I’ve been dying to write about this for the last 24 hours. I’m going for it.
Derek Halpern of SocialTriggers.com has released an article that has the blogosphere going nuts. You’ve either commented on the post, read it and formulated your own opinion, or you’re about to read it now.
I read it yesterday when it was first published and I didn’t realize how big of a deal it would be.
I was one of the first 15 people or so to leave a comment and it now has 130 comments and counting only a day later.
What’s This Post About?
To make a long story short, Derek feels that having a search form on your blog is unnecessary. I completely disagree.
One of his arguments is that most search forms don’t provide great results and actually dish out a disheartening user experience when no accurate results are found after using the form.
He also says that most of your visitors don’t use the form to begin with.
Whether or not you agree with Derek isn’t really the point of my post, though. Instead, I want to talk about a trend that I noticed in his comments and I have been seeing on some of the big blogs lately.
What Do You Really Believe? Really? Do you know?
I am so sick of people blindly following anyone or anything without having their own two feet to stand on.
I definitely think that Derek is a smart guy. He is one of the few bloggers that I follow in multiple places and I always read his content regardless of snappy headlines or eye-catching images.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a certain belief system of my own.
I have a lot to learn about the business of blogging. So, it’s expected that Derek has a lot of things to teach me. He likes to challenge commonly accepted beliefs.
That is so refreshing in a blogosphere of cookie-cutter bloggers. But that doesn’t always mean his opinion is more accurate than the general consensus.
Anyway, let me get to the point.
Don’t agree with somebody just because you look up to them!
As soon as the post was published, reader after reader talked about how much they agreed. But do they understand what they were agreeing with?
To have a valid argument, you need premises that definitely lead to a conclusion. By now, I’m sure we all know that.
Well, Derek had some awesome premises… but the conclusion was still a matter of opinion, not a definite result of the premises.
But because people agreed with the premises, they automatically adopted his conclusion.
Hell, some of them didn’t even give any supporting reasons why they agreed. They just rephrased what he said and threw in an “I agree, Derek! :)” here and an “I’ve been thinking the same thing” there.
Come on, man!
Here’s my comment where I gave my real opinion on the matter.
I run two new blogs and I actually don’t want search forms on either of them. I felt they were unnecessary based on my content. I just thought I would be a fool to remove them. I figured it would piss my visitors off. I didn’t put very much thought into it, though.
I do think it depends on how popular your site is, though. Sure, you may not have 100 articles but a site like this one sticks with people. So readers will oftentimes come back to reference an article that you’ve written and have the hardest time finding it.
So, yea, I think there has to be a balance between how many articles you have AND how popular your site is. Honestly, it seems like this site should have a search form considering you write some really sticky content that people will almost always come back to reference.
Sites with small archives and not a lot of traffic like mine may not need the search form, though.
Just my thoughts!
Is that really so hard to do? As you can see, I couldn’t deny some of the points he made but I still felt like the conclusion needed a little work.
That’s not being disrespectful or a bad follower. That’s providing feedback!
Do you think bloggers write articles just to have you come behind them and tell them how much you love them? Do you think people write just to have you rephrase what they said in your comment?
If you agree with what Derek said, that’s perfectly fine. But don’t agree just for the hell of it. Or, how about this…
Don’t agree just to hurry up and get your response submitted at the top of his comments list. (Yea… I see you)
Here’s one of the first people to disagree. Her name is Jeanne Pi from AppsBlogger.com and she just happened to comment right before me.
I’m a big fan, but I’m gonna have to disagree with you on this one.
For a new blog with few posts, visitors will most likely not find what they’re looking for, period. With or without a search box.
Yes, having a search return zero results might make them feel “terrible”, but it’s just as frustrating looking through the blog manually and not finding what you’re looking for.
At least with a search box (with Google Analytics installed), you can track what visitors are searching for and cater to those searches.
Having a search box is the perfect way to get inside the mind of your readers. For bloggers having trouble coming up with a topic for their next post, knowing what visitors search for can give them that next idea. For bloggers having too many topics they want to write about, but not sure where to start, search results can help them narrow it down.
And for ecommerce websites, searches can tell the owners what the popular products are and if they should carry something that they don’t currently have in the inventory.
Really, is it that hard to disagree with someone you are a fan of? Of course not. Jeanne showed us that.
Here’s another person (Taylor… no link) who admitting taking his thoughts into consideration, but still had a mind of their own.
This gave me something to think about, but one question.
Wouldn’t the same people who would not find what they want via search still feel horrible if you do not have a search bar?
I think not having one could also lead to frustration.
There’s no way I can ever know for sure who really agreed and who disagreed.
I just have the gut feeling that many people are being “fan boys/girls” just to suck up to someone they look up to.
Derek is a grown man. He can handle a disagreement. In fact, I expressed the fact that I disagreed on his Facebook status about the blog post and he expressed that he could also understand my point of view.
That’s what you were scared of, oh-so-loyal follower?
Derek is an outstanding leader in the blogging community. Do him a favor and GIVE BACK if you appreciate his work.
You give back by keeping it real and providing quality feedback. Nobody likes a “yes man” and some of you are looking like one right now.
- I think Derek is great and I am a big fan. This post is not intended to be disrespectful toward him.
- Of course, I can’t know for sure that the people who agreed with him were just blowing smoke.
- I am not speaking to anyone specifically from the comments of that post.
- This post is a result of my own gut feelings… not facts.