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Leveraging the Power of Blogs in an Overcrowded Market

200711151619
This guest post on a crowded blogging space is by Mark Hayward who blogs over at MyTropicalEscape and Culebra Blog.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Persistence – In order to get your blog exposed sometimes you must persevere through low readership.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Enthusiasm – This one speaks for itself.
  6. Honesty – You wouldn’t lie on your resume would you? I would not encourage it on your site either.
  7. Interaction – A good interviewee and blogger encourages interaction.
  8. Strengths – Always in an interview you turn your weaknesses into strengths and the same should be done on your blog.
  9. 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.

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. Mark says:

    Darren – just thougt I would add in here that the inspiration for this guest post came while researching:

    “30 Must Read Articles To Help Kick Start Your Blog, Attract More Readers, And Stay Motivated”

    I sifted through blogs for almost two days trying to find what I thought were unique and applicable articles.

    For anyone who would like to have a read, you can click on my name above for the direct link.

    Kind regards,
    Mark
    ps – I hope WordCamp Melbourne was productive :)

  2. Mike Gray says:

    My feeling is that blogging in a crowded market works much the same as operating a business in a crowded market (ignoring the fact that many blogs are businesses, for the moment).

    In general, the cream rises to the top. New blogs are created all the time, but a vast majority will fade away for a variety of reasons. Some aren’t compelling to read. The author loses interest. The niche is way to small.

    A blogger that enjoys the process AND continually learns and innovates will often succeed. Will he or she become a guaranteed millionaire? Of course not.

    People grow tired of reading vanity blogs of strangers or about how someone’s kids are doing in school this year. But people will always want information and opinions on a huge variety of topics.

    My opinion of what will happen is that we will see fewer and fewer blogs created in coming years, but these will mostly be the ones that were never destined for greatness anyway. But there will always be a place for new bloggers that are dedicated, passionate, innovative, and most importantly, patient. Even in so called “crowded niches”.

  3. In the over crowded blogging market only the big player (like problogger) will survive and the small player has to go down, only quality and consistancy will go a long way…

  4. Jeff B says:

    This post sort of hits home. I started blogging due to a medical condition that my nurses recommended writing my feelings about the geek I am I decided to take it online. Over the course of the last 2 years I have had up and downs with my post. I started to monetize my blog and lose focus on the reason I went online in the first place. I had to take a good look at my blog, myself and decide what it is I am blogging for.

    Sure I would love to make money from my blog. In reality I am doing this because I want to grow as a writer. I want to share my story with others. I want people to know there are alternatives to heart transplants.

    Read your feed daily and appreciate all your hard work you put into blogging.

    Thanks
    JB

  5. Royston says:

    For me, the decision on my blog was to learn more on the subject. Even though it is only a few days old, I have learned quite a bit doing research for the posts. As long as that passion remains, then I believe I will succeed.

  6. Mike Perry says:

    Most blogs, of course, become defunct within three months. The bloggers run out of steam or interest.

    As in any business the best and the most popular will survive.

    Sure there are 100 million plus blogs but this is still a very small percentage of the world population. There’s a whole heap of people who aren’t into blogging – so the potential is still enormous.

    Blogging (and search) will no doubt change and develop but we haven’t seen anything as yet – the best is still to come.

    Mike.

  7. I think all this fear of overcrowding is just that – fear. Overcrowding of a beach is nothing like to having a lot of blogs because the key difference is that there is finite physical space on a beach where as Internet space is unlimited. There’s no cap where somebody turns off the switch and says “sorry we’re full, no more blogs today”.

    And besides, there are a great deal of bloggers who simply blog for friends, family, their local football team, an online game guild etc and these blogs serve their purpose and do not ‘invade’ the space of anybody else – they’re not trying to get to the top of some arbitrary list.

    Even those of us who are ‘competing’ as it were, well I don’t much believe in that either. I’ve entered a crowded niche, and I don’t have anything special to say but people read anyway and I don’t think any other blogs have suffered as a result.

