Analysis: Are blogs dead?

( But not for the reason you would think of first)

MAY 14, 2017

Hi ladies, today I wanted to write something a bit different. As you may have noticed, I am barely expressing what I deeply think here, mostly because I feel that the blog should be a pocket of art and inspiration, sharing, something fun and positive to escape from everyday life.
But that's just the point: Recently, I happened to notice that "blogging" does not refer to the same thing as it used to, that is to say the "pocket of inspiration and casual sharing". The idea here will here to analyse why blogs in general are struggling and why it is even worse for those who are still "small".


I know you may also have read many posts from fellow bloggers who try to defend their blogs and explain that blogs in general might be dead because Instagram took over, but that they all believe that blogs are still important so we can write long texts and express ourselves, and of course show beautiful pictures that are wider than 5 cm on a cellphone's screen. I am not as optimistic as them. Instagram is perhaps killing blogs because it fulfills reader's craving for more inspiration, more posts, having all their favorite inspirational bloggers in one place, more diverse pictures and their curiosity to see behind-the-scenes, and in many ways, Instagram can be a lot more interesting than blogs posts, BUT it also has its downsides: quantity over quality, bulimic consumerism of pictures, and an infernal rhythm for those who are posting, but I'll dive into that latest point later on. 

That being said, I am not actually wanting to be disdainful towards Instagram and those who use it, nor am I happily explaining what's going on: believe me, when you take hours to write a post and edit the pictures you really like and only a few people would come to see it, frustration isn't a big enough word to describe how you feel. I am merely telling a fact and understanding people who abandon their blogs: Instagram in many way responds to the reader's desires I've described earlier, whereas blog posts respond to an artistic and expressive wish from the blogger: to many of us, I guess Instagram has to sometimes be a compromise - although it can also be really fun, it can be enjoyable to take pictures for Instagram and to enjoy the pretty ones shared by fellow bloggers.


This fact actually shows something very interesting: the blogger's intention and reason for blogging, versus the reader's need. I guess this once of the aspects where we could really find the reason why blogs are dying. First, let's define what blogging is: at its beginning, the idea was for real girls of any style, size and ethnicity to share their style, to find other people who had the same interest, to take beautiful photos of pretty clothes, to inspire. Yes, there was some kind of purity I'd say to the first concept. To me, it was definitely an artistic intention, but also an interesting way to see how real girls with real budget could be really stylish, and take into account their busy student, worker, parent lives in the way they dress.

There was a clear rejection and opposition to magazines, seen as unaware of their readers real style and lifestyle, showing too expensive and experimental fashion on similar bodies. Funnily enough, since blogs started to change their ways and intentions, magazines started to collaborate with them, having them doing covers and writing articles. I personally love some magazines, which are for some curated by true artists and show fashion as a creative process, not as the consummation of trends, and I keep waiting for them every month! But I can understand the gap there sometimes is between everyday fashion and art fashion. Bloggers filled a blank, but didn't quite replace the magazines that had an artistic approach. 

Nowadays, we can clearly see that an other intention has evolved around the first one - these two intentions often stand together, although we could see some kind of a opposition: turning a blog into a business, and using one's image for advertising, keeping the idea of diversity but more and more tending to a "magazine" sort of way, in the clothing: designer clothes and bags, outfits straight out of the runway; just as much as in the creating process: editorial team, professional shooting, runway reports. The process as just become identical as online magazines. 

The first idea was to show personal style that could sometimes be influenced by trends, now it tends to become "wearing trends and fashionable stuff with a tiny reminiscence of personal style." I am not saying it's wrong, I am stating that it has not much to do with the first intentions. Each of us will make up their own opinion. I also won't dive into the eternal debate, how can people have personal style while they all shop at the same stores and get offered the same collaborations? Are we unintentionally copying each other? I think this debate is irrelevant, since the main point of blogging has to be inspiring and sharing, no matter if paid for it or not. 

Fun thing is, intention has nothing to do with the moment one started a blog: we often hear old bloggers from 2006 criticizing new ones: "they started a blog only to get the same life we do, they only copy, that do it for the wrong reason: money". In fact, We can see just as much old and new bloggers wanting to keep their first intention of art and personal style, and as many who decided to turn their blog into a magazine business or as a newcomer, to go straight for an entrepreneur approach before even writing their first post, checking google reference or whatever. I've actually never seen so much posts like "how to turn your blog into a business".


