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The Future of Blogging?

future of blogging
Otto asks – “We’re reading almost the same posts on every top blogs – it makes me feel that either there’s nothing really new on making blogs and/or that blogs are past. So, what’s next?

Otto, I presume you’re talking about reading the same posts covered on blogs blogging about blogging? If so, you’re probably right on one level – there is a lot of posting on the same things in the niche of blogging about blogging.

One of the interesting things that I’ve observed lately is that the blogging about blogging space (and the ‘blogging for money’ space) has definitely become more cluttered. It seems that many bloggers go through a stage of being fascinated with the topic. Most watch each other and like in any niche their ideas and posts will bounce off each other also.

On one level I do get a little frustrated by it (it gets a little boring reading it all), but on another level I’m excited by the enthusiasm people have for blogging and I do learn by following what’s being written on the topic (there is some really original and worthwhile content being written).

I’m also always interested to see how long these sorts of blogs last. In my experience, most blogs about blogging tend to last about 6 months – I’m not sure if this is how long it takes people to realize its not easy to monetize it or whether it’s the time that people take to get to the end of their list of story ideas – but going beyond six months on the topic seems to be difficult (I suspect it is similar on other topics too).

Anyway – onto your real question – what’s next in blogging (or beyond blogging)?

I’d start by saying that I don’t think blogs are ‘past’ – but I would say that we seem to be in a period of consolidation and extension.

I see a lot of bloggers engaging in these sorts of activities at the moment:

  • adding authors – group blogs are the new black
  • clustering blogs around verticals – bloggers extending their blogs by adding sibling blogs on related topics
  • networking – 2006 was really the year of the blog network but it continues to happen in both loose and formal ways. Many of the blog networks didn’t really survive but there are quite a few that continue to bubble away and sustain themselves
  • adding services and features - whether it be video, podcasts, forums, job boards, classifieds, chat features, voting tools… many bloggers are beginning to add interesting features to their blogs that attempt to add value to blogs. I think what we’re seeing is bloggers more willing to see the limitations of blogs and wanting to blur the edges of what is and isn’t a blog.

I’m not convinced any of the above is what’s ‘next’ as such – it’s all happening here and now already.

I’d be interested to hear what others think the future of blogging is? Are blogs a thing of the past? What is next?

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. Lazy says:

    Blogging is electric gold, and people are trying to cash in on it. Just like the gold mines, it takes work (or you have to get lucky) to make any money. Blogs aren’t going to go away, but the rush will fade, and the field will be left with a few popular blogs. The majority of people will find a new hobby.

  2. David says:

    I’ve noticed the same thing as Otto, every blog about blogging, talk about the same (or very similar) things.

    It is boring and frustrating, so I don’t bother looking around too much for data and advice, I just stick to the “tried and true”… In my case Problogger.net

    Regards,

  3. Mike says:

    I’m hoping that we’ll see more real creative stuff. Serialized novels, comics, etc. Stuff that is fun to read and hard/expensive for the writers/artists to publish on paper.

  4. Matt Jones says:

    I think theres more to the ‘make money blogging’ blogs than that. Writing a blog about blogging/making money from blogging is a great way to learn how to do it yourself. It is a great start, even if that actual blog doesn’t have success it would have provided that blogger with the skills he/she needs to create a successful blog in a different niche.

    Think about the skills it develops… I could write a nice post on this actually…

  5. Rentalio says:

    one interesting thing for this post is everything I have seen here was NO NO NO NO… like that somebody else wrote this post.

    I have notice decreasing quality of posts here and this was so bad with so good title that I had to react and make comment for the firs time and say “I object”

  6. dandellion says:

    Sure there is a lot blogs about blogging. We write about what we do and what interests us, and there is one thing that all bloggers have in common: blogging! There is one more thing that makes so many people write about blogging. Every blogger in his or her begginings is reading quite a lot blogs like problogger is, and learns. Beside sharing thoughts, oppinions, stories and news, blogging is great learning tool. If you wanna learn something, just start blogging about it.

