Millions of website users found themselves disappointed yesterday when one of their favourite sites failed to work, simply because a cooling system went wrong at the server rendering the site useless. But the cooling failure made international headline news because the site in question was Wikipedia. Like it or loathe it, Wikipedia is a phenomenon. It is the 6th most popular website in the world, with around 13% of all Internet users accessing the encyclopedia every day. But why?

People want informationWikipedia is just full of information. Tons of it. Studies show it is more accurate than leading printed encyclopedias and more up-to-date. And it seems we love having recent, accurate information. In fact, according to research conducted in Canada people who are seeking advice actually prefer receiving a pile of information instead. What the study found was that individuals looking for advice on making some kind of selection preferred the delivery of that advice when it was presented merely as information. In other words, people don’t like being told what to do, but rather they prefer getting all the information they need and then making a decision themselves.

This has implications for many website owners. One of the main reasons for the existence of the web is that it helps deliver information. Yet many businesses try to deliver that information in the form of “this is what you should do” advice. What this research suggests is that this kind of approach is not as effective as merely providing the information. The participants in the study were happy to get the advice, as long as it was backed up with plenty of unbiased information.

In other words, your website can give advice to your customers and potential customers, but that advice must be backed with solid, reliable and valid information. Merely giving advice on your website is unlikely to have as much impact as having tons of information.

And guess what? That will have a direct impact on your search engine rankings. The sites which are the most information-packed in any sector are the ones that tend to get the highest search engine placement. In other words, if you just keep on filling your website with information you will be loved by your target market and you will be rated more highly by the search engines.

What this new research confirms is that your website success is going to be related to the amount of unbiased information you provide. Get writing…! But as your information begins to make your website even more successful, just make sure your server is well-cooled….!

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