Is the Blogging Industry In a Downturn?


Remember that first time you got into the web industry as a professional? Speaking from personal experience, it must be a pretty amazing experience for anyone. Not only are you joining a community of friendly people who are not trying to destroy everyone in their path to grow their own brand, but there are tons of great resources right at your fingertips. These resources of course being the amazing books, fonts, frameworks, knowledgeable forum members, and of course blog articles that really shape and change the culture of the web profession. Although all those resources are important, without great blog articles, how are up and coming designers going to learn about all of them?

Look at any professional in this industry’s social profile, 10 times out of 10 you will find it mostly made up of links leading to different blog articles that they found useful. That is because blog articles have a lot of information in them, and it would be a shame to waste good info by not sharing it with others. Of course this brings quite a bit of fame to the author of a blog article frequently shared, and a little bit of money too. However, has all the benefits associated with being a blogger in our industry overshadowed providing thought-provoking quality to readers? Is it now more important to a blogger to make money and gain community fame, versus taking risks on changing the industry through the articles we write?

The Signs of a Downturn

*Image Credit: iamdat

Before any industry starts to embark on a downturn of any kind, there are always clear signs that get tossed under the rug so to speak. Instead of taking action, people allow them to enter into their culture. Sound familiar? Lets take a look at some of our signs, shall we.

Blind Sharing

How about everyone that actually reads an article before they tweet, share, like, or plus it raise their hand. It is sad that the truth is that a good percentage of people spreading articles on their preferred social network don’t actually read them, its kind of expected when barely anyone adds comments on an article in addition to them spreading it.

The Discussion Stopped

There have been many articles on the current state of the discussion aspect on blog articles today, including one published on 1stwebdesigner. Unlike the quality, discussion rich, past of our industry, today things are a lot more quiet. So quiet that unless you’re doing a list article and its a thank you, or you are being published on Smashing Magazine, nobody really expects too many comments. Honestly this is my favorite part of being a blogger, getting to read the comments of the people who took the time to read one of my articles and then interact with them.

The Money Got to Us

This reason is understandable to everyone who has an understanding for the professional make up of our industry, for those who don’t I’ll break it down right quick. Okay, in the web industry you have three different types of professional levels. These being full-time in-house, freelance, and hobbyist who earns some extra income. Now for the most part, the majority of us can be found in the freelance spectrum of things. Where we all have horrible client stories that could make a grown man tremble in terror, and give toddlers nightmares. For the average freelance professional money is never certain, your career will have ups and downs. Becoming a blogger is a great way to make some extra money to be better prepared for those down times. However, the blogging aspect of our community has become an industry of its own. An industry where a professional blogger can rise to a point where they do not even have to be a designer or developer anymore to make an adequate amount for comfortable living.

The Quality is Slowly Going Down

Coinciding with the last mentioned sign, for many bloggers being one is more about making some money off the knowledge your career has given you. So of course it becomes more important to write an article that people will like and quickly share, rather than one that takes a lot of research and may go over the habitual skimmers most of us have become. With that mindset would a blogger like this stay focused on trying to take some crazy idea not many think will work out and turn it into a great work, or make a quick list article that will surely spread like wildfire in the first hour or so of being published?

Instant Gratification

When a reader can get everything they’ll ever need at no cost on their part, besides a few ads, its easy to treasure an article less. However, we have gotten to the point where a lot of us look only at how much interest a title can give us and decide on reading it based off that. Everyone does it, I’ve done it too, no need to get yourself all worked up because its being brought to light. Since that is a big deal to readers, bloggers start to put more of their time into articles idea that can be quickly understood and that deliver value right from the short intro.

Bloggers Steal Ideas

We all have read an article on one site, and after it became popular you’ll see it on another site. This necessarily isn’t a bad thing for list type articles, which make up most of the articles published, because it’s always good to shed different types of light on things like these. Makes sure nothing is overlooked. However if someone were to steal an idea that clearly was highly original, and took an awful lot of time in researching, that is criminal.

Do We Want Things To Change?

*Image Credit: Lee Wild

Everyone has talked about this at one point, but its funny to find with all that talk we still continue doing the same things that are contributing to the current dilemma. It is very easy to write-up a bunch of different ways everyone can pitch in and add some life back to blog articles, but what would that do? Its been done by many people before me, and the results of their efforts have shown to be ineffective. I’ll choose to end this article with a couple of questions. Are we happy with how things are? Do we really want things to change?



  1. hi.I have read all comments and the discussion is very healthy.Thanks to all for sharing, i agree with you@jpdesigntheory

  2. Fazer

    I agree with what is said about this, I think the real problem is the bad content, much peopel doesn’t matter about content, and the result of this? no more visitors in your blog.

    Simple like that!