This question of the intention behind blogging also asks a tricky question: "what is success for a blog?". When referring to the ideas behind the first concept of fashion blogs (that is sharing and inspiring, creating artful and beautiful content, create link through your blog), the success can be seen as the achievement of having created a truly unique style and visual identity, to have people coming back again, to have enthusiast readers saying they love your style. Success is touching their heart and giving them ideas, pleasing them visually, but also having them wanting to know you as a person: my biggest achievement as a blogger has to be my friendship with one of my readers. Blogging made me create a wonderful link!

On the other side, we have success defined by numbers: Human beings need to have measurable criteria for this idea, and nowadays, we have two of them: the number of followers on social medias, and the number of page views. In other words: how big are you? And as a consequence, are you big enough to interest collaborations and make your blog business? How much money do you make? How many times have you been invited to stay at luxury hotels through the world?
Often success is defined by the "art" of turning your blog into a magazine-like business. This second definition is widely used by brands when collaborating: they definitely don't care if your pictures are good and if your style is unique and inspiring, they only see how many consumers they can reach through your blog if you wear an item from their brand. By the use of words like "consumers" often used when talking to collaborating brands, we can clearly understand that the intention of traditional blogging has evolved, and that the goal of blogging, identified by the "type" success has completely changed.


To me there is only one consequential aspect about making money with a blog that is definitely awful: the risk of seeing readers as numbers and consumers for brands we collaborate with. The people we were supposed to share with, to inspire, are actually becoming only a "following base" with a value and wallets. To me, this is terribly wrong. What defined blogging was some kind of humanity, perhaps a little utopia-like way of thinking, to connect people with a same interest. Why is that awful? Well, mostly for ethic reasons of course - which so many readers perceive quite well and get easily fed-up with: I've recently see on Instagram people commenting "I am so angry to see that 80% of pictures are actually sponsored. You are making money on our backs!" But the main reason is that it changes the intention of blogging and puts pressure and everyone, bloggers and readers. 

The very word "influencer" tends to describe the whole phenomenon: former bloggers can by their posts arouse the desire to get the same items or change lifestyle choices: the influence behaviors and of course make them the best advertising tool ever. Brands did understand it quite easily and with some clever entrepreneurs understanding that they could also benefit from it by offering platforms to find all the products and "make your instagram/post shoppable" and tools to connect brands with bloggers, the phenomenon to has grown so fast and helped to turn a casual hobby into a business world. By the way, to me these platforms are the ones responsible for the sudden growth of sponsoring.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's completely o.k. to get financially rewarded for your hard work and I'm not in any way criticizing those who, by their talent and perseverance, totally deserve to get paid for creating content. To be really honest, when you can't make any money out of it (like we don't, but not by choice lol!), blogging is actually costing you a lot: photograph investments, clothing - because you have to have something to show you readers, right?

I am also making a clear difference between paid collaborations and partnerships. The first uses bloggers as models in an advertising campaign, paying them to wear an item and deliver nice pictures. The second is about the blogger testing a product or a piece of clothing. One the other part, the brand or designer shares the bloggers work: they help each other.

To me both, are completely fine, but I feel that the second one responds more to the idea of sharing and inspiring less than influencing, when done with some conscience - always pick brands you truely, deeply love (of cours you can also do that in paid collaborations!) and that you really want to share with your readers (in my case, it has to be a designer I'm often talking you about who makes ecological wooden and recycled bags, I believe in her work so much!)

It's quite a paradox we see here: If you get paid or partner, you can be seen as unmoral, but if you don't, you're struggling and you can be seen as unsuccessful. To my personal opinion, there is nothing wrong and unmoral about it making money but it drives a consequence that is to me can to some be a big issue. Now for most people, it's also completely normal to get rewarded when you work hard, so why is it somehow and issue in the blogging world? To me it's mostly because of the excessive and outrageous sums that are being paid for single posts, and the frequency of sponsored posts. I think it went out of hand and many readers don't understand (just as football players worthing billions!). So where is the border between fair reward/helping each other and increasing avidity?


But as a blogger, before even consider working with brand, you have to be successful.  We defined success through the two intentions behind blogging: The level of inspiration and uniqueness, and the number of followers and its consequences. But what we did not talk about yet is how can one get followers. Well, talent, ideas, hard work and a little bit of luck are necessary but what you also need is exposure: people must first discover your blog in order to get inspired. How to get exposure? Brands, platforms and online magazines sharing your pictures. How to get them to know you and work with you? Already have some enough followers in their opinion. And how to get enough followers? Get exposure. Exposure they won't give you until you are big enough. Can you see the problem here? Small bloggers were already struggling because of this circle, and since Instagram stated to take over, this has become even worse. 

