The first task new site owners want to spend their time and money on is a great theme. Discover why making content a priority instead helps you take the first step toward getting the abstract idea of site ownership out of the ethers, and begins the process of a manifesting your site into reality on a firm foundation.
Content Has a Shape
Most new sites have at least four core pages. These include:
- The home page, which can be the blog or a static page.
- The About or Bio page
- Product or Service page, detailing what is offered
Get the Furniture then the House
Write your core content using one sheet of paper per site page. How big is the shape of that content on each sheet of paper?
Think of it as your furniture and your theme as the house. Do you have little furniture? Then you’ll want a theme with a small content area. Do you have lots of big furniture? Then you’ll want a wide content area and a way to break up that content using theme elements.
Do You Have Enough Content?
If I only had the four core content pages listed above on BlogAid, I’m not sure anyone would hire me. My blog posts are good, but not enough to establish me as an expert in my field.
How can you expand your core content to demonstrate that you know what you’re doing and endear the trust of your readers? Darren Rowse has a wonderful new book titled Problogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging (read my review). In it, he also covers the core, or as he calls it, the pillar content of your site. After reading that one chapter you’ll have expanded your content well beyond four pages with ease.
What Goes Where?
It’s very easy to spot a new site owner. All of their content is one visually boring paragraph after another, or it’s all center aligned on the page. Either nothing stands out or everything screams at you.
Developing your content will help you begin to develop a marketing mindset to properly format your content. You’ll want to learn why certain pieces of content are placed in specific areas of your site. You’ll also want to learn how to best use the static areas of your site like your header, sidebar and footer to suit your business purposes. Learning how to format and configure all of that content takes training.
Choose a Theme by Frame not Façade
When new site owners look at themes, they are mostly judging them by their façade. That’s the easiest part of the theme for a designer to change. What you want to learn to do is see a theme based on its framework.
Here’s an example. Categories are one of the most powerful elements in WordPress. Magazine style themes that exploit Categories are gorgeous. And, many new site owners choose them based on looks alone, and are then overwhelmed by not knowing how to use all of the theme’s functions and options to take full advantage of what it offers. How they use their basic content does not fill out the theme as intended and it ends up looking nothing like the dress in the window.
What brings traffic to your site has little to do with your theme. It has everything to do with your content. Once visitors land on your site, your theme must enhance and not compete with what brought folks there, which was the promise of interesting content.
I’m not saying that the theme doesn’t count. It most certainly does. What I’m saying is that the thing that initially brings folks to your site and then keeps them coming back for more is great content. The theme can significantly enhance the joyful experience of your readers.
Is that Working for You?
If you don’t have a site yet, have you become dazzled then dazed from previewing hundreds of themes?
If you already have a site, how’s it doing? Have you transitioned into thinking about content more than design now?
If you’ve had a site for a while, are you ready for a makeover? Will you be making the design simpler next time? The majority of my clients are on their second site, and all of them request a simpler theme so the focus can be on the content.