What’s More Important for Bloggers, Style or Content?

By Ali Luke

Some people believe that good writing will always win out. A good writer will be read, regardless of what they write about.

Other people believe that content alone is king. If you have great information, it’ll be read — even if the way it’s written isn’t so good.

Personally, I think the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes.

On the one hand, content matters: if you have nothing to say, you’re unlikely to find an audience. Style won’t win out over substance.

But on the flip side, content alone isn’t quite enough. After all, which post would you rather read?

  • “Ten WordPress Tips”
  • “Ten Easy Ways to Get the Most From Your WordPress Blog — Today”

I think you’ll agree that the second one sounds much more enticing … even though both posts might have the exact same information.

How to Improve Your Content

If you know you’re a good writer but you’re struggling to build an audience, the problem might lie with your content.

To improve, try:

  • Asking your readers what they want you to write about. You might be surprised!
  • Focusing on giving value with every post — ask yourself “what will the reader get out of this?”
  • Writing list posts or “how to” posts — these are easy ways to offer something useful.
  • Narrowing down your niche — focus on one key topic area, rather than writing about anything and everything that interests you.

How to Improve Your Style

If you’re packing your posts full of value but not getting much response, the problem might lie with your style.

To improve, try:

  • Spending more time editing each post after you write it. Try reading it aloud to get the flow of sentences and paragraphs right.
  • Crafting great titles and gripping introductions that hook your readers and encourage them to read on.
  • Writing in a friendly, direct way, as though you’re addressing just one person. Use “you” more than you use “I”.
  • Asking a friend to review your post and point out areas where the writing could be improved.

I’d love to hear what you think about style vs content. Do you feel that your strengths lie more in one area than the other? Do you prefer blogs with useful, in-depth content, or ones with a great writing style that makes for enjoyable reading? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ali Luke is a writer and blogger, and author of Publishing E-Books For Dummies. She runs a teaching / community site for writers and bloggers, Writers’ Huddle, which has just opened for new members. Join now to take her eight-week Blog On ecourse — where you’ll learn all about different post and page types — and to get access to the archive of seminars, mini-courses, and more. All the details are here.



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22 Responses to “What’s More Important for Bloggers, Style or Content?”

  • suriish

    First Thanks for the post, Learned some new valid thing from u.

    This post make some sensations. Until I read this post I believe that the content is only important but now I come to know that the content is not only thing to concentrate Style is also the main thing.

    Thanks Again 🙂

  • Lahaul Seth

    Both are important for blogging , but content matters more since the readers will come back to the site because they love the content and provides value to them. They won’t come back for the style.

  • Robert

    Style is very important to me because if you don’t have a unique style, you won’t stand out from the crowd and people will forget you immediately. It doesn’t have to be the way you write. Maybe it’s how you choose illustrated images, how you chop down your paragraph and make it easier to read and how you stress out main points 😉

    Of course, the core content is important to. But to me, the more important is how you convey the message.

  • Ali Luke

    Wow, thanks for all the comments, everyone! Clearly, this topic struck a chord. It looks like there’s a definite consensus here that both style and content are important, and that one without the other is going to make success very hard.

    @DI — I absolutely agree that writing just for search engines is a waste of time. After all, the whole purpose of search engines is to help people find the content that READERS enjoy!

    @Charles — You’re absolutely right that both are important (and actually, my personal view is that they’re equally important). I think some bloggers don’t pay enough attention to style, though, so I was hoping to provoke a few people into having a re-think. 🙂

  • Daniel

    Nice post topic, Ali….

    This is something that we probably overlook sometimes…

    There are many sites that are very stylish, yet, their content when read with an honest eye, is actually quite poor…

    On the other side of the fence, there are plenty of sites that have great content, yet, it is just crammed onto the page in default mode..without being presented for best effect….

    The area(topic) people are working(writing) in, would also determine where greater emphasis(either way) should be placed..and how much liberty they would have to do so….

    Some sites just seem to get the balance right, and they, and their readers, are rewarded for this……

  • Richard Ng

    My view is that for short term, style is more important and for long term, content is more important…since blogging venture is meant for long term, thus, content over-rule the style (my view).

    Cheers!

