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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Blogging: is it over?

I've had my suspicions for a while. Traffic to my two blogs, both direct visits and search engine visits, has been dwindling. Comments are fewer. I've noticed it on some other blogs I follow.

Now my colleague Ekaterina Walter, social media strategist, has confirmed that blogging is dying. A 2011 study by a US university showed that use of blogging had dropped to 37% from 50% the year before.

People are moving to more visual sites like Pinterest.

Walter says that blogging still works for companies and can play a big role in their content strategy and credibility-building.

For those of us who toil away with personal blogs, it sometimes feels like we're shouting into an abyss and no-one is listening.

When I first started blogging in 2006, I had high hopes I was going to start the next Huffington Post. I felt sure I would draw thousands of readers through my wit and repartee. Well, I soon realised this wasn't going to be the case. When your own family and friends rarely visit your blogs, you have to swallow a reality pill.

Utilising search engine marketing brings a few visitors every day looking for some of the offbeat topics  I have written about.

But my biggest learning, and the one I will share with  you if you're a prospective blogger, is that you need to focus your blog on one content area.

Blogs which meander and cover the minutae of our lives, like mine, don't find an audience. But blogs which talk about fashion / beauty / football or other specific topics find a ready audience.

The thing I miss most is comments. Comments make it worthwhile. Someone is reading the blog and has a view to share. On my other blog, the craft blog, it used to be easy to get lots of comments, simply because it was a reciprocal thing. You would leave a comment on someone else's site and they would hop over to yours and do the same. That seems to have gone out of the window, sadly. I think it's partly due to Blogger's word verification and "prove you're not a robot", although I've now turned it off. But it's also a sign of the times. We're all too busy (or maybe we're less courteous).

I truly hope we are not heading for a world where the written word becomes a rarity; where nobody spells properly because they use text speak, or phonics; or where only photos, plagiarised endlessly from sites like Pinterest, dominate.

4 comments:

Ross Corbett said...

I don't think it is dying, I think the key to a successful blog is having a very specific niche.

Try not to worry about how many comments you receive :)

Trevor said...

Hi Gail,
I agree with the comments that Ross has made...
I don't think that blogging is dying but I would say that the most successful blogs are those with a specific niche subject...

I receive comments from around the world but almost never receive any from friends and family even though I know that they do read the blog...I certainly don't worry if a post doesn't attract any comments and you shouldn't either.

You have an interesting blog and I for one look forward to your posts.

Keep up your good work, you will always have a regular and attentive follower here.......

-Trevor

Bill Blunt said...

As usual, a thoughtful and thought-provoking article, CG.
I must confess I don't read blogs quite so often as I used to, and I have neglected mine for far too long.
Comments were often a great way to have a discussion with folk, but you're right to identify they're becoming rarer.
I have come to think of my blog as an online diary primarily for my own pleasure and future reference, but if anyone stumbles by then that's a bonus. A shame, I agree.
Perhaps blogs will have a renaissance once people tire of the twittering and seek more substance?

lucylastic said...

Interesting stuff Gail! I seem to have less time than ever for 'me' things - whether that's writing my own blog or reading other peoples - and I take on board the comments about finding a niche......but surely endless, single topic reads and writes become stale more quickly? Not sure I know the answer, but I do enjoy your blog and always 'catch-up' to where I last read if I have missed a few posts!!! Keep at it! Lucy

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