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  1. #1
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    Content Isn't King
    I thought I would share this article about how content isn't king:

    http://www.v7n.com/content-isnt-king.php

    The article is from 2003, but it makes a good point that still rings true today:

    A content site with 1,000,000 uniques, and over four million pageviews per month displaying Google Adsense achieves a CTR of 2.5% with an average click at $0.20. Twenty-five thousand click though's and the grand prize is a paltry $5,000.

    By contrast, an ecommerce site with the same 1,000,000 uniques per month, selling hosting at $100 per year with a conversion ratio of 4% just grossed $ 4,000,000.

    Do the math. Content isn't King. It never was King. It never will be King. Welcome to the real world.
    [URL=http://www.investeverymonth.com]InvestEveryMonth.com[/URL] - Build Wealth

  2. #2
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    That's kind of a weak argument.

    First, you just used one example. Anybody can make up examples galore showing anything they want to conclude.

    Then you're comparing an affiliate/publisher adsense type site to a merchant site. And you're using hosting with a payout of $100 a pop.

    And the hosting site has content as well, they're not blank pages.

  3. #3
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    Go ahead and believe that "Content isn't king," if you want.

    My view is that publishers can succeed only by adding value that serves consumers; and the value is almost always added by providing "content."
    ___

    As Trust notes, the comparison you've quoted is absurd, because it compares "gross revenue" from two fundamentally different businesses (not apples and oranges, nor even like comparing apples to omelets -- maybe it's like comparing apples with phone companies). It makes absurd assumptions and ignores not only all costs, but also the time and skill required to run the business.

    Somehow, you attract 1,000,000 visitors to a web site that apparently sells web-hosting services, and you persuade 4% of them to buy your services for $100 per year.

    What did it cost to attract that traffic? I've dabbled with web sites that promoted web hosting; it's very, very difficult to get that traffic, and could easily cost $1 per visitor (or much more). In fact, it might cost $5 to $10 per visitor to bring in 1 million visitors from "web hosting" search keywords or from relevant web sites. (Oh, wait, you're going to get all that traffic from SEO and free links, right? Are you drunk? You must be, to believe that.)

    And how about that 4% conversion rate? Are you drunk? You must be, to believe you could convert 4% of your 1 million visitors to spend $10 per month on web hosting.

    And now you've got to provide technical support, billing, and of course hosting services for those 40,000 clients. If you spend too little on these services, you'll lose the customers well before a year.

    Guess what -- your expenses (marketing costs to acquire a million visitors plus expenses to provide services to your customers) are quite likely to exceed your income for the web hosting business.
    Last edited by markwelch; July 10th, 2009 at 02:33 PM.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador superCool's Avatar
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    Elvis is king

  5. #5
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Traffic is King; and
    Revenue the Queen; and
    Content is the highway for the Traffic to get to your site!
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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    2003? Seriously?

    The business dymanics of the Web have shifted incredibly over the past 6 months, let alone the last 6 years.

  7. #7
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    The article struck a chord for me because I'm ready to have shoppers on my sites instead of a bunch of people searching for information.

    Yes, content is still needed no matter what type of sites we have, but I'm ready to create more shopping sites instead of creating more content sites that rely on people clicking on ads.

    I would rather own Amazon.com instead of the New York Times online version.
    [URL=http://www.investeverymonth.com]InvestEveryMonth.com[/URL] - Build Wealth

  8. #8
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Who is going to be the one to break the bad news that content doesn't work to Wikipedia, YouTube, FaceBook, and even ABestWeb? All of those sites rely on content.

    It's easier to get 1 million visitors to a "content" site than it is to get 1,000 visitors to an ecommerce or affiliate site. If the same conversions apply as above, that 1,000 visitor ecommerce will only early $4000, which is less than the 1 million visitor content site.
    Michael Coley
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  9. #9
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    In fairness, Michael, the first three "content" sites you mention are not profit-makers. But I absolutely agree that "It's easier to get 1 million visitors to a "content" site than it is to get 1,000 visitors to an ecommerce or affiliate site."

  10. #10
    Newbie IAmMe's Avatar
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    "Content is king" was developed to keep new affiliate marketers too busy writing content instead of properly promoting their websites. This waste of time leads most affiliate marketers to give up (because they earn nothing) and allows the veteran marketers to keep earing the money..

    Content takes years to develop.. There are quicker, easier, ways to earning income on the internet..

