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Why blogging is like a deck of cards

Such is the allure of making money from the web, content isn’t always seen as the undisputed king. For whatever reason, content is often deposed – sometimes quite unceremoniously – as ‘bloggers attempt to monazite their missives, mostly misusing or misunderstanding the “less is more” mantra. So if content is King, who’s the Queen and the Jack?

If you’re a committed ‘blogger, then you’ve probably got a game plan. And within the game plan, you should have your own take on the hierarchy of deck.

I’m not referring to the visual structure, or the mechanical infrastructure, even.

No, I’m referring to weight, or emphasis you’re placing on the common components of your ‘blog.

1. Content is King. The stuff you’re writing about should take pride of place. At no point should the content be impinged, infringed or encroached upon by any of the other components, save the navigation. But even then, the navigation in question is internal linkage to your own content, or to external content.

2. Navigation is Queen. Either positioned in the top left, or running across the top, aligned left or right. It’s the navigation that makes your ‘blog or website work.

Now, I know what you’re thinking! But do as I say and not as I do, because I know my ‘blog doesn’t follow this rule too well. However, that’s all in hand. Due to be taken care of soon enough. Watch this space…

3. Offers are the Jack. Here’s a collection of miscellaneous items, such as special offers, affiliate marketing, promotional materials, downloads, links to internal and external resources.

Think carefully and be mindful of the king and queen, neither of which should be compromised for the sake of an advert or an offer.

If you’re thinking of maybe a download, or some kind of offer, make sure it’s sympathetic or ideally, complimentary to the content. And if this offer is something that’s to be visible throughout the website as a link in a navigation element, then make sure it’s not a dominant player.

But what’s the Joker?

Don’t try and fool people into clicking on something purely to monetize your website or ‘blog. This sleight of hand is strictly the domain of the career “Black Hat” Search Engine Optimizers and probably won’t get you or I anywhere.

We’ve all seen the “pop under” windows that hide themselves under the main window, right? Keep well away from these things. They are a guaranteed turn off which will ensure that the visitor never pays you a repeat visit.

So when it comes to special offers and advertising, hands above the table at all times. Let the visitor decide what they want to do and where they want to go.

Get this hierarchy wrong and you’re dealing yourself a bad hand. The question then is whether to stick or twist?

An example would be the placement of adverts, such as large Google AdSense blocks either above the headline or just below the headline and before the body of content.

Besides being a bad layout choice, it’s also a colossal turn off. You’re asking your readers to think. Given the amount of time the average person gives a website, any website that’s less than average and not obvious to use will see your visitor throw in their hand and leave the table.

Plus, even if they inadvertently click on an advert and earn you a little money, they’re leaving your website or ‘blog before they’ve actually read anything. Hardly a memorable experience!

Similarly, navigation and graphics that are butted right up against adverts aren’t all that helpful, either. And a sure-fire way of breaking the terms & conditions of most of the advertising guidelines used by the likes of Google, Yahoo! et al.

Good web design: what’s the winning hand?

Keep in mind your primary goal, which is the making the experience of the visitor who wants to read your stuff as simple and as straight-forward as possible.

Also, think in terms of goals. First of which is to keep the visitor on your website. So once they’ve read an article, you want them to perform an action, such as comment, subscribe to your feed or download something.

Writing compelling, interesting and unique content isn’t easy, but it’s better than a game of chance.

Play your cards right and the odds are you too could get yourself a healthy tide of repeat traffic being dealt your way…

Up the ante: better business ‘blogging, ‘blog tips, tricks and website ideas

Here’s a collection of previous ‘blogging and website articles, carefully crafted by yours truly. When you find something of use, write me an tell what you think:

Yet another ‘blogging article » So you want to know more about ‘blogging. Or, you’d like to become a better ‘blogger, make friends and gain traffic. Or maybe you want to know how to measure the value of a business ‘blog. Well then, you’ve come to the right place, haven’t you?

SEO: to link is to like is to luv » If you’re like me and you’re a ‘blogger, then there’s stuff you like enough to write about. When you write about this stuff, you link to it, right? So why the anchor text anorexia, eh? ‘Coz if you’re gonna do it, do it right!

19 better ‘blogging ideas » Whether it’s boredom, the frenzy of a manic social life, isolation, knowledge & knowhow, having the ear for celeb’ gossip, or just the sheer will to talk and be talked back to, ‘blogging as an exercise in socializing that can reap many rewards, some of which can be financial.

Whatever your reasons for reaching out, there are some things that can make that one, single act a little more worthwhile, and add a lot of value to your virtual venue.

Better ‘blogging » I keep getting asked about ‘blogging by people and what does it take to be a good ‘blogger. First of all, I try to clarify one thing: being a good ‘blogger is not always equal to being a successful ‘blogger. OK, with that out of the way, I’m going to serialize my thoughts on ‘blogging for anyone, not just beginners.

SEO tips for websites » So there I’m am, jogging past this house, and there’s a van parked outside, all the usual stuff; livery with logo, company strap line, telephone number. But wait a minute, there’s something missing, this guy doesn’t have a website! Question is: does he even need a website? Now there’s a thought.

SEO & SEM: directories are still cool! » Some seem to think link building is SEO, which I don’t think it is. It’s SEM, surely? After all, if you’re looking for links, then you’re looking for traffic, and in my mind at least, that’s an exercise is marketing.

The value of business ‘blogging » Becoming a ‘blogger is akin to a land grab – you’re attempting to seize control of a dialogue about a thing or a person, a way of thinking, a product, a place .. almost anything.

For businesses that like the idea of ‘blogging, there has to be a way of quantifying the value, and until now, that’s been hard to gauge the effect in advance of the act of ‘blogging itself.

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

2 replies on “Why blogging is like a deck of cards”

Hey Wayne;

I don’t mind adverts on a blog, as long as they don’t take over the whole bloody page. Actually I prefer if they fall just under the post and I tend to ignore anything in the sidebars as well just because they fall out of the visual range I’ve locked into…

Some design changes coming up, huh? Can’t wait to see what you have in mind!

PS: Stumbled this post 😉


While I’ve got adverts on my ‘blog, they’re more of an experiment than anything else.

They certainly don’t pay for my time, put it that way!

In fact, much of this ‘blog is an experiment.

Using something like Google Blogger is like learning to surf on a tree trunk.

If you can make it that way, you’re sure to fly once you start doing things properly.

And I fully intend doing things properly.

Within the next month, things are going to be changing around here…

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