It’s not enough to have a blog. You have to write it too. Jason 14 Apr 2005

12 comments Latest by Alex King

Businesses are starting to wake up to blogs (even Boeing’s VP of Marketing has a blog). “We gotta have a blog!” is being shouted from the highest floors of the tallest buildings. But look out below, blogs are a lot of work. And a rarely updated blog is worse than no blog at all.

Take the Squarespace blog. I think Squarespace is a great product. Looks great, works great. Anthony Casalena is a really talented guy. But their blog (which they promote twice on their home page) hasn’t been updated since January. As a potential customer that might lead me to believe that the product is dead. Is it? The blog acts like it is.

So… Be careful what you wish for or it might come true. And then what? If you set expectations, you better deliver.

12 comments so far (Jump to latest)

One of several Steves 14 Apr 05

And why exactly are businesses jumping on the blog bandwagon and thinking they absolutely have to have one? It’s starting to sound like 1998 again: “We have to have a portal.” “We have to have whatever trend it is that everyone else is buzzing about.”

There can certainly be useful applications for business blogging - such as collaborative communication for work teams - and certain businesses benefit well from a public-facing blog. But most businesses arguably don’t need them. And just like few people care what I think about what’s going on in the world (and, apparently, neither do I, since I have one of the stalest blogs on the planet) , few people care what Company X has to say about the trends going on around them.

A dead, lifeless tool is the inevitable result when a company implements a tool because they “have to” based on trends rather than an actual business need.

wayne 14 Apr 05

Blogging is a commitment not to be taken lightly.

Mark 14 Apr 05

I think with a business blog you have to have a delicate balance between frequency of posts and relevancy. Sure, not posting for several months after doing so on a weekly basis gives the impression one’s product or service is dead, but on the other hand, posting weekly about stuff that is more relevant on a personal site than a business site is likewise a sure sign that a service / product is dying – or never really existed in the first place.

Squarespace, I feel, is suffering from a poorly executed strategy. The teaser ad on their front page alludes to reading the blog to find out more about the company. Yet, none of the posts have anything to do with the company specifically, but more about what Apple is doing, comparing bloggers and journalists, or hyping the consultants which helped Squarespace launch that blog.

A. Casalena 14 Apr 05

No kidding!

I’ve actually got a lot to say on the prospect of how difficult/easy/appropriate it is to maintain a corporate blog. I’m frankly not cut out to be a blogger, in a lot of ways, and maintaining the personal site vs. the blog is really hard for me and doesn’t reflect well. I already couldn’t maintain my personal site with any sort of velocity. I _hate_ writing out of any sort of commitment — I need to only be required to write when I really have something to say. It doesn’t mesh with what was required from the SS blog.

I’ve actually got a two page entry on when a corporate blog is appropriate, and when one isn’t, ready to go live in a few from my personal site — somewhat founded in experiences with the blog you’re referencing. But then do I publish this to the corporate one? It’s nonsensical: I can’t separate them properly. Our blog has always been more of a news feed, as it stands. I’d instead like to have our customers blog about us, instead of blogging ourselves — which of course is a strategy that equates to “make an insane product, then hope”.

Steves: I think you’re almost spot on. The blog was an experiment. Keep in mind that not everything you find on the web equates to 100% of where our attention was going, even if it’s got the magic “blog” buzzword on it. What to do regarding the blog and such has been a moderate-priority item on my todo for some time. Now we’re where we are now — thanks for the reminder to shape this up.

Jamie 14 Apr 05

Seems like the easy answer is to hire a professional blogger. A new employment position for the new economy of Web 2.0?

Don Schenck 14 Apr 05

I have two blogs, one personal and one for my business.

The personal one I update several times a week. It’s easy to come up with stuff.

But the business blog has been a challenge. I don’t know what to write. I guess I just need to not assume that my readers know everything that I do, and share information.

Thanks for the nudge.

Scott 14 Apr 05

How about this example:

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Official Movie Blog

Movie comes out in a couple of weeks. Blog was last updated in June 2004. (And the photo gallery has a grand total of 2 photos.)

John Zeratsky 14 Apr 05

I’m with “One of several Steves” (first comment):

It’s pretty safe to say that businesses are starting blogs now only because it’s trendy to do so. Worse yet, few of the new business bloggers are really making the most of it. Whether they write or not, many times they simply fail to live up to the potential of the medium. Often, I think it’s because their culture or internal policies don’t allow it.

And there are definitely a lot of companies that don’t need a blog.

Switch 14 Apr 05

Whaddayaknow, they updated their blog! Gee-whiz, do you guys think 37 signals’ referral had anything to do with it?

A. Casalena 14 Apr 05

..umm, well of course it did :)

Dan Boland 14 Apr 05

Not to sound like a kiss-ass, but I think 37signals does the “business blog” pretty well. Most of the posts are in regards to their products, their business, and the issues that are relevant to both. But they also keep in mind that a blog is, for lack of a better word, a journal, and have posted about things like Jason’s search for a Treo charger. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Alex King 14 Apr 05

I’d say that 37signals’ blog is one of the best examples of a well balanced business blog. As Dan said, they have a good mix of topics, including,

design, customer experience, entertainment, politics, Basecamp, products we like, small business, ourselves, and more.

That pretty much sums it up.

Another blog I think has achived this would be the folks at BusinessLogs.com, with some delightfully off topic entries.

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