Is Blogging Dead Or Are Blogs Still A Thing? How Bloggers Have Changed Over Time

Is blogging dead or are blogs still a thing?

While the term blog doesn’t hold the same luster it once did, it would be unfair to say that blogging as a medium has bit the dust.

Instead, blogging has evolved from numerous scattered websites run by individuals into more refined and better-funded information hubs for everything from major news outlets to businesses and marketers.

While it is impossible to cover the entire history of blogging, we’ll briefly explore the history of the medium and the evolution into what it is today to better understand is blogging dead, or simply more matured as a medium.

Is Blogging Dead?

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Some of the largest websites on the internet today are blogs. This includes powerhouses like the Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Engadget.

This hasn’t always been true, however. When exploring whether or not blogging is on its last legs, it’s important to understand how the medium started and evolved, along with the many changes that occurred along the way. 

How Has Blogging Changed Over The Years

In the final years of the 1990s and into the mid-2000s, blogs were mostly small personal sites written by tech-savvy individuals. 

Starting a blog required technical know-how including a solid comprehension of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and similar skills. 

It wasn’t until 1999, with the launch of platforms like Blogger, that blogging became more accessible to the everyday user. These content platforms made it easy to write, style, and publish blogs without having to code. 

In subsequent years, sites such as Tumblr, LiveJournal, and content management systems like WordPress came about, further simplifying the content creation and management process. 

Famous figures such as tech magnates, politicians, and news agencies, all began to regularly blog. This helped propel the medium into the mainstream. 

The final point which solidified the medium, though one that doesn’t get as much credit, was the proliferation of broadband in homes around the world in the mid to late 2000s. This made it faster and easier to connect to the net and share video, pictures, and music.

Data showing broadband usage in the United States.PEW RESEARCH CENTER

Many other events happened to help drive blogging forward from the mid-2000s, but one of the biggest disruptors was the advent of social media

Dubbed “microblogs,” social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit, allowed millions, and now billions, of users to curate feeds and publish microblog posts while easily communicating with each other.

Users began migrating to social media, causing a decline in the traditional personal blog. Over time, more blogs were run by businesses and professional marketers creating content for a specific audience.

The answer to ‘is blogging dead?’ is a resounding no. But, the evolution of blogging would point towards the death of the personal blogger on a large scale. 

Blog Readership Demographics

One of the interesting things in examining is blogging dead is the demographics of the average blog user.

Pingdom, a Swedish website monitoring service, found that the average age of visitors to the world’s top blogs was 41 years old in 2013.

This supports the idea that, from the late 2000s onward, younger audiences trended more towards social media platforms and away from blogs. 

Looking at age, however, only reveals half the picture.

According to the Hubspot 2020 State of Marketing Report, 60% of people on the internet interact with blogs at least once a week. The research here is a bit muddled though since some surveys have put that number as high as 80%. 

This discrepancy in numbers may boil down to the ever-shifting definition of what a blog is and individuals not realizing when they are reading a blog article vs other types of content. This likely means that internet users are mostly stumbling upon blog posts through search engines to answer queries.

Further demographic breakdown finds that in the mid to late 2000s, it was most likely to be men that read blogs. However, over time, the number of men and women reading blogs reached parity, likely due to more women creating blogs. Career website Zippia found that 63% of bloggers in the United States are women.

It is almost impossible to get a completely accurate breakdown of blog readership demographics overall. But, surveys and studies point towards modern blog readers being older men and women visiting blogs based on specific interests.

Overall, however, visitors of all ages and genders regularly stumble upon individual blog posts via search engines. 

What Has Replaced Blogging

The short answer, based on the above research, would be that nothing has replaced blogging.

In fact, with over 70 million new posts created each month on WordPress alone, it would seem that blogging is bigger than ever before. 

It’s all in the details, however, when trying to understand the shift in blog usage. While the number of blogs published each year is increasing, and the number of people reading blogs remaining over half of the internet users, the reason they are viewing blogs is what has changed.

