[Disclaimer: If you don’t like farming analogies, you’ll probably find this article intensely irritating.]
I’m a farm boy, born and bred.
My father must have thanked his lucky stars that he had four boys. All of us were out on the farm and working by the age of 10. In fact, I was a teenager before I realized other kids received pocket money. We had to work for it.
My father’s was probably of the last generation to be able to make a reasonable living on a traditional family farm.
Our dairy herd was on pasture each day, not stuck in modern factory barns.
We fed the animals before we fed ourselves in the morning.
While trying to maximize the yield of both the dairy cows, and the crops in our fields, we never pushed things so far that we were doing harm to either our animals or our land.
We were stewards. We were mindful of our environment, and of our responsibilities.
This is what my father taught me.
Were he alive today he would be horrified by today’s factory farms and genetically modified crops.
And here I am, forty years later, writing about web content. A long way from the land.
Can I turn this into a reasonable analogy for what’s happening in the world of web content? Perhaps.
Modern farm practices and content farms have something in common – they are all about volume, and not about quality.
Modern farm practices have little respect for animals or the land, and content farms have little respect for the written word.
Traditional farms were an enduring part of our history and are culture. Modern farms are not. Quality writing also becomes part of our history and culture. Poor writing does not.
But maybe I am wrong on that last point. Perhaps junk content will become part of our history and culture. Not something to be proud of.
Whether we are talking about farming or web content, quality and respect get pushed aside in the race to make more money.
And, as creators of web content, there is another, and more urgent lesson we can take from the land.
If you abuse the soil in which your crops grow, and fail to keep it free of weeds, it will take a lot of work to bring that soil back to a state of good health.
It’s the same with your website, particularly within the context of Google’s latest update.
If you consistently publish second rate content, in the hope of making a quick killing with AdSense, affiliate links or advertising, it will take a very, very long time to clear your site of “weeds”, bring it back to a state of good health, and turn it into a place where quality content grows and blossoms.
If you want to create a quality site that will attract a growing audience of happy readers, you might want to take on some of the values of a traditional farmer.
As creators and curators of web content, we are stewards. It is our role not only to create, but to watch out for the health of our websites.
That means weeding out the low-quality content, and resisting the temptation to put monetization ahead of long-term value.
Quality and care will always prevail.
Add fresh content to your website daily, with Web Content Café.
Web Content Café membership delivers:
1. DAILY content ideas to keep the creative juices flowing and your web content fresh.
2. Dozens of EXPERT ARTICLES on web content best practices. How to write it, optimize it, monetize it and more.
Remember, both Google and your audience reward fresh, high quality content.