Here at BellaOnline we absolutely want you to succeed in your goals. That includes your goal of applying to join our community! Here are straightforward suggestions on how to ensure your application has the best possible chance of being approved, based on what channel your topic is located in.
Beauty & Self
The Beauty & Self sites are primarily about helping women improve their lives. The topics in this area include hair, cosmetics, journals, and stress management. The focus is directly on the reader and how she can learn skills to succeed. Make sure your article is a straightforward how-to that steps your reader through a specific area and how to handle it. Definitely you can add in personal insight. For example you can say "When I first began applying lipstick myself, I found it was easier to start on the left, because ..." However make sure your personal notes are only minor side notes to your main task which is helping the reader learn skills to thrive.
Beauty & Self Channel
Books & Music
The Books & Music sites are focused heavily on - as you probably would have guessed - book and CD reviews. Sometimes there are author interviews, sometimes there are articles on famous locations or interesting themes, but the bulk of the article material here are the reviews. Therefore it's a good idea for you to supply a review as your sample article. Make sure it is an objective review of all sides of the item you're looking at. Don't write a press release praising a CD as the best thing ever heard in all of humanity. Don't claim that the book is so beyond perfect that it will instantly outsell the Bible the moment it's released. Show us that you can cover the bad and the good. Is it perhaps unsuitable for teens? Does it contain language some readers might object to? Remember that BellaOnline's visitors come from around the globe. You want to help all of those readers know if this item is a good fit for them or not.
Also make sure the review is timeless. Avoid phrases like "this week" or "last month". Instead give the article a context, such as "Released on May 8, 2005, the CD ..." You want the article to be useful to readers in ten years, so they can still understand it. That way your traffic snowballs over time!
Books & Music Channel
The Career sites help our readers find ways to earn money to pay their bills and reach their dreams. These sites are very focused on self-help - allowing the reader to learn the skills necessary to get the job they have always dreamed about. Make sure your article is a focused how-to explanation of how the reader can take those steps to reach towards - or keep - their perfect occupation.
Computers are an integral part of our modern world. Users need help setting up their MP3 player, fending off a virus, creating an ebook, and getting their PC to stop crashing. The sample article here should help a reader who has a common problem find solutions.
From astronomy to math, from learning disabilities to gifted education, every person wants to learn and grow and become a better version of herself. We are here to help with that dream! Write a factual article about your topic area, helping a person in your realm learn a new skill or how to cope with a specific situation. If you're applying to be the math editor, help your readers figure out how to leave a proper tip at a restaurant.
Relationships are the core of our world. How we get along with our parents, our children, our friends and co-workers can define how our days go. The family topic areas help our readers find solutions to issues with stepparenting, adoption, addictions, and more. The article should help a reader in your area find solutions to a common problem. It is fine when talking about relationships to offer personal insight - to mention how you handled a situation with your own father to help illustrate a point, for example. However, that personal note should be a brief highlight to the overall story on how the reader could handle their life. Your personal story should not be the focus of the article.
Food & Wine
The Food and Wine channel is primarily about recipes, healthy eating, and information about specific ingredients. The key here is that the article must have some informative text to go along with the basic recipe. There are already millions of recipe sites on the web, so if all you did was post a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, you'd never be found in the existing sea of recipes. You need to add notes to your recipe to help it be unique. Where did your version of the recipe come from? How does it differ from all the other recipes out there? What are some variations your readers could try if they need to avoid certain ingredients?
Food & Wine Channel
Health & Fitness
The Health & Fitness channel contains sites to help a person take care of their body. We offer sites on yoga, walking, asthma, and diabetes. These sites cannot offer direct medical device - we are not doctors. However, they can offer suggestions and information that can then be taken to a doctor to discuss. Again this is where a careful balance of personal information and research come in. The headaches writer might talk about how they found they had migraines triggered by chocolate, and then go into a discussion about how chocolate can trigger migraines and how to handle the situation. The personal notes are great to create a relationship with the reader, but the main focus of the article needs to be on the reader and how they can solve their issues.
Health & Fitness Channel
Hobbies & Crafts
Leisure activities are critical in helping the human brain refresh and renew. It naturally releases stress. Our sites cover birding and photography, crochet and doll making. These fall squarely into the "how to" category. A site in the hobbies and crafts channel should offer fairly step by step instructions on how to do a common activity. Yes there will be book reviews, product reviews, and other research articles that can be added, but it's important we see that you can handle the step by step functional content.
