Blogs have been integrated into all cultures today and are accessible from any part of the world. They have become such an integral part of our societies such that almost everyone reads blogs.
Whether you are looking for weather forecasts or digital marketing, blogs have got you covered.
From their initial inception until today they have evolved and are expected to continue changing in the future.
What we consider a blog today is not what was not the same ten years ago. Blogs, just like SEO, continue evolving.
Here’s a short history of how blogging has evolved (especially WordPress blogs) and changed into what it is today.
1994 – 1999 The Early Ages of Blogging
The very first blog (Links.net) can be traced to the year 1994, created by Justin Hall, a US freelance journalist. During this time he was a student at Swarthmore University and the content he created was not referred to as a blog. It was just listed as a personal homepage.
When was the word “blog” first used?
The next milestone taken towards the invention of blogs occurred in 1997. The word ‘weblog’ was invented on December 17, 1997 by Jorn Barger who also invented his own blog labeled Robot Wisdom. The name was believed to have been derived from the act of logging the web during browsing hence web+log.
The Charlotte Observer posted a blog on their news website during the same year. The journalist behind this was Jonathan Dube who covered the tragic Hurricane Bonnie.
In 1999, the word blog came to life. Peter Merholz a programmer rebranded the term ‘weblog’ to ‘blog’. Later on, approximately after five years, the term blog, was declared the word of the year by Merriam-Webster.
Blogs at this time were difficult to upload as it had to be done manually and they were linked to the homepage unless one had a programmer to invent custom blogging platforms. There were no blogging platforms as there are today to support such content sharing.
Several blogging platforms later came up. LiveJournal was amongst the first platforms to gain popularity. Blogger later emerged into the blogging industry. It was invented by Evan Williams and supported so many blogging websites in the year 1999.
2000 – 2004 Growth Stage
The year 2000 marked the beginning of the growth stage for blogging. A total of 23 blogs were listed on the internet. This later grew to 50 million by 2006. Listing this as an exponential growth in the industry is quite an understatement.
The political based blogs were among the earliest blogs invented. Politicians such as Howard Dean and Wesley Clark, were amongst the first to use blogs.
One major event that increased blogging popularity was in 2001, when the comments US Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott made in regards to the then senator Strom Thurmond. He had given rather controversial statements claiming US would be in a better place if Thurmond had been elected President back in the year 1948. This sparked up so much conversation and bloggers broke the internet with the story.
In 2001, blogging hit a new level when several other types of blogs came up, such as how to guides. Meta blogs also became popular during this era. The most popular blogs during this time were Boing Boing, Gizmodo, Huffington Post and Gawker.
2003 saw the invention of Weblogs Inc. which was invented by Jason Calacanis. It was later sold off for a staggering $25 million, this sale made people realise blogs were becoming a force to reckon with.
Alejandro’s beloved WordPress was launched in 2003, the developments however had began in the year 2001. In the early 2000’s, several other peripheral services for blogging were established, such as Technorati which was a search engine for blogs. Audio Blogger was released in 2003, it was the very first podcasting service.
In 2004, video blogs emerged. This was 12 months before YouTube came into the scene. Adsense was also launched around the same time, making it the first ad network. Bloggers were able to make money from advertisements on their platforms using Adsense.
The establishment of sources of income from blogs, skyrocketed the use of meta blogs. Darren Rowse and John Chow, made lump sums of money just by training people on how to make money from blogs. The institutions they used to teach people are Problogger.net and Digital-Photography School.
2005 -2010 Blogs Reach the Mainstream
The late 2000’s was when blogs reached the mainstream. Statistics indicated that on 2005, 32 million Americans were regular blog readers. 2005, was also the year when the very first blogger Garret M. Graff was granted the press credentials for White House. Several media websites now owned blogs and had full story coverage with online commentary options.
By the end of 2010 there over 152 million active blogs online. Major media sites such as CNN partnered with other established blogs rather than creating their own. By the end of this year almost all major companies and media sources had their own blogs.
The Rise of Microblogs and Tumblogs
Tumblogs often referred to as microblogs were established too within this era. These are smaller blogging platforms with the social media additional features. One great example of a tumblog is Tumblr which was established in 2007. The platform allowed bloggers to create short posts with images, videos and later gifs.
Users were able to visit blog based on the subjects they posted on, comment of posts and also reblog content that appealed to them. Tumblr is still in existence today with over 30 million monthly active users.
The second major tumblog that was not popular as Tumblr is Posterous. It was released in the year 2008 it allowed bloggers to post content through email or via the online editors. This app is listed as both a blogging and lifestream platform.
2010 – 2020 Where Blogging is Today
Ten years ago blogs were the only source of content and communication for internet users. With the increase of social media use, social networking has emerged as a popular source of information.
In 2012, Medium was established as a new platform by Evan Williams and Pyra Labs. Today it has evolved into a great blogging platform where users can publish their own content. This platform however blurs the thin line between news reporting sites and blogging. Their policy however describes their platform as a centre where news are reimagined right from the people creating and living through it.
Major developments in the blogging industry have taken place especially within the major blogging platform WordPress. Only a few months ago, late 2017, they ruled out the use of the TLD .blog and bloggers would have to apply for the domain and pay renewal fees.
What Does The Future Hold?
We have definitely come a long way from blogging inception in 1994. The future though uncertain looks promising. I personally can’t wait to see what happens next within this industry.
What we know for sure is that the job titles around the blogging industry will for sure increase. Currently, almost every company has at least one employed or outsourced blogger who creates relevant content for their brand.
We can also for-see the establishment of blogging as a strong marketing channel. Currently there are over 3 billion people on the world using the internet, 75% of them are reading or posting blogs. What a great market for goods and products!
Related: How to sell your products online
However, nothing is certain what we can only make are assumptions and our own predictions about the industry. After reading through several articles about the future of blogging and doing my own personal research I can only derive at the fact that readers will need more transparency and authenticity from their preferred bloggers.
False advertising and fake reviews have in the recent past lead to several frustrated consumers. This is bound to increase the demand for more transparency and factual reviews on blogs. Well, just because someone posted a picture with a teeth whitening device next to their crystal white teeth matched up with a bunch of words of how the device worked won’t ascertain sales as it did in the past. Readers will source out for the traditional blogger who shares experiences rather than stories.
In 2017, blogging increased the lead flow up of brands online by 700%. It is also the year when internet users spent 3x more time on blogs than on email. On average based on the best case study people read 10 blogs per day claims WordPress hosting.
A lot more is expected in the future of blogging, let’s sit back, relax and watch this space.
Here is an infographic about the history of blogging:
What do you think will happen to the blogging industry in the next 5-10 years? Drop a comment below!
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