We all know there is a lot of junk out there on the internet. Garbage SEO posts designed to build links or make you click on a post: someone trying to build their brand on the cheap.
Please don’t do this. If you use the internet frequently, you know the pain that comes from searching for a topic you need to research, only to find a host of links to cheap Viagra knock offs. If you are one of the bloggers or vloggers, you need to keep in mind that how you setup or page, or allow others to link from it, has a real impact on the experience of other users.
I urge you: think about your actions, and adopt the hard rule that is the first part of the first responder’s creed, and that of doctors as well: “Do no harm.” I even want you to go one step further, and think about what you are doing to make the internet a better place.
Do No Harm
If people want to see negative media, there are plenty of places they can turn to, but we don’t need to add to the fray. One key to making the internet a better place is to be positive in your content, and honest in your intentions.
Life is sometimes a bummer, and it is easy to get down and discouraged. Many of us are working multiple jobs, and our lives are filled with “to do” lists that can really weigh us down. Failure is always possible, but we’d rather hear about the ways we can succeed. There is nothing wrong with suggesting precautions for others to take advantage of, and sharing your mistakes so others can learn lessons from them, just be careful how you do it. We want to hear how you have overcome the obstacles to your success, instead of how you are wallowing in self pity about how the world is cruel and unfair.
If you are writing or vlogging about nearly anything, you most likely will end up being offensive to someone. However, you don’t have to be intentionally offensive or hostile. Engage your readers in conversation, and rationally describe your views on the topic, and why you feel that way. You’ll never make everyone completely happy, but always be respectful, while remaining firm in your convictions.
Remember, whenever possible, do no harm.
Do you have any idea how many lists come up when you Google “7 Ways to Make Money Online Today”? Thousands. There is a ton of information out there on any given topic, and frankly, most of it is repeated or useless advice in the first place.
Whatever you are vlogging or blogging about, give your readers or viewers valuable information that they can actually apply in their own lives. Here are a few do’s and don’ts.
Do: Research your content, and support what you say with reliable sources, facts and numbers whenever possible. This not only makes your content more meaningful to both users and Google, but increases the chance that visitors will turn into subscribers.
Don’t: Game your domain name just to get traffic, misspell a different site’s name to redirect traffic. Instead, choose a domain name that is relevant to what you do and make sure that your content aligns with it. Your readers should not be surprised when they see the content of your blog or vlog. It should be exactly what they expected.
Do: Focus on one topic or area of expertise. Your name and content should work together, but they should also be relevant to what you actually do or are trying to teach. A lawyer who cooks in their spare time can get a lot of traffic by posting recipes on his blog, but those visitors are unlikely to become clients.
Don’t: Try to do too many things at once. Science shows you can really only do a few things well at the same time. If you try to do too much, one or more of those areas will suffer. There is a Russian proverb that illustrates this well, “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” In his book The One Thing, Gary Keller tells us you should narrow your focus from even a few things down to one, the most important thing right now.
Do: Be concise and clear, and don’t use jargon. Use language people outside your niche can understand. Give away as much information as you can without giving away your proprietary secrets, if you have any.
Understand Your Viewers and Followers
The users on the internet can essentially be broken down into four categories. Sometimes users will switch from one group to the other, but the divisions remain pretty consistent:
- Streakers: These are internet users looking for a simple answer to a relatively simple question, or who are searching for a product, but already know what they want. Any delays will make them leave your site. Short form content, short videos, or even product pages serve them well.
- Strollers: These users are looking for more in depth answers than streakers, or may be looking for a product, but not yet know exactly what model or features they want. Mid-length content in the 800-1000 word range attracts them most along with product reviews and comparisons.
- Studiers: These are users looking to i research a topic or product in depth. The more details you have the better. These users like posts over 1,200 words, and are more likely to share good content with their social audience than the previous two types of users.
- Researchers: This is the final, and rarest group of internet users. These individuals are looking for white papers, academic research, and truly comprehensive materials. They are looking for the most information they can find on a particular subject.
What you need to ask yourself is what category most of your readers fall into, and what you can do to reach the other types of users. For example, if you can create content that hooks a streaker, they may be more willing to tolerate a blog written more for a stroller, because they trust you.
None of us want to have a harmful effect on the world around us. We all want to do no harm, but we can be even more proactive, and work to make the internet a better place than it was when we found it.