Lately, I’ve read about several longtime comic bloggers shutting down their blogs and giving up blogging. This is on top of reading other articles about the current state, and future, of blogging.
I’ve been running my blog for 10 years (as of this month), and a lot’s changed over that time: web hosts; blogging software; HTTPS as the norm; the rise and fall of multiple social services (remember Google+?); the death of Google Reader (and RSS as far as the general public’s concerned); Tumblr’s decline; media mergers; etc. Still, over the last decade, blogging’s clearly fallen off with the general public.
Part of the decline in blogging’s popularity is that social media’s now dominant, and most people find that easier. It’s also something all of one’s friends and/or family will use and read, unlike blogs. Trying to get people to click through shared links on Twitter or Facebook and read beyond the headline is already tough.
Also not helping is the decline in the open web overall. Aside from podcasts, it seems like everything online is dominated by various proprietary “walled gardens.” Blogging’s been replaced for the average person by social media; Slack, Zoom, Teams, etc. have overtaken IRC; even Spotify seems to be gunning to do the same for podcasts.
I should also mention the infamous “pivot to video” push from Facebook a few years ago, which caused a ton of chaos among writers online.
All of the above also makes me think about my own blog. Reasons I started my own blog include: enjoying writing; wanting to explain trivia, information, and opinions about various topics to others; and that trying to get hired to do this for a living (as a technical writer) hasn’t been easy. It’s also less work than running a podcast or vlog, and I don’t have to worry about being telegenic or what others think of my voice.
That said, while I’ve tried various new things over the years (everything from Google+ to Mastodon), I’ll admit things have changed as far as blogging goes. I’ve also tried pushing for various open standards alternatives like RSS. However, I still worry my blog doesn’t get more traffic or attention. Looking at site statistics, it’s the same handful of posts that get traffic, and I wonder if most of that’s for their images, versus the actual content I’ve written.
Ways to “modernize” my blog?
As such, I’ve been pondering whether or how to “modernize” this blog to stay relevant. Options I can think of:
- Relaunch a new version of my old Facebook page?
- Reopen and put more effort into my Instagram account?
- Consider starting a podcast?
- Turn some of my blog posts into YouTube videos?
Of course, all of these have downsides. Facebook still has multiple problems; Facebook and Instagram throttle user traffic, making it difficult for users to see new posts; I’m not telegenic, let alone jumping to make videos of myself; and I have doubts about my voice (which I’ve often considered flat sounding) being suitable for a podcast.
I’ve enjoyed blogging for the past decade. That said, if running a plain text blog (with some graphics and the occasional YouTube video thrown in) isn’t good enough anymore, incorporating more audio and video options (plus conceding to using Facebook and Instagram, the dominant non-Twitter social networks) might be something worth considering.
Is there anything new or different you’d like to see done on the blog?