When someone stands up (usually a blogger) and says that blogging is dead I typically don’t pay much attention, because history has time and again proven otherwise. Like a cat with many lives blogging never really goes away; it just keeps evolving and growing.
This past week though when Jeremiah Owyang commented on the topic in his post End of an Era: The Golden Age of Tech Blogging is Over I was all ears. Owyang is gifted when it comes to nailing down the current state of the web and where things are going. He’s a trusted source of insight and his thoughts here were no exception. Although Owyang specifically commented on the state of tech blogging, it’s still only natural to lean towards one extreme of the argument or the other: YES blogging is on a downward slide, or NO we’re just getting started and blogging as we know it will only continue to get better.
Blogging just for the sake of blogging is not enough
Free and light publishing platforms have made it easy for anyone to launch and start a blog with relatively no hang-ups. Kids can do it. Businesses can do it. It’s good to share and be heard, however blogging “just because” doesn’t work anymore. A personal Blogger, Tumblr, or Posterous account is fine and dandy, but blogging with the intention of increasing brand equity, driving traffic, or another business objective requires a different mindset altogether.
Fact: Most blogs are not worth reading
Why? Because they:
A) rehash old information and provide little new insight or commentary
B) have no voice and read as if written by a robot
C) are search engine friendly, but not people friendly
D) provide no value to the reader
E) are too safe
Forget the overall state of blogging for a minute, how are your own blogging efforts holding up?
Are your writing chops sharp enough? Are you taking risks or are you playing it safe?
Content isn’t rare, but material worth reading still is.
The problem for many readers isn’t a lack of quantity or a lack of options, but that attention is still a rare commodity. I only have a limited amount of time each day to be reading blogs, so why should your blog receive a portion of my valuable attention? In an exchange for their time how much value are readers actually receiving in return?
Gold vs. garbage and how to tell the difference
Google analytics alone doesn’t indicate if you’re producing quality material.
Here are some positive signs:
▪ Email and RSS subscriptions increase month over month.
▪ Comments are healthy in relation to page views.
▪ People who aren’t customers or friends are ReTweeting your posts.
▪ You’re getting praised or scrutinized on other blogs.
▪ People reach out to you via email or on Twitter because of what you’ve written.
If you’re just starting out try asking friends or coworkers (ones that will tell it like it is) for inpiut.
“Can you offer some tips for improvement? What type of content would you like to see?”
A little feedback can go a long way.
If you’re not gathering input from readers, how can you possibly know what steps to take in hopes of improving?
The state of the blogosphere is irrelevant to individual success
Countless blogs will get started this year. Most will receive little traffic and eventually be abandoned. Your likelihood of success or failure largely hinges on the level of commitment put in and your ability to produce material that others want to read and share. If you’re going to blog, do so with the intent of excelling at it. At the end of the day you’re either only adding noise or adding value.