Is Blogging Dead?

Get Writing! © Photocritical | Dreamstime.com

Get Writing!
© Photocritical | Dreamstime.com

Far and away, one of the best benefits of attending writer’s conferences is the fact that everyone is buzzing about the latest trends and up-and-coming developments in the writing world. It was at a writer’s conference that I heard the first stirrings of what would become the Indie Revolution, it’s where I heard about the indispensability of social media as a writing tool, and it’s where I met the friends who keep me on top of the changes in the industry as it happens.

So imagine my surprise at the Romance Writers of America nationals in Atlanta last month when I heard—multiple times—that blogging is dead.

Wait, blogging is dead? What’s that all about? Aren’t writers encouraged to have a blog as an essential part of their online platform? Haven’t they been telling us for the past few years that everything should point back to our blog? Am I not blogging right now?

I wish I had had a chance to hear more of a discussion on this topic so that I could get a clearer sense of why blogging is dead. The thing is, I can’t exactly disagree with it. My own experience lately has shown me that blogs don’t have quite the excitement around them that they did a year ago. Not only have I see the numbers inch down with my blog, I’ll confess, I haven’t been reading as many blogs as I used to.

What’s this all about?

Well, I have some theories.

First of all, it seems to me that a lot of the content on writer’s blogs is the same. Yep. We all seem to be blogging about the same thing. I’ve seen a lot of posts in the last couple of months with tips for the aspiring writer, discussions of how to use social media, debates over the importance of historical accuracy (which I love, but they do seem to be everywhere), and mistakes that writers frequently make.

There’s actually two big problems with these things. First, they’re everywhere. The same information is being recycled. And yes, I just said the same thing in the previous paragraph. See what I mean? Second, it seems like a lot of us writers are writing content for other writers instead of for folks who read our books. Why? Because that’s the low-hanging fruit. We know we can attract readers by offering what writers want: advice that leads to hope.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I would argue that it has us all spinning in circles. That that’s what kills blogging.

There's your low-hanging fruit! ;)  © Dusan Kostic | Dreamstime.com

There’s your low-hanging fruit! 😉
© Dusan Kostic | Dreamstime.com

The message that I heard attached to the statement that blogging was dead was that you should only blog if you enjoy blogging and have something to say. Ah, I think that’s the heart of the matter. Way, way back in the day of last year, we were all told that our online platform as writers must include a blog. So away we all went, fumbling around for something to write about on a regular basis. The problem is, a lot of us don’t think that way. Generating something to say on a regular basis is as pointless as telling the same joke over and over.

Me? I happen to love blogging. In case you hadn’t noticed, I have a lot of thoughts in my head and a lot of things to say. Some of them might actually be interesting! I love history and enjoy sharing those tidbits that I find interesting with you all. Yes, there have been days when I do hours of research, write my 1000 word post, and get 7 whole hits. Doesn’t matter. I still love writing about history. And I do my book reports as a way to hold myself accountable for reading the books I know I’m supposed to be reading. Yes, I like blogging.

But what if you really don’t?

This is where the message from the conference comes as a welcome pronouncement for a lot of people. If you don’t truly enjoy writing blog posts, don’t. The trends seem to be shifting more into the realm of those delicious 140-character bites. Facebook reaches more people than blogging does, and on Facebook you’re just as likely to drum up interest by sharing memes than by writing essays. Pinterest and Instagram seem to be the soup de jour too. And I can’t tell you how many videos I’ve watched lately thanks to links shared through Facebook. Too bad videos are harder to create. Then again, they’re no harder to create than blog posts for those who don’t like blogging.

So I’m going to continue my 3-4 blog posts a week because I truly enjoy writing them. But what about you? What are you going to do with your time? Do you like blogging? Do you like reading blogs? Or is Facebook or Twitter more your thing? What do you think the next big social media innovation is going to be?

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30 thoughts on “Is Blogging Dead?

  1. I’m slowly evolving my own blog to say more about ME, and less about how to edit/write, etc. Pushing towards introducing other books, Indie Authors, give stuff away etc. More of my posts are pushing towards everyday stuff, and less about tips and tricks to writing. I’ve noticed, the more I do that, the more I let my humor come through, the more GIF-y it is, the more hits I get.

    I don’t reach as many through FB, although Twitter is growing, but I get bored with Twitter fairly easily. I often forget about Google+.

