The Death of Independent Conservative Blogs? – Updated


I guess I won’t be quitting my day job any time soon.

John Hawkins on the death of the independent conservative blogosphere. Is there no room for the little guys (and gals)?

4) The market has also become much more professionalized. When I got started, back in 2001, a lone blogger who did 3-4 posts a day could build an audience. Unless your name is Ann Coulter, you probably couldn’t make that strategy work today.

Instead, most successful blogs today have large staffs, budgets, and usually, the capacity to shoot traffic back and forth with other gigantic websites. Look at Redstate, which is tied into Human Events, Hot Air which connected with Townhall, Instapundit, which is a part of Pajamas Media, Newsbusters which is a subsidiary of the Media Research Center and other monster entities like National Review and all of its blogs, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, and the Breitbart media empire. An independent blogger competing with them is like a mom & pop store going toe-to-toe with Wal-Mart. Some do better than others, but over the long haul, the only question is whether you can survive on the slivers of audience they leave behind. This plays into #5.

5) Most bloggers are not very good at marketing, not very good at monetizing, there are no sugar daddies giving us cash, and this isn’t the biggest market in the world to begin with. In other words, this is a time-consuming enterprise, but few people are going to make enough money to go full time. How many people can put in 20-30-40-50 hours a week on something that’s not going to ever be their full time job? Can they do it for 5 years? 10 years? 15? 20? This is the plight that 99.9% of serious, independent conservative bloggers face. This has already created a lot of attrition and over the next few years, as people realize that their traffic is more likely to slowly, but surely significantly deteriorate rather than explode, you’re going to see a lot more people give up. …

Yikes! I’ve been at this a little over three years, and I’m not ready to give up yet. I never really expected to become one of the big dogs. I’m kind of in the same place as Donald Douglas.

I’ve been blogging for 5 and a half years. I’m averaging probably 2,500 visitors a day, the majority of those through search. I don’t have a large commentariat, for various reasons, not the least of which is that progressives trolls ruined the threads. But I keep plugging away because I enjoy it for me. I get my news and entertainment from blogging, and I have enough of a core readership to get feedback and encouragement to keep it up. Besides, I don’t trust the MSM most of the time, so I feel an obligation to keep going, for the public good, however marginal my contribution might be. …

I know what he means about the progressive trolls. Sigh.

Newbies might want to follow the links and read both posts in their entirety. Hopefully this won’t discourage you from blogging, but might help to keep expectations in check.

Update: Linked by Steve at No Runny Eggs (thanks!) who found a number of others commenting on this. Professor Jacobson noted he’s addressed this issue before, and Jimmie Bise had quite a bit to say that’s worth reading. John Lilyea also offers a little bit of advice.

Update 2: Dan Riehl is much more optimistic, and also offers some good advice to would-be bloggers. (Go for it!)

Update 3: Donald Douglas has a follow up post, and mentioned that this blog is ranked #57 on Technorati. That can change, it goes up and down. I’m not at all sure how it works, but I appreciate the mention at American Power.