This also mainly explains why older blogs are now successful in both ways: already talented, already inspiring many people, but also not so many out there: getting exposure is no big deal when they're not drown in thousand of other blogs waiting for the same thing. As a consequence, they got successful as brands where discovering that they could partner with them. They've also made useful connections though the years and are the number one choice of brands and sharing platforms, that help them maintain their status. They've created a virtuous circle that is well deserved, they are phenomenon people still try to figure out. It has been a complete surprise that these women who started to share pictures of their everyday look  turned it into million-dollar enterprises and became world-famous celebrities, making thousand of girls wanting to follow their everyday life. Nowadays, brands and readers already have their stars. Do readers really need more bloggers to inspire them? 
Do brands, magazines and platforms need to share and spend time and money on small bloggers, when they know there are all chances that someone who reads a small blog already is part of a big blogger's 10 millions "following base". Of course one can think that every blogger's style is different and that readers may want to see all that diversity and discover new personal styles...

An other consequence on bloggers who are not professional are the standards created and imposed by the big bloggers. This goes from the publishing frequency to the content itself: As a pro, you can take pictures everyday - that's your work - publish an article everyday and post 3 pictures a day on social medias. But what about a women who's a mum and who already has a day job from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.? When can she find a time to shoot her pictures? What if the weekend's weather does not allow her to photograph her looks? Does she stand a chance to hold the same rhythm as a pro in sunny California?
So many bloggers are now starting to believe that readers are getting used to many articles and luxury items, and in comparison, "normal" girls seem dull, don't post enough, don't have as nice clothing, and their family holiday in Grandma's house near the highway isn't as glamorous as an all-inclusive trip to Maldives and Thailand. The consequence is: the standards are extremely high, and small blogs are dying even faster than big ones: the standard tends to be business-like blog, driving away from the initial intentions of blogging. Now so many would say, "that's not our problem. Can't blog enough? Don't blog." Yes, but what if I really want to share and inspire? 


This kind of statement phrase is definitely a tired slogan, often used by politics, but that has some truth to it: there are always some consequences to a system in evolution, and some are so bad they get the whole system going wrong and is seen as entirely rotten, whereas it had goods intentions and function at first (as some excesses can change the point of view in capitalism lol ^^), it is avoiding people to achieve they dream, even with great ideas, hard work or talent. Now of course, just as in politics, people complaining about a system are those who don't benefit from it: those who are completely fine with it won't see anything wrong in it, stating that "life is unfair anyway". Again, don't get me wrong: again as in politics, one can't tell that someone being successful only sold his soul to the devil and, used other people and the systems flaws or only had the means to sail on the system's rules. Blogging still has a little democratic side and success can be achieved only with work and talent, but the other way round is definitely not true: ideas and hard work are not always enough.

I will clearly now give you my honest opinion about the worst drift in the system, some people I am sick of: Instagram account whose function is no other than sharing other people posts against money, whereas so many great accounts and platforms like to share looks they find inspiring and do it freely, which is a great way to create links, to inspire and to discover new bloggers - although we could all agree that they are mostly always sharing pictures of bloggers we all already following - so much for discovering newcomers.
But paying for it (just as much as paying for followers)... These people aren't even creating anything, and by what's I've seen, their own followers are fake ones! Yes, you can call it a total scam. 

To bloggers that are quite new or struggling, there is again a massive dilemma between their own conscience/ethic and the fact that many don't have money to pay for that, versus the desire (that is also totally normal and O.K.) to get acknowledged or just simply discovered and seen by people. Because what's the point in creating content when it actually can't inspire other, and for the only reason that you are invisible?! The problem is, and this is not meant to be an insult: people are lazy. they have a few people they love to follow and won't try to look for new ones. This will not search for new bloggers but will wait for a magazine or a platform to tell them "10 amazing bloggers to follow in 2017". I am also totally being like that, and I don't expect many people to scroll through "explore" on Instagram - That again mostly show people who already have a massive exposure. 

Some "vultures" understood quite well that there are thousands of fashion blogs and that on your own, you will struggle so much so get some exposure. I have received many mails from such people who make it an argument: "you won't make it if you don't pay"!
Even worst, they present themselves as "collaborators": "Hi girlie, you deserve so much more followers, would you like to collaborate with us, we would share your pics on our Instagram page with 100k followers!". Ask for more information, and the response will automatically be "well, it is a collaboration so there has to be something done on you side: $40 per picture!" Wait, this is a paid service for pity's sake, not a collaboration!!! 

