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Breaking the Rules of Blogging and Succeeding.

Posted on Nov 12th, 2008
Written by Lee Odden
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    If you talk to companies that do blog optimization or promotion, you’ll soon learn that there are rules, or best practices, for blogging.  Things like have a good deal of post content, have a well designed site, internal linking is important, and categorize posts to name a few.  However, some blogs break the rules and still succeed.

    Have you been to I Can Has Cheezburger?  Millions of people have.  It’s one of the most popular blogs on the web, yet it’s not following best practices.

    Here are a few of the item they’re not doing.

    • Design – The design is lacking.  They have a great logo, but there is so much going on that it’s hard to know what to focus on.  It’s also hard to distinguish the post title from the rest of the page.
    • Content – The blog has one picture and a line of text.  Nothing that a search engine will really pick up on and not much for the visitor to go on.
    • Categories – No categorization is in use that I can tell.
    • Linking – There is no internal linking structure in the posts.
    • Advertising – There is also an overabundance of advertising that is taking visitors away from the site. There is just so much going on.

    However, on the flip side, here are some of the things they are doing right.

    • Content – I’ve always thought that good content is the most important thing.  Even though there isn’t much to each post, it’s memorable, entertaining and makes the user want more.  One could easily loose a half hour or more on this site.
    • Frequency – New posts get added many times throughout the day.  Chances are, come back in an hour and there will be something new.
    • Community – Each visitor has the power to create their own image to be published on the site.  This makes for a never ending steam of content.
    • Interaction – Users can vote on how good each post is; from one to five cheezburgers.  They also have custom email, Digg, Stumble, Reddit, Facebook and MySpace icons.  They encourage the visitors to take the code for the post and share it too. Lets not forget comments too.
    • Accessibility – Not only is the blog available via the website and the feed, it’s also optimized for the iPhone, mobile phones, has a separate iPhone app, the posts syndicate to social networks and you can even buy a book!  They are reaching out to visitors via many different channels.

    So what’s this prove? It proves that the best practices don’t always qualify for all blogs.  You should always start out using them, but, at some point your blog may become so popular, that you can break some of the rules and feel no effect.  Basically, your goals will change and so will your needs as your blog grows.  Advertising on I Can Has Cheezburger is a requirement to pay the high hosting bills do to the high traffic.  Where is it may hurt usability, the goal is to continue giving visitors what they want; more cats.

    Now, don’t try and base your blog success on I Can Has Cheezburger.  Just because they are, or are not, doing something, doesn’t mean that it’ll work for all blogs.  You have to consider your target audience, your goals and how you are going to get traffic. After all, each blog is unique in content and in target audience and you need to find out what will work for your blog to meet its goals.