Despite Frustrations: Content still King after all these Years

Content Still King - Book store by PublicCo CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay

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
 

Frustrations Revealed

 
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?

 
Frustrated by Alexas_Fotos CC0 Public Domain from PixabayWhy 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.
  • Pop-up adverts.
  • Literacy cannot be presumed.
  • Been done before.
  • Demand to ‘join the conver­sa­tion’.
  • Cross-platform conver­sa­tions.
  • 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 trafficare 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.
 
 

User Experience

 
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?

 
Content still king by Suomy CC0 Public DomainOne 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): 
  • Sharing inform­a­tion about a topic.
  • To provide person­al or social inform­a­tion.
  • Pictures, videos, or other forms of media.
  • To express an opinion or viewpoint.
  • Entertainment.
  • Sell products or services.
  • Forums to post questions for others to answer.
  • 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.
 
 

Advertising

 
Monetization by JESHOTS CC0 Public Domain From PixabayMany 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 my advert­ising providers is Infolinks, you can sign up here.
 
 

Pages and the Whole Website

 
Web by AdinaVoicu CC0 Public Domain from PixabayOne 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.
  • Include links.
  • 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.

 

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