  7. Maybe porn stars should start blogging? That’d sure spice things up a bit :P

  8. My hope for the future is that everyone will forget about monetization and realise that blogging for the aid of the community is its own reward.

  9. David says:

    Matt Jones, dandellion – You both make very good points.

    Thanks for bringing up those paticular aspects of blogging about blogging. It’s appreciated.

    Regards,

  10. Candida says:

    I don’t think blogs will be a thing of the past for a long time yet. People love reading them over web sites because the latest content is always on the first page. It stops the need for any searching ( unless they’re looking for something specific ) which saves time, and that’s what people don’t have a lot of these days.

    I agree with David with what he says in the first post. Just stick to the tried and true, and you don’t need to read every blog in it’s niche.

  11. I believe that blogging networks will be the next step in blogging.

    I see more focussed, maybe even city-based, blogging networks emerging and becoming mini portals/ communities in themselves.

    I’m working on one such project, so let’s see how it works out.

  12. James says:

    Maybe Twitter will be the next blog?

  13. Mike – those are GREAT ideas, and you’ve given me some things to consider for my blog. I write about self improvement and personal development, and even though I have no limitations on coming up with content ideas, I would love to start adding in something other than just my “standard” fare.

    Jeremy – I don’t know if porn stars are blogging, but I’ve already stumbled across plenty of blogs that have the daily sex fix. No urls to share – sorry! :)

    Gauravonomics – that is a GREAT idea about locality-based blogs. I live in a large metropolitan area that could benefit from something like that.

    As for my own ideas, I see blog posts becoming the basis for information products. This is already being done, but not on a large scale (that I’m aware of).

    I also think that “leaders” will emerge. After awhile, there will only be 5-10 really popular blogs about any given topic. The rest of the not-so popular blogs will eventually fall by the wayside.

    Use celebrities as an example. Do you think there are any celebrity junkies who’ve never heard of PerezHilton.com? Same with blogging – how many bloggers haven’t heard of ProBlogger.net?

  14. Andrew G.R. says:

    This is a great post. It feels like every blog genre I’m interested in is flooded. As a blogger and a reader, the amount of repetition is frustrating. I think short-term you’ll see the trend move towards shorter posts a la Twitter. Yes, blog posts can get shorter.

    Video still continues to grow – but again – it’s the same vids on every blog. Audio/podcasting – ditto.

    Actually, now that I think about it some more – blogging might stay exactly the same. TV, music, movies and even print have done very little to evolove. Sure there’s been enhancements, but in reality, it’s darn close to the way it started.

  15. Mike says:

    I for one do not read a lot of blogs about blogging. This is currently the only one.

    I think the future of blogging is limited only by the imagination of those who blog or may blog in the future.

    While I spend quite a bit of time working on blogs, the one that I spend the most time on has a life expectancy of about two years for its current focus – daily publication of articles and diary entries from the current day in the civil war. I’m now two years into the war, currently publishing from April 1863.

  16. Amanda says:

    Thats why I tried to sustain my blogging about blogging niche into even more specific so I have different resources and don’t write about the same thing. I think thats where people are having problems they all stick to the same instead of develop something new on an old niche

  17. Jim Walton says:

    If I was going to speculate about the future of blogging, I would say it is too slow for us anymore. More and more, we want rapid fire, instant information.

    Think Twitter. Is that the future of blogging? Who knows? It’s instant, it’s direct, it’s now. I’m not saying that twitter is the end all of blogging as we know it, but rather, it’s an interesting model.

    Of course, I’m a blogger and I don’t see changing my format or approach drastically in the near future.

  18. Brad says:

    I just got a letter to the editor published in my local paper on this exact topic.

    Basically, I think that “personal blogs” are out – you know, the blogs where people list out the details of their lives. Other than family and friends, I’m not sure who wants to know about the life of a complete stranger (I’m sure there are exceptions to this).

    The “in” blogs will be the ones that are geared toward a specific niche. For example, my blog is aimed at writers, poets and other literary types. I keep up on literary/publishing news and try to write content they will find valuable.

