Will the popularity of blogging lead to its demise?
Presently on the internet there are blogs in existence for almost every subject, every demographic, and every topic imaginable and more being created every minute. Lately as I peruse websites looking for useful information I have come to the realization that there are just too many blogs on the internet. While this might not be a popular view it certainly feels good to get that perspective out there amongst ProBlogger readers for debate. It also got me to thinking, will the popularity of blogging lead to its eventual downfall?
At some point will blogging go the way of the dotcom bust?
With so many people publishing their views, thoughts, and opinions can the upward trend of blog mania continue and will there be a downturn? Of course, if a crash is imminent the most popular sites most likely won’t be affected and should make it through okay. Nevertheless, when you examine what some sites with few readers, limited subscribers, and almost no revenue are currently selling for on SitePoint I seriously think that at some stage a reality check of the blog market is inevitable.
According to a very recent CNET article, “Right now, the Web is home to about 110 million blogs, with about 120,000 new blogs created every day and about 1.5 million new daily posts, according to the blog-tracking and search site Technorati.”
Let’s look at the numbers a little closer. If you type the term “blog” into GOOGLE the search returns 1,550,000,000 results. While I realize that this is just the term “blog” and not explicitly actual blogs that are in existence if you consider that the word was only coined ten years ago the increase is truly amazing. Additionally, think about the fact that the population of the United States is 303,349,807, in China it’s 1,319,175,331, Australia has 21,137,366 people, and the world’s population is 6,630,698,109. Certainly at blogging’s current growth rate there could be more blogs than people in the very near future.
The phenomena of overcrowding not only exist online.
For a relatively simple example of popularity, which has subsequently led to overcrowding, let’s look at the sport of surfing. I realize that many of you probably do not surf, but five years ago where I live in the Caribbean you could go to a beach to surf and there might be ten to fifteen people in the water all sharing waves (which are a limited resource). Nowadays it is not uncommon to arrive at a surf break and have fifty to one hundred people in the water jostling, scraping, and hassling each other (hey – just like bloggers). The numbers obviously are nowhere near blogging but for me the end result is still the same. Overcrowding leads to a tremendous amount of frustration, apathy, and loss of interest toward something that formerly provided an incredible amount of satisfaction. At the end of the day it is easier to put on a pair of running sneakers and go for a run.
Subsequently, it is not unreasonable for some people to see blogging in much the same light. With the number of blogs now reaching 110 million (and growing) there are only so many people out there who want to go and read people’s blogs whether the sites focus on making money, traveling, or automobiles. If the current trend continues there is a good chance that many who now blog will get fed up and do something else, or move on to the next media craze.
The market is overcrowded but is there hope?
Don’t get me wrong there are a tremendous amount of good sites out there. My concern is that some will drown under the weight of far too many choices. How do you stand out from all of the homogenized, plagiarized, or watered down content?
In order for a blog to make its way through to the masses I believe that you have to start out with a bottom up approach and not from the top down. Without a doubt I want my site to be number one and at the top. Working from the bottom up is the first tenet of a successful participatory development approach. When applied to blogging this method of dealing with and trying to solve issues would also serve bloggers well. Specifically, in the bottom up approach the beginnings are typically small (kind of like a planted seed), but eventually grow in complexity and completeness.
The keys concepts of the participatory (bottom up) approach, as it relates to blogging, can be summed up as follows:
- Actively ensure that it’s people centered.
- Promote and encourage two-way communication.
- Motivate stakeholders.
Certainly there must be more?
In addition to the above list of key participatory concepts, what it really comes down to is determination and having a proper focal point. Notice I have not used the terms niche, brand, or content for this whole post. If you do not want your blog to dominate its particular market and you write online for self-gratification that is fantastic. However, if you want to be a leader in the blogging realm, consistent creative writing is hard work. Unless you serendipitously snap a photo of some celebrity doing something that they should not be, or come up with some type of viral YouTube video, there are no overnight successes that I know of.
In the crowded blogosphere the competition to succeed can also be viewed as a good thing because it requires people to craft amazing, information filled posts, for free.
This might sound trite but as a final method and suggestion for you to consider, and as a way to leverage the power of blogging, I look at every post that I put together, especially guest posts, like a job interview. When you go for a new job you want to stand out. In the case of a blog instead of attempting to get hired you are actively trying to attract loyal readers.
The processes by which we seek employment and conduct an interview, I believe are also tremendously applicable to creating a successful blog and can assist us in standing out from everyone else. The primary similarities are as follows:
- Networking – Just getting to an interview can require interacting with many people and likewise readers must know your blog exists and the talents you possess.
- Persistence – In order to get your blog exposed sometimes you must persevere through low readership.
- Research – Like good interview preparation where you need to know about the company and your career area, blogs that typically stand out have writers who understand and know their subject matter.
- Focus – If you go into an interview and spend your time looking out the window chances are you won’t get the job. Approach your blog with a lack of focus and chances are you will lose readers.
- Enthusiasm – This one speaks for itself.
- Honesty – You wouldn’t lie on your resume would you? I would not encourage it on your site either.
- Interaction – A good interviewee and blogger encourages interaction.
- Strengths – Always in an interview you turn your weaknesses into strengths and the same should be done on your blog.
- Presentation skills – This is a bonus tip, but if you can present a clear, concise message either through public speaking or writing you will always get the job, and you will also add blog readers every time.
For me, both writing and blogging are a challenge and I want to get better so that is reason enough for me to continue. As a final note, another reason to keep the blog as interview approach in mind is because what you write and place on the internet will be around for a long time.
If you disagree with the views in this post that’s great! I would like to hear all opinions and viewpoints so I can continue to strengthen and expand my blog in this overcrowded market.