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Where’s the Content?

Posted By Darren Rowse 28th of April 2005 Blog Design 0 Comments

Sometimes its easy to get so carried away with earning money on your blog that your content can become secondary to everything else.

I’ve had (and probably fallen for) this kind of temptation myself – but think its probably the blog and your readers who suffer most for it.

I was just surfing by this blog and was struck by the layout there (screen capture above – click to enlarge).

The screen capture is of an individual archive page that I surfed into from an RSS feed. When I got to the actual site I found myself asking ‘where’s the content?’ (it reminded me of one of those ‘Where’s Wally/Waldo books’). Perhaps its just my screen size (15 inch) but as you’ll see from my screen capture the content’s heading was the only part of the content to show above the fold – the rest of the page was almost completely affiliate links (hidden as recommended reading), cross promotion to other parts of the network and ads.

Once again – I too feel the temptation to smother some of my blogs in ads and on some of them could be accused of similar tactics – but I wonder what it does for building a loyal repeat readership? To be honest coming to a page like this doesn’t inspire me to come back – not because of the content (they often have good stuff there) but simply because it is so hidden amongst the rest of what the page has.

My recommendation to bloggers is always to work on content – provide relevant and useful information for your readers – put it in a clearly identifiable and easily found position and don’t fall for the temptation of the quick easy buck.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Good stuff – there’s a thing in Jakob Neilson’s books about categorising screenspace by shading over the screenshot in different colours for different types of things, e.g. content, navigation, advertising, whitespace… guess it’d be a single-colour page in this case.

    If you liked the content but couldn’t stand the layout/design, would you still visit the site, or would you subscribe to the feed – or do you always just subscribe?

  • I know it’s possible to move things around with CSS, so that the content in the example site could still be at, or near the top, of the source code – but having too much clutter on the page can reduce your search engine visibility.

    Having just peeked at their source, if I were a spider :) I think I’d have a pretty hard time finding their content, after all that hex-code stuff! The content should be as close to the top of the source as well as being visible on the web page itself. I’d get pretty irritated with this kind of site.

  • It seems their feeds do have the full text of the entries (as well as some “related” links), although who knows what their feeds will look like once they get their hands on Google RSS ads :>/

  • Interesting that this is the mob who only pay their bloggers 40% if I recall one of your earlier posts? I suppose with so many ads scaring away the punters they’ve only got their bloggers left to take from.

  • Ken

    These sites tend to be incredibly annoying and in view, really break the cardinal sin of too much text on a page. Especially when it’s bunched up.

    I was worried that maybe I was putting too many ads on my site but that one i just ridiculous.

  • Tom

    You might choose some other color than yellow, it’s very hard to read.
    Thanks for the information,

  • I completely agree with You, Darren: a blog like this has no future in my opinion. Too many ads, like some of yours ;)