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Is Business Blogging Dying? Top 10 Statistics Say Yes.

January 26th, 2011 · 16 Comments

On the Social Media Examiner blog today is an excellent post about the Top 10 Business blogs.  I love SME, it’s a great blog and I’ve got many of the their posts bookmarked and stored in my EverNote files.  (If you don’t use Evernote yet, you should it’s brilliant. Full disclosure they give me nothing to say that, I’m just a satisfied customer.)

Now don’t get me wrong, I think all of these blogs are excellent.  I think they are examples of some of the best that business blogging can be.  But I’m looking at a deeper question, namely;

Why is traffic on many of the best business blogs declining?

I looked into all of the business blogs SME identified as best in class and found a disturbing trend.  Most of the blogs were flat in readership numbers while several have declining visitor numbers.  The blogs listed here are: Sweet Leaf Tea, Stonyfield Farms, Pioneer Woman, Work Shifting, Danny Brown’s blog, Ecoki, Nuts About Southwest, Disney Parks, Man of the House,  and Delicious Days.   Here are the Compete Traffic Charts of all of the blogs listed in the post today:

NOTE: These two charts are on different scales because the blogs have different levels of traffic.  The blogs are not in order they are listed due to the traffic volumes.

Of the 10 business blogs only one P&G’s ManOfTheHouse shows increasing traffic numbers over the past year.  However that blog was introduced in April of 2010 so it could be still in the discovery phase of the curve.

For comparison I went to AllTop.com and grabbed a cross section of 5 other business related blogs to see how they performed in 2010. I selected Seth Godin’s blog, ProBlogger, Copy Blogger, Strobist, and Chris Brogan‘s blog.  These are all marketing and online business related blogs so they could be facing a sector decline.  However I think that if people are going read anything online it would be a blog about online marketing- IMHO.  As you can see from the chart below  all of these blogs are showing similar declines in Unique Site Visitors. And traffic numbers for my blog (1GoodReason.com) are also struggling to stay flat.

All of which leads to one inescapable conclusion-

IS BUSINESS BLOGGING DYING?

I don’t have an answer to that question.  But it’s certainly not looking very strong.  Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think.  What are you seeing on your blog?  Do you read less blogs today than you did a few years ago?  What do you think is replacing blogging?

(P.S. My apologies to the students in the Learning Annex class titled “Making Money with Blogging” which I helped teach last week.  I don’t think blogging is dying too quickly, but you should have an alternate career in your back pocket. :)

Give me 1 Good Reason why you think blogging isn’t dying?

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Tags: Reasons For Net Marketing · Web Wednesday

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lynette Young // Jan 26, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Sounds like the decline podcasting experienced less than three years ago. In this case I bet that the Facebook content for those same blog entities has kicked up considerably. People seem to be less inclined to walk the web for content and want it all delivered in realtime on their own ‘hometurf’ – Facebook. It is the ultimate social content and relationship aggregator.

  • 2 Aldon Hynes // Jan 26, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Is Business Blogging Dying? Well, I guess that sort of depends on what you mean. It may well be dying the same sort of way that network broadcast television is dying or newspapers are dying.

    We are seeing increased competition for readers. As Lynette notes, people may be reading content on Facebook, through news readers, etc. and not visiting the site. If what matters is number of people visiting the site, as in the case of selling CPM ads, this can be a problem. But if your goal is to get your message out, it shouldn’t matter if people read the post on the blog site, in an RSS reader, on Facebook or other places.

    Perhaps that is the real question, how many people are reading the content in any form. Or, perhaps even more important, how many people are being influenced by the content?

    As a final, side note, I wouldn’t mind having the problem of my unique monthly visitors falling below a million.

  • 3 Michael Cohn // Jan 26, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Chris,

    Here are our observations:

    1. Blog traffic is not declining but it is seasonal. It is affected by things like summer vacation, holidays, etc.

    2. Blog traffic depends on your strategies for syndication. If you do the same things all year round, your traffic will decline. If you constantly looking for new syndication strategies, your traffic will go up.

    3. Blog traffic can be manipulated through specific targeted syndication campaigns. (If I tell you more I will have to kill you). :-)

  • 4 Jeff Yablon // Jan 26, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Holy Cow, Chris.

    First, there’s been myriad anecdotal AND supposedly well-structured-study evidence for a year or more now that blogging is in fact dying. This would appear to be a function of a couple of things:

    1) People started and got bored
    2) People started and didn’t see the results they were after

    Now let’s be clear about a couple of things:

    –As of this morning, YOUR web site, according to Alexa, is the 281,069th most popular in the world which equates to the top 0.90 % of all websites. Sounds pretty impressive, right?

    –Mssrs. Brogan, Godin, et. al. are obviously MUCH higher yet. But their traffic is flat, while yours is on the rise.

    And so what? They’re “mature”, you’re growing, and you’re all successful. MOST BLOGGERS AREN”T.

    And so they go away, and you guys all stay. For that matter, so do I, for that matter, sitting at “just” the 4.9th percentile.

    What’s really happening is that blogging in general has matured, and cracking the ranks if you’re new or continuing growth if you’re established, is getting harder and harder.

    And that shakes out the less fortunate (fortunately for many of the rest of us) and less persistent (unfortunately for them).

    Blogging isn’t dying. In fact, it’s the best way to SEO success. But as a tool of the proletariat . . . blogging died quite a while ago.