  3. This is a question which has hit me and some of my blogger friends quite a few times. But still I am of the opinion that Blogging as an industry still has got the potential to go in the upward direction. Every Industry has had the problem of many competitors coming up. This new entrants really lower down the quality. Also, the blind sharing obviously a big problem, but still the blogging industry has a long way to go before its downturn because of the the number of internet users increasing day by day. I could say increasing because I am an Indian and people is India have just started knowing the power of internet and blogging. The new designers over here want to learn everything that they can. They are always looking over the shoulders of many bloggers to get their problems solved. I speaking this out of my own experience. This is situation is not only in India but in many countries.

    Also, many bloggers are now making useful screen-casts which are getting hugely popular around the internet. There are many things like this which could very well prove to be the catalyst for the blogging industry.

    • There is always that hope, and possibility for a bright futre. However, only if we start caring and act on it by doing what we must to preserve our industry’s growth and reach.

  4. Kalen

    Thanks for the input Jamal. It really is sad in a lot of ways, but also I think that regurgitating content or providing lazily written content is the reason many sites are going to fail. No getting around that. The fact that quality articles on 1WD are still getting great feedback is still encouraging. As for stealing content, I think bloggers need to be more proactive about fighting people who do that. Frankly, I think a lot of these problems are the responsibility of bloggers or their failure to adjust to changes in the industry than to the industry itself dying.

    As people are looking for more of their content online and want to build communities like Facebook, I can only see more potential for blogging as a profession. However, that doesn’t mean lazy or irresponsible bloggers are going to succeed. Maybe the reason why we aren’t getting the same traffic or comments we are looking for is because many of us have lost our drive to connect with our readers.

    • Hi Kalen,

      The laziness in the articles published is really showing if you ask me, especially with the chosen topics of bloggers these days. Not many are really willing to go out and research something anymore, its more important to just have an article out there to be visibile. That’s why I’m happy to be one of the bloggers who anyone can’t say is lazy. All of the articles I’ve written on 1WD alone are very diverse in topics, and you really couldn’t find anyone else who would be willing or put the extra effort into some of my topics. Mostly because they are just cool ideas I have that take time into turning into an actual informative post :).

      Thanks for taking the time to read, and share your input!

  5. Fabio Montone

    Jamal, I was working at a good design studio in the last couple of years. The thigs have changed and I’m freelancing now. I’v discovered that even doing great works at the studio, people don’t know me, so I’m sad with that because I’m offering skilled work with banana price, as we say here in Brazil. People don’t want to pay for design here. And it makes me sad too.

  6. Jon

    I could see some popular blog sites start to lose their performance and readers. The blind sharing to me is part to blame. When you have hundreds of the same links floating around the same social mediums, it will wear people down or even seem watered down. I personally hope to see more readership to smaller brands or even mom and pop type of business blogs. Reason being is that there’s more passion in those blogs. They may write a bit more and really get into things that are truly helpful and unique; as apposed to the regurgitated advice that seems to float around the top bloggers we’ve come to know like celebrities.

    • Well I’m not getting offensive toward anyone else, but I speak for myself when I say I find a lot of joy in turning one of my ideas into an article that can possibly give people a lot of good insight into something they never thought of before. And its not always about being loyal to smaller blogs, we still need the big names to realize that there is something a miss. Think about it, if I were to publish this article on another site of less of a industry name, would it make much sense? It might even make me look like an angry blogger who is mad he can’t get published on the bigger name blogs to some.

  7. Jason

    I agree with what is said throughout this, it wasn’t long ago that blogging went huge, everyone had one! The trouble with that is as you said, the quality was so poor that people got disinterested. There are still some very good, well written blogs out there though.

  8. Ed Charbeneau

    There is for sure more information to sift through every day. I think that content will always remain king. If you follow the right people on social networks, filtering out the ones that are just noise, then you can find some really useful information.

    • But because people really aren’t commenting anymore, how good an article is can be determined by most of how many people have shared it. So even if your filtering out them, without good discussion on are articles the problem will still persist.

  9. Very well said, sir. Your point about “blind sharing” really had me nodding in agreement. So often it’s just an excuse to tweet something so one can remain visible. Then you read the article and find broken links, or it turns out to be a tutorial you have to pay for, and you know you’ve been had again. Would someone have passed something like that along if they’d actually read it? Man, I hope not.

    Blogs create this relentless demand for content, and since creating original content is time-consuming and hard work, we opt for reruns and easy talking points. The problem seems destined to get worse, but it’s nice to see someone shining a spotlight on it.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting sir, the problem will get worse unless the bloggers being published step back and analyze their decisions. Including their involvement in the current state. Then start to come up with crazy out of this world article ideas that at first don’t make sense, but with time and research, make great sense. Like I do :)