In report today into For Immediate Release I raised the question of "What do you want to see in a corporate blog portal?" Either one for internal blogs on an Intranet, or one on a public site. I first posted this list back in February, but have refined it a bit since then... and this is where I'd like your help:
- What do you think a corporate blog portal needs to be effective? (intranet or external)
- Are there specific corporate blog portals you have liked better than others?
- If you have implemented one, what have you found made it most successful?
- Also, what software (or combination of software) did you use?
I would love to have your comments either posted here or sent in to FIR ([email protected]) for the next show.
DESIGN REQUIREMENTS FOR A CORPORATE BLOG PORTAL, version 2.0
The following is a list of requirements for a "blog portal" for a company or organization. This could be for either an internal or external (i.e. public) blog portal. I've broken this into two area: 1) the web interface that visitors see; and 2) the technology used by the software program implementing the blog portal.
User Interface Requirements
1. LIST OF AVAILABLE WEBLOGS - Ideally if you went to the blog portal you would first see a web page that listed all the various weblogs that are hosted on the website, complete with brief descriptions, links to their RSS feeds, etc.
2. AGGREGATION OF BLOG ENTRIES ON A MAIN PAGE - There should be a listing of "recent entries" across all blogs. This would allow someone unfamiliar with different blogs to simply look there and see what people are writing about. Two approaches I've seen work for this: a) raw aggregation of all recent entries across all blogs; or b) recent entry for each of the various blogs.
3. RSS FEED FOR ALL BLOGS - It would be great if the portal provided an RSS feed for this aggregation of blog entries. Think of it as the "everything" feed. There might not be many folks who would want this "entire" feed (outside of true company junkies, analysts, and competitive intelligence staff at competitors)
4. SEARCH ACROSS ALL BLOGS - On that same "main page" that lists all blogs on the platform, there should also be a Search box that allows you to search across all blogs for any entries in any weblogs that have the search words/phrase. Another search box (or the ability to use the same one with an option) for "tags" or "categories" would be a bonus.
5. DESIGN INTEGRATION WITH MAIN WEBSITE - It probably doesn't need to be said, but a company is going to want to integrate this with the rest of their corporate website, so there needs to be the ability for the web design to be modified, customized, etc. to seamlessly fit in with the rest of the enterprise web site. So full ability to modify CSS, change headers, footers, graphics, etc., etc.
6. SUPPORT FOR USERS AUTHORING IN MULTIPLE BLOGS - Ideally a user should be able to login to the blogging platform and then contribute to whichever blogs they have been granted access. I don't want to have to login separately for each of them - and from the admin side, it would be nice if there was an interface that made it easy for the admin to set permissions across blogs. (Step 1 could be requiring the admin to config ACLs on each blog, but ideally a Step 2 would centralize that into an interface that shows who can write where, etc.)
7. PRIVACY/PASSWORDS - There should also probably be the ability for a weblog author to "opt out" of the cross-blog search and appearance on the main page. Similarly, I could see the use in the ability to restrict access to *viewing* the weblog (and/or subscribing to its feed) to specific users. There could be a blog with content that is ideally only for executives, for instance. To me this is a lower priority because I think the greater value is in sharing information widely... private information can still be kept in email or on a specific hard drive. Still, I could see it being a request at some point.
8. STATISTICS - Everyone loves stats and at some point champions of a blogging project will be asked how it is going. Anything that can give overall stats, typical web stats like number of page views, etc., but also more blogging-specific things like total number of posts, average number of posts per day/week/month, total number of comments, average number of comments per day/week/month, avg number of comments per post, subscribers to RSS feed (which I grant is tough to discern), number of posts in last day/week/month, etc.. If the portal was for external blogs, you could get fancier and give stats on number of trackbacks, external links, etc. Overall summary stats would be great, but also stats for individual blogs. Ideally even a page that compared all hosted blogs in those stats. This would enable the champions of the blogging program to see which blogs might be doing exceptionally well, which might be struggling and indeed which have stopped - without having to visit all the individual blogs. Bonus if the software generates nice pretty charts that can be used as eye candy in powerpoint presentations.
Comments and feedback are definitely welcome!