Professional Blogging

Meg Hourihan has written in her O’Reilly column (aside: how does one get a job writing for O’Reilly? That seems a pretty kick-ass gig) about something that I’ve been thinking about this past week in relation to bookbuffet.com

She writes:

I love cooking and I really enjoy Bruce Cole’s Sauté Wednesday Weblog. Imagine if Mr. Cole were able to write the blog full-time? What if FoodTV or Food & Wine were to pay him to do it? There would be more posts, more links to restaurant reviews, opinions on new cookbooks, and notes about upcoming programming on FoodTV or local appearances by celebrity chefs. If it were updated multiple times a day with useful information, maybe I’d subscribe. Maybe you’d subscribe to one on an important topic that interests you, personally or professionally. Imagine a virus Weblog to track the latest developments in anti-virus software, provide updates about critical software patches, and notify you when the next ‘Code Red’ or ‘I Love You’ virus is wreaking havoc on the Web.

Bookbuffet is going to need a full-time manager to ensure the site stays current in its links to reading & book-group resources, so that members always have new content to look at. Why not pair this resource with a weblog, by whoever is hired to be the site editor. This blog would clearly be topical on matters related to reading, and in particular, to book groups. Pointing out links to other book group resources (possibly counter-intuitive. For a compelling argument, read this), author sites, book reviews, etc, etc. The possibilities of posts on the topic of ‘books & book groups’ is virtually limitless.

Of course, having just completed the site, I don’t particularly want to re-work it to give prominence to such a thing (although, it would be fairly simple, I think), and certainly the tools could easily work as a weblog (I’ve thought on occasion of putting up a Pencilcase-Lite somewhere that folk could use as a blogging tool. But there’s the whole having to support it, etc, etc and the laziness factor sets in). Perhaps once the dust has settled, and the client realizes that indeed a full-time site-editor will be required (which, as far as I know, is not currently the case), we can progress forth with such an idea – off to the side somewhere to test it out at first, of course.

6 Replies to “Professional Blogging”

  1. I think web blogs work best with limited content. Perhaps a commercial blog would have more guests, more recipes, etc… And that soon becomes the problem. Miss a day or two of checking in, and suddenly every bit of content is new, and you get buried in information. For example, http://www.nwvault.com, is pretty much run like a blog. Yet it is starting to reach a point where so much information is added each day, that when a guy like me checks in once a week even, 50 entries have already expired before I’ve had a chance to read them. And suppossing I’m checking in because I remembered an interesting link to some other site, that I’m now trying to track down, good luck searching through the archives.

    I think a blog format is appropriate to situations involving small amounts of information, or where currency is of paramount importance.

    A professional cooking blog? Interesting, but cooking doesn’t change fast enough for timeliness to be important. And with too many recipes, a blog isn't the best way to organize info. A traditional recipe cookbook, with catageroized organization would make more sense. A “what’s new” page would be useful, but not a blog.

    Blogs I believe are best suited to political and news sites, where timeliness is most important.

  2. I think web blogs work best with limited content. Perhaps a commercial blog would have more guests, more recipes, etc… And that soon becomes the problem. Miss a day or two of checking in, and suddenly every bit of content is new, and you get buried in information. For example, http://www.nwvault.com, is pretty much run like a blog. Yet it is starting to reach a point where so much information is added each day, that when a guy like me checks in once a week even, 50 entries have already expired before I’ve had a chance to read them. And suppossing I’m checking in because I remembered an interesting link to some other site, that I’m now trying to track down, good luck searching through the archives.

    I think a blog format is appropriate to situations involving small amounts of information, or where currency is of paramount importance.

    A professional cooking blog? Interesting, but cooking doesn’t change fast enough for timeliness to be important. And with too many recipes, a blog isn&#039t the best way to organize info. A traditional recipe cookbook, with catageroized organization would make more sense. A “what’s new” page would be useful, but not a blog.

    Blogs I believe are best suited to political and news sites, where timeliness is most important.

  3. Well, I think I disagree with you on this one. I think blogs work best for a passionate topic. One that the author feels strongly about, and is likely to engender discussion or thought amongst readers. A cooking blog, for instance, may include recipes, but one day the post might be about grating techniques, cooking equipment, etc. A professional cooking blog, run by say, Emeril, would include his thoughts on cooking process, etc – not interesting to me, but to the cooking fanatics around the office, probably.

    Also, a professional blog does not mean more posts, but it might mean a longer post, or more insight per post. One could argue that sites like builder.com are in many ways blogs themselves, with multiple authors. Certainly, articles list in a blog-like manner, you can comment on each one. Only each article is multiple pages long (although there’s no real need for that, IMO).

    If there are lots of posts and you only read once a week, sure, you’re going to miss stuff. But if you don’t read the paper cover to cover every day you’re going to miss stuff to. What’s incumbent upon the blogger is to ensure there is an adequate search engine on their site. With new tools such as the google API, not having one is becoming inexcusable (I happen to use MT-search, myself) (not the results page is a little buggy right now if you look at it).

  4. Well, I think I disagree with you on this one. I think blogs work best for a passionate topic. One that the author feels strongly about, and is likely to engender discussion or thought amongst readers. A cooking blog, for instance, may include recipes, but one day the post might be about grating techniques, cooking equipment, etc. A professional cooking blog, run by say, Emeril, would include his thoughts on cooking process, etc – not interesting to me, but to the cooking fanatics around the office, probably.

    Also, a professional blog does not mean more posts, but it might mean a longer post, or more insight per post. One could argue that sites like builder.com are in many ways blogs themselves, with multiple authors. Certainly, articles list in a blog-like manner, you can comment on each one. Only each article is multiple pages long (although there’s no real need for that, IMO).

    If there are lots of posts and you only read once a week, sure, you’re going to miss stuff. But if you don’t read the paper cover to cover every day you’re going to miss stuff to. What’s incumbent upon the blogger is to ensure there is an adequate search engine on their site. With new tools such as the google API, not having one is becoming inexcusable (I happen to use MT-search, myself) (not the results page is a little buggy right now if you look at it).

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