Is Blogging Dead?

November 9, 2008

Is blogging dead? According to this article by Paul Boutin of Wired it is: Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004.

So Who Killed Blogging?

According To Paul, blogging isn’t as personal as it used to be. He claims that underground marketing campaigns and journalists are drowning out the voice of the personal blogger. It just isn’t as easy for a blog to rank highly on Google for popular keyphrases anymore.

Also, Paul claims that blogging made it easy for non techie types to publish their thoughts. But they’re now turning to applications like Twitter instead.

But Isn’t All This A Bit Deja Vu?

A few years ago, it used to be easy for your blog to rank highly on Google for popular keyphrases. But this was also the case for the earlier websites. When I built my first website in the nineties, there was little competition. In fact, it was so easy to get a heap of traffic, I didn’t even bother to learn SEO. I just wanted to write and have fun.

To give you an idea how simple it was, I remember searching “Disney World” on AOL one day and discovering that I ranked number one. The Disney Company ranked below me. No wonder I had thousands of newsletter subscribers. And folk were quite happy to mail me cheques from the other side of the world and wait for their digital product to be delivered.

Could you see that happening now? I couldn’t. Things change and if you want to stay ahead of the game, you need to change too.

Is I Still Worth Starting A Blog To Promote Your Business?

If you have a business, or you want to start one, it’s essential to bring it online. And I still think a blog platform is the easiest way to do this. Using other forms of social networking, such as Twitter, is going to be just as important. But you still need a home on the Internet to bring your Twitter traffic to.

And you need to work hard and smart and learn as much about marketing your business online as possible. Then, when things do change, you won’t get trampled on by the competition.

And there’s nothing unfair about it. Millions of blogs are being launched each month. Many of them will only write a few crappy posts, then quit. Can you imagine what a mess the Internet would be, if they could easily rank at the top of the search engines for popular keyphrases?

What If You Don’t Have Time To Put In All That Work?

If you don’t have time to put in much effort, wouldn’t it be easier just to use social networks? Social networks are becoming more sophisticated. Imagine if your Twitter profile was more like a blog. It would probably be easy to forget about blogging and keep everything on Twitter right?

I’ve thought about that a lot. It seems like a great idea and it would eventually bring social network owners a lot of money. But what about you and your business?

Social Networks Could Become The Free Hosts Of Tomorrow

The trouble is, many of todays social networks remind me a lot of the old free webhosting services. I had one, so did many others. Obviously, social networks are more sophisticated but you’d still be hosting your web presence on someone else’s space.

And today, nobody in their right mind would dream of hosting their business website on a free webhost. So if you relied on one social network to promote your business, what would happen to you, if today’s social networks became yesterday’s free webhosts?

What do you think? Is blogging dead? Or can those who make the effort still thrive? And will social networks become the freehosts of tomorrow?

I’d like to thank John Hoff of EventureBiz for passing the Wired article along to me. John provides a personalized webhosting service for bloggers. And he takes some of the headaches out of setting up your Wordpress blog, including free installation of Wordpress on your domain name.

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36 Responses to “Is Blogging Dead?”

  1. Kim Woodbridge on November 9th, 2008 2:47 pm

    Hi Cath - This has been said before but it’s ironic that an article about the death of blogging was written on a blog.

    When I first read that article it aggravated me and I considered it to be controversial link-bait. While it may be much harder to get noticed, it doesn’t mean that blogging is dead. It’s just more competitive and the best will rise to the top.

    Speaking of free hosting - remember when everyone had a site on geocities? They were such ugly sites.

    Kim Woodbridge’s last blog post..(Anti) Social-Lists 11/9/08

  2. nicole on November 9th, 2008 2:59 pm

    I don’t think, blogging is dead. at all.
    I have an old wordpress blog and an open question about an island “in” Kuwait.
    I still get answers to that question & feedback every two or three weeks & it’s not high ranking.
    High ranking these days doesn’t necessarily mean that you find what you are looking for & people are willing to digg deeper - or search with other machines than google.
    50% of the search results on my new blog come from other Sites than google.
    Relying my business and ads on blogging only?
    I don’t think so.
    But who am I to answer that - I still need a decent web page :D

  3. Obama 2.0 Marketing on November 9th, 2008 3:04 pm

    Blogs are still the best online publishing and content management platform.

