Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blogs Alive, Kicking and Growing

All the reviews I've seen of 2007 seem to feature facebook rather strongly. This is probably quite accurate as they did have a pretty fantastic year. This time last year people thought facebook would be worth about $1Billion now many seem happy with a valuation around $12Billion. If the valuation was proportional to newspaper articles it would be even higher.

Before the newspapers begin knocking down the poster boy they tried to build up, how about the poor little kid who got completely ignored during the 'social revolution' of 2007?

Poor little blogs were pretty much written off at the start of last year. Many news sources were showing that hte number of new blogs being created was slowing, the number of people posting on the already created blogs was also reducing.

This much was probably true. What people weren't looking at, however, was the number of people READING these blogs.

In terms of absolute gains, Wordpress have had a fantastic year. Their traffic figures, according to Comscore, have rocketed up by about 700%. The y axis is thousands of monthly unique users:

The growth has been consistent throughout the year, bringing Wordpress into the top 30 in terms of UK traffic. All this traffic is looking at the hundreds of thousands of blogs within wordpress.

It's not just Wordpress though, Blogger has also had a fantastic year with steady and consistent traffic growth. Guido Fawkes' intrusion into the national consciousness last year was one of the many blogger blogs to actually make it into the mainstream in the UK.

The thing about all these blogs is that they are fragmented. Their branding is minimal and focused towards people who want to write rather than design. Therefore it is quite easy for them to sneak under the radar. Blogger can easily slip through as most industry metrics tool will aggregate the blogger listings into Google's.

The stats themselves paint a picture of blogs as being in extremely good health, quietly increasing their traffic and readership. I'm sure at some point someone will figure out how to make a large amount of money out of them and then start shouting about it. Wordpress and Blogger could definitely make some money out of the page impressions they see in front of them, but they may then lose many users. It's always going to be tough.

Would be interesting to see how many blogs with actual traffic feature adwords or equivalent on them. It may also be possible that many of the blogs are actually affiliate sites taking advantage of the free hosting.

Whatever the answer to the above questions the blogging sites are succeeding in growing their traffic so one has to assume that a decent level of interest exists.

This growth is against static growth for the major established opinion providers such as the Guardian. I think I need to do some graphs that will show the number of sites people look at has grown.

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