“Content is king” is one of the first things we learn when we start blogging.

But what does it mean?

Does it mean our content needs to be consistently stellar? Or can some of it be “less than”?

Today’s Lesson

When I started blogging I assumed great content meant I had to produce lengthy posts filled with useful or educational information.

Not being a wordy person, I tried, struggled and gave up trying to do that.

Instead, I decided to publish short “lessons” in which I share what I’ve learned.

Is it good content?

Some will say “no”, but that’s not the purpose of this blog. What’s good and useful on this blog is found in the comments. In the words YOU share.

When I visit other blogs, I rate “good content” as meaning I leave a blog thinking about what was shared. Or maybe I have an “ah ha” moment.

I like posts in which you share what you’ve learned in your life travels, where you showcase your creative writing skills or you engage your readers in the comment section.

I like articles that teach me, as well as posts which only contain photographs.

To me, content is good when you, as a blogger, show me a little more about who you are. Or content where I can see life through your eyes.

King size content can be good, but I feel there are also times when a few sentences is just enough.

What say you?

Today’s Assignment

How do you define good content?

What type of content do you find on other blogs that keeps you going back for more?

Care to share?

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Barbara Swafford, Stan Carter Jr.. Stan Carter Jr. said: The More The Better? http://bit.ly/dErp9G […]

  2. Dear Barbara:

    Good content is something which the readers can relate to and also share their inputs. Some posts have almost everything that it becomes a tad difficult to comment. I have returned without commenting on some posts that I read as it is quite self contained with nothing more to add. That said and done, personal anecdotes, experience, observations and insights from one’s life interest me more than posts which talk of technical stuff like computers, social networks and the like.

    I think we like to read stuff that has the human touch and is genuinely written from the heart. Posts written for the sake of filling space usually does not win much appeal from readers.

    Joy always,
    Susan

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Susan,

      That’s a good point. When a post is written so thoroughly there’s nothing left to add, it’s tough to comment except for maybe “great post”.

      I agree. Posts which have a human touch are joyful reads.

  3. John CanaleNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    One thing that always fascinated me about the emphasis on content in blogging came from a blogging tips website. It said that when visitors come back to your website (and become regular visitors) it’s not because they like your posts or blog so much, but because they’ve felt like they made a connection with the blogger. That connection is precious but cannot be manufactured. I wish more bloggers knew that all they could do is just be themselves and let the chips fall where they may. Another interesting post! Take care…

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you John,

      That’s so true. Our blogs are an extension of who we are, and if we willingly show that to our readers, chances are they will frequent our sites.

      I like your point how that is something that cannot be manufactured. All the more reason for us to speak from our hearts.

  4. Mandy AllenNo Gravatar says:

    Ah, now I personally hate lengthy posts, I don’t read them unless the subject is something I desperately need to know about – and there are few of those really. And I do enjoy the comments left by others too, I totally agree with John, above.

    Enjoy the journey.

    Mandy

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mandy,

      I know what you’re saying. Long posts have their place, especially if it’s a topic that requires extensive explanation.

      And yes, the comments left by others can be beneficial, as well.

  5. RichardNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I like to write a couple of different types of posts. A good tutorial or pillar article, I always have fun writing because I feel like I’m teaching something to others. Generally, I find those types of articles to be good content. Of course they tend to run longer than the average blog post.

    The other type of post I think is more philosophical. Either a post that discusses an idea, or lesson. These are more fun to write than the pillar article, but tend to be shorter blog articles.

    I started a series on my blog a couple of weeks back that is one of my favorites because it relates lessons that I would want to teach my son to blogging tips. I enjoy it because I feel a strong emotional connection to the concept of teaching my son to be a good person.

    I suppose good content falls into a couple of categories:
    1) Content that teaches others something
    2) Content that creates an emotional connection with others.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Richard,

      Good point. Pillar posts are important for us to have. They’re the ones that can continually drive traffic to our sites (and hopefully lead to return visits).

      I like the idea behind your series; teaching your son how to be a good person. Your posts will not only be beneficial to him, but will be a great learning tool for your readers, as well. Great idea!

  6. Hi Barbara,

    I agree with John and Mandy.

