by Stan Faryna
I read a lot of blogs. Maybe, too many. I comment on a lot of blog posts. Maybe, too many. If you are a Triberrati, you do too.
A Triberrati is a blogger that stands out in the Triberr community. Triberr is a web app that connects bloggers and helps them to curate each other on Twitter. You can learn all about Triberr by reading any of the following posts about it.
Gary Portnoy, Where everybody knows your name (Cheers theme song)
Earth Date 2011.10.21
Just some of the blogs that I commented on this week:
15. The power of visualization by Seth Godin
The Philosophy of Beauty, Part One
Moveable Feasts, Scooby Snacks, Etcetera
Jon seems to be complaining that blogs look terribly similar.
What is the purpose of a business blog? What is it’s function?
Common sense will say that the purpose of a business blog is to do business. Depending upon the business to be doing, a business blog seeks to present it’s service(s) or product(s) to more than one buyer. To be noticed among other offers (complementary, competitive, or otherwise, a business blog must immediately stand out from all those other blogs in one way or another. This immediacy shall not be dictated by words (which take time and attention to evaluate). Thus the design decision to be made whether to offend (stab you in the eyes) or please the senses in some approximation of the Beautiful.
An excellent example of an offensive, modern business blog design is Penelope Trunk’s blog: http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/
I am not saying Penelope’s blog design is bad design. In fact, I find this blog design to be clever, effective and powerful. It solves some of the most common blog problems with the same abrupt, hard, and shocking visual style that echoes Penelope Trunk’s editorial style. In my humble opinion, Penelope’s blog design is a successful execution of online brand.
Unfortunately, I have not yet come across an equally powerful example of a beautiful design for a business blog. But I think these blog designs are going in the right direction and they are not spending big bucks.
1. Keri Jaehnig’s blog
2. Rob Duncan’s blog
3. Jeffrey Zeldman’s blog
Despite all the enthusiasm and talk about brand, UX, and the importance of social media and blogging, the unquestioned trend is for business bloggers to cheap out when it comes to blog design.
What should I infer by you cheaping out?
1.That you’re not serious about your business and/or your customer.
2.That you don’t know how to do business?
3.That you don’t know what you are doing?
4.That you don’t have the resources to do business?
5.All of the above?
Most of the people who will come to your blog, however, do not have an informed opinion about brand, design, marketing, and business in general. That doesn’t mean they won’t have an subconscious response to your design. Or lack thereof.
A wow-ing blog design could cost you from twenty thousand to a million dollars if done by a reputable design company. If your blog brings you six digits per year ($100k/year), best practices recommend that you spend about $6000/year on blog design and layout.
Some of you may flinch at that number – especially since blogging and DIY seems to go together like a hand in a glove. But when’s the last time you showed up to a million dollar contract signing in pajamas made by your own hand? Or your sister’s friend’s grandmother? [grin]
Are you dressed for success? Or a sleepover?
That said, I know of several young, professional designers that would be happy to help you totally redesign your blog for $1000-$3,000 on a payment schedule. Email me if you want me to connect you with them: stan(dot)faryna(at)gmail(dot)com
Disqus was not accepting comments at the time of my comment.
If you are living behind the screen and not going out and meeting the people with whom you are friends on social media, you are missing out on the real value.
The real value in social media isn’t measured in your Klout score, the number of followers you have on Twitter, or the number of friends you have on Facebook.
That’s what Anthony Iannarino is saying.
Anthony is not wrong to recommend that we should meet up with the people with whom we connect with online. If the opportunity presents itself, meet ups will strengthen and deepen your online connections.
On the other hand, I do not believe that online connection must be as shallow and superficial as Anthony Iannarino might be suggesting them to be. To paraphrase Nietzsche, online communities are dead – if and only if Anthony is right.
While it would be naive to think that all of your followers on Twitter and all of your friends on Facebook consider you with intimate concern, I find myself deeply engaged with 20 people that I only know through online connection. And, perhaps, 100 in all.
The question has come up often across the years: Can online people be friends? Can people work together never having met face to face? Can they inspire, uplift, and serve each other? Can online communities have impact on the world?
The overwhelming beautiful, good, and true answer has been yes.
If there is a line between online and offline relationships, it is the line you have drawn in the sand. In other words, you have divided your own heart.
Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty. Hosea 10:2
And when a line is drawn in the sand and the cannons are fired, the only appropriate response of gentlemen and ladies is El Degüello – of course.
Jack wants to spiff up his blog design.
The blog design bug seems to have bitten our friend Jack Steiner. And not just him. The bug is going around.
This all takes me back to 1996 when web design was in its awkward infancy. Browser standards were just a pipe dream. DIY was all the rage. And since there was so much bad design going on out there, people weren’t embarrassed to put it out there much like what happens in a nudist colony.
That is not a dig against Jack or anyone else. Ok, I admit that I’ve always been entertained and amused by the DIY design movement, but I understand very well the want for beautiful solutions. For beauty ever points to even greater things – the good and the true, namely.
Bottom line: you either have good taste or you don’t. And it will show.
