Why Are You Here?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Apparently blogs are dead, and no one wants to read them anymore.

So why are you here?

Back at the end of October I read this article on IFB about the death of Fashion Blogging based on some information from a BlogHer survey, and I thought “hey, I should write about that”, but then I didn’t as I was too busy posting photos of my outfits, and then Amber, one of the few blogs I read regularly, posted about it, and said most of what I was thinking, so then I thought maybe I shouldn’t bother at all.

But I keep thinking about it, and I have nothing “useful” to say today. So I thought I’d write about it anyway.

The BlogHer survey mentioned above claims that only 52% of their readers are looking for Style Tips and that this information means FASHION BLOGS ARE, LIKE, TOTALLY DEAD and we should all be posting recipes.

useful

Back in the day, when I started blogging, and no one read it, not even my Mum, I had a Google Reader account that terrified me. It had hundreds of blogs on it that I felt obliged to read in case I missed something vital. There were the huge “name” bloggers that were all about the fashion, dressed like they fell into a dressing up box and generally bored me to tears, but I figured I must be missing something as thousands of other people loved them, there were the tiny niche bloggers who I met on Twitter and I felt obliged to follow, there were the random blogs I found on someones blog roll and decided to follow because I liked the shoes they had on their latest post and any number of other blogs that I have no recollection of adding. I frequently had over 500 unread posts on Google Reader and it made me want to cry.

Then Google Reader closed down, I breathed a sigh of relief and added the blogs I actually enjoyed to Bloglovin‘.

These days my Mum actually reads my blog so that she can text me about the spelling mistakes afterwards and I consume my blogs in a very different way. When I’m reading blogs with useful information, they are probably those random blogs that get shared on Facebook or Twitter and I think the title looks useful so I go read, but I rarely follow them. The blogs I follow regularly are the ones I read for entertainment, inspiration, because I’m nosey about other people’s lives or just because I feel a little connection. I like to know that there’s other women out there who got all glammed up for a night out then stuck their heel through their petticoat and fell down the stairs, or who nearly spent all day in a see through dress with their petticoat stuck in their knickers. It’s a unique blend of real life glamour and real life disasters that I can only get from blogs and keeps me coming back to a Facebook page or Instagram feed as well as a blog.

3025806074_f5e790a908_o

 

So I do I think blogs are dead? Well the readership on this blog has remained fairly consistent over the last 3 years, so someone, somewhere, is still showing up to look at pictures of me doing one of my stock poses, read about all the things I would buy if I hadn’t walked out on a well paid job to blog for a living and therefore ever had any money and listen to me witter about whatever is winding me up this week, whether it’s vanity sizing, being glamorous or why I’m not actually very vintage. I’ve also got the odd post on here that is “useful”, like how to tie a headscarf or a how to curl your hair and they get a lot of traffic from places like Pinterest and Search Engines.

When I write content for this blog, I don’t try and be useful. If I was useful I’d have a proper job. I try and write the sort of content I like to read and write about things I’m passionate about in the hope I can take you all along with me for the ride. If not, well I’m sure my Mum will point out my spelling mistakes anyway (you know she’s going to get all upset that she’s offending me now, sorry Mum, I like having you as a proof reader!). My favourite takeaway from the BlogHer survey personally was the reason that people STOP reading blogs, because they are boring and inconsistent.

consistent

I think blogging has changed, there’s no room in my life for 4000 teeny tiny blogs that only post once a month with a poorly taken picture of their new shoes, I feel no connection with those bloggers, so I don’t follow them. I regularly follow a very small selection of blogs, they don’t have to be “big” blogs, and there’s always room for new additions if someone grabs me but they have to be people who’s style and life I connect with. If you’re looking for recommendations then I think my current top reads are probably Diary of a Vintage Girl, Esme & The Laneway, Forever Amber, Fuller Figure, Fuller Bust and Gala Darling.

