Is blogging dead? Learn about the future of blogging and the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) straight from a full-time blogger.
I was inspired to write this article a few months into the ChatGPT craze, both to share my personal insights with fellow bloggers and to educate blog readers about what it is and how it affects the bloggers they follow and their own consumption of blog content.
Pre-Christmas 2022, I hadn’t even heard about ChatGPT. By New Year’s Day 2023, it was ALL I heard about.
For anyone not yet familiar, ChatGPT is a popular open-source software that is kind of like “the great and powerful Oz.” You can ask it anything, or ask it to write anything, and it almost instantaneously spits out a response. It can impressively mimic the work of humans.
ChatGPT isn’t the ONLY type of artificial intelligence out there — for example, I use an AI tool to check my spelling and make grammatical suggestions (an absolute life-saver), and it’s also helpful for translating speech to text and visa versa. But, the breadth of ChatGPT’s capabilities is what has made it such a hot topic.
Here’s an example of traditional human work product of several minutes that took ChatGPT seconds to create:
ChatGPT is a “shiny new object” that is, without a doubt, a game-changer in many fields, including blogging. Like other forms of technology, AI is here to stay, but it has both positive and negative consequences.
While it can make us more efficient, it’s also often glaringly incorrect in many of the answers it provides (and currently doesn’t have access to information after 2021), can be used for malicious purposes (like creating false images and videos), will very likely make many human jobs obsolete, and so forth.
As a blogger, the main disadvantage of this AI that grinds my gears the most is that, by nature, its intelligence is artificial. It’s not an all-knowing and all-powerful resource as it may seem to be.
When you ask it a question related to my content, it takes my content and regurgitates it to you, currently without any source identification or link back to my content, which makes it impossible for me to earn money from sources like ads and affiliate revenue from my work.
I expect this to change both through litigation and technological changes since, after all, if bloggers (or even news sources) are put out of business, there won’t be any information left for ChatGPT to steal, and the public’s access to high-quality information may actually get far worse.
For example, there are already legal battles by authors against AI.
In many ways, an AI-ruled world feels very dystopian, which is one of the reasons why I want to talk about it in more detail.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s further explore the frequently asked questions I’m often asked about the state of blogging, as well as current blogging trends and the future of blogging after ChatGPT and other powerful AI tools impact our daily lives.
Of note, while it may seem like I’m anti-AI, I’m not! There is a lot about it that excites me, in fact, and as mentioned, I already use it for purposes like spelling and grammar checking.
While I did want to first draw attention to what bothers me the most about AI, the remainder of this article is meant to be an open and honest exploration of blogging and AI that educates and informs both bloggers and blog readers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is blogging dead?
I’ve been hearing that “blogs are dead” for about ten years now. And, I’m proof that they are not because I started this blog in 2019, and I earned enough income to make it my full-time job in 2022. What’s (arguably) dead, however, is the “original” blog, which was an internet-based journal that others could read.
Today, what has replaced blogs of the original kind are social media and digital newsletters.
These days, the most successful blogs tend to be more like magazines, books, or encyclopedias that provide inspiration and/or information on very specific topics, often searched for by a user with a problem.
I like to think of myself not really as a blogger per se, but as the owner of a digital media company, not unlike any other media outlet — just a lot smaller!
This may sound like an exaggeration, but full-time bloggers work directly and indirectly with a whole host of people to maintain our blogs, just like any other digital media outlet: web hosts, email marketing platforms, writers, photographers, ad management companies, talent agencies, social media managers, information technologists, graphic designers, and so forth.
Are blogs still a thing?
Yes, blogs are still “a thing.” If you’re wondering how many people have blogs, according to Web Tribunal, “there are more than 600 million blogs out of 1.9 billion websites in the world. Their authors account for over 6 million blog posts daily, or over 2.5 billion annually.” This means that about one-third of all current websites are blogs.
Comparatively speaking, Instagram has 2.35 billion users as of 2023. So, the number of current bloggers equates to about one-third of the number of all Instagram users.
Are blogs still popular?
So, does anyone actually still read blogs? According to Social Media Today, 77% of internet users read blogs. This may sound surprisingly large, but again, blog readership has just changed over time and now, often times people don’t even realize they are consuming blogs.
In “the old days,” many blog readers would check for new blog posts from their favorite bloggers on a daily basis, sometimes by way of a blog feed.
Now, it’s more common for readers to stumble upon blogs for a specific purpose. For example, 90+ percent of my blog traffic comes from Google and Pinterest, where countless people are searching for countless terms on a daily basis. These search engines offer my articles in response to your searches.
Or, a blog reader may reach the blog by following the blogger on social media and clicking a link to his or her blog.
Are blogs still relevant?
Yes, blogs are incredibly relevant. As discussed, currently, the most successful blogs are geared toward providing specific information or inspiration that answers a reader’s question or solves their problem.
This may look like: “what to read next if I liked [name of book]” or “things to do in one day in [city].” Let’s put it this way, if you have recently searched for a travel tip, recipe, craft, tutorial, guide, decor idea, and so forth… you probably read a blog to get your answer. And thus, blogs are relevant to you.
Is blogging still profitable?
Yes. According to Web Tribunal, about 10% of all 600 million bloggers (which is 60 million bloggers) make over $10,000 per year. Further, the top 0.6% (3.6 million bloggers) make over $1,000,000 annually. While this range varies greatly, one thing that’s clear is that millions of bloggers are making thousands to millions of dollars in blogging to this day.
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Does blogging have a future?