    All social media comes and goes, remember MySpace?, new stuff is introduced. Eventually the current, popular stuff loses out to the new stuff coming down the pike 🙂

    Great blog! And I hit it evertime you post 🙂

    • I think you’re exactly right about all of the different incarnations of social media, TJ. And who knows what’s next? I happen to love blogging, so for me it isn’t dead. But I’m very happy for my writer friends who never really did enjoy it and struggled with it. They’re now free! =D

  2. I think writers can get too bogged down on what is and isn’t working. I never thought that having a blog was a must have for all authors because it isn’t. Marketing and promoting your book is essential, having a blog isn’t.
    It’s good to listen to advice out there, but I think writers need to use their initiative and stop following the crowd all of the time.
    I like the idea of a blog, think it’s a good way of promoting myself, etc, but I don’t think it’s the right choice for everyone.

    • You’re exactly right, Cassandra! Blogs are a good tool if you enjoy them, but if you don’t you’d best put your efforts into other kinds of marketing. I think we sometimes follow the trend without really thinking about how it will or won’t work for us.

  3. I mostly post about facts I learned in the research of my historicals, post book excerpts and news about my books. Don’t post about my personal life or give writing tips. Like you said, that stuff is all over the place. I use my blog to showcase my work.

  4. I have specific things I blog. Mondays, a chance to people to post their stuff, Fridays guest authors, and Sunday, what’s going on with me. It’s not a crazy schedule and people seem to like it. I gave up a group post your snippet blog because it was just too much.

  5. I found out I LOVE blogging! I love spotlighting other authors as well as writing my own “history light” posts. Doesn’t matter if it sells more books or not. I’ve made lots of online friends, many of whom I meet at conferences, and this, to me, is a big part of the fun of being a romance author.

    I DO have to watch out that I don’t spend more time blogging than writing, though, especially when I’m doing difficult revisions.

    • And that’s exactly when you should blog, Susana: when you’re enjoying yourself. I feel the same way you do about sometimes having difficulties balancing writing blog posts with doing my “real” writing. Funny how that works out.

  6. I’ve slowed down and have allowed myself not to post if I don’t feel like it or have nothing interesting to say. I do like to blog, but not religiously. Myself, I’ve noticed I don’t visit blogs as often, but it also might be because the first blush of blogging is over as I’m heading toward my 2-year blogging anniversary.

    • I don’t visit blogs as often either. Not sure what’s up with that, but I can see it reflected in my number of hits too.

      By the way, I keep meaning to email you to ask how’s life, but I am hopelessly absent-minded these days. 😛

  7. I think it has its place, Merry. The challenge is finding the different slant…the point of difference that makes your blog stand out from the others, but I think your point is well made. The thing about Social Media is finding the place where you feel comfortable. Personally, I see it as part of the interrelated suite of website/blog/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads. My blog links to my Goodreads account and my Amazon author page etc. No single author has time for everything. Pick what works for you and make it work for you.

    • Yep, that’s it exactly, Alison. It’s all about finding your niche, both in terms of what you write and which tool you use to do it. I’m just glad that the message that all writers must blog is subsiding, because I know a few writers who just hate it. And I have my blog connected to my Amazon and GoodReads page, but honestly, at the end of the day, I can only handle so much social media before my head implodes!

    • I can’t say I love blogging. It takes time I’d rather put into writing more books, but it is a way to connect with other writers and readers. Does it bring me more sales? A few maybe. Now I’m thinking I’d do well to be more active on Facebook, which I’m rather lukewarm about. I mean, how many social sites can I manage and still find any time to write? It’s a real quandary.

      • I definitely know that feeling! I can only handle three social media outlets: my blog, Facebook, and Twitter. And I will ignore Twitter for days when I’ve got other stuff going on. As long as we’re out there attempting some sort of connection in a way that feels authentic for us, I think we’re going to be okay. 😉

        Thanks for the reblog!

  8. I have been blogging for five years, and this past year I noticed fewer comments, likes and visits.

    I would get between 100 and 130 a day in the stats.

    I still post the same posts as before, which are completely different to everyone else, the trend does not bother me as I will still blog.

    • I’ve noticed the same thing, Harry. I used to get SO many more hits. I thought the decline in numbers was due to some changes WordPress made in SEO, but nope, I think it’s the overall downward trend. But who knows, maybe the pendulum will swing back the other way and established bloggers like us will have an advantage.

      • The thing that started it I think was about a year ago, WP messed about with the button at comments and people stopped commenting, but there was such a stick about it they went back.

    • I was so happy to meet you too, Callie! It’s a shame we all don’t live closer to each other so we could get together more often. That was far and away the best part of the conference for me. 🙂

  9. I absolutely agree withnyou about loving it. life is too short to pursue a hobby you don’t enjoy and I’m sure any unwillingnessmto chat on the author’s part comes across in their posts.

