Be the “Best of the Best” Join the Carnival!
Nikole Gipps is the face behind the superhero character at That PHP Girl, a web development company that specializes in WordPress, Premium WordPress Themes, and PHP Programming. She posts non-tech small business tips over at her blog, Small Business Essentials. A California native with a degree from the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (Ithaca, NY), she now lives in Oregon with her husband, 2 children, dog, cat, and the garden that she loves.
With all the advice I could possibly give you about your website, the one thing that is most overlooked is QUALITY CONTENT. If you make a bad product, you can't expect anyone to buy it. So why would you make a site full of unreadble, unrelevant, and unappealing content, and then expect anyone to read it? After participating in this recent discussion in the SuN Community, I realize how many people are turned off by the bad content in blogs. This problem is serious, as people who find bad blogs distasteful are also likely to ignore the great and wonderful content out there on blogs—including yours!
So what can you do?
- Make content your #1 priority.
The goal of your site or blog should not be to merely toss the information up there and let it go. The problem, as I see it, is the ease and speed in which blog posts and site changes can be made. Your goal should not be speed, but quality. Review your content: Is it relevant to your readers? Have you edited it to remove anything unnecessary? Are you proud of that piece of work, and does it reflect positively upon your company? If it's not quality content, it belongs on the cutting room floor.
- Format your content to maximize readability for the web.
Good content starts with good ideas, swings through heavy editing, and ends up with formatting your content for people, not machines. With so many site owners trying to format their content to rank high on the search engines, I believe the quality of the content goes down—so focus on your readers, not the search engines. (For more information on formatting your content, see Writing to be Read.)
- Reduce your posting frequency.
I sometimes feel like we're all going to hyperventilate in the age of Twitter, as quantity has replaced quality. Too many bloggers are just rehashing the ideas of others instead of creating original content, or just linking to other posts instead of adding their own insights. You have this concept supported by places like Creative Weblogging, who asks new bloggers to make 7-10 posts per week. Let's reverse this trend by providing better content in fewer posts, and try to not be so vain as to think your readers have time to read daily posts from you that are not long enough to be of any real value.
- Participate in blog carnivals.
Blog carnivals are collections of summaries and links to blog content, pulled together by an editor. By participating, contributing, and hosting a blog carnival, you are saying quality content is important to you, and you would like to reward those who write quality content with recognition. The oldest and best blog carnival for the business world is the Carnival of the Capitalists, which inspired this post because I happen to be hosting it today! Although hosting is a lot of work (I had to read through about 40 articles this weekend), it is worth it to me to support others in their quests to produce quality content week after week.
- Lend your support to the MBA by Blog project.
The limitations of a blog carnival stop at their periodical nature: most carnivals are posted weekly or monthly. This is why the founders of the Carnival of the Capitalists created MBA by Blog, a celebration of the best business posts of all time. You can help out this project by suggesting new links any time you find a truly outstanding piece of information in a blog.
So readers, lend me your thoughts: What else bugs you about web content and how can we, as the writers, make that better?