Ten years ago blogs were seen as a personal diary — your own virtual space where you can share thoughts, ideas, experiences…
Тhen, the revolution ensued.
Suddenly, blogging was no longer just a hobby — you could monetize your ideas, gain influence or bring together huge audiences from around the world.
This laid the foundation for what we see today. Websites are now spawning thousands of posts every minute, while bloggers are treated like celebrities, star in movies, and earn ludicrous sponsorship deals.
But how many blogs are there in total in 2019?
To date, there are over 1.6 billion websites in the world and more than 500 million are recognized as blogs. Their authors account for over 2 million blog posts daily.
The exact answer, however, is a bit more complicated than you’d expect. Inactive websites affect the accuracy of the statistic, and not all platforms choose to share their data publicly. Finally, there are websites that don’t employ traditional web-building tools and thus, cannot be recognized as typical web pages.
Alright, so it’s fine if we can’t know the exact number of blogs.
Can we at least get a ballpark estimate? The guesses here at the Hosting Tribunal were quite wild but actually didn’t fall that far off the mark.
Let’s first try to determine the total number of websites out there. A live counter, developed by Internet Live Stats, reveals that there are roughly 1.9 billion web pages at this moment. Judging by the growth rate, we will be hitting 2 billion in less than a year.
Tumblr, possibly the biggest blogging platform, reports that it hosts over 440 million blogs.
The most popular CMS, WordPress, adds about 60 million more.
Various other CMS tools contribute a total of 2.5 million.
Therefore, we can safely assume that the internet is home to over 500 million blogs, a quarter of all the websites in the world.
Those are some impressive blogging stats!
Especially considering the fact that Tumblr’s main competitor, Blogger, releases no data publicly and their web pages are not included in the final estimate.
1. History of Blogging
Many consider Justin Hall to be the pioneer of blogging. His online journal, Links.net, was created back in 1994 and exists to this day.
25 years and counting!
Justin even had a post the last week to commemorate this anniversary.
A few years later, the word “weblog” was created, as an abbreviation for logging on the web. The genius behind the modern term is programmer Peter Merholz. He decided to play around with the word. The sidebar on his website was cheerfully hosting the phrase:
Short and memorable — simply genius. The term quickly caught on, there was some noticeable blogging growth, and in 2004, the Merriam-Webster dictionary proclaimed it “Word of the Year”.
By that time, the term’s popularity was spreading like wildfire. Gizmodo was laying grounds for an empire in science and technology news. Gawker started a revolution and created an entire niche dedicated to gossip. Google launched their ads service and opened a whole new field of monetization opportunities.
Which begs the question:
What percentage of bloggers make money?
Considering people are mainly in the blogging game for fun, the fact that most are barely making any revenue comes as no surprise. Still, the number of people that build a self-sustainable business out of their blogs is growing annually.
One in three bloggers monetizes her or his online activity, and about 10% are making over $10,000 per year. The lucky few, or more precisely the top 0.6%, are raking in a whopping $1M+ annual earnings.
One million. Just by enjoying their hobbies.
The last few years solidified the role of blogs as a mainstream media, a political tribune, and a catapult for their owners toward fame and glory. In 2016 Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, announced the release of .blog domains — a catchy new way to give recognition to your blogging website.
2. Types of Blogs
There are numerous ways to categorize blogs. I chose to analyze them by the different techniques for delivering content.
Personal bloggers keep the spirit of traditional blogging, They allow you to express ideas and beliefs in a diary-like fashion. The content could revolve around a common subject or express your everyday thoughts.
Business blogs follow a money-oriented model. Their purpose is to accumulate traffic, boost company exposure, and ultimately — bring in clients and sales. They focus on the parent business and its industry, delivering promotional content and expanding the company mailing list.
Niche blogs are a prime category when you consider how many blogs there are. They target a single topic and aim to provide as much insights as possible. Some niches have proven to be very profitable and have won authors international recognition over the years. These include fashion, food, travel, lifestyle, music, fitness, and DIY.
Jamie Oliver provides a good example of a niche blog visited by thousands daily, looking for the latest tips and recipes from the esteemed chef.
Professional blogs exist for the sole purpose of making money.
Here’s the deal.
Every full time blogger secretly dreams of making a fortune. Every single one! Whether it’s through ads, affiliate commissions, sponsorship deals or thanks to their sheer writing talent.
When you think about it – who can blame them?
If someone told me I could make money from my hobby I’d just ask:
Where do I sign up?