    That said, I really enjoy reading blogs and writing mine. however you’re also right with your point that there is a limit to how many a person can read in a day.

    I have a regular feature for guests where they get to have a good rant about their 5 pet hates, readers vote and then I give the results the next week. In and around that I say whatever I feel like… Sometimes nothing. I do write about writing but mostly it’s just a story with a very loose tie in to my trade at the end. I’m working on a rant about rudeness and a review do a car at the moment. I have about 20 regular readers and I know who they all are!

    While I’m here, as a spec-fic writer I seem to follow a lot of romance blogs on the industry, so to speak, because you guys are all miles ahead of the curve. 🙂

    Cheers

    MTM

  10. And another good piece of advice for writers wishing to produce coherent, correctly spelled and punctuated blog comments is not to type them on an iPad – phnark. Sorry about that, I hope it’s still reasonably clear.

    Cheers (again)

    MTM

  11. OMGosh, Merry, I hope blogging isn’t dead! I’m just starting to get the hang of it and was counting on it to help out with marketing my books. On top of that, I’m not very with it yet on the other forms of social media.
    Plus, I ~~enjoy~~ reading many of those author’s blogs out there. I’ve gained some of the best insight and knowledge on writing (and everything related to writing) by reading blogs. They are a great way to share information and help others in the genre.
    Crossing my fingers that the ‘buzz’ about this at the Nationals is wrong, and that it doesn’t become a self-fulfilling prophecy just because so many people heard about it!

  12. No, it ain’t dead. For me at least. I’ve never had hordes of readers except for the times I got FP’d or a high-profile interview subject shared his or her interview on social media, but readers have been pretty steady over all and subscriptions/follows have been climbing slowly but surely every month.

    I agree that there’s too much fluff content aimed at aspiring or fellow writers because they are, as you say, the low-hanging fruit. One of my FP’d posts tried to break that mold and give writing advice with specific, actionable, off-the-beaten-path tips with entertaining true personal anecdotes to back them up. Questions from aspiring freelancers poured in. There is still an appetite for this info on blogs – it just needs to be the right info, packaged in an entertaining and accessible way, and it can’t be a re-hash of what 2,769 other bloggers said last month. That is true of any topic. I never unpack a cultural/political topic either unless I feel that a) I have a personal story to add that no other writer has or b) I have an opinion or a perspective on it that no other commentator has made yet.

    I would say that I use my blog more for my own personal fulfillment rather than a promoter of my paid work, though that does figure in. Catering to a lot of different editors/pubs/clients can get tiring, but on my blog I can write what I want, in the way I want, experimenting with new styles and keeping my passion fresh for when it’s time to go back to the articles and copywriting that pay the bills. That being said, I’ve gotten paid work b/c an editor or hiring manager had seen the blog and been impressed, and I have sold modified articles off the blog for paid republication elsewhere.

    So I will keep blogging.

    • I think the message at RWA was mostly for all those writers who have been told that they MUST have a blog to be taken seriously as a writer. And that’s why we ended up with so many redundant blogs out there. I’m with you though: I blog because I like to write blog posts. There’s always something interesting out there that I find I want to share with people. 🙂

      • I always admire how prolific you are – turning out novels and a couple blog posts a week. I can do maybe 4-6 articles a week plus copywriting and maybe one or two blog posts in a good week. I agree about there always being something interesting to share. Why cover what some other blogger has covered?

  13. Your blog still has something to offer people, so you should still keep going. In fact, when it comes to the areas of history you discuss, you are my go-to blog of choice. You have a way of bringing it to life that too many fail at in reporting on history. I think your joy is key.

    As to so many writers writing about writing on their blogs, I’m thankful for the post I read over a year ago on Livia’s Brainy Writer blog, it guided my blog onto a more promising track. http://blog.liviablackburne.com/ (not a link to the post, but a link to her pretty awesome blog).

    I think blogging for the sake of a platform is all that’s dead about it. I think all we’re really seeing now is the settling down of the blogging boom. Lots of people started around the same time, most of them over-doing it to unsustainable amounts (both reading and regular posts), people are getting a bit choosier with their blog reading time (resulting in problems for those that aren’t blogging because they enjoy it or are rehashing the same old information you can find on hundreds of other blogs). Likewise, people who simply don’t have enough interest to sustain the practice of blogging are also dropping off or at least taking a hiatus.

    Just because things are settling down now doesn’t mean they’re dying or dead, at least that’s my opinion.

    I hope you keep your website going as long as you have time to dedicate toward it though. This is a nice place to visit and I enjoy your blog, even if I don’t catch every post. I really can’t get most of your blog topics anywhere else and still be entertained.

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