    I define good content as writing that comes from the heart. Even the most interesting topics are not fun to read about if the author does not “feel it.” I am more inclined to read about mundane subjects if the author is passionate.

    Making a connection with the author is definitely what keeps me coming back to blogs.

    Blessings…

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lorie,

      That’s true, isn’t it? If a writer/blogger is passionate about that which is being shared, their posts reflect it and makes for reading it all the more joyful.

  7. To me, good content is original thoughts. You know the “content farms” that Google has been fighting? That’s the exact opposite of good content. Unoriginal, mindless, essentially copying what has already been said.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      I know I’ve seen a few of those “content farms” and I find no joy whatsoever reading the content. Originality is what will make a blog stand out.

  8. carynNo Gravatar says:

    Definitely agree with John! And your blog, Barbara, is a perfect example of connecting with your readers. Responding to comments completes the “loop” and, at least to me, is a large part of making a blog welcoming.
    Nothing makes me click away from a new blog faster than a long post, particularly if it is filled with I, me, my, mine, etc. Those feel more like diary entries to me. I will read longer poster from authors I enjoy. I like to think of my blog as a “pop in”, something quick and fun to just pop in and read, and those kind of blogs tend to be my favorites, too. Maybe I just have attention issues?

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Caryn,

      You’ve raised a good point. When our blogging friends post longer articles we may be more apt to read them solely based on the fact they’re “our friend”. Whereas if it’s a random post we land on and know nothing about the author, we might click off sooner.

      As for short attention spans, I find that to be pretty typical online. It seems like people are looking for information and want it NOW.

  9. I appreciate blogs in which the author’s soul shines through – long, short, pithy, heartfelt… It doesn’t matter as long as the essence of that person is in those words. All the other facts are a far second.

    Same with comments.

    Having said that, I’m striving to shorten mine.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Amy,

      It’s beautiful when a bloggers’ soul shines through, isn’t it? Like you said, it doesn’t even matter what they’re sharing.

    • HI Amy, i have to completely agree with every word of your comment here!! You spoke the words from my heart :)

      Barbara, It doesnt matter….long or short….the feeling that comes forth while reading the content…the heart strings it touches..thats what keeps me going back :)

      @Amy, shortening content is hard work for me, since i am already branded “chatter box” by most of my friends 😉

      Much love to both you ladies,
      Z~

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Zeenat,

        That’s true, isn’t it. When a blog author’s words pull at our heart strings, we’re more apt to return for more.

  10. Alien GhostNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    My guess is that good content is different for everyone, and each one in different situations. If I’m searching for advice or information in something I like a detailed post; but if I’m just going from one blog to another to read and get entertained, then short, varied, personal, challenging and/or irreverent posts are better.

    I think it is said this and that because something must be said, but in reality is more about a “click” between the blogger and his/her readers, independent of what and how. What works for one might not work for the next, so as many people have said in their comments before me, the most important element seems to be honesty in the writings.

    Raul

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Raul,

      Yes. When we “click” with the blog author, we’re more apt to become a regular reader. Having said that, I’m sure there many instances where a reader doesn’t “get” what a blog author is saying and never returns. But that’s okay, too. We’re not going to hit it off with everyone (just like in real life).

  11. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara
    Good content can be anything from a short interesting post to a long “how to” technical post.

    If I can be informed and amused at the same time, so much the better.

    I guess good content can be all things to all men.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Keith,

      I think you hit the nail on the head. If we can learn to inform AND amuse our readers, then we’ve found “the secret” to having a popular blog. That’s not a simple thing to do, but is certainly something worth striving for.

  12. I find my preferences have evolved over the years as indeed has the content of what I read.

    I used to read a lot of blogs purely for entertainment, perhaps on my favourite soccer team for instance, my tolerance for long posts was much higher.

    These days most of my blog reading is related to my job so I’m looking to be informed rather than than entertained. I tend to decide very quickly whethervthe post is interesting and educational based on whether the writer is able to grasp my basic problem/knowledge gap within the first few sentences.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mark,

      That’s a good point. Our reading preferences do change over time. I was the opposite of you. When I first started blogging, I was looking for educational/informative articles hoping to learn more about blogging, but now I like to be entertained while still learning about other things in the process.

