Monday, July 18, 2011

End of Blogging?

The question's only slightly rhetorical.

John Hawkins tweeted last night, and he got me thinking:
The right side of the political blogosphere is dying. I don't think anything smaller than say 50k views a day will be relevant in 5 years.
I was, well, "Hmm ... I don't know ..."

I'd just seen Glenn Reynolds post on this the other day, and he linked to Technology Review, "Google+ Marks the End of Blogging as a Means of Personal Expression." I'd read that earlier, so I Googled, and came up with Felix Salmon's, "Is blogging dead?" There's an interview with The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal, and both Salmon and Madrigal stress the same point: Independent, single-author blogs are a dying breed:
... old-fashioned single-person blogs are largely a thing of the past, with the exception of enthusiastic practitioners in the fields they write about, be it banking or science or anything else. And those people normally blog independently, rather than as part of an old- or new-media company.
I've been blogging for 5 and a half years. I'm averaging probably 2,500 visitors a day, the majority of those through search. I don't have a large commentariat, for various reasons, not the least of which is that progressives trolls ruined the threads. But I keep plugging away because I enjoy it for me. I get my news and entertainment from blogging, and I have enough of a core readership to get feedback and encouragement to keep it up. Besides, I don't trust the MSM most of the time, so I feel an obligation to keep going, for the public good, however marginal my contribution might be.

In any case, I checked my blog ranking at Technorati. I'm still in the top 100 of political blogs, which surprised me. At one point American Power was ranked #40 at Technorati, and for a while I was in the top 50 at Wikio (I'm #94 now). Doug Ross recently ranked my blog #100 in the conservative blogosphere.


Blog rankings generally reflect the volume of incoming links, i.e., how many other blogs are linking to you. But it seems as though it's gotten more difficult to stay ranked, although the traffic has improved over the years, through search and through greater opportunities for networking and marketing. That said, change is in the air. I'm thinking about a Wordpress switch-over soon, transforming American Power into a more sleek, professional blog. I'm also thinking of soliciting a team of bloggers, people who share my ideological goals and a desire to expand the blog into a multi-media portal and neoconservative repository.

Anyway, I tweeted John Hawkins back and he said he was going to work up a post based on that earlier tweet. And he did: "The Slow, Painful Coming Death Of The Independent, Conservative Blogosphere." There's a lot of wisdom there, for example:
The market has ... become much more professionalized. When I got started, back in 2001, a lone blogger who did 3-4 posts a day could build an audience. Unless your name is Ann Coulter, you probably couldn’t make that strategy work today.

Instead, most successful blogs today have large staffs, budgets, and usually, the capacity to shoot traffic back and forth with other gigantic websites. Look at Redstate, which is tied into Human Events, Hot Air which connected with Townhall, Instapundit, which [is] a part of Pajamas Media, Newsbusters which is a subsidiary of the Media Research Center and other monster entities like National Review and all of its blogs, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, and the Breitbart media empire. An independent blogger competing with them is like a mom & pop store going toe-to-toe with Wal-Mart. Some do better than others, but over the long haul, the only question is whether you can survive on the slivers of audience they leave behind. This plays into #5.
Go read the rest.

John's got a couple of suggestions, and I'm going to be working on integrating those into my blogging soon.

Stay tuned.