  4. Trish Jones on November 9th, 2008 3:04 pm

    As The Blogging Queen, of course I’m going to say blogs are far from dead but the point you make about having a home for people to visit is exactly the reason blogs are not dead.

    The truth is, it isn’t enough and hasn’t been for a long time just to rely on blogging alone. All the big time bloggers combine their blogging activities with article writing, podcasting etc.

    Marketing is about promoting your business. A blog is a tool to help do that and right now, there are three options - a static website, a blog or a social site. The question is as you state, who owns your content when it’s not hosted on your own server.

    Until there is a solution that allows you to create content on your own server, I say “Long Live The Blog!”

    Trish Jones

    Trish Jones’s last blog post..Your Business Channel

  5. cathlawson on November 9th, 2008 3:24 pm

    Hi Kim, I remember those ghastly geosocieties sites. I had a bizhosting one which wasn’t much better. And don’t laugh - but I used MS Publisher for design.

    I gave the original article a lot of thought but the loss of ownership would put me off hosting a blog elsewhere.

    Hi Nicole - I haven’t seen you in a while. I agree completely on some of the high ranking phrases. I often struggle to find what I’m looking for so Google haven’t quite cracked it yet.

    That’s interesting that 50% of your results come from outside of Google. It’s a powerful reminder that we shouldn’t rely on one source of traffic alone.

  6. cathlawson on November 9th, 2008 3:27 pm

    Hi Obama - it certainly looks that way doesn’t it.

    Hi Trish - ownership is important isn’t it? But as you point out - a blog is just another marketing tool. To be successful, you also need to do other forms of marketing.

    I love the video on your homepage by the way. I hadn’t seen that program before.

  7. Mike Nichols on November 9th, 2008 4:04 pm

    Having started a blog a few months ago, I certainly hope that blogging isn’t dead!

    There are all sorts of blogs — personal, business, informational. It may be that the personal blog with day-to-day ramblings is declining, but I find that the informational ones, especially, are thriving. They blur the distinction between a frequently-updated website and a blog and typically rank fairly high in the search ratings.

    There are so many factors that go into a blog’s success, and all sorts of blogs and niches as well, that it is hard to lump them all together into a single term, “blogging,” and make much sense. So to declare that “blogs” are dead is to declare all animals extinct because some are endangered and some are going extinct and some are extinct, when most animals are thriving.

    Mike Nichols’s last blog post..“What if I’m the ONE?” Intolerance of Uncertainty, Worry and Anxiety

  8. John Hoff - eVentureBiz on November 9th, 2008 4:06 pm

    Here’s a question for people to think about. Do you think Darren Rowse or Cath Lawson would have so many followers on Twitter if they didn’t have a blog?

    The thing is, people wouldn’t really know who they’re following? I think your idea for a new kind of Twitter is brilliant, Cath.

    To put it simply, if you own a business and want to take it online, you need a website or blog, social networks is not enough. Like Cath said, it’s pretty hard to advertise your business services on social sites and the wonderful thing about blogs is not only do get to have a web presence, but you also have a way to set up relationship marketing.

    I don’t believe Facebook is the answer to blogs. A blog allows you to showcase your expertise continually, show up in searches, and like you said Cath, you own your content.

    Everything in this world must evolve. Do I think blogs are dead? No. Must they evolve some, I think so due mostly to the fact that it’s becoming so over populated.

    *Thanks for the link love, Cath. If I may, that article was passed on to me by one of my hosting customers whose a new blogger and was concerned.

    John Hoff - eVentureBiz’s last blog post..30.1 Web Tools For Online Success And To Make Your Life Easier At The Same Time

  9. Angel Cuala on November 9th, 2008 4:23 pm

    I don’t think blogging is dead. In fact, it’s just getting to boom in my country. This social sites mentioned above I believe is helping blogs alive.

    What I think is dying now is email. What do you think? Thanks!

    Angel Cuala’s last blog post..How to avoid your Subscribers to Unsubscribe to your Blog

  10. Kathy @ Virtual Impax on November 9th, 2008 4:25 pm

    2008 Buzz words:Twitter
    2006 Buzz word: Myspace
    2004 Buzz word: blogs
    2002 Buzz word: email newsletters
    2000 Buzz word: WWW (world wide web)

    “But you still need a home on the Internet to bring your Twitter traffic to.”