There definitely is an ethic issue here, that to my opinion poisons the whole blogging world, especially on Instagram. It also existed before (blogs and tumblr pages trying to get you to pay for a share on their page), but Instagram has made it easier.
I totally understand why some people are yielding and end up buying followers. I have myself sometimes been tempted, seeing that I'm struggling like crazy with my Instagram page. As you may know, interacting on social medias, seeing more likes and followers increases our dopamine secretion and as a consequence makes us react to it as to drugs, so wanting more of them can also be taking into account, and not only the need and desire to get some reward for your hard work. But I believe that if people keep feeding this terrible idea that asking creative people to pay is normal and profitable for them sharks, it will increase and there will be little chance to get out of it.

Speaking of ethics, there is another problem again related to the number of followers. Remember when we talked about the first idea of blogging: showing real people that are not from the fashion industry, as an opposition to the unrealistic magazines.Well, there is a thing that so many people criticize about the fashion industry's world, and as bloggers were getting incorporated again by the industry who got them to fashion show, events and exclusive getaways, it invaded the blogging world: selfishness. Some people who get interested in you only if they can use you - or your following base. Having more followers than I do? Interesting! Not enough? I won't even look at you. We're far from the sharing idea. Even worse, people who are crazy hypocritical and selfish and come to follow you on social medias, unfollow if you don't follow them as well in return... Aren't we supposed to follow the updates of someone whom we love the style?! Is pressing that "follow" button actually luring people into having a look at their own account, or isn't it supposed to making sure you won't miss the posts of someone you admire? I am sick of that trend of playing with follows. Showing love through it is amazing, using it as bait because people wish to get it in return is to me an expression of either selfishness or, I must say, frustration and despair from  those who can't get exposure in other ways, which I understand. But then, giving likes and commenting really is enough, you people don't need to play with that follow button! To me, thoughtful comments is a more honest and conscious way to show love and perhaps get attention, but in a kind way and not by spamming. Being followed and then unfollowed a few hours later is terribly mean and frustrating for those who live it! (Now I'm not telling that unfollowing is wrong - only when you're doing it because the other didn't follow you back. To me, it's totally O.K. to unfollow someone you don't agree with anymore form instance).


So this is what I am understanding by analyzing blogging these days: they are definitely dying, transforming themselves either into online magazines, either completely disappearing to the benefit of Instagram. Also, even if all blogs are kind of  concerned, the ones that stand the best chance of transformation and making it through the new Instagram algorithm and system are those who already were successful bloggers. But that is not the main reason why blogs are dying out: the cause behind these transformations is that the simple intention and goal behind it has changed, and if Instagram isn't the only cause of blogs dying, it has certainly reinforced the vicious circles.
But is that wrong? Will we in that way loose the intention of sharing, showing diversity of styles and approach to fashion in the process? And as a blogger, will the path we chose between paying versus refusing and thus signing our death warrant condemning us to stay invisible? Do we stand a chance as a newcomer/small blogger or is it too late ? And moreover, this situation is a problem for small bloggers, but this system seems to please so many other bloggers, readers and brands... not to mention those who say that "it's fashion related, so it's not important", will people start to question themselves about it? 

Considering this issue is actually fundamental in the actual system, we have these last questions: Is it possible to define a way that would be well balanced between all the aspects? Can we get acknowledgment and rewards without being accused of "making money on our reader's backs"? Can we get out of the vicious circle and all get a real chance to inspire and create? 

The point of this post was to analyse the way things work nowadays for small bloggers and why blogging as we used to know and loved it is now dying. And I'm afraid I mainly talked about negative points. Of course, there are so many talented people willing to inspire, share, make friends and not only use others. Of course there are girls who are amazingly positive and that deserve acknowledgment. Girls who show their own world, on a blog or on social medias! I am fully aware that to those who are totally making it in the actual system, such an analysis can be seen as the expression of jealousy: Well, I'm not. As I wrote earlier, the two things one must have to get exposure and then success is Talent and Hard Work. To me, those who are making it are lucky and are totally worth it and I admire their work. The problem is that nowadays, blogs are dying because talent and work are not enough to make them live. You must have both, but this can't assure you of any other thing.