  11. #11
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmMe
    "Content is king" was developed to keep new affiliate marketers too busy writing content instead of properly promoting their websites. This waste of time leads most affiliate marketers to give up (because they earn nothing) and allows the veteran marketers to keep earing the money..
    Are you saying that veteran marketers don't create original content?
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    OMG -- here we go again. Someone search ABW for "content" and "content is king." I don't have the time or interest, but I'll bet we've had this same discussion/argument about a thousand times in the last few years, haven't we?

    Some say "Content Is King." Some say "Sales Are/Is (?) King." Some say you can't get one without the other.

    About the most sensible thing I recall reading in the many past battles on this is the idea that SALES content is "King," assuming you're talking about an affiliate marketing website. "Library" type content may be wonderful for Wikipedia, EzineArticles.com, etc. But we supposedly are trying to motivate people with pre-sell content that will turn the browsers and information seekers into customers.

    Here we go again ...
    Generate more fake news.

  13. #13
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    Eh, content is in the eye of the beholder. It is a subjective term that is redefined by every surfer. What is content?
    Following everyone else is a GREAT way to become average.

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager
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    What is content?

    Something more than a product name and price.


    What is good content?

    Anything that so clearly adds value that the user will pick your site from the millions of others out there.
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
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  15. #15
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haiko de Poel, Jr.
    Traffic is King; and
    Revenue the Queen; and
    Content is the highway for the Traffic to get to your site!
    What he said.

    Quote Originally Posted by elbowcreek
    Eh, content is in the eye of the beholder. It is a subjective term that is redefined by every surfer. What is content?
    Exactly. Content is anything on your site. Images, text, etc. A sales site needs content to sell!

    Quote Originally Posted by OICUAM2
    I'm ready to create more shopping sites instead of creating more content sites that rely on people clicking on ads.
    Amazon.com (since you used that as an example) is loaded to the gills with content. Reviews, images, product descriptions, reviews (yes I said it twice), likes to preview the contents of the book, more reviews, free downloads to try out some of their products.

    Nope you are right, you don't need any content at all to make sales. :rollseyes:
    Deborah Carney
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  16. #16
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    Once again... I know all sites need content.

    I just never click on ads when I read the New York Times, Facebook, YouTube, financial blogs, this site (sorry Haiko). I know some people do once in a great while, but most do not.

    I promote my content sites and build links, but waiting for a few good organic search rankings is like waiting for paint to dry. Then, when I get a few top rankings, the traffic comes in, goes to numurous pages and then leaves. A few people sign up and start some conversations, but they still are not adding a lot of revenue to my pocket.

    Hopefully my content sites will continue to grow and will start making more revenue, but I am starting to focus on sales sites. This is a big turn for me.
    [URL=http://www.investeverymonth.com]InvestEveryMonth.com[/URL] - Build Wealth

  17. #17
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haiko de Poel, Jr.
    Traffic is King; and
    Revenue the Queen; and
    Content is the highway for the Traffic to get to your site!
    And Google is the traffic light

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by OICUAM2
    Once again... I know all sites need content.

    I just never click on ads when I read the New York Times, Facebook, YouTube, financial blogs, this site (sorry Haiko). I know some people do once in a great while, but most do not.

    I promote my content sites and build links, but waiting for a few good organic search rankings is like waiting for paint to dry. Then, when I get a few top rankings, the traffic comes in, goes to numurous pages and then leaves. A few people sign up and start some conversations, but they still are not adding a lot of revenue to my pocket.

    Hopefully my content sites will continue to grow and will start making more revenue, but I am starting to focus on sales sites. This is a big turn for me.
    See you are using your content incorrectly if you aren't getting people to make purchases. I don't know what your site is about, so can't give specifics, but you are correct that relying on people to peripherally click an ad or banner isn't going to get you far. You need to have something incorporated within your content that gives them a place to click to buy something that is of interest to the people that are researching your topic that find your site. Text links that are naturally included in content do get clicked on and do convert. Also, resources at the end of an article or page of content so that when people finish reading what you have to say, they click to purchase what you talked about or go to a landing page from a merchant that solves their problem.

    Content alone doesn't make money. Content incorporated into a site properly with interspersed links that look like they are there because they will supply more information, or lead to a place to buy what your content is about, will make money.
    Deborah Carney
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  19. #19
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeymourButts
    And Google is the traffic light
    Not necessarily. There are more ways to get traffic than just Google these days.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  20. #20
    Half a Bubble Off Plumb RemodelingGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    Not necessarily. There are more ways to get traffic than just Google these days.
    Those are stop signs.

