Battelle on Blogs 2.0

John Battelle, author and FMP founder (and BoingBoing's "band manager") has posted some interesting thoughts about the next generation of blogs, which he believes will have better content management, navigation, smart widgets and web services:

A brief dip into nearly every blogger's referral logs shows that a very large percentage of readers – nearly 40 percent in some cases – come directly from search – someone who put "steve ballmer throws chair" into Google, for example, and lands here.

Now, this person doesn't have any frame of reference about Searchblog, or its grammar, audience, or ongoing conversation. He or she is most likely to hit the post in question, read it (perhaps), and move on. This site loses a potential new reader, and this community loses a potential new member, because, in the end, I, as the publisher of Searchblog, have done nothing to demonstrate to that reader the wonders and joy that is Searchblog. In short, I've failed to merchandise my site.

Now imagine instead, that when that person comes from search, they are greeted with a box that pops up and is informed by the search referral information that we all carry with us as we click away from Google or other search engines. That box surfaces a smart search based on the referral – perhaps it shows the reader other posts I've written about Microsoft, or Google and Microsoft, or senior executives in the Internet industry. Perhaps it shows me the top five *other* posts folks read who *also read* that Steve Ballmer Throws A Chair post. You know, the kind of merchandising a good site like Amazon does all day long (from what I can tell, search referral boxes were pioneered by Cnet, for credit where credit is due). Now, wouldn't that be cool, just for a start? Sounds hard to do, right? But actually, it shouldn't be. The information is all there. It's just not organized properly.