According to Technorati the number of blogs on the world wide web has gone from a mere handful in 1999 to an estimated 100 million plus today. It even recorded that in 2005 alone, there were an estimated 15,000 blogs being created every single day. Wowsers!
With figures like that it’s hard to imagine that not everyone has a blog, but the tides are changing, and it seems sooner or later, every man and his dog is going to have their own piece of the blogosphere.
The blogging world has been a strange place for so long. Those that know about it feel as though they’ve been part of an underground cult, but then those who are newly discovering it can’t quite believe that it’s now even classed as a profession.
For Generation Y many are being lured into blogging by the monetsation madness that they’ve seen thanks to the new ‘celebrity bloggers’ such as Tanya Burr and Zoella (aka Zoe Sugg), now living every girls dream thanks to a blog that started in their bedroom. So why can’t everyone do it?
The truth is blogging is not what it used to be 10 years ago, and it’s an area that is forever evolving and changing because it’s focused around people, and people change. Our interests change, the way we want to do and see things changes, and of course those tweens who follow every thing that you do, are soon going to grow up and start to do things their own way.
As much as we are creatures of habit, as soon as something better comes along we always want to upgrade.
Blogging has often been thought of as a phase, but with the increase of social influence and the honest content, it’s a natural recipe for success. Even I’m the first to admit that before I purchase anything, I’ll read a variety of blog reviews before parting with my money. So it’s no surprise that there are others like myself who are making these bloggers popular, because as an audience we trust them.
The boundaries that used to seperate the journalists and bloggers are now becoming blurred, and this is easily seen from the fact that they now share the same front row seats at fashion week as some of the biggest names in the industry.
The girl that once started writing about lipstick in her bedroom in Norwich, is now sat in the same seat as the girl who spent years at Central St Martins getting papped leaving her home in Mayfair.
The blogging lines are officially blurred, and successful bloggers are now as revered as celebrities.
But where is it going to go?
Not every blog can have this starry eyed success story? Right?
As a Digital Marketer by day and Blogger by night, I’ve decided to dive in and make some predictions of where this is all going to go. I’ve asked a few fellow bloggers to share their words of wisdom, and I’ve been completely honest about where I think the blogsphere is going in the next few years.
You may totally disagree with my views, but it’s always interesting to predict the future…
With wordpress becoming a much easier CMS (Content Management System), many bloggers have embraced this platform and have therefore opted for much cleaner blog designs, enabling the content and images to do all the talking.
Displayed like an online magazine, many blogs are now heavy on the white, and then use a signature colour.
To be honest, mine is exactly the same. Black & White, with a dash of peachy pink to mix it up a little.
But take a look around the blogosphere and you’ll see my design is pretty similar to most of them out there.
Admittedly it’s easy on the eye, and you can see where everything is.
But with so many of us opting for this ‘editorial’ style design, the market is becoming saturated with samey looking blogs.
I personally chose wordpress because of the simplicty that it gave me for being more creative with my blog, like many bloggers I wanted my images to do all the talking. After all that’s what I love most about blogs, the images!
The trouble with wordpress is that it’s easy to buy a theme that looks exactly like someone else’s.
So I believe the real change is going to set apart the creatives.
WordPress offers far more scope than many bloggers have touched on, and I think those that want to start making their sites more ‘bespoke’ will start to do unique things that make them more interactive, or more fun to be on.
Alternatively, those who don’t have the time or the money to make their site better, will perhaps move over to ‘micro’ blogging, as with the increase in popularity with more real-time social networking apps such as Instagram and now Periscope, what’s the point in spending hours writing and perfecting your images, when you can just use these apps and get the better engagement.
There are so many platforms now at our disposal, to me it seems that sites are going to become secondary to the social elements.
‘How to Guides’, street style, the same brand product review but just on a different blog. Sound familiar?
Content in the blogsphere is becoming super samey.
You can tell when a brand is doing the PR rounds as 5 or 10 different reviews all for the same product will pop-up in my bloglovin feed. And do I read them? Nope!
