Cookbook author and writer Michael Ruhlman returned to blogging recently, after a couple of months off. In his post, he wondered if people still read food blogs.
It never occured to him that the big question might be about video, not text.
Fortunately for him, Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes saw his question and answered it.
In the comments, here’s what Elise said about trends for food blogs, video, and social media:
Here’s what you’ve missed:
1. 60% of blog reading is being done on a phone (why you need a mobile friendly site, and larger type), 20% on tablet, 20% on desktop.
2. 80% of digital advertising is going to Facebook, which is focused on promoting video.
3. For this reason everyone is making videos. Already 55% of all web traffic is video.
4. Readers don’t go directly to blogs anymore. They expect to find your work where they are, on social media—Instagram, FB. And if it’s interesting, they’ll click through.
5. People are building amazing followings solely through social media, with no blog at all, and are able to do quite well through sponsorship.
6. The younger generation seems to be hell bent on becoming Internet celebrities.”
(I’m pretty sure Elise and Michael got to know each other during a week-long food blogging workshop in Mexico, where we were all instructors.)
I feel fortunate to read Elise’s comments. I take her quite seriously. Elise has run a super-professional, super-successful blog for many years. Also now that her website has overlords, she has access to good trend data. Here are more statistics, for example, that show she’s right on about video: Cisco says 75 percent of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2020.
Now, some of these trends she mentioned are straightforward. Most of us have made our blogs phone-friendly, for example. I’m most concerned about video, and whether people still want to read online.
Let’s start with No. 3, where Elise says 55 percent of all web traffic is video. Historically, when blogs began in the early 2000s, they were only text. Then bloggers added photos. Then food bloggers had to get really good at photos. And now food bloggers are making videos and promoting them on social media.
Like Michael, I’m wondering if the old idea of writing a journal-like entry is becoming less important. It’s what Shauna Ahern meant when she said that “Blogs don’t matter anymore.” Recently Shauna shifted from telling personal stories to just getting down to business. And Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo said she blogs less frequently now and concentrates on her online audience. She’s been blogging for six years, and like Shauna, has accumulated a gigantic online following.
As a writer, I get nervous about the idea that writing online — good writing — doesn’t matter. It still does. Otherwise sites Eater and Serious Eats wouldn’t have long-form posts with well-researched pieces and essays. And a long blog post still resonates with readers. A single long blog post can still move readers to post tons of comments.
Maybe your blog posts don’t contain much writing. You still need to know how to hook readers with an irresistible title, and how to get them to read all the way through. Not to mention enticing people to read your post when you’re promoting it on social media.
Wait a minute. Did I just suggest that much of online writing is market-driven? I can’t deny it’s an element.
So, on this issue of video, I’m cheering myself up by deciding that most of this online video is porn, movies and TV shows. Maybe we don’t all have to rush out to create videos, since we’re not in this category.
Now on to Number 4. That’s Elise’s statement that people are more likely to read your blog when they click on your link in social media. They no longer go to the blog itself. I find this trend troubling. Does it mean fewer people want to subscribe to blogs? (Not that any bloggers want to admit that their subscription numbers are flat.)
What do you think of the list of trends?
- Do you still subscribe to blogs, or do you just click on them from social media?
- Are you making videos?
- Do you still make time to read blogs and stories by good storytellers and writers?
- Do you still think of yourself as an online writer?
(Image courtesy of 2nix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)