Tuesday, 18 October 2005

Blog usability and design mistakes






Blogger's Buzz points out an article by usability guru Jakob Nielsen yesterday on "Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes".

It makes some good points, a lot of which are common sense, and has some useful links. Sticking to many of the things mentioned will help to increase your blog ranking as far as search engines are concerned, too (and have been discussed by others before, e.g. see my post on your blog and search engine rankings).

So for instance I may start a "Popular posts" section in my sidebar. But a bio, well I can't see that happening given that I blog anonymously, and people seem to read my content for its own sake regardless of who I am (who really cares about my formal credentials - do you? If anyone wants to know, on blogging and the Web at least I'm entirely self-taught. That's why I think it's easier for me to pass on what I've learned, than someone who just knows it all and assumes everyone else does too!).

I may even go against the feedback I was originally given when I started this blog, and split out my non-blogging related posts to a different blog (as at least one person has suggested). I did start out with different blogs but it seemed people thought it was best to have the variety.... I'd be interested to know, so -

To my readers: would you rather that my non-blogging type posts (e.g. humour, gadgets, digital rights, consumer tips etc) were split out to a different blog? Or do you like the variety and think it leavens the mix, as long as I don't have too many posts unrelated to blogging tips and tools?

But one thing I agree with Blogger on is that "Having a domain name owned by a Weblog service" is not necessarily a no no. I've certainly thought about having my own domain for this blog, but I am keeping it on Blogspot because I'll lose the authority/rankings my blog has at the moment if the URL changes - all the links to my blog are of course to here at the moment. If there was a way to transfer all the links from other blogs, maybe I'd do it. Yes I could leave them in place, and Blogspot say they won't get deleted, but the rankings still won't follow through to my new URL. It's one of those things of course, the longer I don't change my URL, the harder it will be to change it as the more links I'll have to this one... Nielsen does emphasise that the longer you delay the more pain you'll feel. But I think I've got beyond the point where it's worth the move, for me it's probably too late!


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11 comments:

ChickyBabe said...

I guess it depends on how much of those "humour" and "improbulusiane" posts you are likely to write ;).

ChickyBabe said...

D'oh! I meant "improbulus'ian" ...

Chicken Little said...

Leave the mix. I can always search for any blogging tips I need. By the way, I really do appreciate the tips and have utilized quite a few !

John said...

Re: Keeping the domain. I'm in the same boat, & I agree with you, but I'm becoming slightly paranoid that search engines and other blog services will eventually cut us off because they can't be bothered to see whether we're legitimate or not? They will see the URL & assume splog, & then rankings etc will be for naught. Thoughts?

Scott said...

Oh my goodness...I hadn't been here in a while and I see you've solved several problems I was just thinking about on my blog template! Those being the drop down list for archives (brilliant) and the twistie categories (again, brilliant). I've got some research to do to figure out how you did that because I was just thinking about my ever-scrolling blog page that I want to tighten up but couldn't think of a solution.

To the questions at hand, I too am a blogspot user. I wasn't and then I changed to it because I feared losing my hosting earlier this year. Now I fear 'sploggers' ruining it for all of us.

Improbulus said...

Hmmm CB, is "humour" etc good - or bad? And the quotes, are you suggesting it's not really humourous, hey?! :P

Chicken little - thanks for the feedback.

John - call me cynical but I can't see Google, the big daddy of 'em all, stopping the indexing of Blogspot blogs. Seeing as Blogger is Google's baby, so to speak. So I reckon we're OK for a while yet. Search engines etc have simply got to work on their filters, it wouldn't make sense for them (as well as us bloggers) to cut out too many legit blogs. We'll see, I guess. Hopefully the readers will follow us to new blogs if we have to move hosts. Hopefully...

Scott, hi, nice to see you back. Yep I just spent last weekend sprucing things up around here a bit - and not before time. Can't take credit for the archives dropdown, found the link in Blogger help. The categories, that was my buddy Truckspy's idea to adapt the show/hide code mentioned in the Blogger help again (see my post about the changes). But I had to insert the posts list manually, I fear. Already a bit out of date! Anyway, yes as you say sploggers are a pain in the proverbial for all of us. Let's hope Blogger manage to get rid of them without affecting us legit users. If Google throw enough money at it (and certainly they're not short of a bob or two) they should surely come up with something workable? Or am I being over-optimistic here?

Kirk said...

I say keep it all in one place. I like it all right in one spot so I can get my paws on it..or something ;-)

While Blogger Buzz is talking about design mistakes, I wish for the luvapete someone would tell them to optimize their header image. 138kb for a crappy header is a long wait on dialup-you would think the brains at google could figure out how to reduce that image (sorry to rant..it's been bothering me for awhile)..i feel better now.

Improbulus said...

Kirk, you oughta do it then! Though has it helped to get it off your chest now? :D

dreamweaver said...

One blog. Multiple blogs are just such hard work to maintain. And anyway, now that you have a category list in your sidebar, one can find just about anything you wish to find related to blogging hacks.

Improbulus said...

Thanks for sharing your view dw (if I may abbreviate!).

Web 2.0 & Usability Blog said...

Keep it here, as long as it's all categorized, right?