    It’s all a myth, there’s room for everybody.

  8. Daren,

    Perhaps the quantity of blog publishers becomes a more meaningful metric when it is reduced by the apparent quality of the authorship. You said it yourself — quality matters.

    “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.”

    Even professional journalists will tell you that it’s easier to write about a topic where you have a personal connection.

    Connections with other people tend to occur when we express informed passion, articulate persuasion, and authentic concern for a given “cause.”

    Clearly, deep-domain knowledge helps to feed the flow of posts. Maybe that’s why so many bloggers start by writing about themselves — their lifestyle, interests, work, etc.

    My point: I suggest that we think less about over-crowding, but think more about our cause, our motivation, and our ultimate criteria for developing a sense of purpose.

    Dr. Denis Waitley has a saying that may provide us some clarity about the crowd — “most people tip-toe carefully through life, so that they can make it safely to death.”

    Words of wisdom? You decide.

    cheers, DHD

  9. JMorris says:

    What I find most interesting about the “blog” phenomenon is that it is a buzz word attached to what people have been doing for a long time. Ever since the advent of web pages, there have been people with “personal” sites that delve into topics similar to what you would find on many blogs these days. Yet, in all this time, the desire and the activity of publishing ones own thoughts out there for the world to see continually grows. What blogging brings to the equation is a richer experience for both the author and the reader. Blogging [applications] make it possible for those who are not tech savvy to join the ranks of those who are in expressing their views online.

    The definition of blogging is evolving beyond that of a personal journal. Blogs can be used for any number of things… Personal Journal, marketing portal, article directory, customer support tool, company press releases, etc, etc.. With the power and flexibility of the popular blogging engines, like WordPress, there is virtually no limit to what a “blog” can be used for.

    In general, I would not say that the popularity of blogging will lead to its demise. However, I would say that the the popularity of blogging and the ever-evolving definition of blogging will force creative, out-of-the-box thinking that challenges “bloggers” to develop sites that add much more value than just a “blog”. A good example is the popularity of forums. While the market is certainly saturated with forums, more and more sprout up every day. What keeps forums alive is that they evolve with the needs of readers. I think “blogging” will follow this trend.

  10. mariam says:

    I agree with Caroline Middlebrook.

    I find that most of my readers are bloggers themselves. In fact, I get very little feedback from non-bloggers. So from my experience, the more bloggers there are, the greater the community. The community sustains itself.

    Granted, I’m not in it to make money so I don’t feel the competition.

  11. Mark says:

    It is quite amazing how bloggers do support other bloggers!

    @jeff b – THANKS for sharing your story.

    Mark

  12. Will Knott says:

    As a non-pro I’m a bit confused as to how blogging is a market. After all most blogs I “meet” are either hobby blogs, as in a blog done with no expectation of actually earning money, or blogs in promotion of something else, be it a review site or a book.

    Since most of the blog sphere is not part of a market (a bizarre as opposed to a bazaar) the few which do directly support themselves from their blogs are the exceptions that work hard at it.

    So yes, your blog takes a lot of work to gain attention, but you are competing with non-competitors. And as Mariam pointed out, these are the very people who are likely to look at you blog in the first place.

  13. I think it’s a self regulating system, and I doubt if there will be a “crash”, but rather as the blogosphere becomes more competitive, and monetization becomes more challenging everyone will have to “earn money the old fashioned way – by earning it” As in any competitive business blogs will either be competitive or fail.

    The same thing has already happened to e-commerce – at first it was pretty easy to make a living in small online retail, but as it became more competitive it is more like any other business – you work hard, stay competitive, offer value to your customers – and you can still make a decent living.

  14. Landon says:

    I like to think of the blog world as a worldwide conversation. Some people only have conversations with themselves, while others are having giant town hall meetings with hundreds or thousands of people (much like this conversation).

