Meditation on the Details

You want people to visit your site. Even better, you want people to stay awhile and enjoy your content. The more time visitors spend at your site, the more likely it becomes that they will notice the little things that make your site unique. As your guests scan your pages, you want to reassure them that you have accounted for everything. When I notice that a blogger has addressed the subtle nuances associated with running a site, I feel more confident that their blog is a source of authoritative content. If, for example, the posts are riddled with spelling errors, my confidence level drops a bit. If you want visitors, and want them to stay, you need to ensure that your site rings true as people begin tuning in to your content and paying attention to your blog.

Sure, popping in for a quick bite of code, surfers may not notice a few broken images. However, staying a few moments to check out your design, visitors eventually may scoff at the missing graphics, but fail to catch your inability to employ properly the subtle nuances of grammar. Likewise, if they enjoy your content, or find themselves lounging around for other reasons, guests may mock your incorrect grammar but overlook missing alt and title attributes. Similarly, if they are genuinely intrigued and really begin delving further, users may find themselves plumbing the depths of your source code, where missing attributes and invalid markup jump out at scream at them.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I am surfing for new blogs to check out, the process usually involves a casual look at the content, writing, and design. If these three elements line up and appear beneficial to my cause, I will dig a little deeper, checking the sidebar content, footer information, and maybe even the source code. At this point, unless something scary suddenly honks at me, I am sold. I will either bookmark the site for a future visit, or continue with the current investigation. Subsequent examination of such a blog generally involves forming an impression of the author by taking a hyper-critical look at the writing, design, and details.

From this perspective, blogs fall into one of three categories: “absolutely stellar”, “useful but otherwise ordinary”, or “complete waste of time.” If I find myself taking a critical look at a site, I am looking for evidence that the author is taking the time to create high-quality content. After all, with millions of blogs from which to choose, I have zero patience for bloggers who simply crank out mindless material without paying attention to the details. With enough time, anyone can barf out hundreds of articles. With the right technology, anyone can build a thousand sites. Instead, show me the person who actually thinks about what they are doing and makes a sincere effort to deliver the best possible material. When I roll up on a blog only to discover poorly written articles, regurgitated content, spelling errors, sloppy code, and/or broken links, it is clear that the author has better things to do. And I so do I.