With more companies adopting blogs, we’re starting to see what works and what doesn’t work from a design perspective. As a cue from Jakob Nielsen’s article on the topic, here are thing problems I often find.
Bad headlines. They’re frustrating. Some bloggers like to get creative… but creativity can affect search engine keyword opportunities. The important thing is that readers have a hint of what the post is about.
Links. Readers like to know where links take them and most of us rely on the status bar, but sometimes that doesn’t help. Some experts say to use “click here” to help those who are newer to the Web and others say that’s wrong, wrong, wrong. It just depends on the content. When linking, try to pick the best words that give readers an idea of what to expect.
Calendars as the only way to navigate a blog and impossible to find archives or older entries are big problems. I almost always resort to search when I want to find postings no longer on the home page. Unfortunately, some blogs don’t have search. That’s why I put “archive” links in my sidebar in both meryl’s notes and meryl’s notes features. As my site goes through redesign, I’m making sure the archives are accessible especially in the features section. I found some old entries from 2001 that are still relevant today.
Bloggers must be regular. No bathroom jokes here, please. 🙂 When a blog looks abandoned for a month… your audience is gone. They’ll take you off their feed reader and blogroll. If you plan not to do it again or take a long sabbatical… prepare to start over again when you return.
Keep the boss in mind even if your the head honcho. Always blog with a boss in mind. Will your boss (current and future) be offended by your posting? Not only do people get fired for their blogs, but also they could cost job offers. It wouldn’t surprise me if managers are Googling applicants while going through the interview process.
Junky URLs. Nielsen says having a typepad.com or blogspot.com equates to having a yahoo.com or aol.com email address. Some of the bigwigs use Blogspot or Typepad URLs. Guess what? I never remember their URLs. I have to rely on Google. So this makes sense, BUT I wouldn’t call it unprofessional.
Business blogging has many benefits and problems. Companies tread carefully when entering this new world. It’s wise to have policies on the approval process and what can and can’t be said. Like anything else in a business, blogs need to be evaluated to determine whether or not they fit the business’ model.