  13. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! Wow, great comments and I agree with all of them. Hard to add much at this point without copying! To me, I want to feel some connection to the writer but I do not want to know about their marital problems or daily drivel – there is a line there. Inform me, make me think, show me creativity, make me laugh/smile, share lessons learned/experiences that are relevant to others – that kind of writing, to me, is good content and I try to do all of the above on my own blog. I can only hope that I’m pulling it off, haha!
    hugs
    suzen

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Suzen,

      Those are all good points: “Inform me, make me think, show me creativity, make me laugh/smile, share lessons learned/experiences that are relevant to others” I’d say anyone who accomplishes that will see success with their blogs. Just as you do.

      ((Hugs)) to you, too.

  14. Good content makes you smile inside, think inside, and act outside.

    Love the question!

  15. AnnaNo Gravatar says:

    I think that content is really valuable when it has gone through your heart and you have ‘slept’ with it. I mean only rewriting other people’s thoughts is not a good idea. You have to read, consider and present your interpretation of the situation.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Anna,

      Exactly. Even though we (generally speaking) might experience the same things, we will verbalize them differently, and it’s in that authentic verbalization our personality shines through.

  16. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb – I agree. My favourite content is stuff that makes me think. Also, my favourite stuff to write are the articles that make me think – usually after I’ve read something, or spoken to someone with a problem.

    But now I can’t write anything, cos I am temporarily blogless – I’m “blogging without a blog”. And for the first time in months, I have so much I want to say.

    • You’re “blogging without a blog.” :) LOL, Cath. I feel bad for those darn blogging issues you’ve been having. But I know you’ll be back stronger than ever.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Cath,

      It’s good to see you here, even though you’re currently blogging without a blog. You’re missed. :(

      Like you, I enjoy those thought provoking posts. Especially when they help to expand my knowledge base or bring up a topic I’ve never thought of before.

  17. Hi Barbara.
    Good content? I like anything that makes me laugh or teaches me something. Of course with the online world you have to take into account that not all writers are experts about what they are writing about and use your good judgment. The highest component, for me personally, is the entertainment factor and seeing how other bloggers chat among themselves in the comment sections. It’s the “feeling” behind the content… if I may sprinkle a little pixie dust here :)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      Oh yeah! Posts which make us laugh are great! And, as we know, writing humor is difficult, so when someone gets it right, we can’t help but go back for more.

      Yes. Seeing blogging communicate amongst themselves is good to see. It not only teaches us more about the blog author, but the bloggers who are commenting, as well.

  18. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. content is king, but is unique to the recipient – we all react in different ways .. and depends which sort of content we’re looking for.

    I love SuZen’s take on blogging .. “To me, I want to feel some connection to the writer but I do not want to know about their marital problems or daily drivel – there is a line there. Inform me, make me think, show me creativity, make me laugh/smile, share lessons learned/experiences that are relevant to others …..”

    I enjoy a variety of topics and love the learning process – some posts are way too long .. and I’d probably include mine there too – but I hope mine are interestingly informational and not heavy .. as Zeenat and Amy mention I shall endeavour to write shorter ones!

    To me there are three types …

    Love yours though – because the most important thing .. is that relationship and friendship that we can have with bloggers we read, and comment on.

    Then I enjoy reading a few bloggers who have expertise within their industry, or blogs (non-personal) similarly aligned – where I don’t comment. (Or unique blogs on subjects that I enjoy that I subscribe to .. eg food, botanical .. but again don’t comment on)

    Thirdly the few ‘professional’ blogs where I’m learning something and they don’t get many comments .. so I can build some relationship with them – whereby I get a learning feedback … that may lead who knows where, but could be of huge value in due course.

    Interesting thought process this .. thanks Hilary

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Hilary,

      You’re right. Good content can mean different things to different people. Like you mentioned, you read blogs on topics you enjoy, but may not comment. But yet you find value.

      Professional blogs are a great place to comment if we want to learn more on a particular topic. Who better to learn from than someone who knows the ropes and is often happy to share their knowledge?

      ((hugs)) to you and your mum. :)

  19. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Great post and idea sharing once again – I can count on you!

    I have started keeping a list of long blog posts that I try to get back to during the week, because I just do not have time in my calendar to read so many posts right now. I have to admit I just don’t get back to all of them.

