Earlier this year blog tracker Technorati estimated that there were 112.8 million active English language blogs. They also believe that there already 75 million Chinese language blogs. Of course, this begs a few questions. Are there too many blogs? Who really needs this much information? Who is reading this stuff? Why blog?
These questions hit pretty close to home for me since I have been an active blogger for two years. My quick but qualified answer is that blogging remain a very viable way to communicate to others, yet you need to speak to a highly targeted audience or nobody will read it.
Looking first at blog readers it is clear that most people find blogs via a search engine like Yahoo! or Google with key words. Referrals remain a powerful source, too. Readers are looking to solve a problem, be entertained, or get information.
Readers are looking for very specific content. This means that the blog topic/s must be focused narrowly around a specific subject rather than miscellaneous ramblings about life or business or whatever. Of course, this is the essence of niche marketing for blogs: providing information on subjects that are overlooked or under-served.
Thus, blog content is everything. Readers want to read about themselves and their interests—and not about the blogger. Vanity may be the biggest mistake by blog authors. Keep yourself out the of the blog content. Generally speaking, nobody cares about you and your last trip to the supermarket.
Few people choose to subscribe to blogs. Most visit a blog once and seldom go back. Sometimes readers are intrigued and will choose to bookmark the URL, but most of the time it does not happen.
Blog writers need to “fact check” and publish only accurate information. The web is chock full of inaccuracies, errors, and outright lies. Google any subject and you will find conflicting information from multiple bloggers. This insults the reader and assaults the medium.
With that said, and opinion is highly valued and expected. Tell it like it is and explain how and why you feel about the subject.
Shorter blogs are better. Long blogs just don’t get read. In depth conversations have their place but not on a blog.
Finally, highly monetized blogs turn me off. These are the blogs that are plastered with advertisements, Google AdSense, and live links embedded in the blog text. Yuck. If I want to be sold something, I can watch network TV.
Are there too many blogs? Yes, there may be too many blogs, but there is a shortage of relevant blogs that give readers what they really want. For the business blogger, this requires them to target a very specific audience while providing information about what matters to the reader.
John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2008 All rights reserved.