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How Blogs Will Merge with Other Types of Websites in 2007

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.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Trent says:

    Two thoughts:

    1. I simply don’t see ebooks turning into a major money maker for any blog. The blogs that are large enough to have ebooks make a significant amount of money will see themselves pulled into the mainstream publishing industry a la Lifehacker and many other blogs. Compelling content is compelling content, and the publishing industry wants it as much as anyone.

    2. I think there is already a healthy amount of leverage in RSS with Feedburner advertising. The key is to offer a full feed (which attracts and keeps readers) but offer lots of alluring links that actually go to the site (content count, etc.). I’m sure there are ways to improve upon it, but I’m already impressed with how a full RSS feed pulls traffic into my site.

  2. LearningNerd says:

    This perfectly reflects my plans for my own blog this year. I want to learn more about — well, everything, of course — and eventually turn my blogs into more of a resource/portal site, hopefully with more of a community element one day. And I’m already doing the whole video thing every week. I definitely want to write an e-book someday, too, and I’ll be looking into how I can do more with RSS — and widgets, too!

    So you’ve really hit the nail on the head with this post, Darren! That only leaves job boards (not really relevent to my site) and mobile optimization. I think that only the bigger blogs will be thinking about that in 2007, for the most part. We smaller blogs have other things to focus on, considering that nobody would look at our blogs on their phone anyway.

    And I agree with Trent. I don’t think e-books will be that big for making money, though I think (or at least I hope) that there will be more free ebooks made to promote blogs!

  3. Rob Witham says:

    Some excellent thoughts, Darren. Right on target as always.

    I plan to convert some of my content to e-book format but I am waiting to build my readership a bit more.

    I was not aware of the planned rss integration in Vista. That will certainly have impacts – both good (increased use of feeds?) and bad (monetization? as you mentioned).

    I also think you are right on with the mobile questions. I have a background in web design so this is easier for me. I chose and then tweaked my WordPress theme with this in mind. I am able to view my site functionally on a 1.5 inch cell phone screen. I am hoping WordPress will offer a simplified admin page for posting. It’s a bit of a challenge using a pda or mobile phone with the current admin page.

  4. Deborah says:

    I know with my own web design company I am seeing more and more clients wanting a change from the traditional web site to a blog site. Its working better for them and better for me as a designer. As a designer, it is easier to get people setup with a blog, installed, and tweaked a little for them, then turn them loose so to speak than it takes me working with a site.

    I see it growing more and more, and actually replacing web sites not just inserting blogs as an addition. Really depends on the market your in.

    I for one am truly looking for this to play a big part in my business. Some designers may look at it as a shot in the foot, my suggestion is to then run out buy the book “Who Moved my Cheese” and see the change for the better. Kinda like the lemonade story!

  5. David Airey says:

    Far from getting harder (more difficult) for bloggers struggling to keep their site refreshed I think it will become easier. Apps will become so straightforward that more and more of the grey market will take up blogging to realise their dreams of becoming writers.

  6. Scott says:

    Wow.

    How big are blogs going to get before this whole internet fad dies off?

    Just kidding. But seriously, blogs are getting to be huge.

    Soon there will be television stations that are dedicated blog feeds.

    I, for one, would be watching.

    - Scott

  7. Tom says:

    Dead on about blogs integrating the characteristics of other more traditional websites. With thousands of new blogs being started every day (even though most of them are abandoned shortly after), those who stay in the game definitely see the value of expanding beyond a format used by every other competitor in their market in order to differentiate and pull ahead.

  8. Indratno says:

    Blogs will dominate the internet. This year it seems that the thing goes all the way round. Last year many money makers push their profit up using blogs. Bloggers may now realize that they have left those big bucks on the table.

    Bloggers will still use the culture of conversation to monetize their blogs. That means they won’t just copy and posted sales pages to their blogs. They utilize the most of this culture to educate and promote their products.

    A good example of this manner is the blog of James Brausch. http://www.jamesbrausch.com. He explain all of his product and creation on his blog without being trapped in migrating sales pages to blog posts. Meanwhile, sales pages of his products or creations always done in less than legal length and quite straight forward. For example is his free site promoter software at http://www.sitepromotepro.com

  9. Tom Furman says:

    Freshness in blogs is more about the creativity of the owner and not “how many resources” are at his hands. E-Books are just an extension of good writing and powerful content. The will be a component of,..and not a replacement for other forms of income for bloggers.

  10. Blooging is changing and quick. We are pusing into video blogging more and more and our viewers are appreciating the effort.

    We have been working with forums more and more as well, but have not yet figured out the best way as of yet.

  11. jhay says:

    Yup, blogs would join in with the other sites since some experts have said that the blogosphere has just passed the peak of growing and things would level out in 2007. Or so they say…

  12. TJP says:

    I think mobile web is definitely part of the blogging revolution. Can you imagine the possibilities with new gadgets like the Apple iPhone? People can access your site whenever they please.

