3 Reasons Why Blogging is Dead

Is blogging dead? Well, dead is a bit of a exaggeration. But blogging is dying. It’s much more difficult to gain traction these days than when I started blogging in 2010. Over the past few years, traffic has steadily declined on Retire by 40. Many of my friends’ blogs also had the same problem. Personally, I think the pandemic accelerated the decline of blogging. Previously, people were stuck at work and they read blogs when they had a few minutes to spare. (That’s what I used to do when I was an engineer.) But these days, many of us are working from home. We can catch up on chores or do other fun activities when we take a break. And we don’t need to worry about anyone looking over our shoulders at home.

The pandemic might have made it worse, but blogging has been on the decline for a while already. Today, I’ll share 3 reasons why blogging isn’t as relevant as it used to be.

1. Multitasking

Blogs have a lot of competition today – podcast, YouTube, Tiktok, Twitter, Instagram, social media, etc… IMO, the biggest issue with blogs is you can’t multitask. You have to focus to read a blog post. Even skimming an article requires concentration.

You don’t need to focus as hard when you’re listening to a podcast, watching a video, or browsing social media. My son is a terrible example of this. He is always doing 2 to 3 things at once – playing video games, watching YouTube, and chatting with friends on Discord. I guess kids are better at task-switching, but it drives me nuts to see him do so many things at once. The only time he is totally focused is when he’s reading a book. But who has time to read these days? Even I don’t read blogs as much these days. I listen to podcasts a lot more because I can cook, exercise, and do other things while I listen.

2. Google is bias

People are still using Google search to find information on the internet. However, Google is very biased. In the old days, I saw many independent blogs on the search result when I used Google. Today, Google returns the bigger websites first. I rarely see independent blogs on the first result page anymore. My theory – Google makes money with ads so they channel traffic to the pages they work with.

For example, I search for “how to retire early financial independence.” The first result page shows investopedia, fool.com, time.com, nerdwallet, cnbc, ramseysolutions.com, shopify, and other large sites. The result is driven by profit, not usefulness to users.  

3. ChatGPT

Have you played around with ChatGPT? ChatGPT is an AI chatbot you can interact with. I tried it a bit and it’s neat. ChatGPT can write a full blog post. The result is generic and doesn’t have much personality. Kind of like the articles on the bigger sites listed above.

For now, ChatGPT isn’t smart enough to write an engaging blog post. However, it’ll improve and produce better results soon. Someday, we won’t be able to distinguish between a human blogger and a chatbot. In fact, I heard you can train a chatbot with a data set. I can feed it with all my old blog posts and it should be able to take over this blog. I’m sure somebody will build hundreds of blogs and populate them with chatbot posts. This process will fill the blogosphere with spam and overwhelm the search engine. I wouldn’t worry too much, though. By then, people can ask the chatbot directly and skip Google entirely. The future of blogging is bleak…

Is blogging dead?

Alright, that’s it for this Thursday’s short blog post. If you’re thinking about starting a blog, my advice is to forget it. It’s a lot of work and you’ll have a hard time gaining traction. It’s probably better to start a podcast or a YouTube channel. However, if you’re looking for personal fulfillment, blogging is still a good way to go. Here is my guide on how to start blogging. 😉

Do you think blogging is dead? Is the whole ChatGPT thing overblown?

image credit: Anqi Lu

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.
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25 thoughts on “3 Reasons Why Blogging is Dead”

  1. As a reader, I’ve always appreciated candor & authenticity. It seems as though most of today’s bloggers like to tell the reader what to do instead of sharing their individual experience. That’s a turn-off for me. I also dislike how most blogs I come across now primarily share lists (this particular post not included – this post has a useful list). I’m so tired of “12 ways to improve your finances by 5pm” and “23 reasons why you should…” sorts of posts. I’ve deleted many of the blogs I used to really enjoy because of their transition to those types of posts. I prefer stream-of-consciousness or “what I’m learning these days” posts that both make me think & want to interact.

    Reply
  2. I did just add your blog to a feed reader with my other favorite blogs. I hope blogs don’t go. Let’s bring back the oomph blogging had 10 years ago. Like a Gen X revitalization.

    Reply
  3. I wonder if the downturn in markets, massive tech layoffs, and inflation are contributing to the decline? Either way I find value in your writing. Hope you keep it up

    Reply
  4. This is unfortunate to read as I just started my site a year ago. But, I enjoy writing and I feel like I have something of value to share. So I’ll just continue for the foreseeable future, and hope that maybe the pendulum will swing back in our favor one day.

    Reply
  5. I’ve never heard of ChatGPT, but I wonder if Google will eventually find a way to distinguish between that and real writing. Kinda like what they did with the Panda algorithm update that essentially did away with keyword stuffing.

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  6. I don’t know if ChatGPT will replace what I liked about blogging, which is community. Yes, a ChatGPT bot can sound like a fellow community member, but doesn’t it feel odd/empty to not have a person on the other side? Community and connection. There is no good place on the internet for it anymore.

    I also listened to a podcast last week (Ezra Klein’s) talking about how AI and ChatGPT are good, but they don’t have sense for what is true and what is B.S., and for the most part, they are just very good at B.S. I do think that will change, but for now, it is a big problem.

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  7. I agree Joe it is dying and as I’ve written my blog is dying right along with it. BUt I don’t think it’ll ever go away fully, there will always be a decent part of the population that likes to read. Your reasons are very astute, especially the multi-task thing. I also listen to podcasts while cleaning the house or cooking.

    As for AI and chatGPT, it’s coming and there’s no way to stop it. AI is already making music that sounds very similar to the vapid computer-based pop stuff at the top of the charts. But those are already auto-tuned and computer based, most of those “artists” don’t have any musical talent and can’t play a single instrument. AI engines like DaL-E are making art from a simple prompt and it’s getting better and better. The future’s gonna be weird

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  8. If you stop sending the entire blog to your subscribers in the notification mail, but only a teaser and a link to the blog, you will get more traffic!