    65% on my traffic comes to 1000's of content pages from Goog.

    The other 35% comes from hundreds of sources.

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by RemodelingGuy
    65% on my traffic comes to 1000's of content pages from Goog.

    The other 35% comes from hundreds of sources.
    And which traffic is the traffic that buys? 65% may come from Google, but if the 35% that comes from elsewhere has a higher conversion rate, then you don't care what Google does with your site.
    Deborah Carney
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  22. #22
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    By asking What Is Content? I am saying, simply, that if a surfer is looking to buy a Green Horny Widget and comes to a page that is blank save for a big button and the words "Click Here To Buy A Green Horny Widget" and the surfer clicks through and buys, then that page had relevant content.

    Now, a page chock full of articles about the history of green horny widgets might generate 100x the traffic, but if it results in zero sales, then no, it does not provide the content the surfer is looking for, a big, easy to find buy now button.

    While I am prone to building the second type of site, the truth is one of my most successful sites is nothing but a link farm, it generates traffic and sales throughout the year.
    Following everyone else is a GREAT way to become average.

  23. #23
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    This might be a good time for me to expound on two overlapping concepts which I think substantially control the performance of advertising. These are the "purchase decision process" and "purpose and mode."

    The Purchase Decision Process

    I view the "purchase decision process" in light of a specific purchase decision; at any given moment, I am somewhere in this "process" with regard to hundreds or perhaps thousands of products and services, many of which I will never buy (Lamborghini? French chateau?). I'm also engaged in thousands or perhaps millions of other non-purchase "decision processes" all the time.

    Awareness: At the very beginning of the "purchase decision process," the consumer has no intention or desire to purchase. I'm just living my life. I read the newspaper, I talk to my family, I go to the office, I play a game on my cell phone, I browse Google News headlines, I watch TV, I read a magazine, I walk down the street and glance at store windows.

    Product Interest: At some point, something triggers interest in a product. I see the RC-Helicopter ad on TV, or I see an RC-Helicopter in a display window. I'm not thinking "purchase," but I'm thinking, "hey, that's sort of cool" or "holy crap, if we had that, the cat would never come out from under the sofa."

    But life goes on, and I don't take any action on my interest in the RC-Helicopter -- but the next time an ad appears on TV for one, I notice it and pay a little more attention (I might even stop the fast-forward on my DVR and actually watch the commercial).

    I might even do an internet search on "RC Helicopters," and browse through a web site or two, to learn more about RC Helicopters. But I am probably going to be easily distracted.

    Purchase Interest: Eventually, something triggers me to move forward from "interest in the product" to "interest in possibly purchasing the product." Now, I'm going to start gathering information more actively: maybe I'll ask friends, or I'll stop in the toy store, or I'll go online and search for more information on RC-Helicopters.

    Now, I'm going to be harder to distract, but I'm still not ready to make a purchase.

    Focusing/Narrowing: Now I'll start narrowing my interest. Maybe I decide that my budget is under $30, so I exclude everything that's more expensive. Or maybe I decide that I want a well-designed, durable RC helicopter that I can fly over my roof. Or maybe I decide I want a helicopter with a camera that broadcasts over WiFi.

    Identification: In this phase, I'm starting to think about one or more specific products. I'm also considering where to buy the item.

    Decision: Near the end of the process, I make a decision about which product to buy, and where to buy it.

    Purchase: The process ends when I make the purchase. (Or does it? Maybe I exchange the product; maybe I return it for a refund. Or I crash it, and need to buy another, maybe something more durable or easier to control. Or I want to give a gift. Or I want to upgrade to a fancy model.)

    It's easy to understand the potential impact of advertising at different stages of the "purchase decision process." It's especially easy to recognize the opportunities at each stage. Near the beginning of the process, the advertiser may be able to "inspire" or "define" the product interest. In the middle, the advertiser can help "educate" and "focus" the product identification. And near the end, the advertiser can help push the consumer toward the finish line (we call it "conversion").


    Purpose and Mode

    I mentioned above that we are all engaged in many "product decision processes" and many more "non-product decision processes" at the same time. At any given moment, most of these are not conscious thoughts; we are focused instead on specific activities (brush my teeth, check on the baby, recharge the cell phone, take the car for an oil change, visit Mom). We are always engaged in some activities (probably never just one).

