How is content still king?Helping people turn their blog into a powerful resource means that I have to explain many technical concepts to on-line writers that simply wish to publish material. Best (and of-course worst) practices can all be understood in plain English. My role to provide such a how-to guide through these posts.
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” Bill Gates 1996
One of the first lessons I recall about writing for the web is that old adage “Content is King”. Yet, frustrated users are widespread. One problem; the low-quality material available on the web. According to a 2013 poll:
95% Of content on music streaming sites irrelevant to listeners
74% Get frustrated with websites with content that has nothing to do with their interests.
67% Leave if asked for donations from a political party they dislike.
60% Of content created by the world’s leading brands is ‘just clutter’.
57% Married users who leave because when shown ads for a dating service.
These statistics relate to the web as a whole, including advertisements, not simply blogs, but it does show that having the right content available is essential. Is content still king? It sound more like a mess, the reason for the featured image. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and a variety of other search engines are seeking your new content every day to add it to the wealth of knowledge held on the web.
According to PC World “15 percent of Americans find the Internet irrelevant and hard to use”. I have no doubt this figure is also reflected in other nations. Some of this certainly comes from being frustrated with web content — their inability to find things that interest them. In part this is about how search engines work, but in part it relates to the material published.
Why the Frustration?
Why are people frustrated with the Internet? There are many reason people say this, including:
The need to prove you are human.
Messages alerting you to messages.
Literacy cannot be presumed.
Been done before.
Demand to ‘join the conversation’.
Viruses, scams and spam generated.
Patently absurd abbreviations.
Filth, everywhere (and we are not only talking porn).
Need to sign up to get simple information.
Compulsory fields on forms.
National restrictions and censorship.
Websites take too long to load.
“Fake” information and untrustworthy sites.
Each website has different standards for passwords.
Too many get-rich-quick schemes.
I am sure most people have faced these issues at some point. Most also press on and do what they need despite problems.
Want more Traffic?
“Fewer articles but of higher quality can actually result in more organic search traffic” says How To Make My Blog. This has long been my belief. It is part of a value ethic that says content is still king, but high-value content leads the way. Although this view is contrary to one of the commonly quoted myths of blogging. Those people who state “you must publish every day to grow traffic” are WRONG!
Talking to a former client I asked about how their blog was performing. As a courtesy he emailed me the visitor statistics. Going to the website I noticed that there had been no new posts for the last three months. He assured me there would be new posts soon. The man who was the editor had been away on an extended vacation, and had subsequently been off work with a serious illness. Expected to return the next week, things were about to return to normal.
What I noticed about the statistics was that readership remained steady during that period, despite no new articles appearing. The company had automation processes which ensured they publicised their pages on social channels as well as performing well on Google searches. Content still king, clearly.
One of the major factors in ranking is a ‘good user experience’. I prefer the term ‘a good reading experience’. But, it amounts to the same thing. It is a demand for powerful prose alongside good spelling and good grammar. Hope Church of Lieberman Technologies, holds the view: “Back when the world moved at a slightly slower pace, editors and proofreaders double and triple-checked every word and sentence before the public ever saw it…” It is up to the blogger to perform that role today before publishing.
Got something you want to communicate? You need to make the message as clear as possible. Part of making sure you’re understood is being error-free. It provides a good reading experience for your audience.
What does Google have to say? “In Google’s mission to organize the world’s information, we want to guide Google users to the highest quality content”. These words posted on the Webmaster Central Blog, on Oct 1st 2017. They are always improving their search quality guidelines with the explicit intention of improving the experience for their users.
Is Content still King?
One of the elements search engines look at are the purpose of web pages. Why was the page created? What information does it provide? The search engine cannot ask the writer these questions so they must determine them for themselves.
According to Google common page purposes include (but are not limited to):
To share files or to download files, software etc.
Understanding the purpose helps the search engine identify a page quality rating (also known as PQ). This is one of the primary factors in determining quality of search results.
Each page had a reason for its creation. The most popular reason being to share information — the purpose of most blog pages. There is still room for more high-quality information.
Many bloggers use advertising as a way of monetising their pages. For a long time experts saw advertising as having a negative impact. Google states “presence or absence of Ads is not by itself a reason for a high or low quality rating”. I agree. Web advertisements have been with us long enough that readers generally know how to distinguish between advertising and content.
The best practice is to label them as sponsored links, or similar, but that is not always possible.
Google considers the blogger as being responsible for advertisement quality. If you as a blogger use advertising then you need to monitor your site to ensure your advertising provider continues to provide appropriate advertising.
You may recall one of the statistics stated married users who leave sites when shown ads for a dating services. The problem here is you as a website provider are not entirely in control of the advertising content. The advertisement carrier largely determines this, often based on user activity. Thus, if 18-year-old daughter Jody is using a dating site on the family computer, then dating ads will appear as her father Henry is using it. Although he is unaware of his daughter’s activity.
Control of Ads
Bloggers have limited ability to control the types of ads that appear. Review these options, regularly, to ensure that readers are only shown appropriate material.