    Oh, and you need a home on the Internet for people to FIND your twitter account as well!

    If you view the “internet” as “magic” - then it’s easy to declare that blogging is “dead”. However, if you view your blog as a communication tool - a way to connect with others - well, then blogging is VERY much alive and well and a great way to get followers on Twitter!

    Kathy @ Virtual Impax’s last blog post..Creating a Website that Does Almost Nothing.

  11. Natural on November 9th, 2008 4:49 pm

    hey cath, i was thinking about this subject myself, as i had read somewhere as that twitter would soon replace blogging. maybe it depends on why a person is blogging….that’s why i asked, well tweeted, if there was a difference between a blogger and a writer. for writers, blogging won’t die because that is what we do, we write on a blog. for bloggers, those that are just blogging to have a blog, but writing is not their purpose, but more along the lines of sharing, it might be easy to replace with something else.

    Natural’s last blog post..Finger Clicking Good?gaud That Hurts!

  12. cathlawson on November 9th, 2008 5:07 pm

    Hi Mike - I like how you put it: “to declare that “blogs” are dead is to declare all animals extinct because some are endangered and some are going extinct and some are extinct, when most animals are thriving.” That is a good point. Not all blogs are the same.

    Hi John - I’ve been thinking about this all weekend. That is a good point - folks probably wouldn’t friend us on Twitter if they’d never heard of us.

    You’re welcome for the link - thanks for sending me the article. I wonder if there’s a way to integrate blogs into social networks without the blogger losing ownership. It would be brilliant if your hosting company could come up with a solution.

    Hi Angel - I don’t know that email is dying but it’s no longer the most convenient way to communicate with folk.

    Hi Kathy - that’s a good point. A blog helps you connect with folk on other networks. Those buzzwords are interesting. And I suppose we’ve got to remember, just because something isn’t the new buzzword - doesn’t mean it’s dead yet.

    Hi Valerie - that’s a good point. Writers will also want to write. Folk who just want to connect socially might find Twitter more useful.

  13. John Hoff - eVentureBiz on November 9th, 2008 5:40 pm

    Are you thinking in terms of developing a new “Twitter” kind of program integrated with a blog or possibly teaming up with Twitter for a joint venture?

    John Hoff - eVentureBiz’s last blog post..30.1 Web Tools For Online Success And To Make Your Life Easier At The Same Time

  14. cathlawson on November 9th, 2008 5:50 pm

    You could do either I guess John. Owning the whole thing would probably be better though. It would be too easy for Twitter to grab your idea and cut you out - because they’re already there.

  15. Betsy Wuebker on November 9th, 2008 5:54 pm

    Hi Cath - Is blogging dead? Jeez, I hope not! Twitter seems like an adjunct, as has been already said. Music has both staccato and adagio, and so I think the platforms are complementary in that way.

    There are plenty of ways to communicate and they all have their place: Morse code, shorthand, handwritten letters, email, static web pages, living weblogs, books, and on and on. I don’t know as if I could get a full sense of someone from Twitter. Rather, I think it’s a tease. If I like what I see without already knowing who the “twit” is, I may take another look. Or I might go to the blog for clarification, etc.

    I guess I think of Twitter like a smoke signal, but you’ve still gotta visit the village.

    As far as integrating goes, isn’t that what MyBlogLog and other sub-groupings are trying to do with aggregators? Maybe John and others would expand on that?


    Betsy Wuebker’s last blog post..GENEROSITY

  16. Stephanie on November 9th, 2008 8:45 pm

    Blogging is still alive, kicking, and working well with other forms of marketing. As with other kinds of online business, a part of the “death” is people discovering that “build it and they will come” really doesn’t work. It’s hard work, and yes, big players will often do better than the little guy.

    Stephanie’s last blog post..There’s a Right and a Wrong Way to Use Twitter

  17. Barbara Swafford on November 9th, 2008 9:01 pm

    Hi Catherine - Great title.

    I think blogs are still in their infancy. When I talk to people in the real world they may have heard of MySpace and Facebook, but most of them don’t know what a blog is, let alone Twittter. Although Twitter is great for micro blogging, the “meat” of the author’s writings will be found on a blog. Let’s face it, who is so good at brevity they can publish their work in 140 characters?

