Chris asks Is 2007 the year for Blog Communities in the wake of a number of blogs adding forums to their blogs in recent times.
I’m not sure it’s the year of ‘blog communities’ as such – but I definitely think it’s the year that we’ll increasingly see blogs merging with and becoming more integrated with other types of websites. It’s already been happening over the last 12 months but 2007 will see it happening more and more.
The experimentation with integration of forums and blogs is one example of this – but there are others:
video and audio – more and more blogs are integrating video blogging and podcasting into their regular posting. This is particularly happening on group blogs and blogs which have serious investment behind them. The Blogging Times is an example of this with a regular video feature.
job boards – the last few months of 2006 saw numerous blogs adding job boards. Expect to see more blogs doing it and to see more services that make it easier and easier to do it.
portals – blogs are (and will continue) to look less and less like the traditional blog and are becoming more modular in how they present themselves – drawing content from a variety of different sources and presenting themselves in hub like manner.
e-resources – I was surprised that there were less bloggers releasing e-books in 2006 than I expected and wonder whether I was just ahead of myself. To me it seems like a natural progression for bloggers to find other ways to monetize their blogs than just by using advertising and by promoting other people’s products via affiliate programs. My expectation is that bloggers will take the content that they produce and repackage it for sale in other forms (e-books, courses and the like).
RSS – everyone is predicting how RSS will go mainstream this year with it’s integration into Vista and other services but I’m not seeing too many people write about how this will impact bloggers. It’s going to take a bit of a mind shift for some of us who monetize our blogs via people actually visiting our blogs. Bloggers are going to have to come to terms with the way news readers will impact not only how they present their blogs but also how readers interact with them (via comments for example). As a result I think we’ll see new services develop to help not only monetize RSS better but also how to get people actually interacting with content.
Widgets – the MyBlogLog widgets appearing on every third blog over the last two months is just the beginning of a new wave of widgets that we’ll see emerge this year. They’ve been coming for 12 or so months now but developers will realize the potential of widgets more and more in the coming months and will product more and more useful widgets to add functionality to blogs.
Mobile Web – I’m getting asked more and more questions from bloggers about how to optimize a blog for people viewing it on mobile devices. Expect to see bloggers grappling with this and catering for the mobile reader increasingly.
I’m certain we’ll see plenty more examples how blogs will become more fuzzy around the edges and step out of their traditional set up.
What other ways will this happen in 2007? I’m interested to see and hear about examples if you’ve got them too.
PS: It strikes me as I look at the above list that the average blogger who is barely able to keep their head above water and post to their blog a few times a week that this list might seem a little overwhelming. While some will be excited by where things are headed – others might be commenting….
How will I add video? Do I have what it takes to optimize my blog for mobile users? I don’t know how to add a job board or add portal features!
I’d add a one comment if this is how you’re feeling:
services will emerge – much of what I’ve written about above is already happening (and has been for some time) on some blogs.
What I think we’ll see in the next 12+ months is for some of it to become more common and for services to pop up to make it possible for the average blogger to do them.
Job board services are emerging, developers are working on ways to integrate blogs and forums more seamlessly, services like YouTube have emerged to make video blogging easier etc.
A few years back predictions were made about blogs with categories and integrated comments – but those of us who were not techy didn’t know if we’d ever be able to do that on our own blogs because we couldn’t do the code. Of course virtually every blog platform now has it as a standard feature.
Don’t be overwhelmed by it – in the coming year new services and features will be added to blog platforms that make things possible that we could only have dreamed about a few months back.