Yesterday, I looked at reader’s take on What’s wrong with blogging – a question asked by Darren Rowse on his blog. Today I want to write about the aspects of blogging which I feel are still undeveloped. Few years ago, blogging was unheard of and there were only few hobbyists trying out this new spectrum of web. As was the blogging, so were the blogging tools – nearly non-existent. As the blogging grew over the years, blogging tools were developed, also called Content Management Systems (CMS). Today’s we have wide variety of blogging software available like WordPress, Blogger, Movable Types and so on. These software comes bundled with loads of features which help you instantly build a professional looking blog. I use self-hosted WordPress installation for my blog and hence the below points are based on WordPress installation.
Lack of Multi-Language Support
Although English is a universal language and has a far reach, still this is limiting factor for some of the people. People from East Asia, Middle-east, Latin America, and North-east Europe don’t have English as a primary language and hence, when creating a blog, writing in non-native language becomes a problem. Same is the case for blog audience. A blog written in English cannot cater to the regional population which in countries like China can be quite sizable. So, I believe it would be a great feature if a blogging platform like wordpress provide built-in support for native languages.
Lack of Editorial Calendar
Time is money and you need to plan your time to make more money out of it. As your blog grows in terms of number of posts and readers, you need some kind of blog planner where you can keep track of blog topics you are going to write ahead of time. Agreed that this can be kept in a separate application like Outlook Express, but it would be much easier to manage things from single place. It will help blogger to plan series of post in advance and update their completion status from within the blogging platform. See this excellent article by Darren on editorial calendar.
Lack of Mind-mapping Tools
Ideas are rare and good ideas are even more rare. When you think about a topic, you may get ten different random thoughts on it. Unless you have some way of recording those thoughts, you cannot build an article on it. Mind mapping is the techniques which can help blogger generate topic ideas. Mind mapping allows a blogger to define a topic and then extend it by adding relevant details. It is internally used by our brain to link related stuff while organizing memories and retrieving them. In this article, Darren described how this technique can be applied to generate blog ideas. Currently, there is no built-in support for mind-mapping in WordPress and frankly, most of the bloggers are not even aware of it. If it is incorporated as a part of WordPress installation, I think it would prove to be a great tool in blogger’s arsenal. By the way, I use FreeMind, an extremely simple and useful tool to create mind maps.
No Support for Word Processor
WordPress has a nice post editor where you can write your posts, apply formatting, and add html-tags, pictures, videos and so on. But still I find it more comfortable to draft my posts in my favorite word-processor – MS Word – and then copy them to WordPress. It is more about habit than features. I guess you would be of the same opinion. It feels more homely typing out in your favorite word processing software than WordPress or any other blogging platform for that matter. Besides, there are some cool features like readability statistics, grammer check, format painter etc. MS Word 2007 has support for WordPress.com hosted blog, but not for self-hosted WordPress blog. So, as of now, we have to resort to good old tactic of copy and paste from Word to WordPress.
This is one of the growing areas of concern for blogs. Blog is an easy target for spam, especially if it allows for anonymous comments or doesn’t have captcha-like mechanism in place. If you don’t have a spam prevention mechanism for your blog, BANG! You are inviting trouble with both arms. Link building is an area which has been constantly abused by spammers. Fortunately, for WordPress there are plug-ins like Akismet which prevents spam to a quite large extent, but avoiding spam completely is still a desired feature. Other than spam, there are also security concerns over blogs getting hacked and malicious contents being injected on the popular blogs. As the spam prevention techniques are developed, spammers find out new ways to spam your blogs. Currently, there is simply no all in one solution for blog security, all you have is a scattered array of plugins.
Apart from these points, what things do you feel are missing from current blogging services, as a blogger? What problems or technical limitations do you face as a blogger? Feel free to share your views in the comments below and if you haven’t read the first part of this series, read it here. Keep geeking!