    As I listen to the news I’m seeing more newscasters promoting their blogs. Rarely do I hear them say, “follow me on Twitter”. I think social networks are named such for a reason; they are for people who are looking for “social” interaction. For those who want to write, read and/or interact directly with an author, a blog is still the best medium.

    Are the social networks a good way of “advertising” our blogs? Definitely! However, we also have to ask, “are those who frequent social networks our target audience?” In some cases, they’re not.

    I just realized how I love the fact YOU have a blog. There’s no way I could have voiced my lengthy opinion via a micro blogging platform. :)
    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..Tom Volkar - Life Work Coach - Answers My Questions And Yours

  18. Jannie on November 9th, 2008 10:30 pm

    Oh Boy, I guess I better ressurect that Twitter account I started and did nothing with.

    Jannie’s last blog post..Funky Folky Fab & Fun

  19. Robin on November 9th, 2008 11:35 pm

    Thanks for that Cath - that was interesting. I’m finding it funny being such a newbie - when lot of theses things happened I didn’t even have an internet connection (and I did internet research at the library and I hated it)

    So everything is fresh and new to me - and I’m with Barbara

    Robin’s last blog post..How To Find Happiness

  20. Vered - MomGrind on November 10th, 2008 12:24 am

    I agree with Barbara. Blogs are not dead, they’re just evolving.

    Vered - MomGrind’s last blog post..Help Me Find A New Tagline And Win A Prize

  21. Davina on November 10th, 2008 2:35 am

    Hi Cath. Long live the Blog!!! Hey, I just got started, they can’t leave yet. I’ve hopped over to Twitter a couple of times and after 30 seconds I’m gone. I just haven’t taken the time to find out more about it… yet, so I supposed I don’t appreciate it. Heck, I just uploaded that last wordpress upgrade yesterday. Now, there is a fatal error on my new (unlaunched blog). Sigh. Yeah… long live the blog??? :-)
    Davina’s last blog post..Akemi Gaines On Intuition, Dreams And Spiritual Guidance?Interview Part 1

  22. Patricia on November 10th, 2008 3:40 am

    wow, I don’t know how I will keep up…I keep learning so many new things all the time, but I love my blog and just got on StumbleUpon and am a Twitter failure still…..

    I do think email is not such a good connection tool, but am finding it hard to keep up with so much change so fast…I am a newbie in a new world…..which travels faster than I do.

    I am attempting to help my architect get a blog space to build his business…he is falling even further behind.

    Thank you for keeping me on my toes…though I am a walker not a runner

    Patricia’s last blog post..Factoid Friday: Bagdad Hash

  23. Lance on November 10th, 2008 3:41 am

    I’m joining the bandwagon also and saying that blogs are NOT dead. But then, I have a vested interest in them not being dead…

    And, I think John brings up an excellent point about Twitter - I follow you Cath, because I know you from here. That’s the connection for me between almost everyone I know on twitter - they almost all have a blog I read or know of. So I think there is and will continue to be overlap between the social networks and the blogs people run.

    Oh, and Cath - I think you are awesomely cool!!!

    Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  24. Cath Lawson on November 10th, 2008 8:11 am

    Hi Betsy - I guess Twitter is a bit more like smoke signals isn’t it. And it does seem to compliment blogging well.

    I’m still not really getting the hang of things like MyBlogLog though, so probably someone else could explain them better.

    Hi Stephanie - Good point. I think a lot of folk spend too much time writing and don’t realise the importance of marketing. And it’s hard for most folk to compete with those blogs that have several writers.

    You know - according to the original article, Jason Calcanis stopped blogging because it had become less personal. How did he not realise that he may have contributed to that by having heaps of folk writing for him?

    Hi Barbara - I’m betting some of those folk will never know what a blog is. There’s so many, I guess they look like another website.

    As you say with networks like Twitter, you need to consider where your target audience will be hanging out. The search function is always broken on Twitter, which doesn’t help but there seems to be a few sites popping up that enable you to search Twitter. You can even search by geographic location.

    My local newspaper uses Twitter to promote their headlines but I don’t know if other newspapers do. Folk use it a lot to promote the title of theirs or others work. As you say - you can’t say very much in 140 characters.

    Hi Jannie - I do the same as you with social networks - join then don’t use them straight away. They always look too complicated at first.

