Blogging became popular because tools made it easy for anyone to write on the web. Type your genius into a box, hit a button and the whole world can see it. Look out, I’m doing it now.
Now we have many choices when it comes to expressing ourselves online. Yet, the strange thing is, it’s getting harder. The tools are trying to do more and, in the process, forgetting the one feature that made them useful.
Adam Mathes has a fun overview of blogging text boxes, where he shows the current interfaces of popular blogging software:
The primary purpose of blogging software is to blog. This entails the writing and publishing of short form content. Everything else is, basically, noise. Even if you don’t subscribe to a viewpoint that harsh, posting something should be the primary action of the software and treated as such. This appears to be a radical notion, given their interfaces.
The only blogging service that includes a full posting box on its main logged-in screen is Twitter. WordPress (which I use for this site) is a close second. It contains a “Quick Press” option, though it is only a tiny version of the full editor.
Times have changed significantly in the ten years (!) since Blogger was launched. I mentioned earlier that there are many new ways to create content. Similarly, there are tons of ways to digest it. The blogging ecosystem has moved on from statically-generated HTML files. In addition to sharing thoughts, bloggers care about comments, trackbacks, pings, feeds and traffic analytics. It’s a more complicated landscape with more complicated tools.
That’s no excuse, of course. Mathes is right that blogging should still be central to the software. Times will always be changing and nice-to-have features will always come along. You have to keep your eye on the original focus, stop feature creep and find a way to make your site fit into today without forgetting the entire reason you built it.