I like to look at other people’s outfits, if they’ve got a similar sense of style to me then sometimes they’ve got cool stuff I haven’t seen and I might want to buy. I like to read other people’s opinions on stuff so I can disagree with them, agree with them, or formulate any opinion at all on something I might not have thought about. I like to see places they’ve been and things they’ve done because I’m really very nosey and sometimes I wish I could do those things too and think my life sucks. And, finally, sometimes I like to feel a little bit inspired, like I could totally clean my living room, sort out my life and be a better person all round after reading one of their blog posts. I like reality touched with a hint of glamour and I like to follow people on their journey and feel part of it, even though I know a blog, or instagram, or Facebook is only a tiny edited and carefully curated window into someones life.

10731652_1473347416262293_138080408_n

So I don’t think blogging is dead, but I do think it’s really hard and that the days of having a blog with thousands of readers that only gets updated once a month are long over. I see plenty of blogs I used to enjoy that are now abandoned as life takes over, and plenty of blogs starting in a blaze of glory only to fade away as their authors realise that they’re not making thousands of pounds a month in affiliate sales from day one (or ever) and that actually even the simplest of blog posts can take HOURS to research and write.

If you’re willing to put in the effort, write consistently, share a little bit of your life and you like to connect with people, then I think blogging can be hugely rewarding for both blogger and reader (and sometimes we’re the same people!). Blogging fills a little gap that traditional media finds hard to fill, by skipping the publishing middle man and letting the writer talk directly to the reader, free of editing or proof reading (apart from by my Mum). I like to read blogs with personality, and often they’re not the biggest blogs, because each one by it’s very nature has it’s niche. When you try to appeal to everyone you lose that very thing that makes you interesting.

If everyone stopped reading this blog tomorrow I’d probably keep writing, because this blog is part of my life, after all, I wrote it for a good 2 years with no one reading it when it started. But I would really miss that connection with the people who read it, and I’d feel very sad. So, y’know, don’t leave me!

Hey, if you ARE here for recipes I can do Mars Bar Vodka and Mulled Wine Stew.

So that’s why I’m here, and why and how I read blogs. How about you?

Do you think blogging is dead?
Do you read many blogs?

Why ARE you here?

Photo from Mike Licht

72 Responses
  • Emileigh R.
    November 12, 2014

    I think you’re very right; blogging is changing. I just read an article on how the first generation of DIY bloggers is “retiring” (link below) after coming to the conclusions you talked about: blogging doesn’t pay thousands of pounds right off, it’s a tougher market these days with higher expectations and more competition, and blogging is just plain HARD.

    I don’t think that means blogging is dead at all, though! My readership has steadily grown since I started my blog 2 years ago, and I know more people into reading blogs than I did even a few years ago. I think it’s getting more difficult to stand out and make it a “real” job, but it’s definitely not dead!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/garden/when-blogging-becomes-a-slog.html?_r=0

    • Gemma
      November 12, 2014

      That’s interesting! Yes, I don’t think blogging on it’s own is a career anymore, but it can lead to other things!

  • Mim
    November 12, 2014

    I still enjoy reading blogs and follow lots, though I find as I follow them through Bloglovin’ I don’t read every post on every one. Usually I only read a post if the title, first couple of lines and/or photo make it seem interesting to me. That said, there are a few bloggers who I feel more connected to as people, and I read every post they do – Porcelina (Porcelina’s World), Gisela (Miss Magpie Musings), Goody (Eat the Blog) and Perdita’s Pursuits are guaranteed to get me reading every time. I think you fall into that category too; roller derby isn’t my bag but I like reading about your adventures so I read your derby posts.

    My blog isn’t very popular. I could make it more popular, but then it wouldn’t be my blog. Making things for a specific readership is part of my day job, so in my spare time I’m going to write about what I want to write about. (I’m nowhere near glam enough to have a fashion blog anyhow!)

    • Gemma
      November 12, 2014

      I try not to write about Roller Derby too much and make people yawn! 😀

      There are lots of blogs that I read if they pop up on Facebook or Twitter, but my Bloglovin’ is far more pared down these days!