    I prefer blogs over podcasts and youtube clips because it is much, much quicker to read.

    Keep up the good work.

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  9. I enjoy reading your blog. I sometimes also listen to podcasts and YouTube. Mostly I read at night before I go to bed. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Please keep up the blog.

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  10. I don’t think blogging is dying. But there definitely is a trend for younger people to consume mini Content.

    I’m just happy to write about whatever because there’s so much going on in the world. Once you build a brand, you get some sticky traffic with occasional recognition by other media outlets.

    I do like podcasting, though, because I am commuting to my son’s school every day now. So I decided to do my own podcast. It’s pretty fun. Give it a try!

    Sam

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  11. The fact that FIRE has passed its peak could also be the reason for the drop in blog readership.

    *BoycottTwitter
    *BoycottTesla

    Reply
  12. There are several free plug in’s you can get, for example i use “De-mainstream” and “return YouTube dislike” button extensions. The De-mainstream one will block out fake news sites like CNN and MSNBC etc. You select them from a list and choose what to filter.

    I believe their is a bigger cultural problem where people are being educated differently to not seek out alternative but factual and informative blogs like yours. They are being socially engineered to not think independently. Also investing which is a form of capitalism, is being being attacked as something evil. It’s also attacked by creeping ESG rules. I believe investing as we know it will change over the next 10 years because of ESG being pushed. Vanguard is resisting, however for doing so will be punished, as ESG punishes you by pitting companies against each other that do not comply with it’s tenants. A scarlet letter so to say if you know the reference.

    I agree though as i was one of those people following many of the FI blogs including yours since the beginning. Jason’s which really changed several times, Michael James, Mark from My Own advisor… etc. I have less time to read each post anymore, I have weeded out and kept only what is IMO the better ones. I even have trouble keeping up on YT versions of bloggers turned YT FI Vloggers.

    I like yours because you have a lot of variety in your post’s and you were one of the first “Retire early” blogs that admitted they had other sources of income and health insurance covered because their spouse was still working. Many people were disingenuous about that import fact. I was part of the “FI internet police” as I was labeled then lol, along with Nelsons old blog (Financial Uproar).

    Reply
    • Thanks for letting me know about the plugins. I’ll check them out.
      The way we consume media is a huge problem today. All the mainstream publishers are polarizing because that’s how they get readers. Google spoon feed news to us. It’s a sad state we find ourselves in.
      Thanks for the encouragement. That’s great to hear.

      Reply
  13. I recently published a 4-year blog stats post and shared similar thoughts about blogging as you, Joe. I think another huge part of blogging getting tougher is that many bloggers are getting smarter and more tactical.

    But the larger issue is what you’ve mentioned—large companies are ranking higher than small blogs. This is unfair and doesn’t help niche communities like ours. These companies don’t know us or the content our readers are looking for like we do.

    It’s frustrating, but what can we do? I’ve decided to just blog in a way that makes me happy and accept that my traffic will always be low. 🙁

    Reply
  14. I’m in the minority, but I can’t get into podcasts. I certainly can’t be productive while watching TikTok or YouTube. However, I think if someone has five minutes, instead of checking out a blog, they’ll catch a few Instagram Reels or TikToks. You might be right that people aren’t at the office, so they can just use their phone as a second screen to be entertained.

    Google has been biased for a long, long time. A lot of my originally blogging friends from 2006 left in 2011 because big companies were doing all the ranking in Google. I think that just means that you can’t depend on Google. I hear a lot of people (especially women) do well with Pinterest traffic.

    I’m trying to use ChatGPT as a tool. I’ve also used OpenAI’s DALL-E to generate images for my blog. They aren’t great, but I’m terrible and it’s easy. I still have to write the blog posts, but it can give me an outline and an a few points to cover.

    On the other hand, Facebook and Twitter have never had more problems. I think they replaced a lot of blogs. Maybe the pendulum swings back a bit.

    Reply
    • I’m not too productive when watching YouTube either. I can watch YouTube and browse the web a bit. Hahaha.
      I think Google got a lot worse in recent years. It wasn’t this bad in 2015, as I recall.
      I’ll check out DALL-E. That sounds interesting.

      Reply
  15. Unfortunately, yes, blogging is dying. It makes me a bit sad. I like to read blogs like this one where I can get ideas, reasoning, and value. I like, also, that bloggers’ blogs are unique. They don’t have the same old stuff that you find when you use a search engine. You get to know about the world they live in.

    There are only one or two youtubers I can stand to watch on a regular basis. I wonder if there are people out there like me who can’t watch videos for very long. I read somewhat quickly and get impatient and distracted with videos. I just want to go and do something else! But if it’s an article I can read, I’ll definitely read most of it. When the newspaper puts up videos, I get a little annoyed if there’s no transcript.

    I don’t think ChatGPT is overblown. I’ve come across some weird news articles that just don’t make grammatical or punctuational sense from a human perspective and made me wonder if a bot was involved (or maybe talk to text; but definitely no editor has looked at it). Stuff is just missing from the sentences sometimes. That tells me that even though it is not perfect, people are itching to use it so they can create a lot of content. I guess over time the quality of the content will improve. How ironic that we are replacing ourselves with robots. I hope that means we’ll have more time to just be.

    Reply
    • It’s too bad that big businesses are against unique voices.
      Thanks for reading the blogs and encouraging us.
      Actually, I read that ChatGPT has very good grammar. But parts of the answer might not make sense.
      I’m sure it will improve with more training. Actually, kind of scary.

      Reply

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