I was wrong.

I used to believe website/blog design took the cake in matters of marketing significance. Not anymore. Important? Yes. But in a second-tier kind of way.

After the past few months checking out different blogs with notable traffic, I discovered some of the busiest to be the most bland. No flair. Boring color scheme. Simple graphics. Single or two-column layout. So what’s the fuss all about?

CONTENT. A handful of posts on a few of these high-traffic sites blew me away. And consistently so, the more I read. Post after powerful post, with fresh, timely, and deeply insightful information. Exactly what I was looking for.

Take Seth Godin, for starters. At first glance I wouldn’t have guessed his blog to be ranked as one of the most trafficked. Nothing about his site aesthetically drew me. It’s clean, but simple. Void of the pictures and graphics I normally look for. But his posts? Wow. Most are ripe with keen insight, astute market perspectives, challenging maxims. And (very important!) he keeps them short. Now I understand all the fuss.

My conclusion is what so many have said before me: CONTENT drives traffic far more than COLOR. Color may entice someone to stop by once. Or twice. Content keeps them coming back again and again.

Think of it this way: if I want to take a ski trip to the mountains, I won’t book a chateau in Nebraska. Even it is has clean sheets, a free breakfast and a great view of the neighbor’s corn field. If I want to enjoy the sound of the ocean and the feel of white sand between my toes, a 5-star inland hotel in Mexico City isn’t going to cut it. Regardless of the marble floors and authentic local artwork.

Like every other consumer out there, I want what I want. And I’ll go to the place that gives it to me.

Funny, but it seems to me we spend more creative energy on the external package than the quality of the internal delivery. Like choosing a favorite football team because you like the uniform.

And I’m not just talking about blogs anymore.

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