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IMO, content is more important than technical ability--I know of someone with several old niche sites who is making a decent living without even needing to update the sites....
Constant fiddling and little programming tricks can get you into trouble. And is often a waste of time that would better spent writing solid content.
I should know, I'm a techie who wasted the last 4 months trying to program my way around the QS issue
A non-techie who isn't partnering with a techie is essentially putting up static pages, no? Building your own dynamic site takes technical know-how. If you know your way around a database and a server-side programming language, there is so much you can do beyond static pages.
Sure, but dynamic sites can open whole new cans of worms, from database glitches that bring the whole site down to problems with search engines. For an editorial site that consists mostly of "evergreen" content, static pages are an excellent choice--and, just as important in the context of this discussion (and this forum), they can be very profitable for the publisher.
Technical knowledge can definitely help you obtain that goal.
My experience has been that technical knowledge can also divert one from the ultimate goal of producing great content. It is easy to get diverted into other areas. It takes discipline to use technical knowledge in the most productive fashion.
In some cases - and if you can afford to - it may be better to contract out some technical matters and concentrate on content instead.
My experience has been that technical knowledge can also divert one from the ultimate goal of producing great content.
I've seen "content guys" become absorbed in the intricacies of content-management systems to the point where their editorial output has languished. There's also a tendency for people to think they know more than they do (which is one reason why we see so many anguished posts on the Google Search News forum by Webmasters who've been hit with duplicate-content penalties, had problems getting pages crawled, etc.).
From an AdSense perspective (or for revenues, period), it's the content and audience that matter, not the process that was used to create and serve the content--unless, of course, your site is built around an online application (a la "user review" megasites or price-comparison engines).
Ben Franklin was an expert printer but could also write like a demon. I suspect he was a good ad salesman too.
We use what in ham radio lingo would be called a "homebrew" CMS that produces flat HTML pages more or less dynamically. It was dreamed up by an English major and implemented by a high-level programmer. As ETF says, it doesn't matter how you get there -- it's targeted, literate, appealing content that attracts the right sets of eyeballs, which in turn can (the gods willing) produce the ad revenue.
Actually, a lot of publishing is "technical" even when it's not done on the Web. Audience targeting, content creation, graphic design, knowledgeable editing, etc., are just as important and -- in their own way -- as "technical" as which version of PHP you're using.
Good point. I think a lot of people (both "content types" and "techies") fail to understand that publishing encompasses more than content and technology: The challenging part is figuring out how to acquire and "monetize" the right audience.
I'm not very good at a lot of those things, so I'm trying to get better.
You do have the ability to improve your skills in all those areas. If you want to make more money, it is worth your time to learn something new.
There are a lot of posts around this place complaining that you shouldn't have to do all this technical stuff to rank well in google. You should have to get links to rank if you have good content. Then their is the crew that thinks that you should have to have validating XHTML to rank well.
Could, should, would doesn't matter. What matters is that with very little effort, you can start learning some technical stuff. With very little effort, you can learn to be a better writer.
Don't despair because you aren't a "techie" Do what you are good at and then learn some new skills to add to that.
There are a lot of posts around this place complaining that you shouldn't have to do all this technical stuff to rank well in google.
Actually, you don't have to. (What's "technical" about the Google Webmaster guidelines?)
Actually, you don't have to.
You're right. But to some people, they want to just write the stuff, and have it instantly rank well because it is good content. If it is really good content, and can be found by at least some people, it will probably eventually rank, but taking some technical aspects into consideration will greatly speed up that process.
You have to admit that being willing to at least address a technical issue (canonical) mad a big difference for your income about a year ago. For some people, doing anything more than "Save as HTML" in Word is "too technical".
Worrying about internal site navigation - too technical.
Dealing with the page title, other than putting it in big letters at the top of your document - too technical.
[edited by: BigDave at 7:14 pm (utc) on Nov. 29, 2006]