Business Week has the scoop; the number of active blogs in English is decreasing. David Sifry, whose Technorati reports can make it sound like the internet’s 70 million blogs will continue expanding ad infinitum, was called into question by Heather Green at Business Week.
Sifry’s numbers on the actual number of active English language blogs (at least one posting in the past three months) reveal there are really only 15.5 million active blogs worldwide.
Total English Language Blogs in Decline
In May 2006, 36% of all blogs tracked were active, and as of March 2007, that number has fallen to 21%.
In a further sign of decline, the number of daily English language posts has fallen to 495,000 in March from 507,000 in October.
Why Are Blogs in Decline?
ValleyWag offers some speculation on why blogging is levelling off. Namely, after the initial gold rush, people are realizing that successful blogging is time consuming and requires hard work!
The blogosphere is filled with experts touting how-to’s on Part Time Blogging, Full Time Income. I chafe a bit when I come across these as I think they are a bit deceptive and may lead people to blog for the wrong reasons.
Zach and I have never monetized the ValueWiki blog, but I can hardly imagine what our eCPM would need to be to justify the mind-numbing hours it takes to research and format a post like Top 100 Finance Blogs or Top 50 Web 2.0 Blogs. I’m not convinced that ad income is a good rationale for anyone to begin blogging. It could very well be that blogging simply because you enjoy it is the only sustainable motivation.
Blogging is a Time Suck
I think I went into blogging with some misconceptions about the time requirement. Tracking my traffic and feedreaders, I suspect I need at least 10 posts a week to retain my readership, and at least 15 posts a week to grow my readership. This really stretches the definition of “part time.” It’s not that I’m a slow writer so much as a slow reader…staying current on the blogosphere requires a lot of daily reading.
I also notice that most of the “A List” Bloggers came early to the race. Developing a loyal readership was arguably easier in 2005 than it is in 2007. I imagine it will be increasingly difficult for new bloggers to penetrate into the ranks of the A-List. The increased competition for eyeballs may be a part of the reason why new blogs are declining.
Growing blog traffic and technorati rank is like rowing a boat upstream; if you’re not going forward you’re going backwards. If I go a lazy week without posting anything noteworthy, my technorati rank slides quickly since the rest of the blogosphere is continuing to build their link cache. For those like me who make the mistake of occasionally following their stats and rankings, it is a never-ending arms race!
I’m not surprised to view these charts of the blogosphere plateauxing. Like other internet booms, we may be entering a period of “consolidation.”
I would be curious to see numbers on average time bloggers spend blogging. If anyone has these numbers, or would like to provide their own, please drop a note in the comments.
8:31pm…done blogging today…