Beyond good taste, things are happening so fast on the social web. Technology is changing. Can you keep up? The DIY designer often doesn’t have the fundamentals of design (or information design) down – complementary colors, visual path, etc.
Can you also think beyond the desktop? Design is about solving problems. It’s about crafting beautiful solutions that anticipate and respond to your users’ needs. How does your DIY design respond to the various array of devices, browsers, and technologies?
I can recommend Ethan Marcote’s book, Responsive Web Design, if you really want to tumble down this rabbit’s hole.
The problem with multiple blogging platforms (like the previous lack of browser and html standards) is that development and design comes at a premium price. Not because developers and designers are greedy and evil per se, but it really takes them a lot of hours to figure things out and make it all work. This, of course, is all the work that goes beyond their education and experience as developers, designers, and UX architects.
Anyway, at the time of publication of his blog post, Jack had a very simple, white layout going. And I thought that was acceptable. I recommended that he increase the font size to 16 pt. Readability is one of the top five priorities in blog design.
That’s all I’m saying. Unless we’re going to talk business. [grin]
Murray is delighted when he gets a postcard from Davy of GhostBloggers.net – an online business that he has done business with in the past.
Post cards and cards are an awesome way to strengthen the online connection! I can’t recommend them enough!
My address is as follows (hint, hint):
Stirbei Voda Nr. 71, Ap.4,6
Bucharest, Romania 010105
Did I mention that my 42nd birthday is coming up? October 22nd, in fact.
Oh – I’m looking at a card right this minute. It’s from Christian Hollingsworth.
Thank you for being a defender of all things good in this world, Stan.
Your friend and brother,
You rock, Christian!
Janet asks important questions. Are you ready to be honest?
Do your possessions own you?
Does social media own you?
Do insufficient funds own you?
Here is an answer from my heart: http://wp.me/pbg0R-sv
What I didn’t write:
But I also hear this answer whispering to me from the depth of beauty:
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Exodus 20: 3-6
I do not present this citation as a dogma to simply embrace or reject, but as gentle meditation on what owns us, why, and how.
Richard gushes over the Ferrari design proposal by korean students Kim Cheong Ju, Ahn Dre, and Lee Sahnseok of Hongik University.
Ferrari captures, inspires, and fuels the imagination. If there were ever a modern adaption of Homer’s Iliad, I imagine Achilles kicking up dust across the Trojan plain. In a Ferrari.
Imagine that with me for a moment. Ah! Do you see that awesomeness? The beauty?!
Can you tell that I am a fan of Ferrari?
But I also think of Janet Callaway’s blog post, Who Owns You, and my complete answer. Everything considered, a Ferrari may be a unicorn, but it does not end world hunger or thirst. It does not roll down like Justice from heaven. Nor does it fall like Mercy – blessing both. Those who are merciful and those who receive mercy.
And with sadness, I have to consider that the imagination and ambitions of young men and women are wasted on unicorns and not the love for others that a humble man once asked of us – a man that was crucified, died, and resurrected for our salvation.
Now you have deeper insight about my birthday wish.
Christopher Columbus was a man of great patience, fortitude, and courage – not only imagination. The homepage of my previous company told the story of Discovery. Columbus suffered much and, in fact, the discovery of America was a failure for him and his investors. It was not a triumph. I imagine that the Admiral died feeling great loneliness, despair, and with a heart torn to a thousand pieces.
Few would follow in such footsteps. For bold footsteps as those are a poor imitation of the heavy, trembling steps of Christ carrying the cross. To his crucifixion!
They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. John 19:17
I don’t contradict you, James. When I say imitation, I have much admiration for the imitation. But as much admiration as I have fear for it too.
History is a handmaiden of God and her affections are not purchased cheaply.
That said, what shall we do first, my friend! For there is some solace in fellowship. Let us inspire the world to love, joy through love (not pride), hope through love (not envy), and much more.
Stacey has been missing in action for the longest time. But she’s back. It’s a comeback and she’s mixing up commerce with community.
It’s great to have you back. I was worried about you.
In my opinion there’s nothing wrong with mixing commerce and community. Commerce is essential to real world communities – even villages.
Myself, I’m developing a project for rural poverty that proposes to mix commerce, community, and culture.
If you would leave an encouraging comment regarding my changemaker project, I would be grateful.
be who you BE.
That’s what Sandi is saying.
This blog post is dripping with joi de vivre. Even @TheJackB was moved! Now that’s something!
But why is it that I’m the only one that “liked” your awesome blog post? [grin]
Celebration cannot just be fleeting smiling of the heart, true celebration must animate us to joyful and self-giving action. Like clicking the “like” button! [smile]
Jayme is saying, don’t be lazy. Don’t rehash or repurpose the content of other bloggers. Put some elbow grease into your blogging.
These are good strategies for building content for your blog posts.
It’s good to have you back, Jayme!
If I restate your 7 points in blog soup – is that a bad thing? Forgive me for asking, but I grow old and oh how some questions are not so easily answered. Not by this rabbit. And not questions like these.
For the quarrel of spirit and nature , as C.S. Lewis write about, makes a din that shuts out Prufrock’s songs of mermaids – the same songs to which Prufrock is also deaf.
