My sister and I have been engaged in a dialog about the merits of weblogs versus traditional Web sites and it’s evolved into a quite interesting discussion. She asks: “I still don’t see how a blog would be better for me
than a web site. I don’t see why a person would want to come to my site
often to see what I’m up to.”
Well, think of the blog as the web site. Then imagine that you wanted to write a paragraph or two about, say, your fabric shopping adventure while visiting the Big Apple. With a blog, you could do so at any computer by simply logging in to your blog backend, typing in just the paragraphs as if it were an email message, with no HTML, then ‘publish’ing it. Poof, a new entry on the home page, updated category pages, and a new standalone page on your weblog that’s just that entry by itself. Sound easy? How about compared to having to monkey with something like Dreamweaver or FrontPage every time?
Further, I think you need to get beyond the “why would they come to me” question, because one of the best things about weblogs is that they generate something called RSS, which is a syndication device. We’re just starting to see critical mass, but there are lots of RSS aggregators and RSS readers that make it appear that your site will come to them magically whenever you post something. I have thousands of people who subscribe to my RSS feeds (which means that their RSS program polls my site every few hours to see if there’s anything new) and when I post a new weblog entry they all read the excerpt and, if I’ve written it well enough, click through to my actual Web page.
She continues: “Guess I just don’t get it. I’ve gone to people’s art blog sites to see what they are doing only when they post on a message list … go see my latest ‘whatever’. I don’t save their sites and never go back.”
Right. The reality is that many, if not most weblogs are boring personal drivel and poorly written pabulum from the hoi polloi. I certainly don’t care about what people ate for dinner, whether they’re fighting with their girlfriend, what movie they just saw, etc. Having said that, though, there are quite definitely some extremely interesting weblogs where people are building an online persona and then leveraging it to build traffic and a reputation.
But even without that, even without any of this ‘feed’ stuff, a weblog just makes a nice and straightforward content management system.
Now am I making sense?