Blogging is (definitely not) DEAD.

I’ve been reading a lot of tweets, blog posts and articles about the “state of blogging” lately. In fact, I recently posted my own commentary about the changing landscape and how adding sponsorship dollars to the mix has changed the way many people write on their blogs or share content in general. I’m not at all against review or sponsored blogging; quite the opposite, in fact. When done well, review blogs can be the best place to get honest feedback about products or services you may be contemplating (or hey, you may not know about at all, and therefore must hear about, ha!). They give us glimpses into the lives of wonderful families like ours: the ones saving a bit of money here and there, ones bringing in that extra bit of fun money for the family, ones with great DIY sense, ones struggling with insane toddlers and unruly teens… And their words and reviews do matter, they do influence our purchases. Some of my absolutely favourite bloggers are financially connected to brands they truly love, and regardless of whether they are paid or not, it is obvious through their posts that they admire the brands with whom they work. (And Robin is NOT remunerated for her posts. She talks about companies she just really likes, period.) These are the kinds of connections I love reading about. They’re honest, well-written, truthful, worthy of reading. And I find that the review blogs I love most are not simply about reviews. They combine savvy writing, humour, and honesty that makes the blogging world such a fun place.

There are, of course, review blogs that I feel are a complete waste of space, ad money and time, and I think that those are the ones people refer to when they mention the decline of blogging. The incessant hollow tweeting, promoting, auto-updating about poorly-written non-reviews. The dishonest connections, the self-promotion. It’s as sickening online as it would be to have that relentless coworker in your face in the kitchen daily bragging. (Don’t pretend like you’ve never had one of those.) If you’re willing to sell off your blogging space and followers for some cheap freebies, it says more about you than I think you realize. And take note, again: I am absolutely NOT referring to those bloggers who obviously put their hearts and souls into creating fun blog posts, giveaways or connections with brands. But becoming a freaking drone about it is ruining the game for everyone. Here’s how to blog to increase traffic! Here’s what you need to write about to be popular! Lure readers with juicy subjects then bore them to tears with crummy content! Follow the dollar signs! And this is why people are muttering about the demise of blogging. Maybe that kind of blogging would be better off dead anyhow.

But even though there is so much noise, too many people yelling, so many people feeling lost in the cyber-crowds, blogging isn’t going anywhere. More than ever, we find our people online and connect with people just like us all around the world. Blogging conferences bring us together to learn, debate, evolve and share. We sometimes try to separate the world of blogging from the greater world around us, but how is that realistic when we are the same people occupying both worlds? Blogging has given us an outlet to write, to chat, to make money, to test the waters, to reach out, to speak.

You can’t put the genie back in the bottle, but you can learn how to make the best kinds of wishes. So here’s my advice: write for you. Truly. Write for you and the rest will come. Don’t lament about your traffic. Don’t sell out for a free lunch. Write what you’d enjoy reading. Be the voice you love, and your people will find it. We all gravitate to the voices we love in our offline lives, and this space is no different. It’s not dead, but it’s sure evolving and I’m very much looking forward to seeing where this all leads in the next 5-10 years.

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12 thoughts on “Blogging is (definitely not) DEAD.

  1. I couldn’t agree more about this, Alex. There are some people who are able to manage their sponsors/brands and be a real, genuine person as well on blogs and in SM. I have a lot of respect for them. That is not an easy balance, I’m sure.

    I also completely agree about blogging for yourself. I’m always laughing about my most popular posts, they are never the ones that I think they will be. I also laugh when people ask me how much money I make from blogging. The answer to that is, none . I just recently decided to monetize a bit to cover my site costs. This isn’t a way for me to make tons of money and quit my day job. I write because I love to and I appreciate every single person who reads my posts 🙂

    You are so right, people are not impressed by garbage content. I sure dislike the sites that chop up posts into 12 pieces and expect you to click to another page to keep reading. We’re not stupid. We know you are trying to increase your pageviews by making your readers jump through hoops. I leave these posts right away and I’m sure I’m not alone.

    I’m with you, I can’t wait to see how blogging evolves.

    Great post, Alex!

    1. I really, really love the bloggers who have managed to perform that fine balance. I couldn’t do it.

  2. Therein lies the rub. Anyone can blog! Which is why I love it. I seek out the little unique voices, the personal stories, the trials, the funny stuff, the humanity … but I don’t begrudge anyone for wanting to make a living.

    1. I don’t begrudge anyone trying to make a living, either, which is why I respect the ones who do it well SO much.

      And I totally love that blogging gives voices who may not have been found before a space to speak. I love the talents I’ve found.

  3. Thank you so much for considering my little blog a good example of when a review blog works. I try very hard to make sure that I do honest concise reviews that are interesting to read and informative. Lena is one of my favourites too. She has such a unique voice that is so honest. I agree, blogging isn’t dead, but it is changing.

    1. You are such an incredible blogger, Julia. And hardly a little blog! Your humour is sharp, your talent is big and your heart is golden.

  4. As someone who is still new to the blogging world, I am still trying to find my place. I love the sense of community that I have found, and your comment about finding our people resonated with me. I have little time to read anything, really, so I want to see the posts from people that are genuine, and honest, and don’t feel like I am being pressured into buying something ” because all the cool kids have it”. If I’m looking for a review of something, I want to know the good, the bad and the ugly, because, let’s face it, rarely does a product come along that is 100% perfect.

    I don’t have a big audience, I know that. Writing on the blog is my escape, and when I start to stress about numbers and stats, it loses that for me. It no longer becomes the place I come to share and connect, and just another job. Your advice is sound and true, my friend, and as we all grow and change, so will those around us. I just sometimes wish that people could remember what brought them to blogging in the first place, before the days of competition. I look for the same things in blog I read in the people I chose to talk to – a sense of genuiness, passion and heart. I don’t care what your passions are, I want to see them, and hear your voice. You know?

    Great post Alex!

    1. For me, it’s definitely about connecting with “my people”… not having a huge audience.

  5. If one is able, like Julia or Lena to find the balance between honest and authentic writing and reviewing and sponsored posts, then it works like nobody’s business. It’s the robotic sponsored posts, the ones without an angle, the ones that are so obvious, that are the turn-off. The craft of writing is not to be trifled with, and while the world it is a changing, and more people than ever can use the craft of writing earn a living, the real-ness needs to be maintained. The whole purpose of review blogs is to receive an honest recommendation from someone you trust. If you feel like their 4 stats were purchased with a pack of gum, then there go the ethics. I ramble, but is is why I rarely review. I feel like I sound like a pack of gum.

  6. One of the SQL blogs I read has just noticed that his readership has increased: because he stopped worrying and started writing about what interested him, and all of a sudden, there was passionate, interesting writing about what can be a terrifically dull subject.

  7. Alex! I came to your blog this morning to get my fill of savvy writing and legit content at its best. How lovely to click “done well” – truly, I am humbled by your confidence in me (and kindness). My blog has had its ups and downs; for a while, the content wasn’t where I wanted it, and sometimes, I feel like doing a happy dance when I hit “publish”. Regardless, I think you nailed it: “Write for you. Truly. Write for you and the rest will come.”

    1. I don’t think blogs always have to hold our best content. Why should they? I’m not always at my best, and I like my blog to represent me accurately. 😉 But I REALLY love your blog, and all you do.

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