On Blogging and Self Publishing

Since the day we began building websites on content management systems we’ve encouraged our clients to blog; To write about things that might interest their clientele in order to engage a community and drive traffic to their sites. Usually we suggest these sections be labeled a ‘blog’ – in the name of calling something what it is. For the last decade or so, that’s what we’ve called them. A blog, on which you would be blogging.

Last December Jason Kottke wrote a post for the Nieman Journalism Lab titled “The Blog is Dead, Long Live the Blog” in which he writes:

Sometime in the past few years, the blog died. In 2014, people will finally notice. Sure, blogs still exist, many of them are excellent, and they will go on existing and being excellent for many years to come. But the function of the blog, the nebulous informational task we all agreed the blog was fulfilling for the past decade, is increasingly being handled by a growing number of disparate media forms that are blog-like but also decidedly not blogs.

The title alone on Jason’s post shocked me a bit, but it’s a good read and makes a strong case that boils down to: The kids today don’t do blogs. This prompted a little soul searching about how best to serve our clients. If the blog was truly dead then how do my clients, and us for that matter, get our great content out there. Are we supposed to be spending all of that energy on places like Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr?

Fortunately Jason’s article prompted similar soul searching in others as well. Jeremy Keith wrote “In dependence” an excellent sudo-rebuttle, and he makes this point:

…the specific medium of the blog may certainly be waning, but the idea of independent publishing still burns brightly.

Thankfully Jeremy doesn’t continue on and tell us why we should all move over to Facebook. Instead he points out how publishing on your own site is the bold, disruptive move. That owning your own words matters. That publishing on you own platform is a way of future proofing your work because Tumblr or Medium might someday simply go away.

It also reinforces our long standing philosophy that writing on your own website is still the best way for small businesses to attract a crowd on the internet. If you have the budget or the manpower to also manage social media accounts then high five. But a lot of us are business owners trying to do it all. And your website is the premiere place to hold the best information about your business. And it won’t suddenly disappear one day.

It seems to me that self publishing is still very much alive and so we’ll continue to suggest it (strongly) to all of our clients. Call it blogging if you like, but don’t if you don’t. Here’s what Jeffery Zeldman had to say about that:

Me, I regret the day I started calling what I do here “blogging.”

For us, I’ve changed our writing section title to Articles. Not just for change sake, but because it fits what we write about a little better. We’ve divided the articles section up into distinct subsections and are hoping to fill each with interesting and useful stuff. It’s been fun getting back to it, and I hope we can continue to have interesting things to say.

I, like Jeremy, hope to see you publishing on your own website this year.

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