What big business can learn from weblogs

Posted by Giles Turnbull, 11 January 2001

Weblogs generate regular traffic and create highly interlinked communities of readers and creators.

They have also created a new series of memes and styles of web presentation, with an emphasis on timeliness.

And this is one thing that weblogs can teach the creators of corporate web sites and intranets. Too many sites in these two categories fail because they fail to inspire and interest their readers.

Successful weblogs are all about regular updates and lively, interesting content that engages the reader.

I'd like to see some corporate sites that are more like weblogs. Sites that add new and interesting content almost every day, in an engaging way. Sites with layers and layers of hierarchical navigation are all very well, but they can get over-bearing and dull. Too many sites are starting to look the same, feel the same, and copy each other just because they think there is a certain "way" building corporate sites.

Similarly, intranets have a lot to learn from weblogs. A collaborative weblog can be made into an excellent basis for an intranet; as long as there is an effective way of archiving and searching old posts, and an editor in charge who can monitor the best posts and highlight them.

One idea I am keen to explore is a dual-use weblog; one that acts as a intranet for employees of an organisation, but also has a public-facing web front end, accessible by anyone. Items submitted by employees can be either kept private, appearing only on the intranet, or made public, appearing on both.

This way an organisation builds an internal knowledge building system, and a public means of building a reputation and showing off the team's collective knowledge to clients.

Two existing sites stand out as examples of corporate sites that have been inspired in the same way, and which inspired me to come up with these thoughts. They are Signals versus Noise and NUblog from Contenu.nu.

Front page, discussion, email: giles@gorjuss.com