I’m going to make this short and sweet just to prove a point: Jakob Nielsen has lost it. You can stop reading now since you’re stupid and aren’t considering buying anything based on reading a blog.
That’s basically the point of Jakob’s article – blogging isn’t worth a company’s time. I need to preface this before I begin, because…
I completely respect his work and opinions; as a former designer I actually have lobbied against graphics and have followed his advice in favor of making sites more usable and informative. Furthermore, I have attended Edward Tufte’s talk on information architecture and admire his work as well.
That being said, think there’s a balance between Twitter, and creating a 10 page diatribe and creating 100% Flash-based web sites. You have to know your audience, and there is no cookie cutter piece of advice ANYONE can give about blogging, because every situation, company and objective is different.
Mr. Neilsen recently told a “consultant’s consultant” that he shouldn’t start a blog on his website. Realistically, if Jakob had his way we’d all be in 1996 with hyperlinks and plain text pages. Ok, that’s taking it a bit far, but not too far.
So was this quote from his article:
Blogs are also fine for websites that sell cheap products.
Really? So GM (a client), Boeing, Sun and the like should scrap their blogs because their products are cheap? And they’re best served trying to connect to communities by publishing articles and white papers? Give me a break.
The assumption that’s being made, and I admit that this post clearly isn’t proof of it, is that all blog posts are just brief comments on someone else’s thoughts. So you’re telling me there isn’t new thinking or things NOT published elsewhere on blogs? Hogwash.
Here’s a gem as well:
You must change the game and create content that’s so valuable that business users are willing to pay for it.
Really? Users have to pay for your content? Isn’t it free on your site, though, Jakob? GM Chrysler, as the king of usability you must have looked at a log file or two to know that the most visited pages on corporate sites are the “Jobs” pages. Should users pay for this created content too?
Jumping out of the 90’s and taking it a step further – if you’re a company with a bad reputation, wouldn’t a blog allow insight into the company’s psyche and let employees do the talking? Please show me that is worth less than an article published by the CEO or HR Director in the trade rag about how great it is to work there. All research points that traditional means are fading in the eyes of consumers, so stick with it? Really?
You should also focus on material that lower-ranked content contributors can’t easily create in their spare time.
See, I think you’re missing the point here, Jakob. It’s not about taking content or even being the only one thinking something – it’s about connecting and creating community around an idea, product, vision or, yes, blog. And the blog can entail all of the aforementioned things.
He wraps up his post with this:
Elite, expertise-driven sites are the exception to the rule. For these sites, you don’t care about 90% of users, because they want a lower level of quality than you provide and they’ll never pay for your services. People looking for the quick hit and free advice are not your customers. Let them eat cake; let them read Wikipedia.
First of all, *oh snap* at the Wikipedia reference.
Second, I want to ask you, lower level of quality reader, how are you liking this so far? Anything useful you can take to your boss or clients? Jakob, get off your soap box for five brief minutes and join the conversation. Although in this instance Jakob remains the expert by telling the rest of you, yes YOU, blog reader, that you’re stupid and don’t purchase based on a company’s social media actions. You’re just out to steal content and it’s really e-mail marketing and long articles that cause you to buy or try products — not word of mouth or connecting with a company or opinions that are reinforcing your purchasing decision.
Well, enough of this “long” post… Time to make like Jakob and 23-skidoo out of here. I’m off to the corner malt shop for a Cherry-flavored Coke!