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Blog Abandonment Mini-Research

Posted by on Mar 2, 2011

Something I’ve said to potentially new bloggers over and over is that if you don’t think you’ll be able to sustain a blog, don’t even start. Technorati estimates that only 5.5% of all blogs that have been created still have new content, that criteria being within 4 months of the current date for the last post. That’s a horrible statistic; then again, it is only an estimate, right?

Well, overall I’m not sure Technorati is the best arbiter of deciding what’s what; after all, their new algorithm makes absolutely no sense, and that thing about only counting the last 6 months of recommendations for them to rank you higher makes no sense either. I decided to do my own little survey, as I hadn’t had a research post in awhile.

Here’s what I did. I went through all the comments on this blog from 2008; yeah, I did that just for you. I eliminated people who I knew were still blogging because they still comment now. So, this little test only concerned those people I hadn’t heard from in a long time or whose names I didn’t recognize. If they had a blog or website I decided to take a look. The numbers might seem a bit low, but as I said, there were some people I eliminated, and of course I didn’t count anything I wrote. I counted any blog that hasn’t had a new post within a year as being dead. And there are some blogs that haven’t written a post in a long time, and I capture those as well. Here’s what I came up with:

Blogs no longer working – 43

Blogs still current – 29

Blogs that haven’t written in:

a month – 5

2 months – 2

3 months – 2

4 months – 1

8 months – 2

So, if I look at only the working and current, that comes to an abandonment rate of 60%. That’s obviously a much different figure than what Technorati gives, but it’s still a terrible number. Based on my figure and the estimated number of blogs coming in around 133 million (that’s the last figure I’ve seen) that’s almost 80 million blogs that have been abandoned; ugh!

Well, there’s nothing we can do about it except lament the fact and move on. I wonder how many of you are thinking about bailing out on your blog some time in the near future. I’m sticking around; yup, you’re stuck with me for awhile longer. 😉

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25 Comments »

Hi Mitch, I think one of the reasons why many wannabe bloggers abandon their site is that they lacked the initial knowledge. I see far too many blogs with only one post and that’s it. It’s a shame because most of them took a very good name and they’re just being wasted. But what can we do on our end?

March 2nd, 2011 | 1:25 PM

Great idea! How long did it take you to do through all of the old comments?

While it is a shame that so many blogs drop off, it’s good for the active blogs because it weeds out the blogs that don’t have the commitment. It is hard to keep up with a blog, and I think that as long as someone sticks with it, their blog has no other option but to grow.

March 2nd, 2011 | 2:50 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Keith, it probably took me about 90 minutes to get it all done properly, but it was a labor of love once I got started on it. Those first 8 months were pretty easy, but by the 9th month I started having quite a few visitors, it seems.

I don’t mind blogs dropping off, but so many just stick around with nothing new on them, and that clogs everything up.

March 3rd, 2011 | 2:30 AM
Carl:

Many bloggers abandon what their projects after a couple of months, the main reason 99% of people fail with making money online. Measurements on Technorati or Site Grader or SEOMoz doesn’t really make much sense when are used separately, probably all give a big part of the picture. That’s what I am teaching every time my SEO apprenticed – try to look the whole picture and again depends on the niche of blog – general interest and news probably will have few articles published a day, but tiny lets say health related niche probably will have update once a week and the metrics for sure will not gonna make any sense.

March 2nd, 2011 | 9:08 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carl, overall it depends on what people are ready for and ready to give or put out. For instance, you mentioned health related niche as an example. If it’s not too finite, such as end stage renal disease, then one could find a plethora of topics to write on. Still, some folks really aren’t ready for the grind, which it is, even if one likes writing like I do.

March 3rd, 2011 | 2:33 AM

You are right Mitch, I would like to add something more to my comment. At the end traffic matters, a good quality traffic. You know that I am SEO practitioner for about 12 years. I would like to share that I have stopped using SEO tools about 5 years ago. Just the way they measure things and making assumption can lead to something wrong.