    With that said, I don’t like to think that blogs will ever become overcrowded, because conversation and communication will never run dry. There will always be something to talk about, and there will always be at least one person in on the conversation.

    I’m starting to understand that the key to being popular online is the same as being popular offline – make conversation with others, and express yourself to the people around you. It’s why we’re all doing this is the first place.

  15. Good points above.

    It’s simple: most people will give up. As an Editor of many years, I’ve seen so many ‘wanna’ writers expressing interest. They usually don’t get even get as far as writing on article, nevermind being able to make contributions on a weekly or monthly basis.

    A blog has got to be regularly updated and most people don’t have the work ethic to be able to do that. Too much stuff on TV for them to enjoy!

  16. I have a similar story as Jeff B. I too started blogging and my websites due to a heart problem.

    Approximately 2 years ago, I was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). SVT is a very high heart rate (mine has spiked over 300 beats per minute a few times) caused by an electrical “short circuit” in the heart. This is rather ironic as I am an electrician with over 20 years experience.

    The doctors have tried several meds and surgeries, to no avail. The next surgery they recommend is to have a defibrillator implanted that will shock my heart everytime it races or “short circuits” to get it under control.

    However, the concern is, that as an electrician, if I get shocked at work when my heart isn’t racing this could stop my heart.

    I’m 40 years old and I’ve invested over 20 years in the electrical trade. At this point, I believe I’m too old for a career change. So, I’ve decided to try blogging and selling things related to my field of expertise. There has been (and still is) a very steep learning curve.

    I’ve done lots of research to try to find blogs within my field and there are very few. I’ve also learned that most of these bloggers either do not have the experience or they post to their blog very infrequently.

    Blogging and setting up my websites has taken a lot of my time and I’ve had several set backs. If it wasn’t for the need to do this, I probably would have given up a long time ago.

    I do not believe there will be an overcrowding issue with blogging, because I think most newbies (like me) will get discouraged by the amount of time and effort you put into this to reap very little rewards. However, I am very persistent and I will overcome this challenge and succeed; thanks in large part to blogs like this one.

  17. Ivy says:

    I do agree that there is enough space for everybody. In fact, I asked myself that same question a couple of days ago if I were “competing” in a niche that’s too saturated. So I did a search on “Make Money Online” and found some surprising results.

    In a nutshell, what I found out were that the key is not if the niche you are targeting is too saturated, but if you can stand out from the crowd. That requires some marketing strategy, and persisting in writing quality content, with consistency. I did a report on three bloggers as case studies, and came to the conclusion that there is a piece of pie in it for everyone. Its titled “Three Top Money Making Blogs” at my site.

    I think the only caveat to the question of whether the market is overcrowded is your expectations. As in any business, monopoly of a niche or market share belongs to the first person / company who claimed it as their own. And that is what people like Shoemoney, John Chow, Problogger have done. Unless you have an exceptional product (or blog), these thought leaders will continue to dominate and influence people in their niche unless someone comes along with a revolutionary idea or product. Think Apple and Google who “usurped” Microsoft and Yahoo. So setting your expectations a little lower might be more practical, and its still possible to earn a decent living with less subscribers than these market leaders.

    Will the blogging medium collapse on itself? Maybe. But I doubt in the next 5 to 10 years. With Video Blogging and Podcasting, technology companies like Apple and Yahoo (YouTube) will want to keep it alive as it feeds their business needs. What I do foresee is that there may be significant shifts in the blogging environment caused by advertisers and monster tech companies like Google who may “set the rules” for publishers, much like the traditional publishing business. The question would not be if the market is too overcrowded, but would it be worth running a blog anymore, if you were doing it for money.

  18. Ivy says:

    Oops… my bad. I meant to say Google who owns YouTube.

