Duncan points to a study by Nielsen Netratings that finds that 13% of blog visitors don’t know what a blog is and that 66% didn’t realize that the blog they were on was in fact a blog.
This does not surprise me in the least and connects with my experience of blogging for the last couple of years. It’s amazing how many people ask me what a blog is and then are amazed that they regularly visit a number of them when I point out some of the more popular ones.
Duncan asks – ‘is it really a bad thing that the majority of blog readers don’t actually realize they are reading blogs?’
I have two answers:
1. In terms of growing the profile of blogging it could be a bad thing. Those of us who love blogs and want to see their influence grow might be a bit disappointed by the statistic.
2. In terms of growing your blog’s profile and traffic levels I’m not convinced that focussing loads of energy on highlighting the fact that you’re a blog is a wise move. I know of some people who do this – they are proud of being a blog and make sure all of their readers know about it even though it is irrelevant to the content of their site.
Similarly I know people who want to be the number one blog in their niche topic. Whilst this is an admirable goal – I always encourage them to think broader than this and aim for being the number 1 website in their niche. Usually the biggest sites in a niche are non blogs and to ignore them is not a smart move.
In the end a blog is a type of website and bloggers should not lose site of this. Blogging is just one form of online communication – a small (but growing) subset of the wider market in which we live. The sooner we accept this and work at integrating into the wider online community the better our ‘blogs’ will do.
Having said this at times it can be useful for a blog to distinguish itself as a blog and should do so. For instance here at ProBlogger.net I think it’s in my best interest to make it clear that what readers is reading is a blog. In other circumstances it can also be useful in positioning your blog – but in general it’s not such a big deal.
Have your say in comments below.