The other day I wrote a little bit about cleaning up the blog. I feel the need for these periodic cleanings. Just like I want to keep my house fairly neat and tidy, I do the same with the blog. In the course of that post, I mentioned blog buttons. And I raised a question: are blog buttons even necessary any longer?
That got me wondering about just what has changed in blogging since I started this blog over 4 years ago:
1. Templates available for bloggers. There’s so much more available now than there was 4 years ago. Back then, the template on Blogger was just that. One template. And it was limiting. Very soon after that, Minima Stretch appeared and then a host of other templates followed. I think there were only a few fonts available, as well. I imagine the same thing is true of WordPress. With these newer templates, there is much more potential for flexibility in your design. You can take the reins. That’s empowering.
2. Tools and Widgets available for bloggers. Now you can add Popular Posts, a Search Engine, links to all sorts of things, Social Media Icons, labels. Back in the day, which was actually only 4 years ago, you could add an archive of your posts, a link list to other blogs, photos, Google Friend Connect and that was about it.
3. What’s In, What’s Out:
Advertising of any kind was frowned upon. Unless you had a blatantly commercial blog, you didn’t advertise. I’m sorry to say that I was one of those bloggers that believed that including advertising changed the whole feeling behind a blog in a negative way. I didn’t like it. Somehow, over the course of these 4 years, it became acceptable. And for many, including myself, a necessity. The economy tanked. Bloggers began to seek out advertisers, whether through BlogHer or AdSense or through other small business owners. Now, more often than not, I see ads on the blogs I read. We all put a lot of time and effort into our blogs. Why not be compensated?
Buttons. A few years back, every blogger had a button made (usually by a blog designer) and added the button and the corresponding code to the blog’s sidebar. We exchanged buttons and displayed them on our sidebars. I remember having a whole bunch of them. Gradually, as my blog evolved, I moved them to a separate page and, eventually, phased them out entirely. Hence my question of last week. Should I even bother to include my new blog button? I’m thinking no.
Awards. Awards were very popular. I distinctly remember my pleasure at receiving my first award from another blogger. The routine was to pass the award on to a certain number of bloggers. Sometimes you had to answer a question. Sometimes you didn’t. In the beginning, I followed the rules, but I soon decided that I didn’t feel comfortable singling out only a few bloggers. So I would pass it on to everyone reading. Or I would mention the award and thank the blogger for sending it to me and not pass it on. As with the buttons, we would add the awards to the sidebar. Eventually, I got tired of the clutter and moved them to a separate page. And as the blog evolved, I no longer included them in a visible link. (They’re still here, but just for me.) Have awards gone the way of the dinosaur?
Parties are still going strong. Weekly memes are still going strong. I used to take part in them. I found that, for me, they were limiting. Since I post every day, I almost always write about what is in my head on that day, at that moment. If I have to also worry about a meme, I lose my spontaneity. But I know many of you participate in these. They are a wonderful way to meet other bloggers and expand your blogging horizons.
4. The sheer amount of blogs out there. There are so many more blogs out there now than there were four years ago. Some bloggers have been at it for much longer than 4 years – imagine how the landscape has changed for them!
5. Photo Editing Sites – Was Picnik even around when I first started? I don’t think so. Photoshop was available, but that was about it. I never edited my photos in the beginning. Maybe I cropped them but that was about it. Now, though we’ve said goodbye to Picnik, there are a host of other sites out there. I’ve written about many of them and they are all including in the Blogging Tips link below my header. We can be much more creative with our photos now, as well as our headers and blog design. I learn more and more every day because there are so many more options available.
6. There’s a lot more information available for bloggers now. I mentioned in another post that I often tweak my html. I’ve found that there is a tutorial or answer out there for just about every question I might have. 4 years ago, I was fairly cautious about tweaking my blog and I certainly wouldn’t have dreamed of messing with my html. But Blogger has made that easier and the generosity of other bloggers has provided a wealth of information.
7. More and more bloggers are moving to WordPress, which was a rarity four years ago. As bloggers become more and more confident, they want even more control over their blogs – and who can blame them? They aren’t overwhelmed by coding and are feeling empowered enough to make the leap.
I’m sure I’m leaving out some changes. What have you seen come and go since you’ve been blogging? How has blogging changed for you?