blog predictions

3 Predictions for Blogging in 2016

2015 was a pretty big year for blogging. 

Honestly, EVERY year lately seems to have been a big year for blogging: people have been predicting that the “bubble” will burst for as long as I can remember, but so far it hasn’t happened and this year blogging seems to have become bigger than ever. There are SO many blogs out there now: so many people starting out, going pro, or deciding that THIS will be the year they start earning money from their blogs. I feel like if 2014 was the year blogging became more mainstream, 2015 was the year everyone and their uncle decided to jump on the bandwagon: which leaves me wondering where 2016 will take us?

Here are some of my predictions for how blogging will develop in 2016:

what's the future of blogging? 3 predictions for 2016

More bloggers will close their comment sections – or never open them in the first place.

I know this has been a recurring theme on my blog all year, but the truth is hard to ignore: comments are dying. For whatever reason (and there are plenty of very good reasons why people don’t comment, so please take this simply as an observation, not as a guilt-trip!), people just don’t want to communicate with bloggers in their comment sections, and even when you know it’s not personal, it’s incredibly demotivating to write something and get no response. Because of that, I think it’s likely that more and more bloggers will start closing comments altogether: there’s a growing feeling that there’s no point in having a comment form on your site if people don’t want to use it: and seeing that big ol’ zero staring you in the face every time you look at your recent post can make you want to give up altogether.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m planning on closing comments here – I have absolutely no intention of doing that. But I think a lot of bloggers will start to go down that route, and just accept that if the conversation has moved to social media, they may as well move with it. Not only is a low comment count a disincentive to write more, it’s also quite off-putting to brands, who see it as a sign that the blogger isn’t managing to engage their audience, even if they have great traffic. For that reason alone, I think 2016 could see the beginning of the end of blog comments: I really hope I’m wrong, but we’ll see…

A move towards selling digital products rather than advertising

Most bloggers will tell you that it’s increasingly difficult to make a living from advertising these days. Readers hate display ads, don’t trust sponsored posts, and go out of their way to avoid clicking on affiliate links – so what’s a blogger to do? Well, given that blogging can be incredibly time-consuming, and that not all of us can afford to put that amount of time into it without getting at least something back, I think that in 2016 we’ll start to see a move towards bloggers selling products rather than advertising. Ebooks, training courses, downloadables – perhaps even physical products, for those who have the skill, or financial backing.

Related to this, I also think we’ll see an increasing use of plugins which prevent people with adblock from accessing blogs – at least from people who need to make a living from it. You might think that sounds greedy or unfair, but you could ALSO argue that it’s unfair to actively try to prevent someone from making a living from something they spend a lot of time on (and which you’re able to consume for free), so I think ultimately you have to ask yourself if you want blogs to be free to read, or simply free of advertising: you can’t always have it both ways, as nice as that would be.

(Again, I’m not planning on installing those plugins myself: I do think it’s something that will start to become more common, though.)

Brands will stop trusting social media stats

We all know that some bloggers buy social media followers, but this year I’ve been quite amazed to witness just how far some people are willing to go in order to artificially inflate their stats. This was the year “spam for spam” became a Thing, with bloggers agreeing to follow each other on various platforms, purely to increase their numbers. I see a lot of this in the blogger groups I’m a member of – people will start “follow for follow” threads where you’re expected to follow everyone on the list, so they’ll follow you in return – and I think if things continue this way, it will end up rendering social media stats meaningless.

Not only is “spam for spam” completely worthless to the blogger (you might get extra followers, but they’re followers who will never visit your blog or engage with it), the fact is that brands and their reps aren’t stupid: it’s not hard to work out that if someone has a million Facebook followers, but doesn’t get any interaction at all on their posts, that something is up with that, and when people are willing to spend so much time manipulating their traffic, begging for follows and then chasing up people who were supposed to follow them but didn’t, brands will be forced to find another way to decide who they want to work with.

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Of course, all of this is pure conjecture on my part, because who really knows what 2016 will bring? If you have any predictions of your own, though, I’d love to hear them!

[P.S. I was actually a little bit reluctant to publish this now because I started working on this post a few weeks ago, saved it to draft because I thought it would be better as an “end of the year” post… and then a bunch of other bloggers all had the same idea, and beat me to it. So now I feel a bit like a copycat, and I really hope it doesn’t come across like that: although the idea is the same I don’t think the predictions are, but I promise any similarities are entirely co-incidental!]

 

COMMENTS
  • Brit

    REPLY

    Very interesting thoughts about blogging. I’m curious to see what will come true. Even though I don’t have a blog myself I like to read your thoughts about blogging very much. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Brit

    December 22, 2015
  • I’ve already seen a few sites disable commenting… it kinda makes me sad because I LOVE to comment on the actual source, whether it’s a blog post, news story, R29 Article, etc… I don’t really like using Facebook for commenting on things, mostly because I really don’t want strangers peeping at my personal page. Not that there is technically anything wrong with checking out public online platforms, but it just feels weird to me that anyone can just click on my name and see my personal profile so easily. Though really, now that I’ve typed all that, I realize that as a blogger maybe you already give up a certain amount of privacy anyway. :/

    I am totally guilty of using adblock in that past though when I absolutely had to be on a spending freeze. But I’ve stopped now!

