Blogging

Why Blogs Are Still Important in 2017

April 1, 2017

Why Blogs Are Still Important in 2017Hello everyone! I’m so happy it’s the weekend because on Monday, I’m driving to Milan for the Salone del Mobile and to attend other design-related events, cocktail parties, and installations. Not a bad job. This will be my first time visiting Italy so I’m very excited.

Before I hit the road though, I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging and the way content creators are reaching all of you, the loyal audience. I’ve been considering how we work with brands, what we do to get our work out there to expand, or at least become better at what we do. I’ve been thinking about whether blogs are still important.

Why Blogs Are Still Important in 2017 This post is sponsored by Squarespace

I’m asked frequently how I see the future of blogging and if having a blog is relevant with all of the micro blogging platforms and visual content creators out there using platforms like Instagram to grow their brand.

ARE BLOGS STILL IMPORTANT?

Yes.

Here’s why. Blogging has evolved but it has a future just as much as a website and email account both have a future, despite being around forever.

REMEMBER YOUR FIRST EMAIL ACCOUNT?

I created my first email account at Northeastern University in a lab there in 1995 during a marketing class. (Back when marketing classes didn’t even use words like Social Media because none of that existed.)

Do we still use and need email so many years later? Of course. As much? Well, maybe not as much because we can Whatsapp, Snapchat, SMS, or Tweet without sending an email, sure. But email is primarily how we conduct a bulk of our business, especially professionals who have more to say than what can fit into a text message.

That email account was my entry point to the world and I’ll never forget it. When I started blogging in 2006, it was my next big entry point into the online world. It was when I wasn’t just talking to people in email or on forums, but was opening myself up to everyone who potentially visited my site and read my words. It was both exhilarating and terrifying.

Blogging is NO different than having email or a website. It may not be the ONLY way that we can transfer our ideas and opinions to the world, but it’s still how we can present our work in the most personalized and creative way. And the best part is, it’s our own content and we run the show.

A car isn’t the only way we move from point to point. Neither is a train, a boat, bike, a plane or a skateboard. They are all ways to transport ourselves. We had to expect that communicating online would evolve, yet some things don’t need to be reinvented. Like a blog and back to my earlier example, let’s think about the car. It has, and still will continue, to evolve but it doesn’t need to be replaced with a totally new way to move around on land.

Blogs are the same. They are evolving and certainly becoming much more robust, beautiful, user-friendly and savvy but they do not need to be replaced by something totally new because blogs, as a communication channel, work.

YOUR BASE

To me, a blog is the foundation to everything else that you’re doing virtually. You can have Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. but your blog — well that’s YOUR base. Everything links from it. You can be found on search engines. You can use it to showcase your work, tell a story, share videos, podcasts and all sorts of media… It’s robust. You can be super creative with it, from how you format your posts to how you lay out your images, write, or design your blog in general.

Blogging combines your visual content with your voice. It’s where you can communicate with your readers for years and content is archived and can be found again (unlike Facebook content, where you have a great conversation going and a month later, can never find it again).

YOU CAN CREATE A SUBSCRIBER LIST

Also, people enjoy getting emails from brands and people whom they trust, and your blog is where you can still have a subscriber list. These mailing lists are so important because you can reach out personally to people who are asking you to. There are no strange algorithms where only a few people can see your content or worse, it shows up in the wrong order. When you send an email to your mailing list, it reaches your subscribers, period. That is invaluable. By the way, here is a great article sharing how to grow your mailing list that is just brilliant.

REVENUE SOURCE

A blog is also a great space to create content that you can sell. Whether it’s a sponsored or underwritten post, a sponsored video series, e-books you’ve created, other downloadable content for sale, products, services… It’s a terrific space to get it out there and to reach your readers. You can also have your blog link from your website where your portfolio or shop is. It’s better for a reader to get lost on your website than to get lost on Instagram or Facebook, because there, you just lose them to the millions of distractions in their feed.

Your blog is the best way to generate revenue YOUR WAY, because you have total control over how you will present it. You set all of the rules.

LONG FORM CONTENT

Blogs give us the ability to write long form content, like this piece, and I love it! Everything is so quick and fast-paced elsewhere, you don’t really read anymore as a result. We scan. I’ve noticed when I read less, I don’t write as well and I stop learning. Even how I speak changes. My sentences are choppy and short. I’m so busy swiping on my iPhone all day that I sometimes forget how to express myself verbally, how to present clearly how I feel.

