Year-end Top Ten lists are generally annoying. (Having said that, I reserve the right to write my own gimmick post, if I think it will give me more traffic.) In any event, Google Blogoscoped has posted a list of "10 Web Trends That Should Die in 2006." You can read them all, but my favorite is #6:
6. “Let’s do a traditional homepage for our company.”A traditional homepage typically consists of:
- A nested navigational structure with no way to find out which parts have changed,
- A lonely press release corner titled “News”,
- Practically no external links unless the site linked to is an official partner in some way,
- A hypothetical “front-door navigation path” approach to usability, which is so ’94,
- No signatures or date stamps below articles,
- Advertisement bogus content, which no one cares to read about.
I completely identify with this. I've talked to a lot of folks this year about subjects like blogs and podcasts, and I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Well, we're already spending $X,000 to have someone rebuild our website." I want to grab them by the shoulders, shake them, and scream: "Save your money!!"
Sure, a site rebuild is sometimes necessary. But have you seen what folks are able to do with blogging software nowadays? There's no reason most corporate websites shouldn't be rebuilt with WordPress or Typepad. Check out AgWired, which I mentioned the other day. Chuck's website is his blog. His blog is his website. There's no separation between the two, because there's no need for it. A blog-type site can enable a businsess or organization to do everything it does with its regular website, and more.
I don't advocate blogs because they're "cool" or "new" or "trendy." I advocate them because they're the best way to communicate with an audience. They are essentially the closest thing we've seen on the Internet to a real electronic "storefront," complete with the shopkeeper on duty to answer questions. Techical issues aside, a blog is just simply the best model for communicating, marketing and building loyalty among potential customers. Period.