    The downside is that many blogs will be incompatible with mobile web because their XHTML markup contains many errors. So bloggers will need to validate their XHTML so their sites can be easily viewed on mobile browsers.

    I use W3C validator to make sure my code is validate. Here’s the link:
    http://validator.w3.org/

    And hopefully with the new vista system, Microsoft will update Internet Explorer, so it performs with the likes of Safari, Mozilla, etc.

    That way, our blogs will look pristine on any and every platform.

  13. Bob Angus says:

    A trend that I see is a greater emphasis on new ways to monetizing their blogs. Whether the goal of getting paid is the primary objective of the site or it is a driver to help one stay committed.

    The new methods have to be easy like AdSense. Blog advertising needs to be unobtrusive so as to avoid pissing off loyal readers.

    As a result, I can see building separate pages that are clearly designated as marketing/advertising vehicles. For example, a simple price comparison page can be added and populated using a product feed or an app built for an affiliate web service. Disclosure – I work for CJ and we have a product search web service that one can use to build such an app.

  14. You’re completely right on this one. My clients rarely ask for a blog-only anymore. Most ask for a full site that’s integrated with a blog. Blogs are still big but the fad part is wearing off, and that’s good for all of us.

  15. Henry says:

    My blog has a Cafepress shop merged into it with content similar in theme to my posts are the product designs.

  16. David says:

    It’s looking to me as if a blog is simply going to be a piece of technology that’s part of a website.

  17. I’m interested to see how vido becomes more integrated into blogs. I’ve always been Spike Spielberg in my mind. I also like the idea of e-books because I’ve always wanted to publish my thoughts. Bloggers really aren’t doing e-books that much? I’m excited about how these two things will become easier and more common over time.

  18. I think the big trend is going to be adding a blog slice to a regular website. In other words you’ll have a website log. I’ve coined the expression Slog for that.

  19. Josh says:

    Wow, I just launched a brand new blog site with an integrated forum at infinivert.com yesterday. I already have plans to include audio/video and portal features, so it is awesome to hear such a respected expert give this forecast. Thanks for the post!

    –Josh

  20. Mark Wu says:

    I agree with David about a blog being “a piece of technology” that’s part of a site. Keeping a site updated with fresh, well-written content is time-consuming, if that’s the route you want to take.

    However, blogging software (I use WordPress) can be easy to implement and gives you the ability to quickly start a content-managed website. Granted, I’m a digital designer, so I don’t have trouble installing and customising WordPress, however, I couldn’t program a cms.
    But blogging has allow me to start off a website that I plan to grow into a kind of community portal, that brings together technology to allow me to implement ideas for e.g. photo galleries, an award system for related websites etc. on top of the blog. Doing it this way simply allow the website to grow organically, rather than trying to build an all singing, dancing beast, only to find that it doesn’t work (in all senses..)!

    In other words, one approach is to use a blog to form a site itself, but I like to see it as a platform to develop a site further. In line with Darren’s article, that’s my aim for 2007!

  21. Bob says:

    For about five years now I have been selling e-books. In 2006, I got busy working on optimizing my site advertising. The results with AdSense and other programs have been so good that I decided that I can make more money from simply giving away the e-book content free on the web and monetizing the sites. The more content I can publish, the better ad revenue will be. Within the next 90 days, I won’t be offering e-books anymore.

  22. Marti says:

    I’ve sold about equal numbers of the book I made from blog entries, as print and download. I think you are dead on with the expansion of blogs having forums and video. I wish I had the bandwidth to try them – LOL

    Hope this finds you well – we are buried in an ice storm at the moment – I’m grateful to still have electricity!

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  1. [...] Problogger: How Blogs Will Merge with Other Types of Websites in 2007 [...]

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  3. [...] Darren Rowse在他本月16日的文章《How blogs will merge with other types of websites in 2007》中对博客今年的预测有一段是这样写的: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). [...]

  4. [...] Sinnvoll wäre es, diese Hauptseite noch weiter zu denken. Neben den aktuellen Inhalten aus den Weblogs und den grundlegenden Basisinformationen wären Newsletter zu verschiedenen Themen oder ein Forum eine gute Idee. Weitere Angebote ergeben sich aus dem Thema und der Zielgruppe. Wie Problogger Darren Rowse neulich in seinem Artikel “How Blogs Will Merge with Other Types of Websites” schrieb, werden Weblogs mit anderen Website-Arten verschmelzen. Robert Basic hatte beispielsweise die Idee aufgebracht, aus Weblog-Kommentaren ein Forum zu speisen, das wiederum die Weblogs speist. Aber das ist ein Thema für einen eigenen Artikel. [...]