) Free public domain ebooks from archive.org or ProjectGutenberg.com
3) Public domain material from the U.S. Federal government
4) Brief articles I write myself.
The first source I’ve mentioned before. Most of the articles I use come directly into my Gmail box where I can do quick searches. I also scan article directories if I have fewer than 10 articles from Gmail.
Here are the directories I’ve found most useful:
- eZine Articles.com
- World Wide Information Outlet
It’s a quick and simple process to copy and paste the articles into a template, but I often also use a database driven site format, and in those cases it’s a matter of copying and pasting into a web form to get it online.
Project Gutenberg can be a great source for information on a variety of generic (non techy) subjects. I do a subject search, a title search, and from the results that come up that are related I look for the Library of Congress category and list all of the other books in that category.
I use Conversionary software to quickly add the chapters to my template. It takes about five minutes to add the tags to the template, set up the software, and create neatly sliced html pages that match my site perfectly.
You can also find segments of books that fit your subject, even though the complete work doesn’t. You can use the Google search for that. I found a whole bunch of wild game recipes inside larger cookbooks that bring in lots of traffic to my hunting site, for example. I just copied the portions that were relevant, and cut out the rest.
All works created by the U.S. Federal government is in the public domain, so a simple search on your_topic site:.gov will bring up pages of information you can use on your site with only a simple attribution of the source. Be aware though that while Federal government documents are public domain, state government documents are not.
Finally, writing your own short informative articles is not difficult. Just take your topic and come up with a number of questions about it. For example, if you were creating a site about plasma televisions, your list might look like this:
Why are plasma televisions so expensive?
How big can a plasma TV get?
Are plasma TVs better than LCD?
Are plasma TVs safe to use with video games?
What is the expected lifespan of a plasma TV?
How can I prolong the life of my plasma TV?
How do I mount my plasma TV?
Taking five minutes to research each question on MSN or Google, and 15 minutes to write a few paragraphs summarizing what you’ve learned from your search as an answer to each question, and in a few hours you can have quite a few articles written.
Polish them up and be sure to use a spell checker, if not a grammar checker, on each, and you can not only use them for content on your own site, but you can also submit them to article submission services/directories in order to help you drive traffic to your site.