March 4th, 2011 | 2:33 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carl, I only use measurement tools; everything else is observation and what I hope is common sense.

March 4th, 2011 | 10:30 AM

Hi, Mitch. It was cool of you to take on this research. Blogging takes a lot of time, persistence and consistency. If a person doesn’t have these plus a sense of purpose and a goal, then a blog is surely going to be abandoned. Add to that a bad experience and several other factors. Of course, there are also others who might just be undergoing a shift in their marketing strategy and are just abandoning one blog to focus on another. I may be guilty of one or two of these reasons myself and I am going to atone for it soon. 😉

– Wes –

March 3rd, 2011 | 2:01 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

You’re the man, Wes. It’s one reason why I’ve kind of advocated that people who aren’t sure if they’re going to write their blogs start off with a free one if they can’t just add one to a subdirectory of their website to test it out. As a matter of fact I’d probably recommend it anyway because if one decides to quit, its presence won’t drag down the perception of the rest of their website.

March 3rd, 2011 | 2:34 AM

I’m not very surprised by this, Mitch. My reason would be just a guess, so instead of pontificating I’ll turn it around and put it back on you… of the blogs that failed (closed or had not posted in months) could you tell by what evidence was left if they were heavily into Blogging for Bucks?

My hyopthesis – based on the commentary I see in the reading I do – is that alot of people jump into blogging because they swallowed a juicy tid-bit promising instant wealth, only to find that it contained a hook and line in the form of taking a LOT of work to make it happen. Ads like, “Stay at home mom makes $2,000 a month blogging part time” (I see that one EVERY day) make it sound like if you dash off a few words a day you get rich. Taint so. I suspect that when many learn the truth they abandon blogging and sign up with Amway or something.

What’s your take?

March 3rd, 2011 | 6:10 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Allan, I think it’s a combination of that and of people like me convincing them that they needed to have a blog for whatever reason. But you see I always temper mine by saying if you don’t think you can keep it up and don’t want to hire someone else to help then don’t start it. Some of the blogs were “make money” blogs, but the majority that still survived in some fashion were just people writing about whatever their topic was. A bunch of the blogs were nonexistent, which means their domain names had expired, so I couldn’t tell what those were about.

March 3rd, 2011 | 9:47 AM

When I first started blogging five years ago, I had a pretty large group of what I call “bloggy buddies”. One by one, they all started dropping off and now there’s only 3 from that whole big group left. One of them is down to maybe a post a month. I wonder if there’s an average time period in which people tend to give up their blogs. I’ve never checked, but I’d guess it’s just a couple of months. I’ve heard many people get frustrated because no one comments, etc. My blog, by no means, is “popular”, but I love to write. I do it for me and if people read it, fabulous! If I get no comments on a post, I have satisfaction from writing it. I think it’s the “love to write” people that stay on.

March 3rd, 2011 | 7:36 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Jessica, even I contemplated many years ago as to whether or not I should give up my business blog, and I’m glad I didn’t. It was hard being on the road and working upwards of 15 hours a day and then having to find the time to blog. But I’ve grown in my understanding of social media (obviously lol) and online marketing and I see how it’s benefiting my website now. It can be a grind if a person picks a niche or subject they’re just not passionate about.

March 3rd, 2011 | 9:49 AM
Patricia:

Hi Mitch

I’m not surprised with the stats. People start blogs for all different reasons and if they started thinking it was the silver bullet to success then they will be sadly disappointed.

Others will start out blogging as a hobby and maybe they just give up and move onto other things. Who knows?! I know Iam in tfor the long haul and will continue to blog and grow my business.

Patricia Perth Australia

March 3rd, 2011 | 8:01 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Good stuff Pat, and I think to a degree blogs could be like websites, because a lot of people saw commercials on TV saying they could all make tens of thousands easily, and that’s just not the reality. I also see some people scared to actually keep putting their thoughts out to the world because they fear people disagreeing with them. I get it, but I won’t live that way, and I’m glad you won’t either.