      I enjoy reading your blog too, I’ve been reading it for years, but I know what you mean about writing for a specific audience, to be honest I prefer blogs that write about what THEY love, because I like seeing their passion!

      • Mim
        November 13, 2014

        Heh, but you all have such great names in Roller Derby.

  • miss magpie
    November 12, 2014

    I think these things always end up evolving rather than dying. I think it’s a mistake to start a blog expecting to make tons of cash, does anybody even do that?
    I did have all sorts of worthy intentions when I started my blog but really I have ended up just rambling on and posting pictures of my shopping habit! There again those tend to be the kind of blogs I like to read the ones that are real life and not firmly wedged up their vintage arse.

    • Gemma
      November 12, 2014

      Oh absolutely! Rambling blogs are the best kind of blogs in my opinion!

  • Cynthia
    November 12, 2014

    I follow your blog because it’s well-written, informative and fun! And I love to see what you’re wearing…..you have great taste in vintage!

  • Amber
    November 12, 2014

    Ooh, thanks for the link, and for saying what I was thinking much better than I did! I totally relate to everything you’ve said here: I don’t think I follow any of the “big” bloggers, because I just don’t get any sense of connection to them or their lives… I mostly read blogs now because there’s something about them I relate to, whether it be their style, their sense of humour or whatever. I hear so many people now saying they hardly ever read blogs any more, and that makes me a bit panicky, until I look at the stats and realise that people ARE still reading – it might not be the same people who were reading a few years ago, but I don’t think people will ever stop being interested in each other, so I doubt blogging will “die” completely. I hope not, anyway – I’ve no idea what I would do with myself if it did 😉

    Oh, and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who’s mum emails her about typos!

  • CiCi Marie
    November 12, 2014

    My mum also texts me about spelling mistakes – usually within about a minute of a post going up. So there’s my most dedicated reader too! Agree with everything you’re saying here – I will keep reading any blog that speaks to me somehow… Sometimes that’s through pictures, sometimes words and I barely look at the pictures. I’ve only been following your blog for a short time but something about it makes me want to keep reading. I think the problem is partly the definition of ‘fashion blog’ in the first place. Who on earth writes one of those?!

  • Tiffany
    November 12, 2014

    Like you I just read what comes up in social media really. Anything that looks interesting I will read! Hope you don’t think I’m one of the one’s who stopped because I didn’t make money fast enough, I just have zero focus! I have no idea how mummy bloggers do it because I can’t write while my two are running around, and once they are asleep I am a total zombie. But I have about 4 different blogs I want to write! Wish I could just download my thoughts lol. Sorry, rambling now… 🙂

    • Gemma
      November 12, 2014

      Oh no! I never thought of you! I get emails sometimes saying “I’ve had my my blog 3 months, how do I get people to read it and get free stuff?” I have no idea! No one read mine for ages!

      • Tiffany
        November 13, 2014

        Not accusing at all, just segueing 🙂

  • akwildcherry
    November 12, 2014

    I’ve very new to the blogging world, both as a reader and a writer so I cannot speak to the changes that have occurred over the years. I started blogging as a creative way to give myself structure and connect with people. Blogging is hard and I haven’t figured out how to make money at it, but for me it’s worth it to feel like I am part of something larger. I have a voice and I’m glad to be able to share it with others. I really enjoy your blog, I’m a new reader and certainly don’t think it’s dead.

    She Knits in Pearls

  • Tasha @ By Gum, By Golly
    November 12, 2014

    I love your blog because you’re stylish in ways I adore, a good writer (I can’t even express how important I think that is in blogs I enjoy!), funny and irreverent, and love vintage but don’t have your panties in a knot over it, among other things. Blogging definitely changes as people change. I would hardly say blogging is dead (it made me crazy when I kept hearing “RSS is dead!” a year or two ago), but it’s definitely an evolving thing. I know my own readership has changed over the years, and I kind of wish I could focus more on posting about things other than what I’m making these days, but for now, that’s what I’m enjoying writing about. So I try to remind myself that I ultimately blog because I enjoy writing, even if it evolves sometimes, too. I don’t approach it from the perspective of trying to make a living writing however, so that definitely changes one’s perspective I’m sure!