    But it’s hard to predict these things. I think it basically comes down to what the public wants to read. Blogs are here to stay, that’s a given. However, certain subjects lend themselves better to blogging than others. Only time will tell.

  19. dandellion says:

    well… about personal blogs… It is true that they can hardly get popularity and readership of niche blogs, but those are two very different categories. And they are in no way out, just see myspace, facebook and the similar places. We are living in the era of Big Brother, private porn, personal videos on YouTube. Blogging, personal blogging, is part of that culture. Andy Warhol’s prophecy is coming true.

  20. Shawn says:

    Andrew RIckmann – I’d like to agree, but I still have bills to pay and cannot afford to completely donate my time. My blog at http://www.laffing-horse.com is not supported by advertising – there is none. It’s supported through the products I make and sell and my blog is a prime marketing tool for those products. I would like to find some advertisers, but I am not willing to endorse anyone’s product save those that I truly believe in and use by placing them on my website. So, I write for free and pray…

    Brad – I think you’re right… blogs are interesting to the public when they write about what the public is interested in… circular, I know, but true. Even if it’s only a very very small niche, there is certainly someone out there interested in what you, or I, have to say. My particular bent is fiber arts and homesteading/sustainable living. I’m a geek and a blogger, too, so I end up here every now and then…

    James – Twitter as the future of blogging? Gawd, I hope not. I barely have enough time to write my blog posts and read those that interest me much have time or the inclination to read what brand creamer someone used in their coffee at 6: 13 a.m. this morning…

  21. Rebecca says:

    I have noticed a similar repetition of topics in mom blogs. Why bother? (And I answer my own question) I suppose to practice writing skills and get stuff off your chest.

    But there is, in my opinion, still alot of growth left in blogging, primarily because there are still so many potential readers. The majority of people that I rub shoulders with in real life do not understand blogs. If I told them I had a blog, it would scare them. So I don’t mention it (I should just call it my website). They would have no idea what the orange rounded off square looking thing is for, so I used a feedburner text link.

    Which leads to what I expect to see – blogs that just look like the kind of web-sites that people who use google and email understand. And lots more people wanting to participate in comments on blogs like this, where they can have a voice in the global conversation, maybe without even having their own blog.

  22. Patrick says:

    Japanese AV idols aka pron stars have blogs on their own, almost every one of them.

  23. DarrinW says:

    The age of the “pro blogger” blogging about blogging is probably past its prime. I am of the impression this niche has already been filled to the brim by ProBlogger :))

    It’s really about differentiating yourself from the rest and blogging because you LOVE blogging and not for the money. Don’t be afraid to start a niched blog on your hobby because that IS the trend to go.

    Forget blogging about blogging, unless you actually like doing it….Darren has cornered the market all to himself :))

  24. I’ve noticed this alot too, especially on gaming blogs. About a week ago when I wrote an article on something to do with gaming I got paranoid and submitted it to all the gaming news sites so no one else could do it before me… since alot of the time someone already has.

  25. Joe says:

    Without know my a** from a hole in the ground about blogging, I can imagine personal web videos on blogs taking off big time. They are much faster and if made/edited properly, more interesting/entertaining. Most people still would rather watch t.v./movies as opposed to picking up a book. So wouldn’t this broaden the blog arena substantially?

    I don’t know if search engines are able to index videos that well yet without text, whether sites can load them very quickly, easy editing software reaches the masses, etc., but once everything gets streamlined, the best video bloggers will rise to the top, perhaps overtaking us text-only fuddy-duddys.

    Why just read an article about blogging (or any other how-to topic) when you can watch a great video tutorial about it as well and/or instead?

    Just my cents, not adjusted for inflation.

  26. Sandra says:

    All markets have the potential to become saturated. Even the smallest and most obscure niche.

    I think people forget the true essence of a blog and a blogger. Voice. Yes, there could be a million blogs about mommies or about blogging for money, but do you enjoy and relate to all million bloggers of these niches. This is the beauty of blogs-bloggers aren’t guided by the needs of advertisers (hopefully). If you write with a unique, people will read.