  19. I have only been blogging for a few months, and I have already had about five blogs. I settled into the one that I really wanted to do from the beginning, but I think that this shows a lot of the blogs out there are just short tries or seldom updated experiments. I don’t believe blogs will die away because it is a form of expression that is much like books. Books have been around forever and movies also don’t seem to be going away. I think we have a long time to blog and should not be worried about it crashing; however, we should concentrate on separating ourselves from the rest. Take pride in what you do and work hard and have fun. That is what it is all about and really no one can take that from you. Thanks for the interesting post.

  20. Kevin OKeefe says:

    Darren, maybe for some types of blogging we’ll reach a saturation point. But for professionals (lawyers in my case) using blogs to further enhance their reputation as a trusted and reliable authority, blogs are unlikely to go the way of the first dotcom sites.

    Each day lawyers ask me what happens when the majority of lawyers publish a blog. They say now that all lawyers have websites, their law firm website does not work as well to generate work.

    Blogging for lawyers is no more likely to go away than lawyers forgoing networking, speaking, publishing and public relations as means of enhancing their reputations. I ask lawyers, if other lawyers practicing in the same practice area as you in your city were networking to grow their business, would you refrain from networking to grow your business?

    I grew up and practiced law in a community of 50,000 people. Chambers, Rotary Clubs, Church Boards, Kiwanis Clubs, and the Country Club were full of lawyers doing the same type of work. Lawyers used such civic organizations to meet others and engage with people. Such lawyers were often asked to take part in such organizations because of their knowledge of the law. As a result a lawyer’s reputation grew among townsfolk.

    For hundreds of years, lawyers have used such these techniques to engage in local and relevant topic discussion. Meeting people, having others think highly of us, and passing the word onto to others is how lawyers have grown their business.

    Blogs are the same thing. We seek out relevant discussion and people we want to meet. We listen to what others are saying. We engage in that discussion. And others pass on word of what we’ve had to say or even our name to someone they know. Our reputations grow as a trusted authority and people seek out trusted authorities when in need.

    Well done law blogs are no more likely to reach the saturate point than social interaction with other people.

  21. John says:

    Overcrowding was a concernwhen I started my blog just this month. I decided to go ahead because I always believed that I had useful content and could contribute to conversation.

    Thos bloggers who work to continuely improve their sites and continue to add good content will succeed.

    http://www.notjohnchow.com

  22. Jennifer says:

    Mark, although I read here daily, I don’t think I’ve ever left a comment but I really enjoyed your post. Nicely executed. Personally, I think the same could be said for any media event. Magazines for instance. How many magazines are out there; how many come and go; tons. However, the hard core magazines stick around and I think the same can be said of blogs. I think the internet is over saturated in some niches but again, so are other forms of media.

    I also agree with what Will said above, “Since most of the blog sphere is not part of a market (a bizarre as opposed to a bazaar) the few which do directly support themselves from their blogs are the exceptions that work hard at it.”

    There are a lot of blogs but what only 2-5% or so (what is the actual %?) make an actual living at it so as a blogger who does make a living blogging I’m not too concerned because in reality there’s not a ton of real competition. I felt like I had to fight harder when I wrote for other venues. I also think that as the world tries to be more eco-sensible that blogs will remain a good green way to get news and info. Less paper waste and energy waste, etc.

    I do think that there should be some sort of blog police who go around and shut down defunct blogs because I hate surfing that wastes my time and old dead blogs do waste my time. But I doubt I’d get people to stand behind this plan.

    Great post; really got me thinking.

  23. Nelson says:

    this is a very interesting post, and thanks Darren for sharing your deepest thoughts with us. I was wondering about this phenomenon the other day. too much blogs, too much information, I mean is great to have information in abundance, but the blogesphere has grown too big, like the sun, it hurts to look at it now.