    But I like to feel some kind of communication connection on blog sites I read….and I read all the comments section too, because that is the energizing part of my blog for me…the conversation

    Thank you for sharing this

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Patricia,

      I hear you. There are so many great blogs out there, but if time isn’t on our side, it’s difficult to make the rounds. I know for me this is a busy time of the year for the business, and blogging gets the time that’s left, so I miss a lot of updates. :(

  20. Hello there Barbara! Your post exactly matches my idea of a good content. I’ve always wanted to have a connection with the post, as if it’s my life it’s talking about. In addition to that, I am able to memorize some interesting lines of a good content and I verbally share them with my friends. I also get back to bloggers who are very candid on what they are blogging about and who are providing education on their readers. Lengthy posts are no no to me.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Charlene,

      You’re comment ended up in my spam folder, so please excuse the delayed response.

      We do that, don’t we? When we read an interesting fact on a blog, we’re apt to repeat it to our real life friends which is all the more reason to share valuable information.

  21. LeoNo Gravatar says:

    What is lengthy for one reader might not be for another. It will depend on how much “impact” it has to the reader.

    Take this post for example. I sometimes struggle with writing blog posts, because 1. English is not my first language; 2. I like talking about “the technical side” of designing/developing/promoting a website – and need to write non-technically for my blog readers – so I struggle.

    Your “short content” is king really appeal to me because I can identify with what you’re saying. Someone who is used to write lengthy post will find 400-500 words short, and may not agree with you.

    Looking at Seth Godin’s blog – you know that content length might not be “all-that”.

    It’s good to see the “content is king” debate without the usual SEO “links are king” argument :)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Leo,

      That’s a good point. Like for you, converting to a non-techie language can increase the length of your posts – not that you want to, but because you want your readers to have all of the details.

      True. Seth is known for his short posts and look at him.

      *smiles* You’re right. No one even discussed SEO and links. Sweet!

  22. Hi Barbara! I agree good content can come in just a few lines if contains something that inspires, amuses or catches my fancy. Something that surprises and delights is good too.

    I like Vered’s idea — original thoughts!

    And for me, a short post now and then to read is always appreciated to break up longer ones. I tend not to return to blogs who have habitually long posts with huge blocks of text. I’m only human — my mind wanders.

    xo

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jannie,

      I agree. Sometimes just a few lines can be just what we need to gain knowledge or inspiration. As do photos, like you post. I like how when I visit your blog, it’s always a pleasant surprise. :)

  23. Susan N.No Gravatar says:

    Shorter is better for me! The best blogs I’ve read ARE shorter and introduce thought-provoking topics that leave me wanting to read the comments. I might even be moved to comment myself! Unfortunately, it takes more time to present a strong, heartfelt idea with fewer words.

    Shorter comments with strong points get my attention, also. Of course, that doesn’t mean I always follow that path 😉

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Susan,

      That’s true, isn’t it? Sometimes a short comment can hold as much value as a well written, wordy post.

      And like you said, if a post is shorter, we may be more apt to take the time to comment.

  24. DUI penaltyNo Gravatar says:

    For me, a good blog content doesn’t necessarily mean more paragraphs or many injected information, I think It’d be better if the content is lesser than that but holds congested facts in fewer sentences. I have nothing against those blogs with lengthy content, but lets face it, the more length it has the lesser interest it sometimes get from other readers. Let’s consider that there are people who are always on the run. I also think that with fewer words we can get straight with what we want say or express. Aside from these, I also seek informational blog contents that has something to do with gadgets, blogging tips, photography and writing.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi DUI,

      Yes. With people being so busy, they may not have time to read a lengthy post. If we can get to the point quickly, they’re more apt to stick around as well as come back for more.

      That said, I believe lengthy posts have their place, too.

  25. Who is it that said content is king and something else is queen?

    I agree with Davina here in that I like to learn and laugh. I also agree with your point about connecting with the writer. Once I feel like I know a blog writer I like to check up on them and see what they are up to.

    Hope you are well.

    Julie

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Julie,

      I remember that too, but don’t recall what is “queen”.

      Like you, I also enjoy checking in on other bloggers. That’s one thing I like about Facebook, too. A short post on our “wall” is a great way to let others know what we’re up to.