March 3rd, 2011 | 9:51 AM

Hello Mitch,

Actually, this is the exact reason I didn’t started a blog yet, because I don’t know if I would be able to continue it for a long period of time, and I don’t want to be an other number on some statistics (although I think I am, a number on some statistics that portraits people who didn’t start blogging, hmm).
Also, many of the people who start blogging either don’t have any knowledge of SEO or they want to make money fast and when they see that their website doesn’t get any visitors or they are not making any money then they just move on to something that they really know or get a 9-5 and forget about blogging (or online business for that matter) all together.

I also seen a statistics somewhere (I think on wp.com) that usually 95% of first time bloggers abandon their blog in the first month. So, that means that those that still continue today are real survives, crème de la crème, the few chosen ones 🙂

March 4th, 2011 | 5:00 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Alex, I hope that moves me into the créme de la créme then. lol Actually, I never thought about SEO when I started my first blog many years ago, and I don’t think of SEO all that much now for blogs, though some of the gurus say one should do that. I worry about it with websites because the content is going to be much more static. But it’s smart not to even start if you’re not sure you’ll be able to continue with it on a regular, long term basis.

March 4th, 2011 | 10:34 AM

Hi Mitch, I’m the sticking around type, always the last to leave the party: That type. I was inspired to start blogging by a friend who was doing it, and encourage me to start. She has long ago abandoned her blog.

When I started I didn’t really understand the commitment it would take to sustain a blog. I think if I had known before hand I would have been a little more intimidated.

However, I would not for any reason abandon all the places my blog has taken me over the years. I am approaching 2,000 posts and along the way they have introduced me to some really extraordinary people…like you for instance.

I also think a lot of people get into blogging to make money and jump ship when that doesn’t happen right away.

Staying power comes from having a passion about a subject and a desire to share that passion with who ever will listen, at least that’s how I tackle it.

Nick

March 4th, 2011 | 8:43 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Great stuff, Nick, and I agree that many people get into it because they’ve been convinced it’s easy money to make, which of course it’s not. Can money be made; sure. But the majority looking for that money will be severely disappointed. And I hadn’t realized you were up to 2,000 posts; I really need to push myself then! Oh yeah, combined I guess I’m there. lol

March 5th, 2011 | 3:19 PM

I guess blogging is no different from most other areas of life. I’ve started a lot of things that I didn’t follow through to completion for one reason or another: flying lessons, the fiddle, a post-graduate degree. Blogging is a public activity, so we’re more likely to notice when someone bails out. I’m not really shocked by the results you got.

March 5th, 2011 | 8:30 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

I wasn’t so shocked either, Charles. But it does show how fast people can disappear from your life. At least in the real world you’d hope to know about it sooner.

March 5th, 2011 | 9:31 PM

Mitch,
When I first started blogging I was putting all of my thoughts on ONE blog and then I thought I should separate them. So I created different blogs to reflect my different interests. That’s why I have:

Media Blog (http://beverlymahone.com)
Personal (http://babyboomerbev.blogspot.com)
Baby Boomer (http://boomerworld.blogspot.com)
Boomer Diva Nation (http://boomerdivanation.org)

The personal blog is centered around my family and, thankfully, there isn’t something to write about everyday 🙂

I used to be part of a blog group that read each other’s blogs every Saturday but just like Jessica said, they faded away over time.

March 6th, 2011 | 4:32 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Bev, I’m part of a group also that has kind of faded away in a real sense. We have a Facebook page, and if someone needs a boost they’ll ask the group to check it out and help some, but otherwise it’s not what I think they hoped it would be initially. And truthfully, some of them have at least in a way abandoned their blogs.

March 6th, 2011 | 5:32 PM

Mitch, if I have your permission, I would like to use this blog post in my Blogging For Newbies class. I talk a lot about blog abandonment.

Of course, I would send them here to your post.

March 8th, 2011 | 7:09 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Sure Carolee, go for it.

March 9th, 2011 | 1:01 AM