Running a website is a highly personal affair. It can mean plenty of different things to different people. A website is not necessarily a piece of content, it’s a blank canvas which the owner is able to fill with whatever they deem necessary. The best way to think of a website is to see it as online territory, or housing. The four walls are there for you to fill, but what you do with that is your choice.
A website doesn’t NEED to look great. Simple black Arial font text on a white background can work to convey information. However, it might alienate some visitors, no matter how quality your message is. Conversely, if you learn more about designing the best-looking website in the world, that doesn’t necessarily improve the power of your content.
It’s this latter stage we’re hoping to explore in this article. If you’re writing a blog on the daily, or you feel you have something to add to a cultural conversation, you might consider how the content you publish matters in the overarching picture. If you’re making the effort to pay for a domain name, invest in potential copyright while crafting and curating the content important to you, it’s likely you wish to be taken seriously and contribute something.
Well, we’re here to help you make that website mean something.
Everyone can post their opinions online. It’s easy to do. Looking at the replies to popular posts on Twitter will show you exactly how popular giving an unsolicited opinion is. Just because you have a website doesn’t mean your opinions are backed up by any form of authority. Of course, we’re sure you’re intelligent and rational in your expression, but backing these up with sources to studies, expert opinions or other verified factual information can surely help your case. This allows the content you provide to be grounded in reality. Even if a visitor may not agree with you (which will happen,) they can at least trace your line of thinking at the footnote of your article.
This also helps you stay a responsible cultural commentator, and puts the truth you receive at the highest possible position.
A conversation is always better than a straight statement. Debating with people can help you learn more about yourself, and more about your ideas. You may learn new things, or you may become firmer in your stock beliefs. This will only occur if you keep some form of feedback front and centre in your mind when developing your website.
A live comment thread using Disqus, social media integration or some other live method of your choice could allow you to get in touch with people who might have something positive to contribute. It all depends on the community you cultivate. Of course this is the internet, so you should expect a degree of negativity, but curating this with reason can help you make your case more conclusively.
No one is deeply, completely educated in more than ten subjects. We as humans simply have cognitive limits. Even amazing scientists and political theorists are highly specialized, and that’s for a reason. If you’re looking to appeal to a wide variety of demographics with your website, you will more likely than not benefit from using guest writers to contribute articles. For example, if commenting on race relations in the United States, instead of commenting on it from your viewpoint, consider asking race historians from different ethnicities to contribute an article around the same subject.
Now, we don’t’ expect you to keep your website as a ‘complete view’ outlet. Still, once in a while, refreshing your debates with expert opinions from many perspectives will contribute to the quality and reach your website is able to achieve.
What does your website offer over and above the standard necessities of developing written content? Does it do any good in the community? Does it try to research facts which are hidden away and on the periphery? Does it conduct interviews to try and get a true feeling of the zeitgeist? Your visitors are looking for a website which offers a form of worthwhile content outside of easy think pieces. What this means is up to you, but it’s no less important to define. Branching out into video content, or even putting your exposure behind projects that matter to you are tools you can use to highlight things which need to be seen.
For example, the news cannot cover every small incident which takes place in a city. If you feel there is something necessary for people to know about, and you think it relates to how you work, why not be the trailblazer here, allowing people to develop a more complete insight into the society around them? This helps you add awareness to the local, regional and even national conversation, in your own humble (but growing) way.
Never be afraid to make your true opinions known. This can allow for some serious controversy, but if in your heart you believe in your opinions (non-hateful), then your website could be the exact thing that’s needed in the cultural debate. For example, if you believe the new transition to virtual reality gaming has effects on the mental health of those that use it, and you have uncovered plenty of hidden studies which prove your point, you might consider breaking this news and writing about it, even if you’re a gaming publication. This constant search for the truth will highlight your significance, and differentiate you from the rest.
A website is not superficial. It is a potentially powerful ally in the information age. As we become more and more connected, these types of opinions are valued more highly, and they are the perspectives which get remembered. You should never seek to be a trendsetter without the proper research and argumentation, but nor should you be afraid to contribute what is in your heart, filling the blank canvas of your website with content you can be proud of.
We wish you the best of luck in your efforts!