    I believe, eventually all the mediocrity is going to die in the blogesphere, and to be honest, a great part of bloggers are looking just for a quick reward, dreaming of some day become rich and avoid work, and as more and more people jump into this wagon, the more is the realization that is not a quick money making anymore.

    to be honest, I started my blog with the idea to make some quick bucks with ads, but as I realized later on, that wouldn’t be the case, but then I thought, I can use this blog to build credibility for my career, I’m a techie and writing about computer stuff actually bring credibility and show that I’m passionate about what I do, so I shifted the idea to blog for money, and started using it to enhance my career. it works, my boss knows about it, my colleagues know about it, and some of them have started their own blogs too. so in short, I failed to make money online, but this has been my best year in my career, All the technical stuff I been learning on the blog creating process, the friends I have met, the content I have created, have help me to enhance my career. this coming year I will get promoted to senior computer administrator with a very good raise, and part of it is because my blog. so I will be blogging for a long time.

  24. johnCard says:

    great post, i’m going to subscribe to your site.

  25. Evan Hadkins says:

    Hi Darren and Mark,

    Well, agreement and disagreement from me.

    Blogs are new and lots of people are just trying them out. So I think a shake-out will come.

    The big question for me is quality. Other than searching through the dozens, hundreds or thousands of blogs in a niche one by one how do we find quality. Popularity isn’t infallible.

    In hope that quality will tell eventually.

  26. Mark says:

    @Evan Hadkins – you ask, “how do we find quality?”

    If we can figure that one out collectively as a group and create the proper algorithm then we just might be able to give GOOGLE a run for their money :)

  27. Cory says:

    It’s interesting that while there are so many blogs out there, there really are so many areas of interest with a very small number of bloggers.

    Take performing arts (my area). There are a few actors and dancers out there with blogs, but as far as I know, there are very few (if any) substantially useful blogs in the industry, let alone anything beyond an actor’s vanity blog.

  28. Blog Opinion says:

    Its just about people interest, now they can learn more knowledge sitting on a chair, somewhere on this earth. Blogs will grow more.. I talked to many people encouraging them to start their blog. I found few of them don’t find interest in blogging.

  29. Sangesh says:

    The power of blog is certainly great. But one has to choose the target before taking any kind of action. Because if you take a wrong step then you may not target the right audience.

  30. 66tx says:

    As in any business the best and the most popular will survive.

  31. Max Powers says:

    I look at it like how big business put many Mom & Pop stores out to pasture.

    The one’s that survived created more specialized products or service that the big businesses could not provide.

    Same with the small blog, create a quality and more personalized blog and I think people will come.

  32. Rajesh says:

    Darren,
    Thanks for putting your thoughts together so well on a subject that has been bugging me for the past couple of months. Some of the responses are also enlightening.

    I think there are a couple of things that will drive up the quality of blogs and sustain this for long. There are two big groups that will drive this –

    1) There are so many creative folks out there in the developing countries who are just hooking on to Internet, and are most definitely out of blogosphere. Many of these countries are now getting access to faster and cheaper Internet connections. This has potential transform the whole arena.

    2) The whole lot of “non-techies” – like the artists Cory was mentioning about. These are folks who were not able to put up websites because of the technical complexity and/or cost. They are still gradually getting introduced to this, and will bring with them newer ideas and insufficiently explored areas – adding interesting dimensions to this.

    These two groups are likely to come in faster if we find newer and simpler mechanisms to monetize through blogs… and when all this happens will it be called something else?

  33. CED says:

    In all honesty, I find that the blogging market is already saturated.

    Web sites I launched 7 years about to sell a book of e-book yielded much more than the few I have tried today.

    I just pulled the plug on a blog that was offering unique grants for writers, generated good traffic, but could not sell a single related, affiliate product — or even a heavily discounted subscription to grants that were not being posted.

    I averaged three clicks out of 1,000 visitors.

    This blog took about 25 hours of my time a week. I earned less than $20 in four months!

    Because of the abundance of blogs, I find people simply gleaned my sites for the free listing and moved on. Very few stayed to read the accompanying articles.

