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Thoughts on blog organization

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After migrating the blog from WordPress.com, I reflected on how you can organize and access blogs. Internet searches land you on a list of sites. Site selection places you on a page. Once on a page, the page can include a blog search feature, but it is limiting. Blog searches simply return all potentially related blog posts and pages in a ranked order. They don’t organize data into information, and they don’t cross reference data to create information.

Blog searches by themself didn’t seem to address good design patterns. Popular web site design patterns (1) limit the depth of navigational steps and (2) consolidate information into singular locations. At first blush, it seems blogs are ill suited to anything like that. They seem more like rambling brain dumps of what we’re working on at the moment. Things that you perceive have high value get placed in blog pages, while low value information is tossed out as blog posts.

Blog pages are not natively organized and can proliferate too quickly, making your site overwhelming to visitors. Overwhelming because they don’t know where to start. You can organize blog pages into topical trees, like the illustration from my updated blog (shown on the left). Unfortunately, this only addresses blog pages, and excludes blog posts.

Any cross reference between the information is limited to current other blog entries. After all, future blog entries are unknown. This can lead to disconnected pieces of data in a blog. I decided to stop this insanity in my blog because it was taking me too long to find something already written. It was becoming like some of the forums, rich with data but time consuming to navigate. My solution is to create subject summary pages, like Oracle Configuration and Oracle PL/SQL Programming. My summary pages include organized references to blog pages and posts. The second change is to consolidate information by updating older blogs, which makes them more complete. I was doing that to blog pages but now I’m including blog posts.

As Confucius did or didn’t say, a picture is worth many words …

Written by maclochlainn

November 16th, 2008 at 12:32 am

Posted in WordPress

2 Responses to 'Thoughts on blog organization'

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  1. I think a summary or introduction page is not a bad idea, it’s something I have though about but not done anything about… yet.

    One thing you don’t mention is the use of tagging and categories to help people navigate and the ‘possibly related posts’ feature of wordpress.com is an interesting way to navigate too.

    David Haimes

    16 Nov 08 at 1:42 am

  2. David makes a great point! I’ve been using categories and tags. The categories are available for blog posts and pages but tags are only available on blog posts.

    You can click on the categories or tags link to search related content. Tags become search keys when your blog is hosted on WordPress.com site. Tags are tremendously powerful there. Tags on WordPress.com can become search keys that quickly rank high against Google’s search engine.

    Meta tags are another technique for improving search hits before folks find the site. I’ve found that the All in One SEO Pack plug-in helps increase blog visibility to searches.

    maclochlainn

    16 Nov 08 at 10:33 am

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