Build Your Site: Does Your Website Need Content?

Kathy

Tazmanian Veteran
Joined
Jan 1, 2004
Messages
9,030
Kathy submitted a new Article:

Build Your Site: Does Your Website Need Content?

Article - Building your Site: Does Your Website Need Content?

Five years ago when I first put my simple website online there were few choices. Techonology was putting us in cyberspace, gathering newbies by dialing up through AOL or local ISP servers and the internet offered simple html pages for the most part.

Flash wasn't used much since our browsers couldn't handle it. Our 386 machines chugged across the pages while we went to the kitchen, poured ourselves a cup of coffee while a new page loaded.

Back then, content was king. Albeit, slowly changing content. Websites created were simple company sites with local phone information, a rehash of today's headlines on the local News website, personal geocities pages contained photos and hobby pages with simple graphics created on Adobe Photoshop 3. Free Guestbooks for your website were offered with advertising banners attached.

Back in 1998, I put up a website with static content on my free AOL space. I updated the pages frequently at first, rarely a few months later. My site had a guestbook and some articles, a traffic tracker and little else. At the end of my first year, I was amazed and thrilled with 100 unique visitors visiting the site daily to read the articles. I was impressed.

Taking a look at the guestbook revealed that the visitors were attempting to communicate with each other. Asking questions about content. Asking if anybody was there. They answered and added to the guestbook until I realized I had to find a message board system for my visitors. Maybe my guests would like it and use it.

I found a simple threaded message board system that was simple to register and use. Within a few days it had crashed and I was booted off. I found another board to use (Inside the Web) and put it up. Within hours there were so many posts I couldn't answer them all. I called my online friends from an AOL message board to help.

Within a few months I had added several of these message boards to my website with separate categories to help organize the threads and within a few months we found the newly created EZ Board community and settled in.

Traffic was still finding my website because of the content on my site. I was well placed in search engines as Yahoo! had picked my site up freely and added me to the directory.

Traffic was staying because of the community discussions. It was a great combination that continues to be the mainstay of my website which has...

Read more about this article here...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

floris

Habitué
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
1,342
Great article, as always and thank you for sharing. Good work and yes, content is what makes the site. The design is what makes presents it and reachability is what makes it nice to visit. The memberbase is making the content and as much important :)
 

Daisy

Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
180
As I noticed running my site for a year, the content is not king :)

Main website is visited 4 times less than message board (1000 users daily for the content site and 4000 daily for message board).
I did a poll on message board on why people don't visit the main page. And the more common answer was : "We could read all that things from main website (articles)in books or magazines. But mesage board is community that share its own experience and this experience is more important for us than dry facts and knowledges of the articles.
P.S I am running parenting site.
 

kilcher

Devotee
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
2,914
I can see how it would work for most people but I never visit the content portions of websites I vist. I find that I get better info from the boards. That way I can get input from multiple people rather than reading what one person thinks. :)
 

weirfire

Neophyte
Joined
Sep 18, 2006
Messages
8
A great example of an early realisation of the need for content to get traffic and it paid off! :)

I've often wondered if it was the content subject of my site that caused its success or the manner in which the site developed and grew. If I had the message boards first, would it have grown and be what it is today? If my site was online a discussion community only, would it be listed as well with search engines?

This would make an interesting debate. I personally believe that because there are so many people using forums that the content on a forum is less unique than a custom made website with loads of articles.
 

hiphopave.net

Participant
Joined
Jan 5, 2006
Messages
80
This is very well said, even the best SEO can only help so much if your page lacks content
 

10smom

Enthusiast
Joined
May 7, 2007
Messages
100
Great article and info

Was the question ever answered about people searching the web and be able to find a forum based website?

I am new to this and am gettng ready to start a website that will be centered around a discussion forum. I am unclear if there should be a home page and other pages that are not part of forum software just so my forum website can be found. Is a seperate home page outside the discussion board software neccessary?

How was this site set up? Is it just using the vbulllitin software. If so, I like the setup and it will save me a lot of time not having to create extra webpages. I was able to find this site doing a google search looking for info on different discussion board software. Great info. Thanks for creating this site.
 

gogoblender

shiny happy pantless
Joined
Feb 20, 2006
Messages
15,307
Wonderful article, Kathy
and some fantstic, creative ideas for how to get us to "connect" with our own content growth.
I especially like the part about keeping our eyes open for great writers within our own community then seeing how they would feel about writing and "article" for the site.
Putting that kind of a spin on what would have been thought to be a post in the past, but now with the poper forum built for these kinds of publications and even, perhaps, a cool title and graphic would really make this person that we noticed feel good and probably want to contribute even more.
Thank you
good post
:)

gogo
 

Erox

Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 22, 2007
Messages
140
Back then, content was king.
I think it still is. I just think there's a lot of people out there with a "build it and they will come" mentality that just doesn't get that a user will stumble onto a page and make up their mind in seconds whether they're ever coming back.

Lack of content or even dated content will give someone the impression that the site's been abandoned and therefore useless.

Taking a look at the guestbook revealed that the visitors were attempting to communicate with each other. Asking questions about content. Asking if anybody was there. They answered and added to the guestbook until I realized I had to find a message board system for my visitors. Maybe my guests would like it and use it.
What you did was you found a need and you filled it. Which is the basic key ingredient of success.

I had one job where my supervisor saw something he liked on the web, had us duplicate it... and THEN asked if we think anyone would be interested in using it. Which my usual response was the head turned askew like a confused dog. LOL!

It was the total bass-ackwards way of going about it. Why not ask first, then have us build a better mousetrap... instead of making yet another clone of something you can find elsewhere (and usually better)?

Needless to say these projects were mostly flops.

Great article and thanks for the memories of the last century and how we did things.

Was the question ever answered about people searching the web and be able to find a forum based website?
I don't know... sometimes I find a cool forum searching for a particular topic and the thread shows up in google. More often than not though, I find web communities through word of mouth or a friend needs help starting the forum up.

Anyone else?
 
Last edited:
Top