    I believe, for me, blogging is no longer a viable income-producing option. Delivering newspapers would pay much more!

    However, if you want to blog for fun, join the many millions already clogging the Internet.

  34. Mark says:

    @Jennifer ~ that was my ultimate goal, to get people thinking and discussing, so I am really glad that the post motivated you enough to comment.

    @everyone else ~ as I stated in the post, I want to try and continually improve my blogging/writing/branding so I really appreciate the input and suggestions, both pro and con.

    Mark

  35. dcrmom says:

    Average mommy blogger here who is struggling to stand out from the rest. Funny, I was JUST thinking about this exact topic this morning. There are gazillions of mommy bloggers out there, I can so relate to the surfing metaphor.

    Thanks for the tips. All too often I throw stuff out there without thinking seriously about the “job interview” concept. This has given me lots to think about and apply.

  36. Mark says:

    @dcrmom ~ what frame of mind are you typically in when you blog?

    As you noted, I do try to envision that every post will be viewed by a potential employer or client hence the job interview analogy. However, I would really like to hear of alternative approaches and angles.

    Mark

  37. Mark, this is great stuff (and by the way, people, pay attention: Darren didn’t write this post). Everybody agrees that most blogs aren’t all that great, but nobody thinks it’s them. In spite of a crowded market, new blogs certainly do rise to the top quickly: look at Dosh Dosh, 45n5, and Skelliewag.

    As far as the market itself goes, I think we’ll see individuals shifting to other forms of social media which have evolved out of blogging and that have blogging-like components to them (facebook and twitter). More businesses will shift from non-blog sites to blogging. Blogging internally within organizations will also grow.

  38. Anna says:

    I agree with Caroline that there is still room at the table. One thing that I like it is missing is marketing your blog especially in a tight niche. I watched another website grow in just a couple years to thousands of subscribers. It is because their content was easy and they paid to have their logo on lots of people’s websites. In addition, there logo is designed well to catch people’s eye.

    I believe that my blog has good content but people can’t find me. I talk about green living content based upon my own experiences building a green house, and believe me, with
    everyone seems to become green experts all of the sudden! (I like your eco comment, Jennifer!)

    I have guest posted in a couple of popular blogs but I see most of my traffic comes from my comments. People see I know what I am talking about. I think if you want to make money at blogging you have to invest time in really marketing yourself by posting comments and advertising if you can afford it. Design of your blog is really important. It is the first thing that people see. (part of the marketing concept) I am going to redesign my blog soon for this reason.

    I don’t think it is enough to just have good content unless you talk about something a lot of people want to know about such as this blog. You have to find out what people want to read. I am still struggling with this.

    One of my best read post was about green toilet paper. Who would figure that?

  39. stephanerd says:

    Comments such as those left by David LaFerney, Landon, and Mike Gray are heartening, indeed. When I first read this post (which is fascinating, by the way, and incredibly well-executed), I felt a bit of panic, because I could feel the bit of truth in it. After all, when I’m using sites like StumbleUpon to search for blogs on a specific topic, after awhile, everything starts running together into a steady stream of sameness. It makes me discouraged about my own blog aspirations (not that I would quit; I enjoy it too much).

    Mike and David write about the growing competitiveness of the blogging world, and how those blogs that eventually fail were never destined for greatness in the first place.

    And I loved Landon’s comment on “the blog world as a worldwide conversation. Some people only have conversations with themselves, while others are having giant town hall meetings with hundreds or thousands of people…
    I don’t like to think that blogs will ever become overcrowded, because conversation and communication will never run dry.”

    Mark, thanks for the insightful post, and thanks everyone else for the engaging bit of discussion.

  40. My web site showcases my art. I’m a painter. I am not a blogger, but over the last three months I have begun reading a lot of blogs. Prior to that the word “blog” was, well — just a word. There are scads of people like myself who either haven’t begun reading blogs, or have only just begun.