    Jeff Yablon
    President & CEO
    Answer Guy and Virtual VIP Computer Support, Business Change Coaching and SEO Consulting/Search Engine Optimization Services

  • 5 Chris Kieff // Jan 26, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Jeff,
    I think the likelihood of people being bored is not as great for business blogs as it is for personal blogs. I think that the interest in online marketing and social marketing is still growing, yet some the top bloggers in the field are showing declining visitors. I believe that RSS reader usage is declining (no hard stats). Which leaves only Facebook as the likely traffic siphon. I haven’t seen anywhere near the numbers on Facebook that I see in other routes, although my exposure is limited. So I’m confused as to why in the ultra hot field of social media has blog visitors are declining. I don’t doubt that it’s the route to SEO success, but that’s a bot, not a reader. It’s a complex question, which I don’t think has simple answers. But thanks for you perspective.

  • 6 Chris Kieff // Jan 26, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Mike,
    If you look at the charts it’s not a seasonal variation, it’s across the board on a variety of blogs. I think that the top blogs are beyond the level of syndication strategies etc. When you reach that broad an audience and you can see a trend of declining reading across multiple sources it’s not due to one blog’s strategy or lack of strategy. It’s a broader trend. IMO.

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  • 8 Danny Brown // Jan 26, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Hi Chris,

    If you’re going to use stats, it’s probably better to use a system that’s not always been skewed heavily towards U.S. traffic.

    My audience (and possibly the others in your post) doesn’t rely on just the U.S. for readers. In fact, the U.S. is a lowly #5 for my traffic:

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/dannybrown.me#

    additionally, a lot of my traffic comes via mobile platforms – iPhones, iPads, Andriod, etc. Again, Compete doesn’t take all that into account.

    If I was really worried about “traffic”, sure, I’d worry about Compete and tools like that, like many bloggers do to try and justify how important they feel they should be.

    Instead, I’ll just continue doing what I do – get results for clients and share experiences along the way. People will either like it or not – no big deal.

    Here’s to quality over perceived quantity. Every time.

  • 9 Rhona Bronson // Jan 26, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    First off, let’s all be a bit more careful with the word dying. Declining is not dying. Businesses have cycles, ebbs and flows, ups and downs. Downs should be studied, but only Wall Street shysters believe up is the only direction for any trend.

    Audience is something that always has to be nurtured and grown. We all have too many things to read with too little time. I’ve been unsubscribing more than subscribing lately, but I don’t think blogging is dying. It’s just not all that interesting.

    Kudos to you Chris for doing research and at least coming up with original content. It’s why I stick with your blog. Others are just regurgitated, aggregated, or plump reiterated fluff.Delete.

  • 10 Chris Kieff // Jan 27, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Danny,
    I don’t think you need to change anything you are doing. I think your blog is brilliant (not that you asked my opinion LOL). I’m confused as to why with such a great blog you aren’t adding thousands of readers every month (At least as reported by Compete, admittedly with a strong US bias). What I’m surprised about is the apparent trend of the majority of business blogs showing a decline in unique monthly visitors, according to Compete.
    Unfortunately, the only broad based services available are Alexa and Compete. I’ll revisit this data with Alexa and possibly write a follow up post if the data looks significantly different.
    Thanks for the idea Danny.

  • 11 Danny Brown // Jan 27, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Hi Chris,

    Part of me wonders if it’s down to syndicated feeds as well. I had my blog syndicated by Social Media Today, but found a lot of tweets and Facebook shares were directing traffic to that site, as opposed to my original post.

    So I stopped the syndication, and am in the process of only allowing syndication to the likes of Social Media Informer, where it’s merely a teaser and then link back to the original for the full post.

    Full syndication (while helping get your name out there) doesn’t do you any favours traffic-wise – maybe something for others to keep in mind?

  • 12 The Answer: Maybe. The Question: Is Business Blogging Dying? // Jan 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    [...] have nothing to say you should stop blogging.You have something to say.But yesterday I came across an article that I found intriguing enough to comment on. And if you read the information and examine the graphs in this well thought out piece you might [...]

  • 13 Ramakant // Feb 11, 2011 at 1:32 am

    I don’t think that blogging is dying. If one has something to say and does not have a platform to say it, then blogging is ideal. The relative anonymity[your relatives don't know its you] certainly helps. Plus one gets to get all the opinions about everything out of ones system.

  • 14 Walkin’ the Walk… | thethinkintheink // Apr 20, 2011 at 8:14 am

    [...] produce quality blog content (I have done 1 through 4; looking for volunteers for 5 and 6) Is business blogging dying?  (I don’t think so, or I would not have started this [...]

  • 15 Blog Marketing Experts // Apr 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I have mixed feelings about what you regard as business blogs. You list the national blog scene and also some well known pro bloggers. As far as the national scene, maybe that is true that they are slowing down.

    Popularity in the blogosphere seems to be in the Hollywood gossip niche at the moment.

    I deal with helping local businesses on “main street” get their business blogs started and there seems to be a boom going on here.

    So as far as “business blogs” are concerned, they are definitely alive and well for local businesses….the “small and medium” guys.

  • 16 John // May 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    First I’d like to say that I realize this is a relatively old post. At least as far as blogging goes so my comment may go on deaf ears, but…

    One flaw in your data is you’ve only analyzed 12 months of traffic data. While it’s reasonable to make assumptions based on the trends we see. Don’t you think that it’s a little early to predict an all out end to the blogging world based solely on a year’s worth of unique visitors?

    I guess it’s just a matter of time for us to generate more data and see what will become of the blogging business model.

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