The truth is so many of us have just been churning out the same content for so long in order to ‘fit in’ to the blogging norm. After all, these posts have proved popular in the past so why change it?
I know myself that unless it impresses me, looks good, or I’ve searched for a particular product, I’m not going to visit your blog. And I’m sure many people will say the same about mine. Because the question many bloggers have been forgetting to ask themselves, (and I’ll put my hands up to this as well), is it different?
And the answer most of the time is no!
Because although we have different opinions and different ways of writing, the content is essentially the same.
I can even tell you this from my own blog experience because the posts that have done the best for me, are the ones that aren’t like everyone else’s and mainly because they’re a ranty post which everyone loves to gossip about.
But the future of blogging is not going to be about hauls from primark and posing down your street, it’s going to be the ones that get people talking.
It’s been predicted that Video content is going to grow, so rather than writing it all down, short video clips may be the answer.
Stepping away from the so called ‘blogging rules’ is hard, but those that push themselves to offer something different will be the next Zoella successors.
The blogging world has become such an influence that it’s no surprise that bloggers with a big social influence can now blog as a full time job. It’s what many bloggers dream of. Sitting in bed writing about make-up and getting paid for it!
However reality is far from this, and although there are some lucky ladies blogging from their beds or at a fancy London coffee shop on a daily basis, there are some of us who don’t earn money from blogging, and some that don’t want to.
Sponsorship and advertising has become the bread and butter of many bloggers lives, and of course when a hobby becomes popular money always crops up along the line somewhere.
As a brand, the price you pay depends on the blogger that you decide to work with.
To get a full-time bloggers prospective on the money involved with blogging, I picked the brains of one of my favourite beauty bloggers Hayley from London Beauty Queen;
Not all blogs are made equal and not all have the same value. You can’t place the same value on one site with 100 followers as another with a million, so they should be compensated accordingly. However, it’s INFLUENCE that is important – not just the numbers. Why would you place a sponsored post on a site with only a few readers when you can reach a tonne more that actually act upon the blogger’s advice? It’s simple business. A lot of bloggers forget that brands and PRs have a job to do and won’t just support them out of the kindness of their heart.
This comment rings true for many of the brands I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
Many people who are looking to gain instant success from a blog don’t understand the amount of time and effort that goes into blogs to make them such a success. And there are bloggers out there who are purely in it for the money, which is fair enough to them, but they’ll certainly never gain the organic success to make a difference.
I’ve unfortunately seen so many bloggers succumb to the power of money and blog about products and events that have nothing to do with their blogs format or genre. Selling themselves out of their own authenticity for a freebie!
As advertising standards are now changing with what’s considered a sponsored post, many new bloggers will have to question what it is they really want to gain from starting a blog.
In the blogging world you can’t go a day without seeing a blogger chat streaming on twitter.
The blogging community is one of the most vocal on social networks, and this is something that is not going to change, but the community itself might.
I love taking part in these chats myself. I find other blogs to follow, make friends, and even discover some interesting topics for the blog.
But one thing that I’m starting to see more of, is the increased feeling that many young girls with a blog want to make it as a full-time blogger. Don’t get me wrong, this is great that they have a hunger for an independent career, but what comes with this need for going freelance also comes a very ‘sell yourself’ attitude.
I’ve been disappointed more times than I can count when these blogger chats have been interupated by people desperate for people to follow their blog, send them a free product or get invites to events.
This area of the blogging world is one I’m doing my best to seperate myself from.
The traditional honesty and authenticity of blogging is massively coming underthreat by bloggers themselves.
Bloggers telling other bloggers how to blog, bloggers blogging about how you should be a successful blogger.
The entire community is becoming overtaken by the ‘know it alls’ and those hankering to be the next Zoella.
Personally, I think those who are going to be the next success stories, are the ones using their blogging for good, and not simply for their own gain.
‘Hobby’ blogging is going to become the new norm, and those that are continually shoving their stale content down everyones throats are going to have a massaive shock to the system.
These points may never become true, and I may end up eating my words two years down the line.
But I think there’s some big changes coming to the blogosphere and only time will tell.