As noted above, blogs originally were the domain of individuals talking about their lives and their interests. This type of personal blogging has moved almost entirely to social media websites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

Google Trends data backs this up as the decline in the number of searches for “blog” heavily correlates with the increase in searches for “social media”.

Searches for “blog” on Google Trends:

Google trends results for the search term blogs.

Searches for “social media” on Google Trends:

Google trends results for social media.

So, while blogs haven’t been replaced, their reason for being has been.

Instead of people publishing about their own lives, blogs are now being used by businesses, marketers, and for the publication of niche-specific articles for informational purposes. 

This backs the idea that more and more, people are finding blogs through search engines and using blog content to answer specific questions. 

Alternatively, it can be deduced that when people are purposefully visiting blogs, they are going to mega blogs written by teams of writers covering broad topics.

This is backed by looking at the highest-trafficked blogs on the net including:

  • Business Insider 
  • Huffington Post
  • TMZ
  • The Verge
  • Lifehacker

Should You Still Start A Blog

You should absolutely still start a blog, assuming you are doing it for the right reasons.

Is blogging dead? No. But the personal blog certainly is.

Gone are the days a person can start a blog, post about their life, and become mega-famous. This is the exception rather than the norm.

As we’ve established, most blog posts are being found via specific queries on search engines. Your blog is most likely to be read if it helps readers with a specific problem and answers targeted questions.

Some great examples of this include:

  • Niche sites
  • Authority sites
  • Business/Corporate blogs
  • Informational and how-to blogs

The noted exception to this is general entertainment blogs (TMZ, Perez Hilton, etc), and news blogs (Huffington Post, Business Insider, etc.), which are typically well funded with large teams of writers. 

Another exception is blogs written by celebrities and politicians. These are people who have a built-in audience of people actively seeking them out.

How To Get The Most From Your Blogging

Once you do commit to blogging and figure out what you want to write about, there are a few tips that can help immediately set you apart from the millions of other bloggers out there.

While the answer to is blogging dead is a no, failure to properly follow these tips can mean the end of your blog. 

Understand Your Audience

Before you write a single word, you have to understand your exact audience. This means more than having a general idea of what you want to talk about and who you think might be interested. 

To truly understand their audience, professional marketers use a tool called customer personas. These are fictitious representations of a business’s target customer which help to shape the creation of all client-facing information.

As a blogger, you can create a reader persona to accomplish the same result. This will give you a better idea of exactly who you are targeting, what their interests are, and why they might be visiting your blog.

Develop A Content Strategy

The most important thing you can have when running a blog is a strategy. It’s what differentiates someone with a business from a hobbyist.

Remember that random posts about random things will get you random and inconsistent results. It takes a focused strategy based entirely around your target audience and their needs to drive consistent traffic.

Developing a content strategy is something that professional marketers do and it’s one of the first steps you can take on the path to being a professional blogger.

Using your reader persona, you can figure out what questions your target audience has and what problems they are facing concerning what you are writing about. Armed with this information, create a content strategy that thoroughly answers these questions.

This will lead to your readers trusting your opinion and lead them to be more receptive to anything you might want to sell them in the future. 

Try Alternative Forms Of Media

Having a content strategy for publishing articles is a fantastic start, but it shouldn’t be your only content creation avenue. More and more, people are looking for multi-media experiences that utilize more than just the written word.

Finding out what other media types your audience regularly consumes can help you to create alternative media forms such as video or podcasting to better engage your blog visitors. 

Not only will this give you more opportunities to reach your audience, but it will also create more ways for new people to stumble upon your content and make their way to your blog or website

Curate An Email List

As noted above, a good chunk of the people who visit blogs do so through a one-off search. Figuring out how to convert these people from one-time visitors to regular readers can mean the difference between failure and success. 

One of the best ways to keep people coming back is by regularly creating high-quality content that answers their questions and keeps them engaged.

But, how will people know you’ve published new content?

Email marketing is still one of the best ways to inform your readers of new content and keep them coming back. 

