Just an idea we have been thinking of funding for the blogs.msdn site to improve the discoverability of bloggers and posts that may be more relevent to you. I'm interested in knowing what you all think. Is this a problem worth solving? Is there a simpler solution?
To give credit, part of this scenario comes from a conversation I was having with Scott. Another part comes from all the hype around tagging and folksonomies.
One customer problem with the current blog sites is that of discoverability. There are over 1k bloggers on the blogs.msdn site that all submit posts that end up on the main blogs.msdn page. This dilutes the main page and makes it difficult for customers to discover posts that may be of interest to them.
Consider the plight of a VB device developer. He hears about these cool Microsoft blogs on blogs.msdn.com so he goes to our main blog page as millions of others do per month. Once his is there, however, he only sees posts about SQL server, C++ development, help wanted recruiting ads, etc. He never discovers the great blog posts from the device teams because they had not posted within the last 2 hours to be on the main page.
Expose “shared blog categories”. This would enable blogger A and blogger B to both create a category for “Devices”. The Devices category would then be exposed in a blog category list off of the main blog page. The VB device developer would see the category list, find the recent posts in that category, and be able to subscribe to only the “devices” category feed that would contain any posts that blog authors attributed to the “devices” category.
Blog Home Page Updates
1. The blogs.msdn home page would expose both a list of the top 10 categories in the left hand nav sorted by the number of posts made to the category within the last X days. This would make the popular categories immediately discoverable. Users could click on a category to see the posts within that category or subscribe to that RSS feed.
2. The blogs.msdn home page would link to an “all categories” page that exposed a sorted list of all the categories.
The “All Categories Page” Experience.
It would include a page (this might need to be multiple pages depending on the # of blogs and categories…be we can cross that later) which will include all of the categories in the site.
ASP.NET (3), ASP.NET Dev (1), Blogging (4) , Blogs (3), etc
Clicking on each category would list all of the blogs which had this category. If the user where blogger a list of their available blogs without this category would be listed below. From here, it would be one click to add this category to his/her blog.
ASP.Net has three blogs:
Your available blogs (only if you are a blogger on the site)
Bill Gates [Add this Category]
MS Executive Blog [Add this Category]
In addition, if the user is a blogger on the site, there would also be a way of notifying them about another category:
ASP.Net has three blogs:
[ ] Betsy’s Blog
[ ]Josh’s Blog
[ ]ScottGu’s Blogs
Notify the selected bloggers about a similarly named category (or suggest a new name) _____________ [Submit]
It would also be helpful to enable categories to be sorted by # Blogs, # Posts, Alphabetically.