    Hi Robin - so you were a reluctant Internet user. I must admit I didn’t use the Internet much between 2003 and 2006 as I was too busy. Don’t worry - you’ll soon catch up.

    Hi Vered - They certainly are. Some folk can read them without looking.

    Hi Davina - that’s what I used to do on Twitter. A fatal error doesn’t sound good. Did you click the button to back it up before installing the update. Maybe you can switch to the back- up and no damage will be done. I like your new intro page.

    Hi Patricia - these things take time to learn. I found it’s easier to just learn one at a time, or it’s too overwhelming. And choose a handful of ways to promote your blog, as opposed to dozens and it will be more effective.

    Hi Lance - Thank you - you’ve been reading what we were tweeting about you yesterday I guess.

    I know what you mean re the vested interest. None of us are going to say we think they’re dead. It would be like owning a corner shop and telling potential customers that corner shops are dead.

    And that is true - a lot of folk on Twitter, we already know through blogs or other social media. I’m betting it would be heaps harder to find folk with the same interests otherwise.

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Is Blogging Dead?

  25. Maya on November 10th, 2008 9:42 am

    Hi Cath,

    I read this article too …I think blogging has evolved - it is not dead by any means.
    To me, it is still a very good way of establishing an authentic identity on the internet and all of these social networks. You do not absolutely have to have a blog, but it makes a number of things easier. Especially for the “shy” folk out there on social networks.

    Maya’s last blog post..Slideshow: Dogs Lessons for Life and Work

  26. Alex Fayle | Someday SyndromeI on November 10th, 2008 10:12 am

    People have been saying this sort of thing since blogging came out of the geek-halls and entered mainstream. It’s not dead. It’s just not exclusive and there will always be those who say that anything that isn’t exclusive is dead.

    Alex Fayle | Someday SyndromeI’s last blog post..Creating Room to Grow: Akemi Gaines Interview

  27. Elaine B. on November 10th, 2008 10:23 am

    Excellent Article! Blogging, even micro blogging let`s people know you are an alive and viable business. With the new Wordpress/Twitter plug ins there really is no excuse.

    Elaine B.’s last blog post..10 Things that will Build your Branding (Besides a Logo)

  28. cathlawson on November 10th, 2008 11:51 am

    Hi Maya - establishing an authentic ID is important isn’t it? Folk want real names, pics etc - they like to know who they’re dealing with and I guess we can give more info on a blog.

    That’s a good point re - being shy. The social networking sites can be overwhelming and if you didn’t already know people I guess it would be difficult.

    Hi Alex - that’s a good point. I guess you always get these small groups of first adopters and once other folk come along, they see non-exclusivity as dead.

    Hi Elaine - Thanks. That is true - a social networking profile alone doesn’t really let folk know you’re a viable business. I guess they want you to prove you’ll be around for a while, if they’re going to invest a penny in your stuff.

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  30. Lance on November 10th, 2008 2:44 pm

    You guess correctly Cath - and I say, you are a real sweetheart!

    Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  31. cathlawson on November 10th, 2008 3:35 pm

    Thanks Lance - I never know if people can “see you” if you’re speaking about them on Twitter.

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  33. Davina on November 10th, 2008 9:52 pm

    Nope, I didn’t do a backup. I figured, there’s nothing there so nothing to back up. Guess I was wrong… huh?

    Davina’s last blog post..Akemi Gaines On Intuition, Dreams And Spiritual Guidance?Interview Part 2

  34. Melissa Donovan on November 11th, 2008 10:19 am

    I think I read this article about blogs being dead. No way. Sure, they’ve changed and will continue to change as the landscape is altered, but I think that blogs have far too many benefits to be pushed off by a bunch of big name corporations hogging all the keywords. I do think that those of us who are independent, small businesses will need to use our blogs in new and innovative ways, but that’s a challenge I’m willing to take on.

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..How to Balance Home and Work When You Work from Home

  35. cathlawson on November 11th, 2008 2:07 pm

    Hi Davina - I must admit, I’m terrible when it comes to backing up.

    Hi Melissa - I’m with you - it’s a tough challenge but it’s worth it. The trouble is with keywords is that Google can’t stamp out link trading and we’re competing against folk with huge marketing budgets cos they’re already making a bomb off those keywords.

    But as you say, we’ve ust got to come up with new and innovative ways.

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