Paul Boutin, who happens to be a correspondent for Valleywag, has posted an article on Wired suggesting that launching your own blog is pretty much worthless at this point. His rationale? Pretty much the same rationale that is passed around time and time again. The primary leaderboards for blogs around the web, suggest that you can’t become a large blog as an individual.
Paul Boutin has a point. If you are looking to build a blog that attracts millions of monthly visitors, you really have a small chance of success. Honestly though, you always have had a small chance of success. That doesn’t mean you can’t succeed though. Just take a look at the desperate brokers blog. Mashable has even gone so far as to suggest that it’s the new Lolcats.
While I disagree with Mashable, the point is that there is still the potential for viral success. Viral success is created by developing hyper-niche content within an unfilled niche. That’s how I grew AllFacebook and while it’s not as big as Techcrunch or Mashable, it’s still possible to create a large enough audience that you can sustain a small business and potentially grow that business.
Other statistics that Boutin uses to support his argument that there is no point in blogging? Boutin suggests that it has become more challenging to generate relevant content that moves up to the first page in Google results for one and two-word phrases. I think Boutin is accurate about this. When you regurgitate content that has been republished for instance on Techmeme, it is challenging to move to the top of Google.
When you generate original content though that targets and unfilled niche, there is still a good chance of success. Ultimately that’s where I differ with Boutin. Yes, the large niches like “technology” have been filled but there still are numerous unfilled niches and it takes a good entrepreneur to find those.
A third argument that Paul Boutin suggests is that the buzz is not taking place in blogs and is taking place on other social media sites (Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, etc). I agree with Paul’s statement but yet again, it’s still possible to generate buzz on a blog.
Blogging Ain’t Easy
The bottom line is this: if you want to build a successful blog, you can’t do it part time. It has to be full-time and you have to be willing to work ridiculous hours to succeed. Nobody said it was easy and I can guarantee you that none of the top blogs will say it’s easy. Even many of the largest blogs are still finding it challenging to optimize their revenue model.
It’s easy to dismiss blogs as a platform for generating buzz. That’s because it takes time and effort to succeed. Paul Boutin also uses a statement from Robert Scoble to suggest that blogging is dead. Robert Scoble says “I keep my blog mostly for long-form writing”. Blogs are not meant for short-form content. That’s why we call Twitter micro-blogging!
Do you think blogging is dead? Would you recommend that others start a blog? Have you had success with blogging? Is it that much more challenging to launch a successful blog now?