Hobbies & Crafts Channel
Home & Garden
Our home is our castle. It is where we can retreat from the world and feel safe. From living simply to budget decor, from organizing to gardening, creating a happy home can have significant health and life benefits. These articles should be how-to in nature, explaining how a reader can tackle cleaning that messy drawer or learning how to get basil to grow beautifully in their kitchen window.
Home & Garden Channel
It is said that the love of money is the root of all evil - but it's also true that we need money to eat, to put a roof over our head and to have warm clothes to wear. We all want to have ample money to meet our basic needs and to bring us some joy in life as well. The money sites need to take this responsibility seriously. The articles should help our readers spend their money wisely and learn how to save it as well.
News & Politics
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Our content here at BellaOnline is timeless and nowhere is that more clear than in our News & Politics channel. Our content is not written just for this moment in time but so that readers in five to ten years can remember the events and learn from them. To that end the content must be written in a timeless fashion. If an article said "last week ..." what would that mean to someone who read it in 2020? Instead, make sure it is written in a way that will always be meaningful. Rather than saying "a few days ago a tsunami ..." - which again would be confusing and meaningless to a reader in a few years, always give the article context. "On March 11, 2011, a massive tsunami ..."
News & Politics Channel
Having a support system can mean the difference between success and failure in many peoples' life goals. We cover topics from dating to divorce, from single life to domestic violence. It is important that we are both personal - showing that we understand what they are going through - and also directed on helping them. Our readers don't want to read what we went through in our life as much as they want to know how to solve the problems in their OWN life. So certainly add a sentence or two to provide background, that you understand the issue, but make sure the main thrust of the article is on how they can make changes in their own world to improve things. Also, keep in mind that many of our readers are in countries such as India where discussion about certain topics is considered taboo. We also have many younger readers. We need to be sensitive about any discussion of body parts or intimate activities.
Religion & Spirituality
We all know how sensitive a subject religion can be. Wars have been fought over religious issues. Even in our modern times, people are killed for having religious differences. We want to treat each religious area with sensitivity and care. It is fine to talk about the benefits of your religion - but it needs to be done in a way which does not denigrate believers in other religions. There is always a way to explain why your way of life is a good one without needing to stomp on other lifestyles. The focus of these articles should be on helping a believer find ways to practice their beliefs in safety and comfort.
Religion & Spirituality Channel
The sports sites fall into two main categories. One category is for individuals who practice the sport. An example would be fishing. The site helps those who love fishing learn about fishing techniques, how to bait a hook, and so on. The other type of sports site is the fan site. An example here would be football. The football site is primarily about news and information about the football season. In that sense it follows more like the News and Politics sites. It's important in that case for the content to be timeless and meaningful even in a few years. Again, avoid writing about "last week" or "this coming Sunday." Instead, craft the articles so they are placed in a context and can be read and enjoyed even ten years from now. While Barry Bonds and his steroid use is certainly popular news when it is being tried, it will be just as popular in five years as people research it to see how the industry has changed over the years. Make sure the article makes just as much sense, and has just as much context, then.
Travel & Culture
Most people are fascinated about places they have never been, and want to learn more about the places nearby. The Travel & Culture channel helps readers whether they're planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the other side of the planet or if they want to find things to do this weekend in their own back yard. The key here is that the content needs to be timeless. A once-only farmer's market can be announced in the forums, but the articles on the site need to be useful in five years. Mention the Christ the Redeemer statue of Rio, but don't mention the "upcoming Olympics."
Also it's extremely important that any reviews of locations or events are objective and present both good and bad aspects. Our readers trust us to be honest and to cover all angles. If the location is a little seedy for youngsters, mention it. If the restaurants all shut down at 6pm and travelers should know to carry their own snacks, mention it. Certainly mention the turquoise waters - but also mention that they should wear sandals because it's not uncommon to find glass shards on the beach. Our readers have ample access to press release and promotional sites. They come to us to hear the real story.
Travel & Culture Channel
TV & Movies
The TV & Movies channel is heavily based on doing reviews of TV shows and movies. That seems fairly clear :) It is absolutely critical that we write these reviews with as open an eye as possible. Even if you adore House, make sure you mention that the graphic scenes of bodily functions may upset some people. A die-hard True Blood fan should still mention that some will find the level of violence to be over-the-top. Certainly explain why you enjoy a show, but provide fair warning to people who might be sensitive about certain issues. You want to make sure your review is helpful to all readers - including those who might be better off not watching it. Also, remember that our site is world wide. Don't mention TV stations a show is running on or dates/times of shows. What could be a good time to watch a show in the US could be meaningless in India. Your readers can figure out when things show in their area. You need to help them figure out if something is worth watching in the first place.
TV & Movies Channel