Is blogging dead? Well, dead is a bit of an exaggeration. But blogs are dying. It’s much harder to gain traction these days than it was when I started blogging in 2010. Over the past few years, traffic has been steadily declining on Retire by 40. Many of my friends’ blogs also had the same problem. Personally, I think the pandemic hastened the decline of blogging. Previously, people were stuck at work and read blogs when they had a few spare minutes. (That’s what I used to do when I was an engineer.) But these days, many of us are working from home. We can catch up on housework or do other fun activities when we take a break. And we don’t have to worry about anyone looking over our shoulders at home.
The pandemic might have made it worse, but blogging has been on the decline for some time now. Today, I’m going to share 3 reasons why blogs aren’t as relevant as they used to be.
Blogs have a lot of competition nowadays: podcast, YouTube, Tiktok, Twitter, Instagram, social networks, etc. In my opinion, the biggest problem with blogging is that you can’t multitask. You have to focus to read a blog post. Even flipping through an article requires concentration.
You don’t need to focus as much when listening to a podcast, watching a video, or browsing social media. My son is a terrible example of this. He is always doing 2 or 3 things at once: playing video games, watching YouTube, and chatting with friends on Discord. I guess boys are better at switching tasks, but it drives me crazy to see him do so many things at once. The only time he is fully focused is when he reads a book. But who has time to read these days? Even I don’t read blogs that much these days. I listen to a lot more podcasts because I can cook, exercise, and do other things while listening to them.
2. Google is bias
People still use Google search to find information on the Internet. However, Google is very biased. In the old days, I saw many independent blogs in the search result when using Google. Today, Google returns the largest websites first. I rarely see independent blogs on the first page of results. My theory: Google makes money from ads, so it funnels traffic to the pages it works with.
For example, I search for “how to retire before financial independence.” The first page of results shows investopedia, tonto.com, time.com, nerdwallet, cnbc, ramseysolutions.com, shopify, and other big sites. The result is driven by profit, not utility to users.
Have you played with ChatGPT? ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that you can interact with. I tested it a bit and it’s clean. ChatGPT can write an entire blog post. The result is generic and does not have much personality. Sort of like the articles on the larger sites mentioned above.
For now, ChatGPT is not smart enough to write a good-looking blog post. However, it will improve and produce better results soon. One day, we will not be able to distinguish between a human blogger and a chatbot. In fact, I heard that you can train a chatbot with a data set. I can feed it all my old blog posts and it should be able to take over this blog. I’m sure someone will create hundreds of blogs and fill them with chatbot posts. This process will fill the blogosphere with spam and saturate the search engine. I wouldn’t worry too much though. By then, people can ask the chatbot directly and bypass Google altogether. The future of blogging is bleak…
Is blogging dead?
Alright, that’s it for this Thursday’s short blog post. If you are thinking of starting a blog, my advice is to forget it. It’s a lot of work and you’ll have a hard time gaining traction. It’s probably best to start a podcast or YouTube channel. However, if you are looking for personal fulfillment, blogging is still a good way to do it. Here is my guide on how to start blogging. 😉
Do you think blogs are dead? Is the whole ChatGPT thing over the top?
Image Credit: Anqi Lu
Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have a lot of projects in the US so check them out!
Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you achieve financial independence.
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