      All’s well with me and I hope the same holds true for you. :)

  26. KeithNo Gravatar says:

    It depends what you want out of the content you produce. You can write a fantastic short worded article, but it is going to be much harder for the search engines to pick it up. Due to the lack of keywords in it.
    I did a little experiment on this with a few of my blogs, I wrote 300 word articles on one blog. 500 word articles on another and 600 words on another. The longer articles as expected got more traffic, so in my opinion, if you are looking for more traffic then it is definitely worth spending that little bit extra writing longer blog posts.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Keith,

      Thank you for sharing the results of your experiment. I know the search engines need enough words to index posts properly, however I wasn’t aware of how many was best. Like you said, it might pay off to write longer posts if search engine traffic is something we’re interested in.

  27. @keith

    It’s not that much difference. I would say it doesn’t matter if you can’t get any good links.

    Regarding the post.

    Yeap, I also think that longer posts (300+ words) are “good content”. Well of course it depends on info inside the article, but I just think that in 150-200 words is pretty hard to give some good value.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Aleks,

      I hear you. It’s tough to write a post under 200 words and still provide value.

  28. “Good” content is information I find valuable. It can be informative, funny, inspiring, or thought-provoking.

    I find that if the title of a blog post doesn’t grab me, I tend not to even click on the post — unless it is written by someone whose blog I absolutely adore.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      I know what you’re saying. A good title can make or break a post. And hopefully if we do capture our readers attention with a title, we won’t disappointment them with the content.

  29. Kevin HaasNo Gravatar says:

    I feel it completely depends on the selection and manipulation of title or say the header which grabs the readers attention and yeah the content is something that makes the reader stick to the blog . While conclusion is something that makes readers come over n over again to check out the blog as they know that the article will be concluded.. Have you ever read an article for long waiting for the conclusion n at the end u realize there isn’t one ??? feels so frustrated right !!!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kevin,

      That’s frustrating isn’t it? To expect a conclusion to an article, or expect it to provide a solution to a problem, but it doesn’t.

  30. Good content means different things to different people.

    In my case I generally check blogs out for certain information I am looking for and when I find that information I will consider that to be good content.

    In other cases, such as my daily read blogs, I don’t always consider factual information as good content, I may instead ask myself if the article was simply a good or amusing read and if it is then it’s good content.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      You’re right. Good content is different to different readers. If someone isn’t interested in what we write, it doesn’t matter how good an article is. That’s not to say we’re wasting our time, but it is important to know who our target audience is.

  31. Susan N.No Gravatar says:

    I agree with a lot of what’s being said. In addition, anything that pushes my opinion button and makes me consider how I feel about a topic keeps me interested. I agree with Kevin about the title or header. After all, that’s what draws us in. I always hope the content lives up to my taking the time to dig further.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Susan,

      I hear you. When we read something that makes us think or like you said, “pushes our opinion button”, then it can be construed as good content. Those types of posts can not only get our thought process going, but can expand our knowledge base or increase our empathy level, as well.

  32. Hi Barbara,

    For me it’s quite dependent on context. For instance I read a newspaper article expecting different things from a blog post, and judge the content on that. Peculiar to blog a format, I think it’s hard to go wrong with a personal voice and an invitation to readers to comment. It’s best to be friendly and be yourself.

    Thanks!

    Pete @ Pure FX

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Pete,

      I agree. The context does make a difference. In a newspaper the information is more cut and dry, whereas like you mentioned, in a blog post the author has a chance to share via their own “voice”.

  33. JoelNo Gravatar says:

    Informative content is king. Atleast with latest search engine algorithm, just pouring content would never help or help least. Content is all about authority, trust and engagement with visitors. Linkable content builds links itself, drives tons of attentions and year long traffic. That’s how successful blogger are known.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joel,

      I know what you’re saying. When we find content we like, we’re more apt to link to it and share it with others. And… the longer we blog, the more authority we (can) acquire.

  34. Eliza HarveyNo Gravatar says:

    Everyone agrees that content is king, but what exactly constitutes good content? content isn’t something that can be pumped out of an SEO scheme, it’s the real deal, which visitors will spot immediately when they first visit the website. It’s the sort of thing that will inevitably cause the site to be seen as an authority (and attract unsolicited inbound links), because that’s what it is.