"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Artistry
April 7, 2012

Are Personal Blogs Making A Comeback?

The blogging world has changed in so many ways. But it could be going back to where it started, with personal blogs?

Back when I started blogging, in 2001, every blog was a personal blog. Each blog was a person, taking about their experiences, passions and opinions in their own voice. Then things changed.

Many bloggers started to look at their sites as a way to make money. Blogs soon became clogged with banners and ads. Bloggers wrote less personal posts and focussed on fewer and more niche topics. And, blogs became more marketing influenced, to the point where many bloggers became narrowly obsessed with the idea of being a “personal brand.”

But, thankfully, things are starting to change.

The Shift

I was inspired to read The Blogging Cycle – Back To The Beginning on the 52 Tiger blog, which started with this observation.

“I’ve noticed an interesting shift in blogging. In short, there’s a trend moving away from hyper-focused niche blogs, back to what I’d call “personality” blogs. It makes me think of when I started writing online in 2000, and I like it.”

Increasingly bloggers have, in the past two years, started to blur the edges of their niches and let their own voice ring through more clearly. Many bloggers have made the decision to be less one dimensional and more human.

The Slash Reality

The problem with the whole myth of the personal brand is that people are not really like brands at all – at least, not the interesting ones; the ones we really admire, the ones we want to kick back and have a beer with, invite to our dinner parties or the ones with whom we fall in love.

People, are far more complex and embody many more contradictions than a brand could ever sustain.

As I’ve discussed in previous posts (Generation Slash and Generation Slash Revisited) many of us can no longer neatly label our work and place it in a single category or niche.

Chase Jarvis, for example, is a professional photographer and also one of my favourite bloggers. Chase’s blog has all the characteristics of a narrowly professional blog, but, you also get a lot of Chase’s own personality and voice ringing through. And, increasingly, his blog is embracing topics and interests outside of photography.

Away From Content And Back To Writing

In the past year a number of “high profile” bloggers have confided to me that they are bored with the pro-blogging “game.” Writing often just to create traffic, with short, keyword-laden posts that do little other than score well on Google searches is not what motivated them to get into blogging in the first place.

There is a vast difference between filling your blog with content in order to generate traffic and writing because you have something to say.

I’m hopeful that more and more bloggers will let their personality shine through and focus less on the so-called rules for generating more traffic and search hits. The truth is that it’s very hard to really get noticed if you are playing the same game everyone else is playing and following the same (totally made-up) rules.

Increasingly the most influential blogs in any field are the ones that most clearly come from one, original and talented person being themselves. If you want your blog to stand out, help you build a following, make real connections with people and develop a reputation, then your best bet is to be yourself and let your personality filter through every part of your website and infuse it with originality.

And, anytime life hands you the opportunity to be sucessful by being yourself, it is a beautful thing.

Visa 12 years ago

The simplest principles always ring truest: We are humans, and we seek human connection. 🙂

Javier I. Sampedro 12 years ago

I´ve always tried to be true to my origins since the very beginning when I started the blog but we all know sometimes you have your tough times to keep it up because lack of time or also ideas.

I always have my mind active willing to share with others all those things I see in town that interest me, not because I think will bring more traffic to the blog. It´s true that you feel satisfied when people return and comment, step by step, you create a small community of people that regularly follow you and you do as well. Meet in real life those people is another step to be done and to get to know the people, face to face. Glad I´ve had the chance to meet some bloggers not only from HK, even from Spain; it´s a good experience and can start a good friendship too. Connect with people is important, not just be behind the screen.

Keep personal, follow your instincts and not just followers, traffic or how mucha your content is shared by others. Sooner or later people realize the value of true bloggers.

Fernando Gros 12 years ago

Visa – yes, we are oriented towards the human.

Fernando Gros 12 years ago

Javier – Well said. Of course, it feels good when people do read our words, or connect with us because of what we have shared.

But, ultimately, this is always about people, not just pumping “content” out into the internet void in order to collect numbers, rankings or pretty scores.

Matt Brandon 12 years ago

I think it’s hard to make the division of a niche blog and a personal blog a clear line. At least it is for my own blog. I want to talk about photography. For the most part that’s all I talk about – photography – and how it relates to things like travel, culture and other things. But Underlying it all its about photography and how it relates to me personally. How I’ve discovered things on my personal journey in photography and I try to share that with my readers. So in this sense, I see my blog as very personality driven but definitely branded.

Fernando Gros 12 years ago

Matt – I agree it’s a vague line. We can say this is clearly a personal blog and that is clearly a niche/pro/brand blog. But, exactly where one crosses over into the other is vague.

I guess part of what I’m seeing is more bloggers, with decent followings, happy to be in that vague space.

bookjunkie 12 years ago

Boy am I am glad you wrote this post. It’s what I hope for as well, and a great reminder to get back to what motivated us to blog in the first place 🙂 It’s the reason why I am wary to do any advertorials on my blog. Don’t think I would be comfortable with it and it would feel like someone else taking over my space and I am sure it would annoy readers too. I have seen so many great blogs go pear shaped when they start having too many advertorials and flashing ads on their blog. It becomes too commercial and not personal or authentic anymore. It’s sad, because I used to enjoy their writing prior to all the clutter. Wish there was a way bloggers could make an income without any ads.

bookjunkie 12 years ago

bloggers needs to read this….so I’m tweeting it and hope it gets retweeted & goes viral 😉

Hank Kotnik 12 years ago

Hmm i hope you don’t get annoyed with this question, but how much does a site like yours earn?

Lolly 12 years ago

Reading this has given me hope. I started a blog today on a whim but I’m not sure that anybody will ever see it. all i have read has told me that i need a niche or a focus for anybody to be interested in what i have to say. i was lead to believe that what i had done was childish and self indulgent. I cant find advice on how to lead people to a personal but anonymous blog, does anybody have any? Forgive me for my lack of subtlety but perhaps this will be a start…

william klintworth 11 years ago

It has gone viral!!! bloggers needs to read this….so I’m tweeting it and hope it gets retweeted & goes viral

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