Yes. Since blogging has been around for a long time, and since blogs comprise one-third of all websites, blogging is likely to have a future.
Of note, Google relies on bloggers for a large percentage of its revenue, as ads are often placed on bloggers’ websites through Google. So, as long as Google has a future, blogging likely has a future.
But, like all technology, blogging has changed over time, as discussed above, and it will likely continue to change, based on things like the advent of artificial intelligence and the end of third-party cookies (which, in short, enable the very targeted ads that make up a lot of many bloggers’ incomes).
The Future of Blogging
Now, let’s explore the future of blogging, first through its current trends and then, by exploring how it may continue to change after ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence disrupters gain traction.
Building Your Email List
Building your email list is a blogging trend that hasn’t slowed down. As mentioned, in the future, advertisers will not be able to benefit from third-party data to serve targeted ads, which will reduce the value of these ads, which will reduce bloggers’ income from these ads.
A popular tactic for bloggers to overcome this change has been to work on growing an email list (since social media is so unpredictable). This way, bloggers can have another means of access to their audiences to promote blog posts, sell products, etc., and not be so dependent on ads.
Getting Readers to Consent to Data Tracking
Similarly, ad networks like the one that manages the ads served on my blog have been working on getting blog readers to consent to data tracking. If consent is given, advertisers will still be able to track data and serve the more lucrative targeted ads to readers.
While not all internet users like targeted ads, some people find them to be useful and thus, are willing to consent.
Improving the User Experience
Improving the experience of blog readers has also been a popular topic for a while that continues to trend in ways that I’m continuing to learn about and implement.
Since today’s successful blog is more like a small business than a personal diary (as discussed above), that means it’s necessary to provide readers with a good experience.
In practice, what this looks like is a website that’s speedy, secure, grammatical, factually accurate, based on experience (a new Google requirement), visually clear, mobile-friendly, and so forth. It also means incorporating various sources of multimedia, which is more work for bloggers, but (in my opinion) more fun and easier to weed out the weak competition who don’t rise to the challenge.
A Growth in Competition
Speaking of the competition, it’s growing. While many people think that blogs are dying, I’m seeing the exact opposite. COVID-19 both left a lot of people unemployed and/or searching for a more flexible lifestyle, and blogging solved either or both problems for a lot of people, myself included.
It also became more popular for the top bloggers to try to replicate their success with portfolios of many blogs and a team of employees managing them.
Now, artificial intelligence is also making it easier than ever to create blog content, and ease of access almost always opens the door to many more players.
The ChatGPT of It All
Easily, the top blogging trend recently has been artificial intelligence — namely, ChatGPT. The first quarter of the year involved both a lot of buzz about it and a lot of confusion about it, from whether to risk using it to how to use it in a way that doesn’t end up collapsing your business, and how to fight back against its (arguably) illegal copyright infringement of bloggers’ content.
As I write this, it’s starting to become clearer that artificial intelligence will play some bigger role in the new landscape of blogging, but it’s still not clear exactly how that will all work in the long term.
The Future of Blogging After AI
So, let’s talk about what the future of blogging after ChatGPT and other AI may look like for both bloggers and blog readers.
Some Things Will Stay the Same
Let’s all not get too crazy too fast. Some things in blogging are likely to stay the same. As long as readers are searching for blog content by way of search engines and/or clicking on it from social media, blogs will still be read.
The advent of other technology, like Siri and Google snippets, didn’t make blogs obsolete, after all.
Bloggers May Need to Work a Lot Harder
Between ChatGPT and the end of third-party cookies, among other things, it’s only getting harder for bloggers to make money. Thus, I think we will see bloggers offer more things like paid content and services, products, and so forth.
On a similar note, I also think bloggers may find more of a need to pay for their content to be seen (through ads), rather than discovered through search engines, especially since ChatGPT provides responses to users without linking to our work (which it essentially steals).
Bloggers should also work harder at providing real value and proving the quality of their work. I like to call this “showing your work,” as you did in math class. In practice, this means offering proof of personal education and experience on the topic.
For example, I mentioned several times in this article that I am a full-time blogger myself to build my credibility with you, and I shared an image of a ChatGPT search I actually made when discussing ChatGPT.
Branding and community building will also become more important, as these things are important to humans yet hard for a chatbot to duplicate.
Personally, I think bloggers should be placing more emphasis here, and focus on efforts like challenges, groups, forums, storytelling, contests, giveaways, and more personal experiences. The more technology drives humans away from personal connection, the more they may find a need to seek it out.
I can actually see smaller communities (email newsletters, clubs, etc.) becoming more trendy with readers since social media has become so incredibly saturated and overwhelming. I wouldn’t be surprised if many people return to slower, more thoughtful content consumption on their own terms.
All this being said, I think the cream may rise to the top at the end of all of this, which is good for both the best bloggers and their blog readers.
Blog Readers May Need to Be More Discriminating
Already, people are becoming entranced by the *magic* of ChatGPT. But, in execution, it’s still not that great in its accuracy. Just do a couple of test searches, and I think you’ll quickly see what I mean.
And, in some circumstances, it can be actually harmful. For example, I have seen examples of its capabilities in altering images and videos that are both completely false AND dangerous political propaganda.
This will require readers to not believe everything they hear and see and think about who and what they can trust. I see this as an opportunity for bloggers to establish themselves as personally trustworthy in this new era, which will create more loyal readerships.
Blogging is most definitely not dead, but it’s always been a moving target, and the future of blogging is currently especially unclear. In the meantime, bloggers should continue to create the best possible experience for their readers, and readers should be more discerning of the content they are consuming.