I thought this would be a good first blog post.
Of course I don’t hate all blogs. There are a few that I really like and almost regularly read. But in general, both structurally as well as conceptually, blogs are among the worst kind of website imaginable.
The layout of blogs is appalling. Pages or “posts” aren’t ordered by topic but simply by publishing date. And the dreadful thing they call “tag cloud” that’s supposed to help make up for the absence of navigational functions does more harm than good.
New visitors get to know a blog not by browsing the website but just by reading their newest posts until they either become a devoted follower or encounter a post they passionately disagree with after which they either leave for ever, or threaten to do so, or just get banned after a raging argument in the comments.
Nobody links older posts to newer posts and rarely even link newer posts to older ones. And older posts pretty much never get updated or corrected. Instead, bloggers just write a new post and perhaps add “I wrote about this before”. As a result, you get an ever expanding graveyard of old, irrelevant and unread posts, doomed to obsolescence.
The worst example of this is tumblr. People often share pictures from tumblr but when you click through to the source, it isn’t there anymore because it was on page 34 at the time it was shared but now got pushed down to page 103 by newer posts and the only way to find out where a picture came from is to search through ALL of the thousands of posts – only to find that it’s also just a share from another tumblr. It’s also a disaster for acknowledging the original creators who usually haven’t even allowed their work to be passed on.
Because, even a very large website can be designed so that no page is more than two or three levels down from the home page. That way, even the oldest posts are “close to home” so to speak and don’t get forgotten or lost.
Don’t believe me?
Imagine you have a menu bar with 10 sections and in each section there are 10 categories and in each category there are 10 posts. Then you have one thousand posts each of which can be found with two clicks and never have a list of more than 10 items to scroll through.
The blogging equivalent is to have one long list of a thousand posts probably divided into pages with 5 – 10 posts per page meaning that you end up with 100 – 200 pages to search through.
The only interesting blogs out there are those dedicated to a specific topic. They might have the occasional off-topic post but generally stick with one (that’s my intention with this blog). But the concept of blogging makes even most of the topical blogs eventually deteriorate into nothing other than a more elaborate facebook wall with posts like “I just had coffee at xyz” – only interesting for the most fanatic followers.
That is why structuring blogs by topic would be a lost cause for almost all blogs out there. Lets face it, topics are interesting but people generally aren't. The only time people are interesting is when they have some extraordinary experience to share and then it's the experience (i.e. another topic) that's interesting.
I have been battling with myself over this for a while. Here’s why I caved in: