Monday, February 12, 2007

Watch your blogging - and build your 'Google webography'

Gerry McGovern has published another article, " Don't let yopur blog come back and haunt you " with the good common sense advice his readers have come to expect.

The article in question is around blogging as an available personal record and thus the need for careful consideration when writing so things don't come back to bite you.

But this needs to extend past just blogging to feedback, forum posts, blog comments anything that has your name on it and is availble online.

I do believe in open and frank discussion around the professional issues we all face but I have always been careful not to get personal or to criticise certain companies too directly. I also tend not to mention my employers directly where possible to allevaite any concerns that may raise in the future.

'Google webography'

While 'censoring your writing' could be considered a cop-out I have found that blogging has been a strong professional marketing tool that helps build a 'Google webography' (mine has been mostly positive to date) and in terms of developing my career I take the perception of a potential employer/client very seriously.

I would highlight that the mere fact of writing a blog or having a good 'Google webography' (a distinct name helps) does not mean what I have to say is any better or worthwhile than those people that don't, but the perception is definitely far stronger. It has got me invited to speak at conferences (thus adding to my profile) and it is always a welcome surprise to have someone come up and say they read (and like) my blog.

In his excellent book, 'Ambient Findability', Peter Morville mentions that Google has become the defacto answer base for many users who now tend to ignore other sources of data (to the dread of many librarians). Essentially for these users if its not on Google it doesn't exist. Obviously this should be considered nonsense (the user's perception not Morville) but in terms of online marketing Google is basically the beginning, end and the majority in-between.

Other great ideas to build your webography are commenting on articles, partcipating in forums, link classification and sharing sites such as de.li.cio.us and providing links through to other relevant sites and articles.

Essentially the basics of SEO should be followed.

In the end this means that what you have to say needs to be interesting and of value to your readers who will hopefully (yes that means you) bookmark and link to your site and subscribe to your RSS feed.

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Nielsen's top usability problems

Informit.com has published a full chapter of Hoa Loranger and Jakob Nielsen's new book Prioritizing Web Usability.

It's handy as unlike Nielsen's own site it has full examples and links to the problems the chapter mentions.

Admittedly none of the things mentioned will be new to most of us but it could be a handy few pages to keep to use as a good introductory article for those in your own organisation that need some pointers around basic usability and accessibility standards and guidelines.

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