    • Gemma
      November 13, 2014

      Thank you! I do think some of the blogging is dead stuff sometimes is wishful thinking from traditional media! I think it is evolving, like anything!

  • Bonita Vear (@bjvear)
    November 13, 2014

    It’s funny, I don’t think blogging *is* dead, but it certainly has changed… I’m not even sure what too ~ so I’m not even sure I’m doing the right things blogging the way that I do (once a week mostly, sometimes two times; posting about bits and bobs and outfits ~ and not a recipe to be seen because I hate cooking and don’t want to read about it, let alone write about it!! :X).

    But the thing is I’ll still keep writing, still keep posting, still keep photographing… Blogging encompasses my passion for story telling and sure, my story isn’t as interesting as other peoples, but I still love capturing it and having a record of life. Because my memory sucks! 😛 I love connecting with other bloggers out there and seeing where life is taking them, and I figure there might be people out there that feel the same way about my little blog. May be…. Side track!

    Why am I here? For these kinds of posts precisely. I adore your ‘think’ pieces, and I like seeing and reading about your roller derby adventures. I think because it’s something new and different, and therefore fun. ♡

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

    • Gemma
      November 13, 2014

      I’d write more ‘think’pieces, but I don’t think that much 😉

  • Jessica Cangiano
    November 13, 2014

    Hear, hear across the board, dear Gemma. I started feeling the death throws of blogging, so to speak, around the beginning of 2013, perhaps even earlier and saw fellow vintage bloggers tossing in the towel right, left and center at the time. My own blog, Chronically Vintage, was thriving (more so than ever, actually) and I had no desire whatsoever to stop posting, so I kept on doing so and have weathered the storms – from Google Reader vanishing to microblogging/social media replacing traditional blogging for many to the fact that blogging in general isn’t as popular (generally speaking) as it once was.

    I still get great (frequently increasing) traffic numbers and post very frequently (three to four times a week, on average), but I do find that actual comment counts, aren’t always what they once were. People, it seems are more apt to comment on an Instagram selfie than a blog post you just put seven hours of hard work into.

    I don’t think that blogging as a medium is entirely dead yet, but it’s not the same pie-in-sky landscape that it was four, five or six years ago, by any means and I believe that in order to survive, those of us who opt to hang on for the ride, must be willing to adapt and at the same time, hold our ground. We’ve been blogging this long for a reason (or many reasons, for some folks) and some of us have turned our blogs into (some or all of) our livelihoods at this point, so walking away from them wouldn’t just be a loss to the community as a whole, but to our personal finances as well.

    I don’t plan on going anywhere and love that there are still some other vintage bloggers out that who have been around for as long, or longer even, than I have. Here’s to the hope that we’ll continue to not only survive, but to thrive and even inspire others to start or return to blogging again.

    ♥ Jessica

    • Gemma
      November 13, 2014

      I agree, comments aren’t as frequent as they used to be, and people prefer to comment on Facebook or Twitter, so I use a plug in that pulls in FB and Twitter comments too, but people are much more read and run than they used to be, but part of me thinks thats because all the people that used to comment had blogs to plug and now they’ve all given up!

  • Miss Fairchild
    November 13, 2014

    I absolutely hat tumblr as it seems no one has an original though – it’s all just reblogged stuff. Where as I LOVE “proper” blogs. I stay because I want to know about your life. I started reading most of the blogs in my feed because they were vintage. Some have moved away from vintage and I still read because they are interesting. The big ones got too big and now all have sponsorship and I seem to see nothing but “oh I went to this event” (that 15 other bloggers also “wrote” about) or no content, no connection – just a few photos. Sometimes when they come up in my feed I still click on them and then realise why I hadn’t for months. Some of the ones you love bore me to tears. I do wish I could be more consistent – especially when someone like Jessica can do it (I compare myself to her because I am also chronically ill – I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone) but I can’t. As I blog for me only, I only blog when I want to, when I have something to say (recently wrote about female body hair), when I have time/energy (ie – never) or when I feel I should let people know I am not dead LOL.