Reverse are called the platforms that host the cumulative writing efforts of multiple users, rather than a single author. They operate more like web forums, instead of a personal online journal. Authorship often takes a back seat in favor of building up the site’s reputation. The key to success here is utilizing a team of moderators to monitor and filter the inappropriate content.
Huffington Post has built an empire upon the idea of reverse blogging, raking in over $14 million monthly (Yes, that reads million!).
Media bloggers rely on different types of visual stimuli to capture our attention. Podcasting, photo blogging, vlogging — these all sounded like strange foreign languages just a few years ago. Now these words are on everyone’s lips.
Celebrity vlogger PewDiePie entertains over 83 million subscribers, having accumulated more than 20 billion views.
Let these numbers sink in…
Microblogging on the other hand, means you have to convey your message in the shortest way possible. Imagine something like Twitter — whether you post a photo, link or text, being brief and to-the-point is your main goal here.
The Growth of Blogging
We saw an exponential blogging growth in the last few years. The expansion brought notable changes to the way content is written, what we consider quality and what writing styles make you successful.. Modern bloggers have access to a plethora of intricate tools for analyzing user behavior and the most appropriate channels to reach their target audience. You might be wondering:
What is the most popular content right now?
Should I go for long and detailed posts or keep everything as short as possible?
How many blog posts per day should I prepare?
The numbers provided by an Orbit Media survey among bloggers reveals some intriguing correlations.
Strong results require an investment of your time. In the last five years, the average time for writing a post has steadily grown from 2:24 hours to 3:28 hours. The blog post length for the same period rose accordingly, from 808 to 1151 words on average.
All this had a negative impact on the frequency of posting. Longer posts require more time to perfect, so authors decreased frequency in favor of quality. Full time bloggers started building long-term strategies, which included a more focused approach toward analytics and SEO improvements.
What’s the bottom line?
No matter the niche, users are attracted to content they find relatable, appeals to their emotions, or adds to their knowledge.
The future looks even brighter for bloggers. The success stories have inspired authors to invest time in their content in an effort to turn a hobby into a profession. When we talk about how many blogs there are, we have to inevitably take into account the latest trends and the way they impact the industry.
So what’s popular right now?
For starters, video services have been on the rise in the last few years, and it seems this tendency will prevail. Mobile devices are consistently evolving to support even higher quality photos and video, while social media websites provide a perfect platform to reach people from across the globe. Blogging on social media is already a thing, and over 12 million authors are taking advantage.
High-quality content requires a lot of server power and hosting companies will have to meet the increasing demand for media-optimized servers and advanced support for aspiring bloggers.
What about the content itself?
As we mentioned earlier, blog posts are getting longer, and 2000+ word articles are gaining much better recognition than they used to. Interestingly enough, authors are spending more time blogging at work and less time doing it at night and on weekends — just another testament of how writers progressively treat their blogs as a job and not a mere hobby.
Blogging should not necessarily be a one-man-job. A number of websites often reach out to influencers or industry thought-leaders to help them quickly gain credibility and popularity. Delivering the right message nowadays often includes the help of co-writers, editors, and proofreaders.
Sounds suspiciously similar to a newsroom, right?
The blogging field is becoming increasingly saturated. Ever since the first success stories, everyone is lining up for a piece of the pie. Surviving in such fierce competition requires more time and effort than ever before. Which begs the question:
Is blogging still relevant in 2019?
The answer is a resounding “Yes”!
You simply have to find the right approach to communicate with your audience.
A good idea is to focus on the so-called evergreen content, i.e. content that provides information which remains relevant and useful over the course of time.
More often than not, bloggers revisit their old work to update the information and provide a fresh take on the subject. This type of evergreen content is praised by authors as an effective way to bring recurring traffic and boost SEO.
Even though bloggers have an increasing range of analytic tools at their disposal, their writing style should favor storytelling instead of content that will appeal to search algorithms.
People must always come before machines, right?
In the next couple of years social media will continue to heavily influence the shape and form of blogging. Millions of full time bloggers are already using these platforms as an alternative to traditional blogs. And who can blame them?
Why not tap into this additional source of traffic and popularity if you have the chance?
Blogs are here to stay. There is no doubt about that. They bring us all the latest news, inspire ideas, even contribute to our self-improvement. They are such a powerful tool that even politicians and celebrities use it to boost their visibility and ratings.
It might be hard to accurately determine how many blogs are there, but one thing’s for sure:
At this rate, we will be celebrating 1 billion blogs in no time.
Think the best is yet to come?
I sure do!
Let’s see what the future holds…