Write Quality Content or Trade for Popularity ?

Whenever writing/blogging for a web design blog or any other blog, there are many techniques and ways to write. Some post generally favored by the readers and they get famous in the social media sites. As a result you get more traffic. Some of the bloggers are talented and they can write a quality post in 20 minutes , while some people might take hours or days. There are some posts that requires time and research. When you finish and publish this post, It does not get that much attention. On the contrary, article such as round ups might not need that much work, but it has slightly  more chance of getting noted and popular.

What’s your motive when you are writing ? Quality or Popularity? Or both?

The reason behind writing this post is I am really puzzled by a recent post at CSSTricks from Chris Coyier. In that post Chris Interviews Soh Tanaka (Another brilliant Web designer). Chris’s advice to Soh was not to do roundup and write original post. That kind of got to me because I did some roundup as well and I look up to Chris’s works and writing for inspiration. Honestly, he has done some amazing works. I started to think what should new blogger like myself do? I started having doubts and questions about blogging.

I have seen Smashing Magazine or other popular web design blog doing round ups of resources. Many of the round-up post gets the most digg or delicious bookmark as well. So, this is my quest to discover what kind writing is most preferred? Is doing a roundup a crime against quality post? Will people think less of you if you do roundup posts? Or can they both co-exist satisfying the readers?

What is Quality Content?

Quality Content

Usually these post has detailed analysis, research and original post. For example here are 4 post that I think are very high standard and well-crafted.

8 Characteristics Of Successful User Interfaces Usabilitypost


Better User Orientation through Navigation- UX Booth


Design Processes & Why Every Designer Needs One – Positive Space Blog


The Freelancer’s Guide to Surviving the Economic Crisis- Colorburned


The reason  these posts are have high quality  because they are well researched, organized and explained. The are discussing different aspects and developmental in the field of web design and I think the authors are quite successful in explaining the topics they are writing about. However, how do did they on popularity scale? Not so well I believe.

Round-ups? Should you do it?

The purpose of round-up posts are they gathers the best resources about certain topics on the web. First lets look at some of best round-up posts in terms of most digg, delicious and comments amount:

53 CSS-Techniques You Couldn’t Live Without Smashing Magazine

Comments -1,018
39 Creative Lego Advertisements – Creativity without bricks – Specky Boy

Comments -55
33 Exceptional Logo Re branding In 2008 For Your Inspiration- Smashing Apps
Comments – Did not count

Here is why round-up are popular:

  1. People are lazy. If they can get all the resources in one page why should they Google for every single thing?
  2. There quite easier write too (in some cases, you still have to search for the resources).
  3. They are  Scannable.
  4. They have more to offer than any well written detailed post.

This does not mean that quality posts won’t be popular but as you can see they do not get popular in social media site. (Just to be clear, I am only talking web design blog)

What Should you do?

It is question of own ethics, principles and interest. If you are newbie web designers who is blogging you would probably tend to do roundups because round-up article is a good place to start and you want more readers and traffic . Also, your skills are limited in terms of creating original post such as CSS menus, jQuery Gallery and so on. However, if you are an experienced web designer you would want to write post that are useful to the readers and posts that reflects your style. But that’s just what I think. Everyone, has their own opinion about it. Be smart and decided whats best for you.

Why did I trouble to go through all this explaining? Probably because I am interested in hearing what other people has to say and understand more about blogging and writing good posts .

Featured image credit 


Kawsar Ali is a web designer who also likes blogging. In his spare time he walks around with a Nikon D5100 hunting for good textures.

  • http://twitter.com/dsmy David Yarde

    If everyone does a roundup post, then things just are one roundup talking about another..a good mix of original content, especially one that focuses on helping to solve a problem, or providing a deeper insight into everyday things one may face in the industry is a good way to go.

  • Kawsar Ali

    @Heidi Cool: Thank you for your sharing your thoughts.

  • http://www.heidicool.com/blog/ Heidi Cool

    I think both round-ups and original posts can be useful. I’ve been blogging about Web development for about 5 years now, and most of my posts are long original thoughts, but I also include links to 3-5 related articles on the bottom of my posts.

    I like to write and often pick topics that require detailed examples or explanations, so this style is usually what works best for me and my readers.

    In general though I think the format should be determined by the goal of the article. Some topics require more explanation while others can be better served with some introductory commentary followed by a collection of links that support the premise.

    I often recommend the latter to new bloggers and those intimidated by the writing process. Many of these people are already spending time gathering resources or following news on their particular niche. For them it only takes a bit more effort to post those links and share their valuable finds with the world.

  • Kawsar Ali

    @Raymond Selda: Thanks a bunch for shairng your comment. As you said, I agree too it all depends on your goals and what you are interested in.

  • Raymond Selda

    Updated comment. Please disregard my first comment. Thanks.

    Thank you for bringing this up. It all depends on the goals of your website. If all you want is massive amounts of traffic to gain good advertisement rates, then you definitely need to do round-ups. But if you’re selling products through your website, you need to write quality articles to show your expertise in support of your products. Doing this will target a good chunk of your readership into buying your products. You need to think about what kind of customers you are trying to attract with your content because you cannot sell to all of them.

    Keep in mind that even if you get huge traffic, it’s possible that you won’t get to sell anything especially if you don’t have the content to back it up. I noticed that there are sites that sell their own products but do not have any single advertisement on their site and vice versa.

    To sum it all up, it really depends on your goals.

  • Kawsar Ali

    @Design-notes: @Elena: Thank you for comment. It is nice to hear what everyone else thinks

  • http://www.philsbury.co.uk Phil

    Both have tremendous use in their own way. Concise roundups are great for finding tools and tips that others are using, especially on the web development front.
    A clear, well structured article will be useful as long as it makes a point, even if it’s not one shared by the masses.
    One key in any blog would be to know you’re audience. Envanto do it well by having lots of blogs, lots of original work, and the odd round up, so I guess it’s finding the right balance.

  • http://design-notes.info Design-notes

    I think round up on inspiration,techniques and snippets are very welcomed. Its like one bookmark for 10, but for design tools and software, resource websites and frameworks, there are only very few good ones and those big design magazines know it.
    They sometimes just do a very long list for the sake of popularity. Shouldn’t encourage them.

    Also when they do roundups on snippets, they should be careful, sometimes the snippets dont work or too old, but they did not check

  • http://tookooldoggies.blogspot.com Elena

    I think both are good ways to write posts. They also serve different purposes. I am new to the web design industry. I’m still taking classes but I find these blogs so valuable.

    I’ll sometimes read a post at a place like A List Apart, and I feel as if it’s as good as reading a chapter in a web design book. Still, I may be drained and just save it for reference.

    Other times, I look at the best of posts if I’m looking for design resources. Yes, it does save time putting a bunch of links together as a roundup, but it’s still useful.

    Not everyone blogs every day. Sometimes less is more. Personally, I pick quality over quantity every time.

    What it comes down is what drives your desire to write. If a blogger write quality articles, readers will come to know and respect the writer for that.