This year I noticed a theme in many of the sessions I attended for WordCamp Maine 2017—content, content, content.
I heard the saying, “content is king” over and over.
The quote comes from an essay Bill Gates wrote in 1996, in which he describes the future of the Internet relying on the value of content. So why is this still being talked about 20 years later? Because he was right—it’s important!
Let’s lay some ground work by covering what content is exactly. Content is the words you use on your site to talk about your product or business, but it’s also the images, videos and info-graphics you use to convey any information via your website. It’s very strongly tied to your branding via the voice you use (scientific or casual) and the type of imagery you display (photography or icons).
A session I attended about SEO (search engine optimization) had to do with adding valuable content to your site because the bots that index your site and improve your search result rankings read the content just like like people do. Making sure that you are writing quality content is more important than writing a huge quantity of content.
Quality content doesn’t come easy. I went to two sessions about how hard it can be to generate, and how it can often grind a website project to a screeching halt. When content isn’t on your mind right from the beginning it can often be a huge bottle neck, so it’s important that you have a plan to ensure it’s being created.
At my own talk, the website redesign checklist, based on a previous blog post we’d written, I discussed how important is it to look at your content with a critical eye and really audit it when redesigning your site. I also mentioned how important it is to make a plan for creating content, whether it’s someone internally or partnering with a writer or editor. Knowing what your content is ahead of time can help your designer in making choices of what will fit, where it will go in the overall order and what’s of the most importance.
I think the reason that there is such a huge focus on content right now is because there is so much competition on the Internet. These days creating a website with a cookie cutter template is available to just about anyone with a computer and a small budget, so how can you make your business stand out? With great content and branding. Working with just a designer, or just a developer isn’t enough anymore—you need to look at the whole picture.
WordCamp Maine is something I look forward to every year. I learn something new and am energized by the people I meet without fail. This year’s keynote discussed how WordPress, because is open source, is available to anyone and because of that it’s led to a way for people to get together as a community and help each other to learn and grow. I’m incredibly happy that this year I was able to contribute and I hope that my session helped send someone in the right direction.