When it comes to dating ads, there are clearly three types; firstly those to encourage singles to meet others, secondly those aimed at partners wishing to cheat, and thirdly sites selling sex. Each have their own moral standards which the site owner must consider.
One of the options is that dating ads can be turned off. Yet should you? Dating ads are known to bring significant income to publishers — they have a higher click rate than most other types of adverts. A bloggers personal moral standards have some impact on the ads displayed. Check the options advertising providers give — if you don’t like them change supplier. Remember your content matter most.
One of the determining factors of page quality is how it fits within the scope of the whole website. If your blog only has a couple of pages then it is difficult for anyone to determine what the site is about. Once you have about 6 or 10 pages then it is relatively easy for people to determine your purpose. Search engines usually require 25 or more pages to determine this.
This is one reason your specialist engineering blog should focus on the subject at hand. A political rant about your appalling leader or your thoughts on the Oscar ceremonies has no place here. Both readers and search engines are watching. Blogs by nature specialise. If you want to talk, regularly, about more than one subject you should have more than one blog.
Off-topic posts do add some value. They can show you are human. For example — you may have made comments about taking a holiday in the Bahamas. Tell your readers about your experience, what you enjoyed in Nassau, the beaches, the coral reefs and how you went snorkeling for the first time. What you cannot do is continue to tell stories about your holiday so that you turn your engineering blog into a holiday special. You will lose readership.
What Articles MUST Do
In general blogs should follow a theme. For example this one is about producing high quality on-line writing and good blogging practices. Yours could be about Trout Fishing, Needle-craft, Engineering, your favourite Recipes. The need for content drives new blog posts. Is content still king? The point is blogs should provide something unique to the reader each time you write.
Your articles need to:
Provide high-quality information.
Be well written.
Have both readers and Search Engines in mind.
Provide a unique perspective.
Most blogs are non-fiction in nature. If you have a novel you wish to publish in the future publishers recommend you do not serialise it in the pages of a blog. Fictional short stories, however, is another matter.
High quality and readable information is vital. That is one reason I stress the need for proofreading and editing your work before publishing. Pay special consideration to the words you use. Quality matters more than the frequency at which you publish. Remember these things matter both to your readers and the search engines alike.
Linking to other stories whether on your own site or on external ones also adds value. Please be aware that Google owns a patent regarding link usage and ranking. This is an important factor in search.
The unique perspective is something only you can bring.
Content Still King!
We can all agree that content matters. It doesn’t matter whether you are writing content for a business website, for commercial content providers, or your own blog this is still true. It is what the Internet craves. I am not simply talking about search engines here. It is what people crave when using the web. The beauty about the Internet is that it opens up the process and makes it viable for everyone to create and publish material.
The Internet is driven by content. Millions of new pages are created every day. They are indexed by the search engines within a few days of it being added. They are, normally, visible on Social Media much sooner. But, who is making money?
Show Me the Money!
It is time once again to look at Bill Gate’s statement “Content is where… much of the real money will be made on the Internet”. True. But does that mean that in writing your blog you will make money? There are many stories about making money while you sleep, most are not true.
I have earned money writing content for the web. Yet we should examine this thought about ‘real money’. The implication here is that millions of dollars are available for writing content. It is true, millions of dollars are spent on creating web content each year. But the average blog writer is not going to make that type of money. It is web designers, advertising specialists and copy-writers that will earn most of that money in the course of their normal salary.
For commercial websites content is regularly being added. Businesses pay the copy-writers for their efforts. They also pay ad agencies to employ marketing techniques to encourage buyers to make purchases. This all revolves around powerful content. That content needs focusing on the target audience. Know what their goals are. What content are they browsing for? Be specific. This is where to make money.
It is possible to make money through blogs, but you must constantly be building your readership to make it work.
Fresh Content is Vital
Do you produce new content for your website and blog? You should, here’s why.
Generally websites include sales pitches, what a certain product will do. Why a particular service suits a customer’s needs. They are promoting products or services even if they don’t have a sales pitch on every page. It is a mass of information that sells, not the sales pitch alone. Websites are generally static, once set up — they are left alone until a new product, or service, is added.
Blogs on the other hand are more dynamic because new content is always being added. The blogger is describing “how to” or “what to” do. They are engaging an audience in a different way. This is not directly about sales. Indeed a blog article is as likely to come from a technical specialist as a salesman.
The overall experience from the site should:
Encourage customer engagement.
Generates leads and sales.
Add value to the customer experience.
Blogs increase traffic to the main website.
Other Pages about Engagement
Engagement is a critical part of providing content for the web. The following posts may prove that despite our frustrations, that “content still king after all these years”. Other related posts include:
If you like this article, we appreciate any donations to GobbledeGoox . What are your thoughts on creating engaging content when writing your blog? Something to contribute? Please leave a comment. The images here were sourced from a public domain location, such as Pixabay, Unsplash or other sites.
Gaining traffic for your blog is of vital importance for any writer that is publishing on the Internet, something that all readers of Gobbledegoox will need to understand. Here Ryan Biddulph gives and overview on increasing traffic to your site. […]