Thing is, seeing and scanning content all day isn’t necessarily making us smarter, more emotionally intelligent or creating genuine intimacy or connection between people. Reading does that. Your blog is where you can educate, share, connect and produce more longer form content that reaches others in meaningful ways.

While a picture is said to be worth a thousand words, I can’t really say the content I see on largely visual social platforms of buddha bowls and cute shoes so moving emotionally as a thousand words might be. Let’s face it, a lot of the content we absorb in a day isn’t the stuff made of a thousand words.

Of course, you can find and follow the true photographers creating visual poetry out there and get enormously inspired. However, in all honesty, most of what I’m seeing in my various feeds contain a lot heavily edited glimpses into people’s lives and on sites like Facebook where photos and brief thoughts are posted together, they usually center on the negative – political views and all of the horrible things happening in the world from pollution to crime and racism, and it overwhelms me. I am unfriending or hiding feeds more and more than engaging in meaningful conversations.

I love Instagram and use it multiple times a day in addition to my blog, but “in addition to”. I want the best of both worlds, so I keep my blog while also focusing on my Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and my latest obsession, my LinkedIn account.

When it comes to longer form content, a lot of what is shared on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest is linked back to the longer form content on a blog anyway (or a website). Have you noticed this? These sites are linked back somewhere and usually it’s to a website or blog. If you have a blog, you are part of that content still and that is GOOD.

TRUSTWORTHY CONTENT SOURCE

Now more than ever, people are looking for trusted new sources of information. Content providers, through their blogs, have the chance to really meet that need and deliver content in a truthful, trustworthy way that is also fun and can make an impact.

When it comes to a blog, since so many content creators are also using platforms where visual content is king, let’s make blogs the space where educational and inspirational content lives. The space that touches hearts and where hope and guidance can sit. Real discussions on blogs may not take place in the same way as they did before, but on a blog you are still the author. You can write what matters to you. Many people are dying to read something heartfelt from you, I’m sure.

The writers, educators and those looking to go deeper with their audience will stay on board with blogs. Those who want to work more visually, or only visually, will move on to the other platforms suitable to the type of content they want to build. Some use a car, others a bicycle, walk or skateboard to work. In the end, we use what suits us best. The beauty of the internet is that there is something for everyone.

I’m a writer at heart and so using my blog regularly is a form of exercise for me. It helps me to become better at expressing myself. My blog gives me freedom and space to be uniquely me. I can express myself openly and no one can remove a post or edit my work. While other platforms make me better at creating stronger visual content, and I love and use those platforms daily, blogging is THE space where a writer goes to write stuff. That’s ultimately why blogging works for me and will for many years to come. This is why I think blogging is still important: If what you have to say matters, so does your blog, use it and say those things.

What are your thoughts on my words above? I’d love to hear what you think below.

xo

Holly

This post was sponsored by Squarespace, a platform for building beautiful blogs and websites. You can try Squarespace free for 14 days! Subscribe today and use code DECOR8 for 10% off your first purchase.






16 Comments

  • Reply Jub April 1, 2017 at 11:03 am

    I totally agree, but think most people don’t think so.

    As soon as you can read “I’ve created a Tumblr” or “I’m now on Instagram”, you can be sure that the blog you’re reading will no longer be updated. Most people become quite lazy, and only send pictures with their app, and the blog dies.

    It’s sad, because what we like in the blog is also text, getting to know a person through the blog, being happy to read what this person have to say on different subjects.

    Something I really appreciate also in blogs, is that you can comment without having to create your own account (like in Tumblr, Facebook… where you can’t react if you don’t have one).

    • Reply Holly Becker April 1, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Great points – thank you for stopping by. :)

  • Reply Julie April 1, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    I love the analogy of blogging within the social realm being like one mode of transport. I agree that it is through blogging you really get to know more about someone or learn something new, and that whilst I too enjoy the visual side of social media it is the writing that I remember the most. Great, thought provoking article!

  • Reply Danielle April 1, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    I agree with what you’re saying about long form content. Little updates via microblogging or social media are great. However, there are times for a deep dive into stories. I like to use my blog for that.

  • Reply Fenne April 2, 2017 at 11:37 am

    for a while I used facebook the most as it was easy, fast and it worked to connect with people. But I went back to my place, back to my website(s) as there I can do what I want and it does not disappear and it’s not up to facebook who gets to see my updates.

  • Reply quiltytherapy April 2, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    I concur and see blogs continuing to grow in the coming years. Your point about a landing page and linking things back is why a creative needs a blog or a Web site. Blogs are enjoyable because you get to read about a journey, the process, the mistakes, and/or anything else shared. It’s nice to know more than just a quick snapshot.