I grow old. I grow old… I shall wear my trousers rolled. T.S. Eliot
The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock is here.
Disqus didn’t take my comment. It turns out the Disqus’ servers are a bit too impatient. They drop requests like a pigeon… [sigh]
Stories give people a reason to care about you and your business. If they care, doing business with them becomes a possibility. That’s why you need to create or drive the online conversation with stories, recommendations, and compelling narratives.
I think that’s what Gini is saying. Gini?
Gini Dietrich is such a pro, she makes it sound easy. Pros do that. They do or say things so well, it looks easy. Whether it’s PR, marketing, writing, design, etc., anyone awesome at what they do, makes it look like what they do is a no-brainer. That would be the furtherest thing from the truth.
If you can afford it, I recommend you go to Gini and get all the juicy details.
Danny has received comments like:
“Wow, Danny, you’re like the Freddy Krueger of blogging – wherever I turn, you’re there!”
Danny, I love your writing style. This may have been my first visit to Firepole Marketing…
And I have to suspect that your awesome writing skills had a lot more impact in building your guest blogging venues than shooting off an email on a whimsy. Actually, it sounds like there was nothing whimsical about what you did. I’m not convinced that all of your readers understand that.
Then we get to your strategy for creating presence within micro-networks (aka community infiltration). Again, there’s nothing whimsical about that either. You got a whole lot of madness and method going on – especially if you are charting it on Excel.
This will be a sensitive topic for some. But it is almost exactly the same strategy employed by some of the more savvy corporations, governments, and top PR professionals.
Lisa Barone is spreading the world about Hiscox’s MyStartUpStory Contest.
I would like to see Yomar Lopez and James St. John take their NJAB podcast story and go for the 10Gs. But there’s a lot of good people out there with awesome ideas. Don’t not get in on this!
Michael Schechter elaborates on Cody Fink’s blog post, Keep it Memorable, Stupid.
Cody’s post provides considerable insight. He’s thought long and hard about these things – whether or not he admits to it.
Michael’s digest is great for those who’s attention span grinds to a halt at 250 words. That’s not a dig at Michael. Summarizing Cody’s rambling style is a service.
Sucking Less, One Step At a Time has real pith and bite to it. Thanks, Michael.
15. The power of visualization by Seth Godin
“Data is not useful until it becomes information, and that’s because data is hard for human beings to digest.”
I like to poke Seth Godin with a stick. Because he throws out no-brainers – not powerful insights. Great insights illuminate, reveal, and explode the truth a la Foucault.
But since we started this blog soup about blog design, Seth Godin gets the last word this time.
Honestly, I just wanted to talk more about my previous blog post and give away. I wanted to think outloud about the possibility that people may not get excited or inspired by what I’m doing for Nisha.
If you haven’t seen it, check it out.
Luxurious decorations for your castle or estate http://wp.me/pbg0R-sv
Anyway, a link to Seth Godin’s blog post came floating down the brown Danube and I had that prescient and uncomfortable feeling that Seth is going to grab the 15th spot on this edition of blog soup.
“We repeatedly underestimate how important a story is to help us make sense of the world.”
What Seth didn’t write:
We repeatedly underestimate the role of design in helping us tell a story, making it memorable, and punctuating the take aways.
Does your blog design help your reader visualize your story as a blogger and the stories that you tell?
If you think that this blog post sucks, let me know in your comment and don’t forget to include a link to YOUR favorite blog post.
If you think this blog post rocks, tell me why it rocks in the comment. “Awesome,”"Great post,” etc. works for me. Don’t forget to include a link to YOUR most recent blog post.
If you’re in the mood, stop by my party and wish me a happy birthday here.
21 October 2011
P.S. Special Thanks to Bonnie Squires for her kind words about me in her most recent blog post.
More Blog Soup
1. Blog Soup: 2011.10.06 http://wp.me/pbg0R-r7
2. Blog Soup: 2011.09.22 http://wp.me/pbg0R-pF
3. Blog Soup: 2011:10:10 http://wp.me/pbg0R-rO
4. Blog Soup. 2011:10:13 http://wp.me/pbg0R-s9
5. Blog Soup. 2011.10.17 http://wp.me/pbg0R-sq
1. Why do I blog: http://wp.me/pbg0R-kX
2. If Tomorrow Was Your Last Day: http://wp.me/pbg0R-la
3. Money Can’t Buy Happiness: http://wp.me/pbg0R-lv
4. The First Duty of Love is to Listen: http://wp.me/pbg0R-lO
5. Are You Ready for Love? http://wp.me/pbg0R-lX
6. Reading The Desiderata. http://wp.me/pbg0R-mr
7. What is Love? http://wp.me/pbg0R-mw
8. Confessions of a Freak-Geek-Misfit. http://wp.me/pbg0R-nJ
9. Do you love strongly? http://wp.me/pbg0R-nY
10. Empty-handed, Less Traveled Roads. http://wp.me/pbg0R-on
11. The Economics of Friendship. http://wp.me/pbg0R-oU
12. Do Not Be Afraid. http://wp.me/pbg0R-p9