The Good Old Days of Blogging: What Has Changed in the Last 10 Years?

BlogHer Original Post

Back when I started blogging, you had to write your posts uphill... both ways. We didn't have these newfangled social media sites. If you wanted someone to read your post, you stood on a wooden fruit crate on the street corner and shouted, "click me!" And we liked it that way.

What has changed since you started blogging?

Longtime bloggers like to reflect on how much things have changed since they started their sites. I've mostly heard old-timers reminisce about the birth of the blogosphere: how much happier we all were back then, troll-free and putting our virtual arms around each other while we sang "Kumbaya." Sometimes they go in the opposite direction: how much harder it was to have people find your blog back then, or to figure out how to make changes to the template.

When I started blogging in 2006, most people used free software, and a few dedicated souls were hosted on Typepad. Now, more and more people start out self-hosting, taking advantage of the numerous tutorials online which bypass the need for a webmistress to get your site up and running.

When I started my blog, Twitter hadn't yet launched, and Facebook was only open to college students. It still took a year or two from my first post for social media sites to really catch on with bloggers. Now, it's unthinkable to not have your flag planted on all the major social media sites.

When there were only a handful of people writing, it was easy to keep up with all the other bloggers. Now there are millions of people writing, and it's so difficult to feel you have a grasp on even your small corner of the blogosphere. I can peruse someone's comment section now and not recognize half the names. On the other hand, more writers means there is also a lot more to read; there is someone out there writing about every possible topic you can imagine.

Visuals didn't count for much back in 2006. Sure, some people had custom site designs, but the vast majority used the very simple layouts provided by the free blogging services, and the words were the most important part of almost any blog. Now, people not only customize their sites to make them visually unique, but also make those designs mobile-friendly for people reading on phones, adding images whenever possible for better social sharing.

Our expectations for readership were so much lower when I first started out. I remember a lot of posts in which people marveled that 100 people had visited their blog in one day. Now I see more of the inverse: people complaining that "not enough" people read their blog. There was no "small blog" movement years ago; we were all small blogs.

So pull up a chair and join me in reminiscing about what blogging was like when you started your site. How long have you been blogging? What do you think the biggest changes have been since then? And how is blogging still the same? Add your thoughts in the comments—or write a post and link up to this one below!

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.


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