    At any given moment, we have a purpose for our activities, and we are engaged in a mode. And depending on our purpose and mode (and the specific activities we're doing), our threshhold for certain types of interruption or distraction change significantly.

    Right now, I'm writing a long forum post, using a text editor. If the phone rings, I'm going to look at Caller ID and decide whether to answer. If it says "Caller ID blocked," I'll ignore it; if it says my wife is calling, I'll answer it. On my other screen is my email; each time new messages are downloaded, the computer makes a noise and I frequently glance to see if anything important comes in. (This is probably not a good time to try to sell me an RC Helicopter, even if I am near the end of a decision process to purchase one.)

    I will tune out or resist anything that doesn't help me achieve my purpose, and I will resist efforts to change my mode. It's hardest to get me to change both my purpose and mode (stop searching for RC helicopters, and get up to make dinner). It's easier to get me to change either my mode or my purpose, but not the other (stop searching online for RC helicopters, and instead call the toy store; continue searching, but look for hair-loss remedies). And of course, it's really easy to get me to continue in essentially the same mode, while moving toward achieving my purpose (e.g. click in search results to view a YouTube video of an RC Helicopter, or click on an advertisement inviting me to click for more information about RC Helicopters).

    Now, think about some other purposes and modes, focusing on web activity. When I'm reading through message threads in a forum, I generally am focused on the text content (headlines, messages), and I will probably tune out things that don't help me achieve my purpose, and I will resist efforts to change my mode. However, if my purpose is to "read new posts about XYZ," and I finish reading those posts, I'm now ready for a transition, and I'm extremely available for distraction or interruption.

    Now think about "purpose and mode" (and transition) in the context of porn (watching an adult movie). Got it?

    This is why ads on the "thank you" page on an e-commerce site can be so effective: the consumer has fulfilled the purpose at the current site, and will almost certainly be transitioning to another web site; and the consumer is in a "buying mode."


    So What?

    In my view, these two concepts -- the "product decision process" and "purpose and mode" -- fit together to form a model that can help predict which content and which advertising will be effective, and when.

    These concepts also fuel some key ideas about the perceived effectiveness of online content and online advertising. Content and advertising which is designed to be read while people are at the beginning of the decision process is less likely to generate sales than content that fits more closely with the end of the decision process. (Duh!)

    The consumer's stage in the decision process will also impact the effectiveness of advertising: if I'm just starting to read about RC Helicopters, an ad that says "Apache MP-7T Heli, $399, free next-day delivery" is pretty meaningless to me, but if I've decided to buy the Apache MP-7T Helocopter, this might be the perfect ad. In contrast, an ad that reads "RC Helicopters: Feature Comparison" or "RC Heli Reviews" (or "RC Helicopters Can Kill!") is going to attract me at the beginning of the decision process, but not so likely at the end.

    Some folks think about this and decide that they only want to deal with consumers at the "end" of the decision process, and only while their purpose is "buy." This is where certain types of PPC Search/Keyword Advertising can be incredibly effective: if you bid on the search phrase "Apache RC" or "Apache MP price" and show an ad that says "Apache MP-7T Heli $399," you're likely to get a high clickthrough rate (if the price is good) and a high conversion rate (if the item is in stock at that price).

    (And while I was writing this, someone posted a great example: "A page that is blank save for a big button and the words "Click Here To Buy A Green Horny Widget.")

    But of course, search keywords that signal "end of purchase decision" occur less frequently, and are often much more expensive to bid, than search keywords that signal the beginning of the purchase decision process. And there are many opportunities to "define" or "shift" or even "accelerate" the purchase-decision process.

    Also consider how much "loyalty" and return traffic you might get from sites at different points in the purchase-decision process (and remember, it never quite ends).
    Last edited by markwelch; July 10th, 2009 at 05:10 PM.

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    The only people who argue that content isn't king seem to be those who can't produce proper content in whatever format.

    The OP compares a content site - effort once made - approx. zero with a service industry sales site. Stop working and you have to pay a lot of money back, keep working and there's a lot of infrastructure and service to proide.

  25. #25
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeymourButts
    And Google is the traffic light
    :-)

    I miss the days not so long ago when Google sent me traffic. Those other methods for getting traffic seem to be so much more work.

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