    December 22, 2015
  • Nicola

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    I hope you’re wrong about bloggers switching more to selling things. This year I’ve seen a few blogs that I’m really surprised by go down the route of selling courses and I’ve been SO disappointed as their blogs have just gone downhill ever since and in some cases it’s sort of embarassing how much they’re charging for these things. I have no problem with people selling products that are good or relevent (looking at the bigger ones for example, Tanya Burr having her make up range, and Dan & Phil’s book) but when it’s just a course or an e-book about their blogging experiences I wish they’d have just made it into a regular old post instead. That being said, the fact I’ve seen a fair few do it this year suggests it is sadly increasing for sure πŸ™

    Nicola // pink-confetti.co.uk

    December 22, 2015
  • I really hope that old school blogging isn’t dead. I know I might be naive but I really hope that I one day can make a living from blogging, without selling books or other stuff. I just don’t understand why readers hate the fact that bloggers need to make money so much. Maybe it’s becasue they actually think that all bloggers with over 1000 twitter followers makes loads and loads of money in secret or something./Ida

    December 22, 2015
  • Kelly

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    I agree with all three of these…the comments will stop as the only people that leave comments are now bloggers and they just do it to drop in a link back to their own website. And I think it’s time for brands to wake up and smell the roses when it comes to the social media stats; so many bloggers are buying them to actually inflate their own numbers or do the very aggressive follow and unfollow scenario to build their social media stats. I hope 2016 is going to be about community however I think blogging is only going to get more competitive
    xx

    December 22, 2015
      • Cara

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        For me personally there are two main parts to the ad issue.
        1 – some people are SO shady about sponsored posts and affiliate links etc etc, and I just don’t want to support someone who is actively trying to trick me. There are many blogs that I have whitelisted on my adblock (yours included) because I do want to support them and enjoy their content/honesty.
        2 – ads on a lot of sites are just offensive, in one way or another. I don’t want to be browsing with my nine year old sister and have dating ads with a semi-naked woman on the side of the browser. There’s a time and a place for her to see these things, and whilst researching for homework is not it!

        December 23, 2015
        • Cara

          REPLY

          Also, not sure why this ended up here, must have clicked the wrong ‘reply!’

          December 23, 2015
  • Ever since I started blogging in 2012, all I keep hearing is how blogging is dead because people are turning to ‘micro blog’ sites like Twitter and Instagram and using YouTube more – but I feel like it’s just getting bigger and better.

    I hope people don’t close their comment section because I love reading comments and writing them on other blogs. I think it’s just a bit sad how a lot of comments don’t seem very genuine, for example, a few weeks ago I read a post by a blogger who wrote something really personal about the illness of a family member and all the comments were just ‘great post!’ or ‘very inspiring’ and it felt clear that these people hadn’t read the post. I’ve actually seen an increase in better comments on my blog and on the ones I leave lately, so I’m hoping your prediction about this isn’t right!

    I agree about bloggers selling things. So many bloggers want to go full time, but it’s clear that unless you have a product or skill to sell, it ain’t gonna happen!

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas,
    Corinne x

    December 22, 2015
  • I find it so disheartening when I don’t get a response to a post! Also, I’m intimidated about the whole adblock, making money from your blog, digital things as I find it so complicated to understand 😐

    December 22, 2015
  • I loved reading this article! Thank you for writing and posting it. I think people mistrust affiliate links as they are perhaps tired of the attitude of some of the big blogs where everything has an attached link to it and every post is a sponsored/brand post.
    It will be interesting to see what happens in 2016 in terms of blogging. With regards to comments – I get very few comments on my blog, if at all, but I am in no hurry to deactivate the function.

    Best wishes,

    Rossi

    December 23, 2015
  • Great predictions here – and I SO hope number three happens! I’ve read a few ‘2016 blogging predictions’ posts recently and there are definitely some themes that all of us are hoping for or anticipating. For my own part, I’m just hoping the fun is put back in blogging (for myself, mostly).
    Here’s to a prosperous 2016!

    December 23, 2015
  • I hope you are wrong. It’s not something I thought I would say, but I love commenting and getting comments. I hope this will not change.
    As for adblockers, I have one because I don’t like adds, it’s not just on blogs, but everywhere. I don’t understand why someone would be bothered by affiliate links, it’s just a link and if the blogger already has the item and talks about it why not click on the link. Although making lots of guides and wishlists with affiliate links can put me off because it’s not a product they have and I rarely enjoy those posts anyway. Making products sounds good and I have an idea for a product that I would like to make next year and help selling it with my blogs (food related).

    December 23, 2015
  • Jaynie

    REPLY

    I do use adblock, mainly for sites with obnoxious advertising (huge screen covering pop up videos, for example), but I disable it for sites like yours, which has unobtrusive ads and which I trust not to be virusy. I have heard more and more people say they’re doing the same – although I suppose I have a limited circle. I wonder if there could be a counterrevolution of people doing so to “pay” for the content (I try to remember to use your affiliate links if I’m shopping for the same reason). Then again, advertising services probably need to step up their game for that to happen.

    On the comments. It seems like most other blogs I encounter either have no comments (or only spam), or a huge comment section full of a devoted community of commented who all know each other pretty well. I wonder, then, if community building might become more of a deliberate consideration for some people in building their blogs?

    December 23, 2015
  • I’ve already seen a few blogs I follow disabling the comments section so I have to seek them out on twitter instead, if I’ve really enjoyed a post. I can see reasons for having AND not having a comments section but you’re right – it is quite demoralising when nobody comments! x

    December 23, 2015
  • Hi Amber – I am feeling guilty for two reasons now: Firstly, I have been reading your blog for years now and very rarely comment – even though I am a blogger myself and therefore know how it feels if no one reacts to what you have written. Secondly because I am using an adblocker. I installed it years ago when Facebook advertising started to annoy me a lot. There have been a few German news sites saying that if people are reading their content for free, they should t least disable their adblocker, and I have generally done this for these sites. It never occurred to me I might be harming you as well, I just didn’t think. The adblocker is turned off for your site as well now.
    I hope you and your family have a fantastic Christmas, and I look forward to reading more of your posts next year!

    December 24, 2015
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