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The Decreasing Real Estate of Content



8:23 pm on Nov 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I usually spend a good deal of time researching before posting a question here. Sometimes hours or days.

In these searches, I'm finding an alarming trend. It's one thing to monetize a site, we all have bills to pay. But lately I'm finding that actual content is so crowded out it's a fraction of a site's real estate. Just today I was on a site, in frames, surrounded by affiliate ads, adSense, buy now's, and all sorts of other gizmos, with the actual content reduced to a meager 4" X 6" space scrolling in a frameset.

Is anyone else bothered by this? Do you think a site's value to the site owner is improved or degraded by an overuse of commercialism?

Off to my tiny corner of the 'net . . . .


2:55 pm on Nov 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


Don't worry about it - good content wins out. Years ago I built a site that was nothing more than a collection of short stories and poems by myself and some friends - we really just liked to write, and were all dumb enough to think other people would be interested in reading our little tales.

All told, there's only about 120 (or so, I forget) short stories and poems on the site. Clean, easy layout and easy to follow nav, but nothing too spectacular to look at. No graphics or blinky things to look at. Other "projects" forced me to set it aside (no time to work on the hobby, alas). I haven't updated the site in 3 years.

To this day I get people "submitting" stories at least once or twice a week, and it's in the top 10 in G (out of 90 million or so results) for a key phrase that a lot of MFA sites would kill for. The two blocks of google ads/page more than cover the hosting costs.

Good content, and the attention to detail that comes from a labor of love will always have an impact, and a place on the web.


4:36 pm on Nov 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Therefore the only thing Google can do is hate MFA site too.

Sorry, I was calling anything with adsense a MFA. I'm usually seeing a website with adsense in position 1,2,3 or 4 of the SERPs. It's a source of revenue that G does not ignore, but, of course, they are probably trying to reduce results that show low content real estate.


5:46 pm on Nov 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

On completion, I showed the website to a few friends and family - I received the same reaction from most of them "this is nice, but maybe you could have added some flash - eye catching images. Movement is missing".

This is a bit off-topic . . . . but a common plight . . . .
You must immediately recognize two things about these comments:

First, anyone who says "it needs movement" or it "just sits there, it looks dead" is speaking from an amateur viewpoint. Like you say they are just reacting to your request for a review based on presentation because they have no knowledge of the topic, and really aren't aware of all the things we are that make a web page work.

Second, you have to ask - are these people interested in your topic? Find someone who is looking for the resources offered by your site. They will have a different view; how easy it is to find guitar tabs, etc. This is your real market anyway.


6:43 am on Nov 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Isn't the site we are looking at right now, webmasterworld.com, proof that interesting and original content is way more important than fancy images and animations?

Concerning ad-cluttered pages: i usually move on directly when I see such a website by closing the page. However, many users will navigate away from poor pages by clicking a well blended ad and that is exactly what the creators of such sites want. Creating low quality content pages can actually pay of if users navigate away by clicking an ad.


6:54 am on Nov 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

People who worry about how impressive your site looks are not interested in your content.

People who are actually going to read your content do into care how good it looks (although they do care about how easy it is to read and how easy it is to navigate).

I have seen a website killed, at least partly, by spending far too much on looks and loosing focus on the the content (this was a dotcom boom site I worked for, with millions of pounds in funding).


12:32 pm on Nov 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Good content, and the attention to detail that comes from a labor of love will always have an impact, and a place on the web.

Thanks I needed to hear that!


4:18 pm on Nov 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

"Content is King" and "It's the content stupid."

Both are company slogans used around here almost daily for the last 10 years.

I realize people have to eat and people have dreams. New and sometimes better entrepreneurs appear daily. The Internet is a strong lure for get rich quick schemes. yada-yada-yada

But the crowded Internet that has resulted from suppliers signing up affiliate site after site in hopes of getting their sales up is the main problem. If they get affiliates spread thin enough that no one affiliate ever reaches minimum payment their revenue is up even more. Free salespersons. who would have every thunk up that one? One large affiliate recruiter that sells software comes to mind but there are many others across the entire product spectrum. The hotter the content nitch, the more affiliates you find.

There needs to be higher standards for affiliate advertising sites. Right now all you need is a web site and they will sign you up.

Raise the bar on the quality of content required to become an affiliate and watch it thin out in a hurry.

2 more cents worth,


7:34 pm on Nov 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think people should take a cue from companies that were publishing before there was the web. They knew how to balance advertising and content, content almost always came first and they also had the appropriate amount of graphic design added in for a certain look.
Many publishers that have have started during the web have zero idea how to publish a magazine and obviously don't care much - spending half their time moving ads around on their pages hoping to trick people into clicking.
In the paper days, 90 of the publishers actually wanted to publish content and it always came first.


11:37 am on Nov 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I went looking for some more information on a news story that broke while I was way last week.

The #1 result in Google was a news site, and the snippet looked promising.

When I reached the site, the page was 90% advertising, 9% internal links, and the 12 words in the snippet was a copy of the the entire text of the story. Every page of the site was like that.

Utter junk.


2:38 pm on Nov 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I see 2 problems discussed here:
a/ putting too many adds are content - that is not that bad IMO, because there still is sth you are visiting the site for. In fact that is the way we all pay for content.
Of course, I want come back to a site with 90% ads but it is not evil.

b/ you see these web 2.0 site with "be the first to rate this product / wirte a review" everywhere - that is EVIL!

However, I am sure content has the future and its price will increase once it turns out that there are just user reviews around and there is no good content left.

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