Of course, since this article will also be appearing on my blog at some point, I’m sure that some of you will accuse me of being a hypocrite – I suppose there are still a very few reasons for having a blog.
My contention is that if you are starting a business today, unless it is something which requires an online component, like an app or website, you no longer need a standalone blog, or even a site which you regularly update.
A while back, I wrote a post which was based on an article written by a great science fiction author, Bruce Sterling. In this article, he described that statistically speaking, unlike during the beginning days of the internet, people now only experience the internet via 5 major sites: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft. These are the only gateways people use in order to get to any site on the internet – including YOURS.
If you further narrow it down by stripping out Amazon, Apple and Microsoft – since they are more focused on eCommerce than content, then you only have two major sites left: Google and Facebook.
However, if you looked at the analytics of people coming to your site, your see three main sources:
- Google – usually about 20%-30%
- Facebook – usually about 20-30%
- Everything else – typically unknown, or something we call “dark traffic” – this is routed through the internet in such as way so that the engine can’t really determine where the traffic comes from
There are other sources, but they pale in comparison to these three. Of course YMMV, depending on the kind of site you have, you have have more or less Facebook or Google traffic – maybe a smattering of Reddit or LinkedIn as well. But the majority comes from the above.
So its worth having a blog – since you figure that you have a pretty big portion of traffic coming directly to your blog or through other sources.
However, earlier this month, Chartbeat determined that a huge chunk of the “dark traffic” or “dark social” as they call it – is actually also coming from Facebook – albeit via their mobile apps and various proxies.
What does this mean? It probably means that in reality the majority of the traffic to your website or blog is probably coming from Facebook. Knowing this – is there a point in continuing to run a blog or site? Wouldn’t it just be easier to simply create a Facebook page and post things there?
There are many small businesses who’ve already figured this out – they have a webpage or blog but very rarely change it or post to it (I assume that its still useful in some way as Google searches could drive to it) and most of their communications go direct to Facebook.
Additionally, new publishing tools like LinkedIn publishing offer much more reach than a typical blog – I get much more engagement when I post there than if I do here. I don’t think its a problem with my blog per se – its just that there already is a huge, engaged audience on LinkedIn.
So what do you do if you have a blog? Well, you should continue to update it – but I’d argue that you need to post on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other sites like Medium directly as well.
But if you don’t have a blog or a site – you should think hard about whether you really need one anymore. Now, if you are starting (or running) a business where you are thinking of making money off of AdSense or similar, then you will need a site and a blog. But for everyone else, maybe that answer is no: simply leverage Facebook, LinkedIn and maybe set up a free site on Strikingly to simply redirect people to your LinkedIn posts or Facebook page.
Is the era of the blog over? What are your thoughts?
—> Photo Credit – Owen W Brown – flickr