The success of your website isn’t entirely about “creating good content”. Let’s be clear. Content is a necessity. It needs to be:
- Relevant (something your readers need or want to hear about)
- Valuable (helps solve a pressing problem)
- Unique (can’t find the exact same thing a million other places)
But let’s be honest. There are a lot of websites out there that possess the holy grail of “great content”. Yet they still have failed to reach their audience. They have failed to engage anyone on a high level. They have failed to generate a significant number of subscribers. They have failed to earn sufficient revenue.
When this happens, the next step is closing up shop. No one can write “great content” forever without any reciprocation. It’s time to move on and try something new.
If you have good content and ideas to share on your blog, but you’ve failed to get the results you’d like so far, there’s a reason for it. That reason might be your blog itself.
If Content isn’t King, What is?
Let’s get it straight. Content isn’t king. You are king. Content is simply your messenger. Content is just one element of your empire. And it’s an important one. Really important. But it doesn’t get the job done by itself. There’s another element I wanted to mention today, and that’s design.
There’s an idea that great ideas will find their own way. An idea with merit and value will surely be welcomed with open arms by it’s ideal audience. If you put out something of extraordinary value, surely people will buy in. Right?
In other words…if you build it, they will come. Isn’t that the way it works?
Well, you know the answer to that don’t you? But just to make sure I’ll let the cat out of the bag. The answer is no. They usually don’t come. People don’t usually see real value even if you try to beat them over the head with it. It’s not how people work.
We’re too busy. We’re too distracted. Our bullshit meter is on high alert 24/7, so even when we hear something great, it takes a real feat to truly get our attention.
What’s the solution?
The role of design
Just like content, design isn’t the end all and be all of marketing success. But just like content, it is an essential part of the equation.
Whether it makes sense or not, whether we’re liable to admit it or not, we respond to packaging. We judge books by their cover. We really, really do. We know instinctively that it may not be fair, but it’s an effective way to filter out some of the noise in our lives. If it doesn’t look awesome, it’s probably not.
Bottom line: value does NOT speak for itself. It’s in dire need of some awesome packaging. *Especially* if it’s a truly awesome product. All the more reason to spend the time and money to really package it well!
When it comes to your website or blog, your design is your packaging. Spend some time on it. Make it yours. Test colors and layouts and ideas. Your design is JUST as important as your content. This doesn’t mean it needs to be over the top. It doesn’t need to be gaudy or even expensive. It just needs to work.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, people respond to aesthetics. It’s just how it is. I’ve noticed a few things in my own business, and I apply these to client projects all the time:
- The placement of an opt-in form can make a huge difference in how well it converts. Take an identical opt-in form and put it in a different place on the same page, and watch a completely different result take place.
- Changing the color of a headline can change out well an entire page converts. Whether you’re going for clicks, subscribers or whatever, people respond differently to different colors.
- Typography matters. Font types and especially font sizes can dramatically affect how long someone stays on your site.
These are just a few examples. Even on very simple-looking sites, a lot of thought and experience goes into an effective design.
I read an article on Copyblogger today and gives some great tips on web design, and I recommend checking that out as well.