  • Charles from CodeConquest.com

    ‘Style vs content- which is more important’ kind of implies that you have to choose between one or the other, which is definitely not the case. I think both are equally important and any blogger should be prioritizing both of them.

    If you have good writing style but not so great content, then that’s OK. Same if you have good content but not so great style. But of course you want to aim to have both.

  • Fedobe

    Both style and content is important for blogger. If you are posting good contain in your blog and able to attract more and more visitors but if your blog is not proper managed in style and design, then definitely those visitors will leave your page without read any post. So both are important.

  • Sudhir

    Great article Ali.
    I believe great content is the most important part in a blog. The content makes the readers come back to our blog. Our readers look for something that can benefit them and we need to satisfy their needs with our content. And style also plays a part.

  • Trent Dyrsmid

    Style is the first thing that a visitor sees so make sure that your whole blog site style is great. Then follow up that up with a great content. These 2 should go together.

    The great style will attract but the great content will make people stay and read more. So give them both.

  • Ashish Kumar

    it depends on the author and niche of the blog. Sometimes all matters is style .

  • John Hammond

    I think that you still need Both!

    Content is more improtant that style but you are splitting hairs

  • Mikka

    I think style is very important to attract people and to bring them to read your stuff.

    Whenever I see a blog post without paragraphs and subheadings I leave immediatly! It’s just not attracting to have a block of words to read trough.

    So I would say that the first thing to do is to make your content reader-friendly.

    Use a grabbing headline, make paragraphs of 3-4 lines and seperate them with subheading.

    But then of course the content matters. If people are eager to read your stuff because it looks nice but then you have nothing to say, they probably won’t come back!

    So in my opinion the style should grab your attention, and the content should make you come back for more!

    Both are important and cannot be without one another…

    Thanks for the great post

  • Robert Weller

    Style. For sure. Most learn to produce great content (or at least they do their best) but what makes bloggers stand out is their style.

  • Jon Kempf

    I think that a good balance between content and style is important for bloggers because if you have awesome content in plain text format it can hurt your eyes and be hard to read.

    Same goes for style, if you have a great looking blog but with no images, video, or content on it then visitors will leave quickly.

  • Garrett Foster

    I agree it’s a combination of the two. I’ve read posts that are written so poorly, you can’t get through them to find the nuggets they contain. I’ve also read posts that sound good but don’t really say anything. A post that is too long will generally turn me off regardless of how it is written. In this time-pressed world, readers want valuable information delivered in quick hits — short paragraphs, bulleted items, etc. My blog deals with helping entrepreneurs and business owners make positive changes in their health for their own well-being and the success of their business. If I overwhelm them with facts and figures and too much information, it stands the chance of scaring them away from even taking that first step.

  • Kimberly Gauthier

    I recently started creating themes for each day so that people who want to learn about a certain topic know which days to click over. My traffic decreased after the change, but my bounce rate dropped too.

    My readers love the change.

    Thanks for your suggestions.

  • Larry Onne

    I believe it’s the content that really matters. I also think the style is important as well for SEO and such but as long as the content is good, the user might stay.

  • DI

    Good question.

    Style is everything. EVERYTHING.

    Search engines may bring visitors but it’s style that determines if anyone will become subscribers. ANYONE.

    People writing for the search engines are the most tormented souls I have seen. TORMENTED.

    Until shortly, that included me. ME.

    🙂

  • Abdul Cholik

    I learn many tips from you and I try to follow your tips even my blog is in Bahasa Indonesia.
    Frankly speaking I like to write what I know very well about the topic so that I enjoy to write. My friend also like the style of my articles.
    Even the content is the king but I write my articles with simple words.

    Thank you

  • Ehsan Ullah

    Ali, I believe that keeping in mind “What’s in it for me” when writing post is must because, as you’re writing for readers so the content must convince them and make them to stick and read more of your work. I agree with you that asking from readers about what they want you to write about is good idea and Daniel has been doing it from long time here on DBT.

    Whenever I complete writing a post, I spend at least 15 minutes in editing and making it more friendliness, that is why people love my content 🙂

  • Sabbir

    I think personally that if your style is good from your Heading up to your end than it will get a more hit. But you need content too. Because content is the thing that most people search. So writing a good content with nice style is very important.

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