    I am keeping a keen eye on your blog now your derbying as my younger 3 girls all go to junior derby and once my shoulders heal (a bus crash and then a fall 2 weeks apart) my middle child wants me to do adult derby training with her (she is only 13 but has been invited to train with the adults. She has mad skillz and is terrifying coming at the wall of littlies who jump out of her way and in the wall she takes up half the track).

    • Gemma
      November 13, 2014

      You can never compare yourself to someone else, we’re all different!

      I saw your girls doing junior derby on Instagram, where I spend a lot of my time these days! You should go, you can always progress at your own pace and it’s such awesome fun!

  • LandGirl1980
    November 13, 2014

    I do still read a lot of blogs, including those mentioned, but hardly ever comment – and I can’t really say why. For me that is what has changed in blogging. The traffic is steady but the comments are down. I personally go through phases of blogging &, although I write something every day, I need to actually start posting what I write 🙂

    Great post love 🙂

  • NatashaDeVil
    November 13, 2014

    I wrote a post today about what I’ve learned from blogging and my conclusion was that I love it even if no one reads my blog. Blogging has changed a lot since I first started but I don’t think it’s dead but I definitely hunt out blogs with a bit more diversity than the same posts week in week out. I loved this post, it said so many things I feel the same about on this subject.

  • Kate-Em
    November 13, 2014

    I found this a very interesting read and quite thought provoking. I don’t think blogging is dead at all. Like you, one of the things that I really enjoy is making connections with other bloggers and readers and the great conversations that you get to have. I like the fact that I can speak to people who I might never get the opportunity to meet who share similar interests. I follow quite a number of blogs, large and small, because they grabbed my interest in some way or another.

  • Sarah Jane
    November 13, 2014

    This is so timely it’s scary. I have been blogging for just under 3 years (I was late to the party) and I have just made the crazy decision to close the door on my first blog and start again from scratch. One of the reasons I decided to this was because i had felt a shift in the blogworld. My modest readership had stagnated and commenting had significantly reduced. I felt this was in part down to my dwindling enthusiasm and lack of direction but also because things suddenly just felt different. The shine had come off it. I also had felt the weight of following endless blogs dragging me down and the weariness that comes from the reciprical side of blogging. Many of the friends I started out with had disappeared and it just wasn’t the same. I have never done micro-blogging and do not have Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts. If I was blogging to try and earn money then this would be a suicidal move. But that was never my intention to start with and still isn’t. I blog as an outlet. It’s a forum where I can post about stuff that is interesting to me. Content that I would want to read. I know I will probably be out in the wilderness for a long time, possibly forever but that’s the risk I’m willing to take. In answer to your questions. I really hope blogging is not dead and that it comes full circle again. I read significantly fewer blogs than I used to but I am always on the lookout for new ones to spark my interest. Why am I here? You were featured on Bloglovin 🙂
    Thank you for the interesting article xx

  • cakesandcakesvintage
    November 14, 2014

    I’m specifically here because I think you have a really distinctive and interesting voice that I can relate to. You seem like a real person, not a fashionable automaton with perfect hair and teeth and a perfect life and the kind of wardrobe that only comes with an enormous bank account. Not that there’s anything wrong with having all of those things (and not to imply that you don’t have awesome hair or an awesome life), but it’s hardly relatable. I think that’s what I really look for in most blogs that I read – a sense that there are women like me with the same interests and concerns as I have, all trying to work it out.

    • Helen Snell
      November 14, 2014

      I wish I’d read your reply before I posted mine! That is exactly how I feel about ‘Retro Chick’ Well said.