  • Reply Jess Weems Thibault April 2, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Absolutely true. As I feel more and more pulled toward the impact of story on my work and on the lives of the people around me, blogging becomes every more important. Story is still how we connect and form our identity. Social media often skips the deep stories…until blogging happens. Great post!

  • Reply Bert and Mary Designs April 3, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Jub that’s a great point! Even though photography is an important part of blogging, what is essential and what I’m currently missing as a reader is good content in the form of text!

  • Reply margarita April 4, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Hello Holly,
    Very good post, thanks. I agree with all you are saying, mainly because I think the same. way. I have not post in my blog lately due to changing platform, and website, soon both blog and shop would be under the same URL, transferring content, etc…so I rather wait until it is all done.

    I tend not to scan info, visually and in words very often, I get tired of so much information and rather than being inspiring it becomes a continuos distraction to my creativity. I struggle with my writing in English, and having to write on both languages (Spanish) is time consuming, but I can post less and better, I want to focus on quality posts, that I really feel passionate about it, things that matters to me and my work, and hopefully people will find it interesting too.

    I do still read blogs, and I am loyal to the ones that keep inspiring me, that wont change, regardless the new social media platforms.

    Have fun in Milan, wear comfy shoes and a hat!!

  • Reply Didie April 5, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Every single person who applauds me for my inspiring blog words means the world to me. My blog honestlty helps people to overcome their solitude, fears and doubts. Just like you do Holly with your blog. You make me feel at home. Blogging is sharing seeds of happiness. And we will always need it!

  • Reply Lucy@Attic24 April 5, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    I really hope that blogs continue to thrive as I adore my online space and nothing comes close to the creative fulfillment of writing (at length!) and sharing ideas, images, inspirations, experiences, knowledge and projects with the world at large. I’ve seen Blogland shrink in recent years though as Instagram has taken over as a more speedy “micro-blogging”, and it makes me sad to see the decline. It’s like blogging for so many people is just too much time and effort these days. To me, Instagram is like sending someone a quick picture with a caption via your phone, whereas blogging is like settling down in a comfy chair with a cuppa for a really good chat and catchup. The two just don’t compare.

  • Reply Circle of Daydreams April 6, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I so hope you’re right, and they keep on being important for a long time. I’ve made many friends online via blogs, some (although we’ve never met) I’d even call close friends. For me it’s about community, support, and finding people I feel an affinity with. On a side note, my site is a Squarespace site, and I love it! Their service is terrific and my site is easy to keep up. Linda. (:

  • Reply Jennie Thompson April 7, 2017 at 1:54 am

    Yes! I like how you point out the blog as the foundation. Many of the visits to my blog come from my posts to Pinterest, my uploads to galleries around the web, and comments that I make on others blogs or sites. For me and my blog, Facebook is more like meeting at the bustling coffee shop, while my blog is more like inviting someone to tea. It’s a connection on a different level.

  • Reply Te Esse by Velvet April 7, 2017 at 10:19 am

    I also agree 100%. It seems to me that a number of people will always try to take a ‘shortcut’ because it appears to be more convenient at the time. But that is mainly because they were never truly committed in the first place. So yes, by all means, a blog will always be your foundation, your base; the rest of the social media are merely tools for the blog’s sustainability. People like you who are truly committed won’t let go of your base, not when you’re that good! Thank you for this insight.

  • Reply The Printables Club April 14, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    I love blogs. I wouldn’t class myself as a writer – English was my worst subject at school and so I have never felt that I am great at writing. I consider myself more visual and still think blogs have their place for visual people. There is so much scope for sharing your message on a blog and even making an income down the line in a way that suits you and your desired lifestyle.

  • Reply Pepe von elfenklang April 21, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Great post, Holly. I totally agree. After the first blogging boom some years ago there are now only good blogs that survived because the author has something to say or to inspire. All the people who do not have much to say, moved to the great Social Media, which is also a part of our everyday life. That´s not negative! Not everybody can inspire or write good blog posts that at the end, gives you something to think about. A blog is your own property, nobody can take away what you are doing there and shows the audience, who is the person behind it. But not everyone is wanting other people to get a view behind the scenes. So I think it is a good process what´s happening in the Internet. Blog reading is time consuming and we all do not have much time unfortunately. So I spent my time on reading only blogs that really give me something back. Like yours from time to time :)

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