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 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. I hate it when a headline is deliberately misleading.
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.
Bad Navigational Tools: I almost always resort to search when I want to find postings no longer on the home page. Unfortunately, some blogs don’t have a search option. That’s why I put the archive links in my sidebar. As my site goes through redesign, I’m making sure the archives are accessible, and placing them into the individual category page sections, too. Some bloggers will say that have a search tool is a bad idea, I will leave the final decision up to you.
Bloggers must be regular: 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 to do it again or to take a long sabbatical, prepare to start over again when you return. But more importantly, let your readers know what you are doing. Let them know you are taking a break, or quitting altogether. Delete your blog if you are not going to use it.
Keep the boss in mind, even if you’re the boss: Always blog with a boss in mind. Will your boss (current and future) be offended by your posts? Not only do people get fired for their blogs, but they could also cost job offers. It has become custom practice for HR managers to Google applicants while going through the interview process.
Bad Links: If you are going to add a link to another blog or webpage, make sure that it works. Enough said.
Blogging has many benefits and problems. Businesses need to tread carefully when entering into this 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 decide whether they fit the business’ model. There are many new companies out that will write and post to your blog(s) via email for a minimal daily or monthly fee. Take a look at Constant Contact, Aweber, iContact, VerticalResponse, Hubspot, and similar companies that offer marketing and subscription services for your business.