Useit.com has an excellent article titled “Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes“. It lists ten mistakes most oftenly made by bloggers. These are ten simple things that could really improve your blog. These are ten simple things that could even improve my blog.
If you are too lazy to read full article and all the reasoning behind these points, below is the summary for you. I will also mark my own progress with these.
- No Author Biographies. People like to know who they are reading. I thought so since the first versions of my site back in last centure. The result of this is a long and boring About section that also links to my Curriculum Vitae.
- No Author Photo. Same reason as above. It is also good for connecting virtual world to reality of a physical one. My picture occupied half of the screen with the first few versions of my site. Than it disappeard. And now it’s back.
- Nondescript Posting Titles. This one is particularly important if a lot of people are reading your stuff. It boils down to having the same background. I am trying to be as descriptive as possible, but sometimes my mood takes over the control of situation. Noone complained so far though.
- Links Don’t Say Where They Go. Most web users hate that. I am one of them. Thus I always describe the link.
- Classic Hits are Buried. Guilty as charged. There are a couple of posts that attract a lot of people here. They are deeply hidden though. But I am still thinking about ways to bring those up. Give me some time.
- The Calendar is the Only Navigation. Navigating by date is not that good in most of the cases. Especially when a lot of posts accumulate with time. I used categories until very recently, and than switched to tags. Search is also working, but could use some improvement.
- Irregular Publishing Frequency. This was one of the biggest pre-RSS era problems. Not any more. Although I would love to see more posts on a few blogs that I am reading. My blog is a good example of a case to follow though. :) For more than one and a half years now, I have at least one post to show for every day. That includes holidays, vacations, days off, seak leaves, happy times, and sad days. On many days I had more than one. Frequently I posted more than five times a day. And there were a few days with ten or more posts.
- Mixing Topics. This makes it difficult to build large audience. Not a big problem for a personal blog though. I didn’t count this as problem with my site until very recently. Now that I think about it, I don’t like it and I have already taken steps in the right direction, separating Cyprus issues into Cyprus Scout blog. More to come in this department.
- Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss. Many many many people got burned by blogging about wrong stuff for their current job. Many will get burned when bosses will start using blogs to gather information about potential empoyees. I am not nervous at all on this account though. If my future boss can’t handle the stuff I write about here, I probably shouldn’t work for him/her anyway.
- Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service. Domains are dirt cheap these days. $7 USD per year is something very easy to find and afford. Even cheaper deals are possible. Not having a domain in the 21st century is like not having a stereo in the 20th. If you can’t afford a domain or don’t know how to handle one, find someone who does. Just don’t use one of those free services that everyone knows about. Noone trusts them anymore. And it won’t make you any good to be associated with them.
It seems I am doing pretty good with just two problems out of ten possible from this list. What about you?