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October 19, 2005

Jakob Nielson on Blog Usability

I don’t think Jakob even has a blog, but he knows the common usability errors found in blogs like this one. My guess is that most of them are pretty spot on, but I don’t agree with the following:

7. Irregular Publishing Frequency

You should publish somewhat frequently so people remember to visit your site, but trying to be too rigid with frequency could mean that you end up sacrificing quality for quantity.

Said another way, sometimes there is lots of news and stuff to talk about, other days their are nothing. If there is no news there is not a great benefit to make stuff up or post inferior stuff just to have something to post about.

9. Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss

I have absolutely ignored that line of thinking. Some sites will be more inclined to link at sites that post well thought out polished stuff. Other people will like sites for their lack of polish.

Some writers are good at writing. Others are good at being raw.

Balance what you are good at with audience expectations. If what you say is consistantly interesting I think using a natural voice is far more important than trying to do good for some future boss that may never find or hire you because your blog was too boring and conservative.

This comes from a person who has no formal training and knew nothing about the web a few years ago. In the last couple days I have:

  • Spoke to a marketing MBA class about SEO.
  • Had a major book publisher make a book publishing offer.

Those opportunities may have never found me if I errored on the side of safety, wrote with consistant frequency, and wrote for a future boss.

Put another way, people who like you when act as yourself are probably going to be more inclined to work with you and better work partners than those who are attracted to your ability to conform & be consistantly normal.

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