A few days ago, I went on a rant about photography blogs that were more concerned with their advertisers than their readers. What I left out were tips on how to get it right.
Matt Gemmell just wrote an interesting article breaking down his experiences creating great reader-driven sites:
"I’ve spent inordinate amounts of time writing for the web; a third of my life, in fact. For most of that time, I somehow neglected to consider that perhaps my own preferences and behaviours as a reader might also apply to those who read my output.
When I visit a new blog, as I do several times each day, my first assessment is whether the content is obscured by the design. I’ll rarely consider whether the design enhances the content. I’m visiting for a purpose, and the purpose is to read."
He includes a lot of great tips. Go read it.
Leo Babauta is the kind of blogging success story you read about in books. A few months ago, he shared his philosophy on designing for the reader:
"When you create an amazing reading experience for the reader, he or she will appreciate it. The reader will love your great content (I hope), and then decide whether to bookmark it, email it, share it, subscribe, whatever. But without the reading experience, all the rest isn’t happening."
The article is full of great advice on how to create that experience and how he made a business of it. Go read it.
As photographers, we'd often prefer to focus on imagery. But, remember, the primary activity on the web is reading. In short, get out of your content's way.