Quoting Brett Terpstra: Back in my day... some thoughts on blogging then and now


I've been blogging for over 20 years now, making websites for 28 years, and before all of that I was running a BBS that had users from all over the U.S. (but only one phone line/modem, so it was slow communication). And I've seen an unsettling shift over the last 10 years that I feel like writing about.

It used to be (10, 20 years ago) that birds of a feather in the blogging world would share each other's work and sustainably build audiences together. I was part of an informal “network” of blogs that frequently shared each other's posts, when they were noteworthy, and getting “seen” was as easy as making good content. Getting mentioned on a larger site meant measurable traffic and often new subscribers to your work, and it was a meaningful way of building an audience. The audience I currently have is largely a product of those days.

My larger projects brought in new readers. 20 years ago MoodBlast was my starting point, then the Blogsmith Bundle got attention from Merlin Man, Marked got attention from Daring Fireball, and all of that netted new traffic and more followers. These days, it's a lot harder, and the attention of major players has much less impact. Bunch got a fair amount of press. Write-ups in major online media outlets, features from creators like David Sparks, and even some print publications worldwide. And I saw a swell in the number of downloads every time, but none of it filtered back to building my readership. Not the way MoodBlast or Marked did a decade ago.


Even getting linked on Hacker News doesn’t tip the needle the way it used to (or the way getting Dugg used to. IYKYN.).


Search Engine traffic is down for many of us because the major engines' output is flooded with ads and content that is, at best, knock-off content designed to spam the results.


This is all to say that I recognize that things have changed. I just don't think it's for the better.

Subscribe via Email (Powered by Substack):

RSS Feed | Email Me | Mastodon | Bluesky
© 2024 ldstephens.me