How Good Are You at Answering Questions?

Once you become well known in forums or write enough on your own site it may be easy to forget how well or bad you answer questions. A cool feature with Yahoo!'s Answer service is that it is large enough to have a huge userbase interested in just about any topic without you being known there. And it probably is easy to sign up for secondary usernames to start from scratch if you needed to. They show you what percent of your answers are chose as the best, which makes it easy to practice answering questions to see how clearly you are communicating without the bias built around your current social relationships. Obviously there will be some biases to the system (nepotistic behavior, spam, and biases based on score level), but if you can see past that Yahoo! Answers offers a great avenue to practice answering questions.

A friend of mine recently said in an instant message "The Dumber My Content the More Money I Make". Once you think about how much of the market is completely new to your topic it makes sense that people who aim to make content accessible and easy to understand often are far more successful than people who know more but do not express what they know well.

I think it is important to offer a few things that go above and beyond the normal day to day stuff (to create well cited industry resources), but most blog posts are probably maximally effective if the writer puts being easy to understand ahead of going in great depth.

Published: May 18, 2006 by Aaron Wall in publishing & media


May 18, 2006 - 8:42pm

Aaron .... another goot and similar forum is at

I actually started at the Yahoo Answers and then got a bit addicted to the other one.

May 19, 2006 - 3:37pm

Aaron - I have not used Yahoo Answers - but I do know that with my experience coming from the business world and dealing with numbers, the ability to effectively communicate in writing is extremely important. Written communication is one part of having a quality web site.

Another thought (you may delete this thought if you so desire) is that if an individual does command an excellent knowledge of technical expertise in a field when writing - know you target audience - your audience maybe not be familar with your field of expertise nor its terminology. The willingness to pass on your knowledge or expertise to another is what converts web site visitors into customers and referrals.

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