  27. Dan Norman says:

    A couple things.

    Yes, the blogs about blogging are repetitive.

    I read an article in THE ECONOMIST, or some other equivalent news source, that said blogging was going to peak in 2007. 2007 was going to have the most blogs of all time. It has caught on and everyone wants one.

    But, poor readership and lack of persistence should take hold in 2008 and the number of blogs should start to dwindle-the best and most persistent will continue to press on, but there should be a number of them that will die off.

    Persistence is one of the keys that must be persistently in your mindset when it comes to blogging.

  28. Charles says:

    What if we all quit blogging and go out in the streets to see what are our neighbours have to say ?

  29. Lolo says:

    Hi.

    I love your work. It’s always top informative.

    Can you Tell us who are those new blogs that you talk about?
    “” … One of the interesting things that I’ve observed lately is that the blogging about blogging space (and the ‘blogging for money’ space) has definitely become more cluttered. It seems that many bloggers go through a stage of being fascinated with the topic. Most watch each other and like in any niche their ideas and posts will bounce off each other also … “”

    It would be interesting to have a list of them, you see I would like to read them also, and you seem to have a list of them.

    Thank you for your help.
    Keep on the good work.
    Greetings from FRANCE.

  30. Jason says:

    I don’t think blogs are fading away at all… or are a thing of the past.

    I do think, though, that reading all the blogs on the same topics and the blogs on blogging are getting really old. Please stop. =)

    …I think blogs will always be around. We’ve always had information based websites, and blogging and content management systems help us deliver that info efficiently.

    Anyway, blogs are a thing of the past… That’s the most stupid crap I’ve ever heard.

    Thanks,

    Jason

  31. Denise says:

    Happen to stumble here by chance.
    will back to you.

  32. Harry says:

    There’s another blogger that focuses on his activities instead of blogging about blogging, at least so far. It’s at http://www.fourhourworkweek.com and like Shawn’s, there doesn’t seem to be any ads except for what he sells through his blog, primarily his new book, the 4-Hour Workweek.

  33. Angela Betts says:

    Sounds as though the blogosphere may have experienced the same growth in the last year or two that real estate in the US did in recent years. (I’m one those thousands of newbies.)

    Maybe we’ll see the “bubble” burst and things such as whose blog and which niches survive will balance and level out. Could that be more beneficial for surviving bloggers that use their blogs as billboards for advertisers?

    Prime advertising real estate if they survive due to readers weeding out their blog readers and sticking only with those such as you, Darren, that have the personality, skill, and expertise to hold the attention of readers. ;-)

    My question: Which market are we headed into? A sellers or a buyers market?

  34. dragonfly183 says:

    Um, Jeremy Steele, porn stars are already blogging.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] What’s Next in Blogging? Published April 20th, 2007 Tags: Asides, Blog Tips, Blogging, Blogging Tips, Blogs, Communities, Novice Blogger, Novice Blogger. Blogging Networks, Portals, The Next Marketing Guru. Darren Rowse wonders: what’s next in blogging? [...]

  2. [...] Rowse’s Problogger has a post called Future of Blogging and contains observations on current blogging behavior, described generally as a “period of [...]

  3. [...] Darren Rowse wants to hear your views on the future of blogging. As ProBlogger.com he is one of a select group who are inventing that future right now. The article is well worth reading. [...]

  4. [...] Is the internet heading towards just blogs? Or are blogs becoming a thing of the past? I don’t know the answer to either one, but I hope neither is true. (Be sure and read Problogger’s article: The Future of Blogging? ) [...]

  5. [...] Rowse van Problogger heeft zijn mening over de toekomst van bloggen [...]

  6. [...] really interesting. Darren made the point Friday that there is a glut of blogs about blogging. Yours stands out because it’s so unique, and [...]

  7. [...] previously covered this in a few places – but perhaps you might like to read my previous post on The Future of Blogging? which has a few of my thoughts on the topic to save me rehashing too much [...]

  8. [...] Rowse says that most blogs on blogging tend to last six months or less. I’ll see how long it lasts for [...]