Its over. Its done and gone. The golden age of blogging isn’t coming back, but the future looks just as bright so long as you’re willing to accept a change of scenery and a more fast-paced environment.
Oh the simple days…
I started to really get in to blogging in 2007, and by then it was already clear that things were in the middle of a big change. On one hand you could find people who still swore by directories and reciprocal link schemes, but there were already forward thinkers who realized things like context and editorial intent were more important than creating a sheer volume of backlinks.
Comments and trackback links were rapidly being switched to nofollow as bloggers started to spend less time reading, responding to, and moderating their comment sections. It just wasn’t enough to stay in these small communities of bloggers who only kept in touch through the comments. Between everyone’s sudden need to hoard link juice and the decline of directories, the PR floor of the blogosphere completely fell out.
In need of a new link source, the newer definition of social seemed to mean sharing your link with others on some third party website, or voting for someone when they asked you to. Then the third party sites all ended up going nofollow, too.
The lean years
Being active on a few blogs and regularly adding to directories might have once been enough to be an “established” blogger, but these days it might barely get your site indexed. It certainly won’t be ranking you for any of the keywords that drive revenue.
Even if you do have great content or a site that satisfies some niche demand, getting it noticed is a major task in and of itself. Press releases and article directories can still attract the attention of people with influence, but even the marketing materials need to be compelling and well thought out if they’re going to work as intended.
The Next Level
With most blog comments, site directories, and even social media sites eliminated from the link popularity charts, the number of people who actually get a vote on the internet seems to have declined despite the arrival of all these great “participatory” websites.
In some ways, the new future is like the original past. If you really want the links that pack a punch, you’ll need to start firing off those emails to the people who publish the websites you want to appear on. Yup – a good old fashioned link request – something that blogging promised to kill once and for all is now back as the primary means of achieving pagerank and keyword rankings. You can’t just convince the Myspace crowd to throw nofollow links at you until you’re rich, you’re going to have to convince the type of people who actually build the sites like Myspace.
If you’re looking for the easy road, try a regular 9-5 if you can find it. The world of blogging is incredibly competitive these days and there’s a bit of a “race to the bottom” as everyone who truly loves to write is going to crank out more content and work harder for less and less income. It might sound horrible to you, but the same story is playing out in just about every employment sector in the economy right now. But if you love to write, I mean if you really really enjoy analyzing the news, building communities, or just the general idea of sharing information freely across the globe, then there’s still a great opportunity available to you online. While the golden age of easy income isn’t likely to come back any time soon, there’s still plenty to be had for those who can rise above the crowd.