By curating a quality email list for your blog, you can later market to readers and potentially increase your monthly readership and revenue. 

Top Reasons Why Your Blog Could Fail

Personal Website Examples to Inspire You

Along with increasing your chances for success, minimizing potential failures can give you an advantage over other bloggers.

Some of the most common reasons that can lead to blogs failing include:

Failure To Conduct Market Research

Before setting out on writing a bunch of content, it’s good to understand who your audience is through the reader personas mentioned above. More important than that, however, is to understand if there is an audience in the first place.

You don’t want to find out the hard way the niche you chose to blog about has no readership potential. Before starting a blog, make sure you conduct market research to understand how large the market is, who your audience is, and if there is enough of an audience to support a blog.

Poor User Experience

User experience, or UX for short, describes the experience that someone has when visiting and using your blog

If information is easy to find and intuitively laid out, then visitors will be more likely to return. Conversely, if the information is difficult to find and the website is slow and poorly laid out, no one will want to read your blog.

Failure To Solve Peoples Problems

With the evolution from personal blogs to those that have a specific subject, people’s reasons for reading blogs changed. No longer were they looking for entertainment and escapism, instead people wanted information.

If you are not answering the specific questions your audience might have leading them to your website, people will be unlikely to return. 

This is where market research and reader personas come into play. Using these, you can develop content that solves your reader’s problems. 

Quitting Too Soon

It’s important to remember that success in blogging doesn’t happen overnight. It takes delivering top-quality content consistently overtime to gain traction and for your audience to find you. 

While there are things you can do such as advertising and social media to shorten that wait time, you still need to be patient.

One of the main reasons that bloggers around the world fail is simply quitting too soon. Before you decide to throw in the towel, remember that it can take a year or more to see consistent results.

Blogging Tricks You Should Avoid

In your quest for blogging success, you may be tempted to employ some of the tricks commonly associated with blogs and fly-by-night websites.

For consistent and long-term success, it’s best to avoid the following:

Clickbait Headlines

Looking for ten blogging tricks for overnight success? Number one will leave you speechless! 

The truth is there is no overnight success in blogging and writing headlines like these will ensure you have little to no success long term.

Clickbait headlines at best improperly set expectations for people clicking to read your articles and at worst are deceptive. Your headlines should tell people exactly what your articles are about and your content should deliver.

Posting Large Numbers Of Low-Quality Articles

One of the worst tricks that people still try is churning out article after article simply for the sake of creating content. While this used to be a strategy for ranking in Google, it generally hasn’t worked since the early 2010s.

It’s also a trick that never worked with readers. Someone visiting your website is looking for a specific result. Yes, some questions can be answered in 500 words or less. 

But, if you are regularly publishing short articles only for the sake of publishing content, you likely aren’t satisfying the majority of your user’s needs.

How often you should post on your blog will vary from niche to niche, as will the length of your blog posts, but consistency is key.

SEO Fads and Tricks

Spend long enough publishing blog content and you are likely to come across SEO “experts” offering the next trick that’s going to launch your blog traffic to the moon.

Avoid these fads and tricks at all costs. It’s not that they don’t work, indeed some people have made quite a bit of money on these tricks.

Instead, these tricks and fads usually don’t work for long. Build your website off of these easy SEO tricks and you will likely wake up to find you’ve lost all your traffic and have a penalized website with little to no income.

The best thing you can do is build your website the right way using proven SEO best practices. 

Are Blogs Still A Thing?

Do people still read blogs?

With some of the largest websites in the world being blogs, it’s safe to say the answer to the question is blogging dead is a loud no.

While we can’t fully predict the future of blogging, all signs point towards the continuation of what has been happening since the late 2000s. 

More major companies will likely enter into the blog game, leading to the consolidation of the medium among well-funded corporations. At the same time, more authority and niche sites will also be created as people looking to transition from their day job get started in the field. 

Short of the introduction of industry-changing technology, this trend is likely to continue for many years to come and the answer to the question is blogging dead will remain, no.

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