IT blogs can be used by a company to inform and educate both clients and employees, depending on their scope. However, often IT blogs become neglected or misused, and rather than being the asset they’re meant to be, they become less of a resource and more of an albatross. The following suggestions can make IT blogs more relevant for readers and could help make a tired, boring blog a go-to resource.
Ensure Content Is Relevant and Helpful
One of the biggest mistakes that IT departments make with their blogs is not clearly expressing the value of the information they’re offering to the reader. This leads to the “preaching to the choir” principle: the only people who will read the IT blog are the people who feel it affects them directly. However, what the IT department does often affects everyone directly, whether they realize it or not. So it’s important to make sure that the information conveyed has value to the widest range of readers possible on the subject—and that the readers know it.
Make Sure Navigation Is Seamless
It cannot be stressed enough that the user interface on an IT blog should be up-to-date and should be clearly visible as a resource. Ideally, everything on the site should be keyword and topic indexed at least, so that users searching without specific information will be able to find what they need. These are basic principles of modern web design, says Derek Halpern of Social Triggers, and in IT, which deals directly with the latest technological development, not making a site navigable is counter-intuitive. If the data can’t be indexed properly, a site redesign may be in order; however, most content management and blogging systems contain easy-to-use indexing tools.
Use Analytics and Expand on Popular Topics
Mark Hansen, president and founder of Megalytic, notes that by tracking site analytics, IT has an advantage in knowing how to improve an IT blog. Site analytics tell the webmaster the two most important aspects of making a better IT blog: they show what readers are looking for and, perhaps more importantly, they show what readers are actually reading. This immediately tells site webmasters what needs to be done to increase readership. Making sure that related topics to the most popular ones are indexed, as well as offering more postings on what people want to read on the IT blog, will ensure that the site remains a valuable resource.
Add Training Videos
One of the many reasons that people follow IT blogs is to learn how to do things they couldn’t do before with their systems. In this sense, the role of an IT department is a training and educational resource. An excellent way to fulfill that role while giving readers something that will help inform and educate them is through the use of training videos, according to CBTNuggets. Such videos are useful in that they add a human touch and an educational element to an instructional piece and even make the learning process easier through walkthroughs.
Increase Reader Engagement
While it’s not always successful if it isn’t monitored properly, one of the most important ways to keep readers informed and learning is to open the doors of communication, whether through integration with e-mail, messaging or a comment system. This last suggestion, however, must be limited to company intranets, because public forums, unless strictly policed, can devolve into something altogether undesirable. However, undeterred by such a remote possibility, an IT blog that informs its readers while allowing them a space for feedback will remain not only relevant, but capable of serving its readership well into the future.
Author: Jennifer Gretson