Web Content Quality: Pay Extra for the Cream


Gerry Gaffney interviews Gerry McGovern on the User Experience podcast (HTML transcript linked, also available as PDF or MP3). McGavern is the author of (among others) Killer Web Content: Make the Sale, Deliver the Service, Build the Brand. A stand-out quote from the interview:

Gerry McGovern:

Absolutely. Basically, there’s a book inside everyone, and the web let the book out. Many of those books should never have seen the light of day – most of them. Out in the general web, the cream rises to the top in a way.

MySpace or YouTube, none of those would be any use if we couldn’t find the top videos, if the top stuff did not have a way to rise to the top. But what happens within organisations is that, it’s not the democratisation of content, it’s find the most junior person in the organisation, and lump them with the job of updating our section of the website. From a democratisation point of view it’s not that the great people within the organisation do it. It’s the most junior, least paid people. It’s democratised downwards to the summer interns, the contractors. Let’s give content creation and production to the least important people within the organisation. Therefore you get… you get the garbage pile, and you get no quality standards, and you get a junkyard in many organisations because you get the website you deserve.

You know, you don’t democratise the manufacture of cars, or the creation of a swine flu vaccine. [Laughs.] You don’t just say, “Ah, just throw it out there, there’s a bit of code and it’ll work itself out.”

Content quality… it’s not easy to write well. It’s easy to write.

Excellent — prioritize the presentation of your business online… don’t throw a summer intern at it, or have the kid next door design it in exchange for a case of beer. And for goodness’ sake, have someone write good copy for it. If the cream is going to rise to the top, pay a little extra for the cream.