Some 25 years have passed since the birth of the World Wide Web and it’s spawning of personal, informational and business Web sites by the millions.
Many styles, models, formulations and concepts of webpage designs have come and gone since then, yet so very few of them ever became successful business models.
Most biz portals have seen plummeting revenues during those last two decades due to the difficulties of figuring out a sure way of monetizing a site. It turns out that strategies such as beautiful design, excellent navigation, or functional architecture are not enough. This is paramount now more than ever because Internet users today are so much more tech savvy.
But there was one sure way in 1992 of bringing the expected revenues for web pages. That concept still prevails today. It’s called premium content.
That is, mastery of data, expertise in design and use of form are no longer enough. Mastery of editorial production is a must.
To engage quality audiences, to attract Internauts with acquisition power, the biz portal must offer top information. Once this is achieved, the biz site also will, slowly but surely, attract quality advertisers if that is also the target of the portal.
Sadly, during the first two decades of web site experimentation, Web developers focused more on style and form than subject matter. Even more interesting is the fact that many Web portals that carry quality content are not business sites at all, but of a cultural nature. True, such great sites are not totally functional but they do attract hordes of readership. Biz pages, on the other hand, offer poor quality content but have excellent functionality.
So, one must learn from the other. The paradigm being that high-quality publishers attract quality audiences. This allows the advertisers or site owners to maximize return on investment.
It all sounds so simple. Then why is there so much hesitation?
A main reason is costs. Producing top quality content is expensive. Or at least, if the site owner itself can produce it without the need to hire prime content makers, it is then very time intensive. A third cause for hesitation is that, ironically, some enterprise people neglect what constitutes high caliber content. Many of us confuse flashy, loud or fancy messaging with top-level communication.
This understood, another standard is in order. Website owners are beginning to appreciate that to get more value from their portal, more time and resources must be invested in top editorial production. Content, of course, that is relevant to the nature of the site.
Ideally the owner of a biz site is the most probable producer of its best content because no one knows better and is more passionate about the products offered by the portal. Yet, most entrepreneurs are just too busy running the shop or lack the knotty public communication skills for such a task.
As I have said many times… In the world of the Web — since day one — content is king. There is no other way of capturing a quality user base.
Quality content refers to innovative ways of expressing an old message. It means straight, to the point explanation of things. It implies creative visual and audio ingredients accompanying texts, such as slideshows, sound bites, interactive maps, historical memorabilia, nostalgia referents, timelines and human-interest lore.
Foremost, it means useful, topical, compelling and very, very informative messaging. Fill up your sight with such top communicational elements; surround your products or services with information the readers can use for problem solution, and they will flock to your pages.
Not only that, they will link on, share and portion out your digital venue all across the confines of cyberspace.
Of course, all this also is a matter of time until enough Internauts discover your site and appreciate the excellent content it offers. For that, we need to implement a few tricks of optimization. But, that is the subject of another column.