Here are Nielsen's main beefs wit da blog (excerpts only - click here to read the full article):
1. No Author Biographies: Unless you're a business blog, you probably don't need a full-fledged "about us" section the way a corporate site does. That said, the basic rationale for "about us" translates directly into the need for an "about me" page on a weblog: users want to know who they're dealing with.
2. No Author Photo: Even weblogs that provide author bios often omit the author photo. A photo is important for two reasons:
- It offers a more personable impression of the author. You enhance your credibility by the simple fact that you're not trying to hide. Also, users relate more easily to somebody they've seen.
- It connects the virtual and physical worlds. People who've met you before will recognize your photo, and people who've read your site will recognize you when you meet in person (say, at a conference).
3. Nondescript Posting Titles: Sadly, even though weblogs are native to the Web, authors rarely follow the guidelines for writing for the Web in terms of making content scannable. This applies to a posting's body text, but it's even more important with headlines. Users must be able to grasp the gist of an article by reading its headline. Avoid cute or humorous headlines that make no sense out of context.
4. Links Don't Say Where they Go: Many weblog authors seem to think it's cool to write link anchors like: "some people think" or "there's more here and here." Remember one of the basics of the Web: Life is too short to click on an unknown. Tell people where they're going and what they'll find at the other end of the link.
5. Classic Hits are Buried: Hopefully, you'll write some pieces with lasting value for readers outside your fan base. Don't relegate such classics to the archives, where people can only find something if they know you posted it, say, in May 2003.
6. The Calendar is the Only Navigation: A timeline is rarely the best information architecture, yet it's the default way to navigate weblogs. Most weblog software provides a way to categorize postings so users can easily get a list of all postings on a certain topic. Do use categorization, but avoid the common mistake of tagging a posting with almost all of your categories. Be selective. Decide on a few places where a posting most belongs.
7. Irregular Publishing Frequency: Establishing and meeting user expectations is one of the fundamental principles of Web usability. For a weblog, users must be able to anticipate when and how often updates will occur.
For most weblogs, daily updates are probably best, but weekly or even monthly updates might work as well, depending on your topic. In either case, pick a publication schedule and stick to it. If you usually post daily but sometimes let months go by without new content, you'll lose many of your loyal -- and thus most valuable -- readers.
8. Mixing Topics: If you publish on many different topics, you're less likely to attract a loyal audience of high-value users. Busy people might visit a blog to read an entry about a topic that interests them. They're unlikely to return, however, if their target topic appears only sporadically among a massive range of postings on other topics. The only people who read everything are those with too much time on their hands (a low-value demographic).
9. Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss: ...Think twice before posting. If you don't want your future boss to read it, don't post.
10. Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service: Having a weblog address ending in blogspot.com, typepad.com, etc. will soon be the equivalent of having an @aol.com email address or a Geocities website: the mark of a naïve beginner who shouldn't be taken too seriously.
(As for #10, what can I say except "mea culpa"! We'll be domain mapping soon enough.)
This is a great article, and I have to recommend that all bloggers and skin designers go over to UseIt.com and read the whole thing. Nielsen is widely accepted as the king of usability -- even though his own site is no great miracle of design!
...and secretly, I'm glad a few of Nielsen's points also appear on our own blogging best practices list!