A few weeks ago, Chris Brogan asked me to categorize the Rockstars page on his site.
The list was long, and it was quite daunting to have to decide in which category to place these amazing blogs. Even more daunting was categorizing the blogs of people I know personally, what if I got it wrong? With a deep breath, I dove in. What I found was that there were some very user friendly blogs, and some that were not so much user friendly.
By “user friendly,” I mean that within a few moments of looking at the page, and without reading a single post, I knew what the blog was about. The ones that were had nice, succinct tag lines. Although, sometimes the tag lines were along the lines of “social media, technology, art and musings.” Those ones didn’t help me very much. Ranked after clear tag line came tag clouds–the kind where the more frequently a tag is used, the bigger the word is. Next comes categories, but only if they have a post count next to them. If all else failed, I looked at the about page. More times than not though, the about page was about the author, not the blog. Maybe, have two about sections?
Maybe you are thinking, “Why should I spell it out for people? Just read my posts!” Well, unless you don’t care if anyone reads your blog (and secretly, or not so secretly, we all care), why throw up road blocks. We all live hectic, jam-packed lives. Most of us don’t have time to slowly peruse a blog we’ve never read before. So, make it easy! Spell it out for you readers. Tell them exactly what they will find, why it matters, and perhaps even, why they should listen to you.
Once I got over my issues with categorization, I began to notice a trend. Almost all the blogs were people’s personal contributions to cyberspace. I was shocked at how few company associate blogs there were. If you aren’t familiar with Chris’ Rockstars page, maybe this doesn’t seem surprising. But the thing is, Chris doesn’t choose who is and isn’t on that page. If you send him the link to your blog and RSS feed (and now preferred category), he will post it on his page. Its a freebie!
Considering that his blog is ranked 899 in Technorati, he might be what you would call an opinion leader. So, why aren’t more companies taking advantage of this freebie? In my opinion, this is just indicative of the larger issue, companies aren’t getting involved enough in new media. A million blog post have been written about the subject so I won’t get into it, but it continues to amaze me.
So, here’s my advice: if you have a blog, make it user friendly. If you work for a company that isn’t fully taking advantage of all new media has to offer, kick it in gear! There is no time like now. One of my favorite quotes (but can’t remember who said it): “Today is the tomorrow you were dreaming about yesterday.”
ps. I realize that my blog doesn’t adhere to any of the user friendly suggestions. I realize this, so I’m not being hypocritical. My blog is a baby. I’m working on it. Lots of user friendliness to come!!