Simplicity, Your Blog and Desirable Products

Do you see your site as a product? Are you blogging about products?

First of all your website is a product. People buy your blog or they don’t. Have you ever thought about that aspect? Earlier today I wrote a comment on Nicks article Blogs Could be Key to Brand Building that “The meaning of marketing is to bring the product to the client.” I stumbled about two articles this morning which give a lot to think about how the marketing of a product or blogging about products should work. Especially if you combine both aspects to make your blog more desirable.

Is your blog a ‘kick ass’ product?

Simplicity – Google and Yahoo compared

Let’s travel back in time and follow the development of the Google and the Yahoo homepage. The reason why Google became such a big success can also be seen by their user centric web design approach. The motto is ‘simplicity’.

Take a look at Yahoogle! – Simplicity is about staying simple brought to you from the MIT media laboratory. Click on the picture in the upper right corner.

I am a long time Yahoo user but in 2000 I turned away from their homepage. The picture shows the reason why in such a crisp clear visualization that it hurts to see the ongoing wrong development of the Yahoo homepage.

Conclusions? How is your website developing?

High-Quality Product?

“If a company makes a high-quality product, but user’s don’t find it sexy or appealing, does that product exist?” is the challenging question of Kathy Sierra.

Let’s start with the last sentence first:

Desirability does not necessarily mean we’ll have passionate users, but it’s a crucial first step. The more desirable the product, the more likely the user is to want to spend more time with it getting better. And it’s the getting better and better part–the learning and growing–that is the foundation of passionate users.

Well, the article Schrodinger’s Products tries to illustrate “ten ways to be desirable” with some funny relation to Schrödinger’s cat (more) which is a mind wobbling paradoxical thought experiment from quantum mechanics but the ten rules still prove to be pretty simple and hard to reach. Instead of a cat Kathy takes a user to illustrate a products undefined, hot or dead state.

Hot or Dead – What value has your product?

  1. Pay attention to style.
  2. Pay attention to the emotional appeal.
  3. Show it in action…with real people.
  4. Don’t use pictures of generic shiny happy people that have become cliches.
  5. Make sure it’s clear to prospective users how this helps them kick ass.
  6. Appeal to as many senses as possible.
  7. Make it meaningful.
  8. Make it justifiable, so the user doesn’t have to feel guilty.
  9. Support a community of users.
  10. Never underestimate the power of fun.

More explanations to every point in the mentioned article.

Do you recognize your website in some of the points? The same list can be used to reflect on your blogging style if you are writing about products. Sometimes its the simplest things that are the most difficult.

What do you think?

Keywords / Categories / Technorati Tags: Markus Merz, 2006, marketing, product, Google, Yahoo, quality

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4 thoughts on “Simplicity, Your Blog and Desirable Products

  1. Chilled Milk Plain Flavoured Milk

    Not that i like that blog so much but it is sunday and that article is funny and fits to the subject. In a twisted way of course – what do you expect on the weekend.

    Chilled Milk Plain Flavoured Milk

    Draw your conclusions but get out and get some fresh air before watching soccer …

  2. Beside the buzz phrase ‘kick ass product’ I wanted to reflect upon the fact that websites tend to get more complicated when becoming older. It’s always so easy to add features – another button, ad format, block info, statistic (Nick had this article: Digital Magpies and Usability Ignorance).

    Then I stumbled upon that desirability issue and that boosted my ‘simplicity is great’ thinking away from technical aspects (performance, CSS, etc.) but towards a more strategic marketing vision.

    That twist in thinking by combining the two examples stunned me because the two hats ‘webdesign’ and ‘marketing’ just became one. This will not only make your product more desirable but it will also boost your productivity!

    @dangerpop: Thanks for the compliments!

  3. You’ve used the phrase a few times here and it’s a simple concept that is so easily overlooked. Sure, most of us like what we do but do others think it kicks ass? Finding out the reason as to why people think one way or another on this point… it’s gold. Thanks. I’m not a ‘commercial blogger’ as of yet but the more I see the more I think I could get in there and do. Articles like yours are going to help us all. Thanks.

  4. “pictures of generic shiny happy people that have become cliches” … ew. Yeah got to agree with that, how many stock photos with “business people” pointing at laptops do we need to see every day? Hah

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