Blogging by design

Don Clark’s blog led me to this post at Jakob Nielsen‘s site: Write Articles, Not Blog Postings.

Nielsen’s not big on business sites having blogs. To oversimplify, he sees the blog-and-comment approach as not offering enough time or interaction to build or strengthen a business relationship.

I followed Nielson’s link to his list of Top Ten Design Mistakes for blogs. Let’s see how I’m doing. Items in bold are the mistakes:

  • No author biography. I’m safe.
  • No author photo. Guilty — I need to have the in-house photographer take one.
  • Nondescript Posting Titles. “Avoid cute or humorous headlines that make no sense out of context.” Hmm… here I’m clearly in trouble. I’ll risk it for now; the number of people subscribing through feedreaders is low.
  • Links Don’t Say Where They Go. Nielsen mean “more about this here and here,” with no context until you make the jump. (Those last two links are examples only.) I really dislike that practice myself, and try to avoid it.
  • Classic Hits Are Buried. Two elements here: have a “classics” lin, and remember to link to past posts. A good notion; I’ll make a point of reviewing the list every three months or so and possibly adding a classics section to the sidebar.
  • The Calendar is the Only Navigation. Whew, safe again.
  • Irregular Publishing Frequency. Here I could stand to improve. I tend to have gaps of a week at a time, when I’d do much better to strive for close-to-daily posting.
  • Mixing Topics. This is the focused-content, influence-in-your-niche approach. I approve of the idea, though this blog is a way for me to explore ideas that interest me. So there’s an overlap of learning, performance improvement, brain-and-behavior, and application. I have tried to keep the “side trips” category under control.
  • Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss (or, I’d add, Future Client). This is an excellent point — flames, snarkiness, laziness, carelessness will live on. And on. And on.
  • Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service. I agree with Nielsen here, at least for myself — if you want clients and colleagues to see you as a serious work partner, I think you should avoid a Yahoo email address or a Blogspot URL for your blog. (I’m biased, of course, because I had help getting WordPress set up and because my son brought me this domain name as a gift.)

So — five points on which I’m okay, a couple with “needs improvement,” and a couple under the rubric, “time will tell.”