After reading “Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration” by Andrew P. MkAfee (source) last week I have finally found some free time to articulate my thoughts and bloggerize it. Somewhat late I know, I intend to hopefully catch up by the end of this week and post some comments on the other blogs.
The SLATES paradigm is a set of principles which outline the core functions a modern day blog should incorporate to help it shine and stand out from the millions of other blogs on the internet. The paradigm stands for the following:
- Search: A search functionality is an essential functionality in any web software where new content is constantly being published. This allows old blog posts to be easily located by users long after they have been bumped off the front page.
- Links: Links are the most important aspect in relation to increasing your page rank in the many search engines available on the internet such as Google and Bing!. Links is very generalized term and page rank increases by linking to external websites, linking to previous blog entries as well as getting your content published on other sites with links from those sites to the original blog entry.
- Authoring: User generated content is very important in any web 2.0 application such as wikis, forums, social networking services and also blogs. Authoring not only applies to the fact that there should be a steady stream of blog entries but also includes that visitors may want to comment on the entry and give their own opinion.
- Tags: A tagging system if used correctly can be used to lead viewers to related content. Tags are allocated to a blog entry (usually by the poster) and over time many blog entries may have the same tag. Someone who is reading the entry can then select the tag and view items with the same tag. Tags are also useful in generating related posts type data and providing more targeted results in the blog search function.
- Extensions: Extensions is the analysis of a variety of data to target the viewer and link them to recommended items. Most blogging software will rank the recommended articles by content similarity and tags. Other things which are sometimes taken into consideration are number of comments, the blog author and previously viewed articles.
- Signalling: RSS feeds are the most common implementation of signalling. They allow viewers to easily check multiple websites for new content from a variety of applications. RSS feed aggregators are a common tool for users who want to quickly see the latest headlines all in one place. Not only are they used for blogs but also other modern web platforms including forums and wikis and because they conform to a defined standard there is software for available for all platforms and even a few online RSS services such Google Reader.
What make a blog great?
In my opinion what makes a blog stand out is an array of active commenters’ with a wide range of different views. Web 2.0 tools are designed with communication and collaboration in mind and without this static pages are just as useful.
Another aspect of blogs which keeps me reading is a balance of the users opinion along with known facts about the topic discussed by the post. It is always great to see what the author thinks of a subject rather than just the regurgitation of facts and gives me something to compare my own opinion to.
Integrating your blog with web services such as Twitter and Facebook greatly increases how quickly information spreads. This is because of the large the user bases of those services and the fact that their primary purpose is to quickly spread small bits of information to the masses, whether it be friends, family, co-workers or the world.
Customizing the blogging software itself is also good to make your blog more unique. For WordPress it is as simple as searching their plugins website for modifications which fill your needs. Some great plugins are:
All in One SEO Pack: This plugin offers a variety of options which are designed to improve your page ranking on search engines such as Google and Bing.
Examples of Good Blogs
PSP Hacks: Well this is an example I have been thinking of all week. Until I updated to Firefox 4.0b3 and lost Ad-Block plus for the moment. This site looks half decent with the ads hidden away and what makes it an excellent blog is the following:
- The theme is not some generic download from the WordPress site but is custom made to reflect the primary focus area of the site (the PSP handheld gaming system).
- Has many active commenters’ and usually receives new content on a daily basis.
- Integrates with Facebook to allow users to share blog posts with their friends.
- Has a news bar which seems to randomly change between items in the RSS feed every few seconds.
- Utilizes the jQuery library to provide some nice scrolling/fading effects on mouse over.
- Lots of multimedia included in the blog posts including both pictures and videos.
- The downfall of this site however in my opinion is the large amounts of advertising. This puts a major dent in how attractive the site appears to visitors and while a few well placed and targeted ad blocks can help cover costs of running the web server it is important to not abuse them as too much advertising is just as helpful as no advertising at all.
What is a blog?
So what does everyone think? What are some other ways to attract users? What makes a blog great?