Monday, January 19, 2009

Blogs are great for readers

Even ranting, blowing off steam, and more!

Ever since had their service interruption earlier this week, I've been reading the blog for updates, and to read the user comments on the posts by Ancestry staff. One of the problems with a blog is that it has to be constantly "fed" new content by the home blogger(s), and it seems that the longer there is no response to a complaint from a customer, the more complaints follow.

The blog routinely gets a lot of comments to their posts, especially if there's a problem. For instance, you can read (as of tonight):

* 57 comments to the post For those who use the old search ui…. by Anne Mitchell posted 15 January 2009

* 37 comments to the post If you’re still experiencing site errors… by David Graham on 16 January 2009

Needless to say, few of the comments were, um, encouraging.

While the blog has quite a few people who blog occasionally, there are few who blog on a regular basis (like even once a week). I can understand why they don't post more - when you're up to your hips in alligators you really don't want to drain the swamp (or something similar). Obviously, this past week the staff has been trying to stabilize their site.

It would be nice to have more blog posts about Content (last post was 20 November 2008), Digitization (last post was 31 July 2008), Family Tree Maker (last post was 15 December 2008), Family Trees (last post was 12 December 2008), etc.

If the bloggers don't post, then the customers will complain if you provide an easy way to complain (like blog comments). If you're going to have a blog, then there should be regular blog posts (even one a week in each major category would show some interest...) on the blog. And there should be some response (even just an acknowledgement) to complaints or questions. I know it's hard to work productively and also blog, but if seriously wants to receive constructive feedback from customers and "listen" to customer concerns, paying attention to their blog's readers is a good thing to do.

I know that no business is going to satisfy all of the customers all of the time, but the perception to a casual reader of the blog is that no customers are satisfied at any time. That perception certainly does not help the business retain customers or grow with new subscribers.

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