I could not but help to write about this when I read Lorelle’s blogging challenge – Testing Your Blog Clicking Experience. The reason it was so tempting was because just a month back I had consciously tried to identify what I clicked on while reading a blog. So here it goes!
Data and Metadata
I come to know of a blog either through other blogs or through search engines. In the former case, it is more of blog surfing and the latter is in search of content. The first time I visit a blog, and reading post(s) on the page I head to know more about the blog and the author. Usually, this is what leads me to decide whether I should return to this blog or not. Which brings us to the next important item I click on, subscribing to the feed. Some of the blogs still do not support feeds, which is sad, but most of them today do. There have been some exceptional cases where the posts were so fulfilling that I subscribed to the feed without reading anything else.
At this stage I have gone beyond scanning the blog. I click on categories or tags or whatever navigation provided so that I can try to understand how the blog is setup. This helps me make a mental note and map the blog to the kind of information I would come to this blog for. Next time I need anything there, I do check it up along with googling for it. In some cases, reading the blog before googling saves a lot of time and effort.
Author and Blogshelf
While reading about the blog I try to find more about the people behind the blog. More emphasis cannot be put on this than by saying that blogs are conversations. Some are not initiated, some are left halfway, but they are intended to be conversations. Not only through the comments, the whole linking phenomenon, which now even newspapers have started to adopt, ends up building a conversation on a topic. I like to find out what’s on that author’s blogshelf. The ones I like endup in my list of blogs to read and this affair with growing number of blogs continues. In my opinion, this recursive discovery of blogs is the hidden treasure of blogging.
Sometimes I do click on the photos or the listened songs but that is a rarity. I would not call it as a habit, in fact the habit is opposite of this.
Software and Design
Last but not the least, I gather some more information that stimulates the engineer inside me. I try to find out information about the design and the philosophy behind it. This adds to my experience, now I can enjoy the good points and I get to know the bad points that I should not repeat when I design. I try to test the blog on different fronts – usability, accessibility and performance. Then it is the software tool used to setup the blog. WordPress, Movable Type, Text Pattern, JRoller, … there are so many and it is so involving to see how the design makes most of the tool.
License, Help, etc.
Surprisingly I never used to read the license or the disclaimers, they never bothered me. But my blogging experience has taught me to expect the unexpected. I read up the license, disclaimers or any such information, especially if I am going to link to the site or quote something from it. Usually getting linked and quoted is a good thing, but someone might not like it and I have to respect it. I try to see if the blog owner has posted help for going about the site. I enjoy reading things like help, it makes me feel that the blog owner has thought about me and makes me feel more comfortable.
When I had started reading the blogs, I usually referred to them with the blog names. Today I refer to them by the people behind them, probably because of the way I read blogs.
Copyright Abhijit Nadgouda.