There’s this saying that goes around that “content is king“, which I’m sure that we all agree upon, but what does it mean? Why is it that so many people recommend writing high quality, original content and why some blogs don’t really make it big, despite the quality posts they publish? Let’s take a closer look at this matter and find out what it takes to make a king out of your content.
A king without a kingdom
Just like most websites, a blog is defined by many attributes. Among them, the most notable are the content, the design, the usability and its visibility. Excelling in any one of these categories, but ignoring the others will not be sufficient to make your blog stand out.
Think of your content as a king without a kingdom. Who is it going to rule over? How will people find your content if it doesn’t get enough internet and search engine exposure? How will readers navigate through your older posts if you don’t guide them or give them the required tools to find what they are looking for. How do you expect them to react if your blog looks like thousands of other blogs available out there? Why would they expect yours to be different if you don’t take the time to at least make it look different?
It’s highly important that you work on the whole ensemble of things that can improve your blog’s quality, before thinking of making a king out of your content.
Blog design and usability tips
Before making any decision on your blog’s design, keep in mind that a blog is meant to be read, not admired. Starting from here, consider the following:
Use web-friendly fonts in sizes that make them readable on most screen resolutions. Sans serif fonts (Arial, Verdana, Tahoma) are the most readable fonts used online, unlike pure serif fonts (Times New Roman, Georgia), which are more readable on printed materials. A size of 12 pixels/points or more should make them visible on most resolutions.
Go for a fixed website layout instead of a fluid (screen resolution dependent) one. While some readers might prefer a website that stretches to fit the entire amount of available screen space, the majority might have a problem reading extremely long lines of text. Find a resolution (between 900 and 950 pixels should be OK) and stick with it.
If going for a fixed layout width, then center it on the screen. People with bigger screen resolutions will see a lot of unused space around your blog or on the right of it. By splitting this unused, white space into two equal parts, on the left and on the right of your blog, the sensation of too much unused space will be minimized.
Use dark fonts on white or light backgrounds. Studies have confirmed that black on white is much easier to read than white on black, and is more relaxing also, allowing your visitors to read more without feeling tired.
Right hand sidebars are more user-friendly. No matter if you have one sidebar or one large one split into two smaller ones, keeping the sidebars on the right has its advantages. First of all, think about the fact that every browser (few exceptions) has the scroll bar on the right and people do use it a lot. It would the helpful to provide your visitors with more navigation options in the same area. Further more, code-wise, a sidebar positioned on the right, will most likely generate the code after your content’s code, which is a positive thing when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).
Ease your visitor’s path with more/enough navigation and search options. That search form is basically built in every blog template, but how about suggesting people some related or popular posts on your blog? Maybe even a personal favorites list, like I did with the “Best Of” section, here, on Blogsessive?
If content is king, promotion is the court’s jester
Obviously, great content without enough promotion will simply remain great UNREAD content, and we wouldn’t want that. So, what should be done?
Network, network, network. You’ve heard this already, but it’s really important. Make friends; join discussions on blogs, on forums, on social media website. The more friends and loyal readers you gather, the bigger the chances of having your content promoted well.
Find the social media networks that work for you. Don’t simply take someone’s advice that DIGG is the God of social media, or who knows what other website they’ll point you to. Try out more and see which one brings the best results.
Learn and apply at least some basic SEO on your blog. No one says you have to be an expert in search engine optimization. Just learn enough to keep a clean and search engine friendly website. Result will soon start to show in an increasing amount of visits from search engines, with queries relevant to your content. If those visitors will be happy with what they’ve found, chances are that you’ll turn them into future readers or even subscribers.
Start some contests, offer some freebies. Free stuff is always nice and appreciated, but remember to always offer good quality freebies. If you’re going to give away junk you might just get an opposite reaction from your visitors.
The coronation of a king
As I’ve said before, a king without a kingdom cannot exists, so take your time to build your blog from the most basic item that you can work on to improve. Only by having a rock solid foundation you can make a true king out of your content, and YES, content is king!