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A question on the minds of many today is: Is blogging dead? This post seeks to answer this question by presenting data from our aQuantive acquisition client project.
The goal here is to provide you with some real numbers, so that you can be confident in your decision of whether or not bloggers are dead.
Blogging has been around for over ten years and there are thousands of "ghosts" (abandoned blogs and ghost blogs) littering the internets.
We scoured Alexa's top 20,000 sites for content-driven websites using tags like "blog", "runet", "online journalism", etc.,
cleaned up any remaining Russian language sites using Google Translate on the English version of site, manually created a list of about 400 bloggers, and finally whittled that list down to the 50 most popular blogs on the web (according to Alexa).
The methodology used for our analysis is called Quantitative Content Analysis. The application we use for this runs all over Google Analytics, Compete, Technorati Tags, and Search Engine Terms at the page level, generating trillions of measurements in under 10 minutes.
As part of our aQuantive acquisition client project , we've used this tool to identify great content creators and replicate their success by reverse engineering their business model.
Today's blog post is merely an extension to that work - let's see how blogging has evolved using these tools.
Quantitative Content Analysis...more commonly known as "big data"
These are the results that we found:
Figure 1: Blogging's Rise & Fall -
The term "blogging" has peaked and is in steady decline. However, there are more bloggers today than ever before - a trend that coincides with the increase of abandoned blogs (i.e., those not updated for over 90 days).
We also see a correlation between blogging traffic and the monthly number of new websites using this tag, but we won't get into that here. So, let's dig deeper...
Figure 2: Google Trends Comparison
A comparison of search volume for "blogs vs twitter". There was search volume for blogging as far back as 2004-2005 when it started picking up steam.
Twitter didn't have any meaningful search volume until 2009. We also see that in the last several months, blogging even has eclipsed twitter as far as search interest is concerned.
Figure 3: Blogging Activity -
This chart shows that blogging activity peaked in August of 2007 and began a steady decline around February of 2008 before finally bottoming out at about half by the end of 2008.
The numbers show that traffic (page views) to blogs was peaking when it hit bottom relative to page views to all content-driven websites (i.e., those without "blog" or "site"). Given this data, we're comfortable calling blogging dead.
Figure 4: What's Not Dead
Blogging is NOT dead if you're an industry leader writing for other industry leaders.
Blogging is NOT dead if you're a successful niche blogger writing to an audience that's receptive.
Blogging is NOT dead if you're producing unique content about a given topic and have a community of followers interested in your subject matter. And last, blogging is NOT dead if you're monetizing it through affiliate programs .
A New Breed Of Blogger Is Born: The Influencer Blogger
These bloggers have an active community of followers and interact with them daily. They create content on a regular basis that's based upon their knowledge in their given field - not about the "general interest" nature of blogging, which is why we call them Influencer Bloggers .
And there are thousands of these Influencer Bloggers, most leading niches in industries like design, health & fitness, entertainment, politics, poker, cooking and many more.
What About Twitter? Is It Dead Too?
Twitter has been dying a slow death since day one. The minute it started, people began complaining about the character count.
If they'd have allowed for more characters per tweet, we all may still be using it today - but alas.... You can almost set your watch to when people (blogs/websites) will start talking about twitter being dead or dying .
Twitter's userbase has grown from 0 to 100m users in 11 years.
That's a 1,700% growth rate! This chart shows the total number of tweets being sent out every day (531 million daily), and it still hasn't begun its decline phase yet.
Hey, if you're using twitter for business or keeping up with the news/celebrities - then hell no... It is NOT dead .
The reason people say it is so often referred to as "the echo chamber effect" or "micro blogging", where there isn't any conversational content happening and all you see when you go to your timeline is what everyone else is tweeting. It's sad, really...
But don't take our word for it - do the research yourself.
Google hasn't killed blogging yet (well, actually they did with Blogger and then brought it back).
If you're practicing #1 Rule of Business: " Content is King ", you'll probably be fine. And if you've been doing that from day one, congratulations and keep up the good work! We recommend using a service such as Feedburner to optimize your RSS feed even more!
Here's an article that shows proof that feeding works in SEO strategies .
If you believe the hype and we're wrong, let us know - sound off in the comments!
In closing, we'd like to thank Google for what they've done with Blogger. Yes it's true that they killed it off a few times (we hope this won't be another of those times).
At first, blogging was just a fad and then became not a fad.
They've proven that if you focus on community content and build an audience, there is still plenty of life left in blogs yet.
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