So now blogs are dying?

First we had to deal with 24/7 overhyping of services/sites such as Facebook and Pownce, now we are hearing some bloggers like Scoble and Shel say that blogging could be in decline.

Scoble says: "What I meant was that my friends who blog who are NOT A listers are seeing their traffic go down — even Maryam has noticed this. I theorized that was due to social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Jaiku, and Pownce’s rise. Most of the non-A-list bloggers have been showing up on those places in droves. After all, if you are only writing a blog to tell your family what your new kid is doing then something like Facebook is a lot better for that."

Er, or it could be this magical thing called 'summertime'. I seem to remember most bloggers saying their traffic fell about this same time last year.

Shel goes the more sensible route with: "I had noticed that my number of visitors had been steadily dropping for the last couple of months, even though my topics and frequency of posting had not really changed much. Technorati was still ranking me in my usual range.

This puzzled me. Technorati really measures a blog in relationship to all the others. If my ranking and so-called "authority" was holding steady it mean that everyone else was experiencing the same thing. I started asking other bloggers--only a small handful--but they all told me that they were experiencing some slippage over the past couple of months."


Personally, I'm not seeing it. My traffic to the blog had been at or near record levels for the entire year, up until about 3 weeks ago, when it started tailing off. Since the same thing happened last year at the same time, I attributed it to the gorgeous weather outside, more than anything else.

But my number of daily feed readers continues to surge. Back in February, I was averaging roughly the same number of daily visitors as daily feed readers. Since that time, the number of daily visitors has increased only marginally month to month, while the number of daily feed readers has almost tripled. Comments per post are also up.

I've also talked to a few other bloggers and they are all either reporting that their traffic is either holding, or increasing. All seem to be seeing their feed readers increasing as well.

What do you think? Is the blogging bottom about to fall out, or is this silly nonsense that can be attributed to the fact that it's summer? Personally, I think this is mostly a few A-Listers fishing for links...


UPDATE: Shel adds in the comments - "Thanks for the reference. Just to be clear, neither Scoble nor I nor Hugh MacLeod have said anything about the bottom of blogging falling out. What I stated was that among bloggers I speak with, I have noticed a downtick, which now seems to be an uptick. I am not measuring visitors and subscribers, but Google Analytic numbers against Technorati. I don't much trust Alexis numbers, but they would indicate I've been going to Hell in a hand basket over 12 months. I was not ready to make this a public conversation when Scoble posted. That was because I'm not certain what I have observed means for me, or for the other 72 million bloggers."



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posted by Mack Collier @ 3:12 AM,

10 Comments:

At 7:10 AM, Blogger Anne said...

Hi Mack:

I agree; it's a bit premature to say that blogs are dying. A decline could be seasonal, it could be competition from another blog or it could be that consciously or unconciously the blogger has changed focus, frequency, tonality, etc. Or perhaps the interest of the audience changed.

 
At 7:48 AM, Blogger Gavin Heaton said...

Whenever there is an announcement of a decline or "death" it tends to indicate the exact opposite -- a fertile period of growth. I, for one, am looking forward to it!

 
At 9:31 AM, Anonymous shel israel said...

Thanks for the reference. Just to be clear, neither Scoble nor I nor Hugh MacLeod have said anything about the bottom of blogging falling out. What I stated was that among bloggers I speak with, I have noticed a downtick, which now seems to be an uptick. I am not measuring visitors and subscribers, but Google Analytic numbers against Technorati. I don't much trust Alexis numbers, but they would indicate I've been going to Hell in a hand basket over 12 months. I was not ready to make this a public conversation when Scoble posted. That was because I'm not certain what I have observed means for me, or for the other 72 million bloggers.

 
At 9:41 AM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

Shel just curious, but did you notice a downtick last summer? And if so, how did it compare to the one you are seeing now. I just think it's hard to guess if blogs are taking a downturn, until we see any downtick continue into the fall months.

If we get to October and bloggers are still seeing their traffic drop across the board, then I'll agree that blogs might be seeing their stars fade.

 
At 9:48 AM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

I agree Gavin, it might be that the hype around blogs is declining, and I might buy that argument. But I just can't see successful bloggers such as yourself leaving their blogs for Facebook, and I can't see your readers leaving you either. When such a connection is made, it takes something a lot stronger than the 'social site of the week' to break it, IMO.

 
At 10:23 AM, Blogger Ryan Karpeles said...

The value created through blogs is too great to abandon. Yes, Facebook does a remarkable job of connecting people. But it comes nowhere near the power of blogs in terms of sharing knowledge, resources, information, in-depth analysis, etc.

Facebook connects. Blogs connect as well, but they provide a whole lot more. As long as people want more than just connection, blogging will continue to thrive. Sure it will be seasonal. But what in life isn't?

 
At 11:19 AM, Blogger Kevin Hillstrom said...

Traffic flattened-out in May (just like purchases flatten-out in e-commerce, dropping May-September, then going gangbusters October - December), but subscribers are consistently increasing.

Since half of my traffic comes from searches done in Google, I don't quite know what to think about discussions about traffic. If Google stops sending traffic my way, does that mean I failed or that blogging is dying?

Just keep writing, folks :)

 
At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Lewis Green said...

Mack,

I don't understand what is going on with Technorati's rankings. Today, I am at 433. Last month, I sat at 518.

Over the past three months, my readership has gone from about 70 visitors a day to about 200 a day.

I would rather have the readership than a rating. And I am happy for it. As for me, not only have I recently gotten jobs from my blog, but my readership is going through the roof, and I am motivated more than ever to reach out and connect with my audience, wherever they may be.

 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

Lewis I think the drop is mainly due to the Z-List. TVG has shedded about 80 links in the last week. Just keep pluggin' away and you'll gain them all back in no time!

 
At 12:40 AM, Blogger gianandrea said...

I had the same problem with Technorati and, after a couple of mails, my opinion is that they are having some issue with the system. I have not got a reasonable answer, so far.
To run a blog is not easy and it requires a heavy process and a consistent approach.
Maybe there were some of people around just sick of it. Maybe we will see a wave of newcomers after the summer.

 

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