    • Retro Chick
      November 15, 2014

      Don’t knock the hair! I’ve done my roots now and everything 😉

  • Helen Snell
    November 14, 2014

    I feel exactly the same, I used to follow loads of blogs that took hours of reading and one day realised that I wasn’t really interested in most of what I was reading and it had just become a habit. I culled loads and now only follow about a dozen or so. Yours is the first blog I ever followed and I still look forward to reading your posts. Hope you never give it up!

    • Retro Chick
      November 15, 2014

      Oh that’s lovely to know! I’m glad you still enjoy my blog!

  • Maja Ćorić
    November 14, 2014

    Gemma,
    I can not and will not accept such sayings; blogs are not dead (gosh, almost sounds like I’m letting you know “punk is not dead”) 🙂

    As you’ve so magnificently writen, blogs are more than mere post-pretty-picutures places. Sure, there are places where I go to when I just want to look at something.. BUT there are also places I go to READ something, to get the deeper information, insifžght and inspiration (yours is one such place, my dear).
    Once I started following people’s blogs, Ive seen world filled with likeminded people, with glamourous ladies (and gents), with folks who truly got something to say.. and are not affraid of losing the readers, or never getting anyone (besides their brother) to read the stuff they write.. Heck, I could never get my mom to read my blog, she dreads computers. 🙂
    Why am I here?
    Is this a phylosophical question? 🙂 If, not: I’m here get connected with the folks I find interesting. No, you can not get “close” with people by simply gazing at Insagram – it takes more than some “snap here and there” to get to know people.. and it takes more than taking those “here and there” snaps to be liked.
    It takes courage, and GOSh, you have got SOME: to post about bare-faces, not-so.perfect legs, daily outfits.. and post if for the world to see. Thumbs up for you!

    So: no.. I will not let go of my blog-reading habbits. Because: “Good habits should be nourshed” 🙂
    This comment went overbourd with lenght.. sorry.

    Marija

  • polkapolish
    November 15, 2014

    I read your blog because I found it as one of the “big name” vintage blogs near the top of Google when I was just getting into vintage, and I’m still reading it because… well, it’s a nice blog and you write about things amusingly and you seem like a nice person. I’m totally guilty of interacting more on Facebook or Instagram, and dare I say it’s because there’s a lot of blog reading from handheld devices? And most blogs are NOT set up to handle commenting on handheld devices? I tab the blogs I want to comment on in Feedly and then if I get around to it I pull up all those posts when I get to my computer and spend half an hour writing comments. And then I feel silly for not knowing what to say but wanting to let the author know that I liked it… and then there’s no good way to get a response to your comment from the author, and so… Facebook and Instagram.
    I personally am much better at POSTING on instagram than on my blog because there’s a much shorter word count per picture… sometimes I feel like my own blog is a chain of pictures with a halfhearted paragraph of text or two. But my piddly reader count has been slowly increasing over time, even though I am not the most consistent with my posts (Can I just say that isn’t something I’ve ever cared about? I read posts when they pop up in my feed reader, and blogs that post too often or too many list run-downs just get skipped over until they post something I care about.)
    So yes. Blogs. Not dead!

  • Ursula Cadiz
    November 16, 2014

    If you want to add to your stats on ‘why I read’; I’m here because you are funny and truthful! I think the truth part is what creates the connection. I can quite imagine us sitting in the sun with a tinto de verano here in Cadiz and never being short of things to discuss. Also, you write very well, and that’s important. The subjects you write about are varied, and like other commenters, I’m quite happy to click through to read abour roller derbying or a Lipstick and Lettuce something.

    I don’t do IG or Twitter (any more) as I like a bit more than ‘isn’t this FAB!’ (or worse, ‘amn’t I fab?’; sorry amn’t – a Scottish-ism)

    Also, you are BRAVE, which I greatly admire. Keep doing what you’re doing Gemma; personally, I love it!

    Fond things from Andalucía

    • Gemma
      November 16, 2014

      Aw thank you! And if I ever find an excuse to come to Cadiz I will let you know!

  • Jesse Lili
    November 17, 2014

    I loved this post Gemma, genuinely LOVED IT.