It’s no great secret that blog subscriptions and comments are, as a general rule, on the decline. It’s a trend that started a year or two back and has shown no sign of slowing down. But I was extremely surprised by the results of a poll I ran recently in response to this trend that revealed that nearly one in three bloggers have considered quitting their blogs in the last six months.
The survey covered 167 bloggers from all areas of the blogosphere, from AdAge Power 150 bloggers Jason Falls and Mark Schaefer, though to hobbyist mummy bloggers. 32% of them said they’d considered or had already quit in the last six months, with the biggest reason cited as lack of time (27%), followed by lack of engagement on their blog (14%) and then not seeing any benefit, whether that be personally or professionally (8%). For me, it’s an astoundingly high figure.
The Burden of Blogging
Being a blogger isn’t easy: the discipline of regular writing and the requirement to constantly come up with new ideas is demanding. And it would appear that, despite the benefits of maintaining an active blog, the demands are too high for many. Indeed, only 57% of respondents to the survey have what I would term an ‘active’ blog – that is, they post at least once per week. More than four in ten of the bloggers surveyed only post once every two weeks or less. And it would seem to add fuel to the ‘blogging is dying’ meme.
So what’s the underlying reason for the wane in blogging? Maybe blogging doesn’t provide the immediate ‘hit’ that social networks do, given the fact that we’re all so rushed for time? Maybe we no longer want in-depth conversations, preferring instead to read an opinion and get out rather than hanging around to comment and converse, leaving the blogger feeling isolated? Or maybe as we spend more time working, we have less time to spend on social media and blogging’s the first thing to go, as Mark Schaefer hypothesized recently?
The Bloggers Opinions
“I think it’s much harder now to build up an audience. As with most things, pre-existing networks are a precondition for success more often than not”, said Phil Burton-Cartledge, adding: “Getting a job robbed me of the energy to carry on [with my blog].” This sentiment is echoed by Kerry Gaffney, who said: “There’s a lack of time, not just to write but to research, work out that angle and then to also build the traffic”.
But others disagree, feeling that as blogging evolves there are more opportunities to be seen. “The way we blog is certainly changing, as is the way we consume blogs. Before, we’d go to one or two experts, knowing them to be reliable. Now, with better aggregation and curation of the web, we are able to source the best information from a wide range of bloggers we may never have come across before. And this is good. We all have a chance to 15 minutes of fame”, said David Clare.
Charlotte Beckett said: “Blogging, as with all social media, is maturing. It’s part of the broad channel mix. Blogs such as The Huffington Post and Mashable give mainstream media a run…and mainstream media increasingly embraces bloggers to add to its coverage. So as the part time hobbyists stop, so those committed to their topic [will] thrive.”
In part two of this post, I’ll take a look at more results from the survey in which bloggers discuss what are their biggest challengers and how to overcome these.