    You are looking from from your vantage point inside the blogging world. You see how crowded it is because you know your way around. if you ask a friend who hasn’t discovered the value blogs yet, to ask her friends if they read blogs, I’ll wager that two thirds do not. Your world is not representative of the world at large.

    Is the universe crowded because it has untold billions of stars? Not really if all you can see are a handful by comparison. Besides, the universe is infinite, but then so is the internet in a manner of thinking.

    In the brick-and-mortar world, if there were suddenly far too many big box stores, we would see a market correction. The weaker would vanish, and the stronger would remain because they accepted the challenge to offer more value, and were skilled at implementing it. I think the same thing will happen in the blogging world.

    I have in fact become so enamored with my exploration of blogging, that I may just add to those numbers and help trigger that critical mass :-)

    Cheers,
    John

  41. Pierluigi Rotundo says:

    Nice post, i really like it…
    I think the final message can be..:get out of the crowd. Differentiate your blog!

    I think i’ve summarized in few words all the content:)

    Thank you for all your work!
    Pierluigi Rotundo

  42. Michael Woo says:

    I believe that there are good sites, spam sites and useless sites..

    The bubble might still exist out there and only the best will survive should the bubble burst. Companies with excellent products, blogs with great articles will ensure it to last ..

  43. Robert says:

    I think they key to getting your blog noticed is to provide value to the reader. Give them something they can’t get anywhere else.

    I always try to write something original in my blog posts. Even if I am writing about a very popular topic that thousands of other blogs are writing about, I still try to find an original angle.

    There are too many blog out there that just repeat or consolidate what other blogs say, I like to call them ‘parrot blogs’. I can’t see them becoming beacons of blogging in the long run as they don’t offer anything original.

    Blogging for money is just like any other business venture, you’ve got to have a unique selling point or other something new if you want to be succesful.

  44. Derek Baker says:

    “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.”

    Glad you hit on this point. I see to many people posting stories that they copy and paste and nonsense that nobody would ever want to read.

    Take the extra 20 minutes to research the topic before posting and become educated on it. Even if you are a know it all of that area still it would not hurt to refresh yourself on it.

  45. 66tx says:

    A blogger that enjoys the process AND continually learns and innovates will often succeed. Will he or she become a guaranteed millionaire? Of course not.

  46. lucas131 says:

    You should write blog posts to topics are you most interested of. It will give you much more to write without many research. Save time and have fun.

  47. Excellent post. While the market is over-crowded already, the audience(s) are growing exponentially as well.

  48. Wakish says:

    Mike Gray I like your comment (it’s the 2nd commentator).
    I could not have said any better!

    - Wakish -

  49. Novz says:

    I think there is still room for everyone in this vast blogging world. However, the more time the blogger spends on writing the less time he spends on reading.

    Now, if everyone in my circle is doing sponsored posts, I may not read them anymore but rather concentrate on my own blog content.

  50. asa says:

    I agree with Caroline that there is still room at the table. One thing that I like it is missing is marketing your blog especially in a tight niche. I watched another website grow in just a couple years to thousands of subscribers. It is because their content was easy and they paid to have their logo on lots of people’s websites. In addition, there logo is designed well to catch people’s eye.

    I believe that my blog has good content but people can’t find me. I talk about green living content based upon my own experiences building a green house, and believe me, with
    everyone seems to become green experts all of the sudden! (I like your eco comment, Jennifer!)

    I have guest posted in a couple of popular blogs but I see most of my traffic comes from my comments. People see I know what I am talking about. I think if you want to make money at blogging you have to invest time in really marketing yourself by posting comments and advertising if you can afford it. Design of your blog is really important. It is the first thing that people see. (part of the marketing concept) I am going to redesign my blog soon for this reason.

    I don’t think it is enough to just have good content unless you talk about something a lot of people want to know about such as this blog. You have to find out what people want to read. I am still struggling with this.

    One of my best read post was about green toilet paper. Who would figure that?