Thank you a lot for reading such a long post, it has been extremely important to me to share my analysis with you. Please tell me what you think about it, and if you think it might make more people get to think about the issues and maybe find the solutions and balance (in the Force!) I now can't find yet, please share (no, I can't pay for it and yes, I am definitely asking for free help)! 


Vu la taille du pavé, je n'ai pas souhaité ajouter une traduction en dessous! Mais si le sujet vous intéresse, je serais ravie de faire un second article avec cette analyse traduite en français ;)


  1. Ton analyse est très intéressante. En ouvrant mon blog, il était très clair pour moi que le but n'était pas de faire des partenariats de masse ou de devenir célèbre avec, l'objectif étant tout simplement de partager des choses avec les personnes qui auraient les mêmes centres d'intérêt. Même si l'utilisation d'Instagram paraît attractive, je ne me reconnais pas dans cette application et publier pour "publier", ce n'est pas mon truc d'autant que comme tu le dis très justement, nous avons toutes pour la majorité un travail, des enfants ou des activités qui font que le quotidien est déjà bien rempli ! Bisous et je te souhaite une bonne semaine :)

  2. Ah ma chère Cécile... Quel long débat cette question du "blog qui se meurt" pourrait amener ! C'est marrant que tu aies fait cet article, car je fais justement mon mémoire de fin d'études sur les blogs mode, et un expert en webmarketing et blogs que j'ai interrogé m'a sorti "les blogs sont morts dans quelques années." Si comme toi, je pense qu'Instagram (et Youtube ! tu n'en as pas parlé mais cela challenge fortement les blogs) a mangé une grande part d'audience des blogs et les a forcé à se transformer un peu, je reste optimiste et ne pense pas forcément que les blogs sont condamnés.
    Pourquoi ? Parce que 1/ tu parlais monétisation. Sur Instagram, il est si facile de se faire payer et de faire un feed 100% sponsorisé. Sur les blogs aussi tu me diras, mais je pense qu'il est plus facile de continuer un blog par passion qu'un Instagram. Un blog, comme tu l'as dit, est le lieu d'une expression plus grande et plus artistique qu'un compte instagram. Depuis 3 ans, mon blog ne m'a pratiquement rien rapporté (à part les partenariats oui, mais je n'ai jamais été rémunérée à proprement parler par de la pub ou un post sponsorisé), et je pense avoir d'ailleurs plus dépensé que gagné ! Mais qu'importe, mon blog, c'est ma passion, et c'est aussi une plateforme que j'ai pu mettre en avant sur mon cv et auprès d'annonceurs. Même si je ne suis pas "connue", et ne serais sans doute jamais une blogueuse très influente, jamais je ne l'abandonnerais.
    De 2/ les blogs existent depuis plus de 10 ans maintenant. Et même si plein d'autres plateformes sont venues challenger le blogging, il résiste encore. Les blogueuses 'des débuts' sont devenus des magnas de la mode, des gourous, et parmi celles qui se sont ajoutées, il y a également de belles opportunités, des filles très influentes. Le blogging continue de plaire ! Alors oui, c'est certes plus dur qu'avant, oui, moi aussi parfois je n'ai que 150 vues sur un article qui m'a pris DES HEURES à shooter, éditer, écrire, mais c'est le jeu. Il faut continuer et ne pas se décourager.
    Enfin, plus que beaucoup d'autres plateformes, je trouve que le blogging est une belle communauté. Evidemment, il y en a qui sont là juste pour profiter de lots gratuits et des chiffres, mais personnellement, j'ai toujours fait de belles rencontres, reçu de l'aide et fait de belles découvertes. Je n'oublierai par exemple jamais quand tu m'as aidé pour le code html des images, alors que je ne te connaissais pas et que je venais à peine de commencer, puisque j'applique tes conseils a chaque fois que je rédige un nouvel article.
    Alors non, le blogging n'est pas mort, il doit juste se réinventer et rester dans l'authenticité pour se démarquer !
    Estelle de

  3. Ton article est vraiment intéressant. C'est sûr que les blogs perdent de plus en plus leur intérêt, c'est aussi l'évolution des choses. Maintenant il y a de nouvelles modes, Instagram, Youtube, ou même Snapchat. Mais pour moi les blogs restent une valeur sûre. Je prends toujours de plaisir à faire un article, et même si un jour je parlerai peut-être dans le vide, je m'en fiche. Après tout c'est pour nous-même qu'on le fait, pas pour les autres.


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