8 blogging trends and predictions for 2016

Without any introduction, let's go straight to the likely trends for blogging in 2016:

1. Growth of blogging will decline

 As has been happening in the last 3-4 years - after social networking sites and other instant media have gained ground - the growth of blogging is likely to go down further. 
That does not mean, blogging will become less important as a medium; its significance will remain and might even grow in some respects (e.g. as trusted content) while it will go down in some other (e.g. as a prime medium for exchange of views).

Here, we are talking about blogging on traditional blogs. If long-form posts on Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms are called blogs, this extended blogosphere will keep growing fast. Add to these the new formats (pt. 5 below), and the growth could be even faster. 

2. Importance of blogs as reference material will grow

We spoke of it earlier (blogs for historical research). As blog posts are seen as more poised and permanent than posts on social networks (here we’d include new long-form posting provided by Facebook and LinkedIn…), the value of blogs as a valuable repository of knowledge and experience, for research and reference will grow.

3. Mobile surfing will impact individual blogs positively or badly

The use of smart phones is rising fast, so blogs will get more and more of their visitors from mobile phones. Blogs will need to adapt to a ‘responsive’ design that suits the small screens of mobiles. The ones that do not do so will lose out.

4. There will be greater focus on visual material

Since all mobile phones now have cameras and they are increasingly getting internet-connected, bloggers will find it easy to click and post photos and videos on the go. This will be the single most important factor to drive more images and videos to blogs, though text content will hugely dominate, at least for some more years. Use of infographics is rising overall, and will be more prevalent on blogs too.

As for videos, we see some developments on social networking / social sharing sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine (e.g. self-playing silent videos and slide-shows) spilling over to blogs.

5. New formats of blogging will re-define blogging

Blogs will not remain blogs. Big platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn have already provided facility for long-form content. Other popular networks will try to leverage the staying power of serious and big content. 

New platforms are emerging that curate not only text but also visual media and present them as ‘blogs’. 

Platforms that allow blogging and commenting on the go will suit the new generation. 

6. Mobile apps on blogging will surface, but slowly

If we are sure of the growing importance of mobile blogging, we can see the coming of apps for creating blogs, creating and editing content, publishing posts, adding audio-visual content, bookmarking, sharing and so on. These might supplement free platforms such as Wordpress.com and Blogger or compete for space; that will depend on what direction the technology drives them to.

At the same time, since blogging apps are not likely to earn big money for app developers, such apps will mostly come from big platforms such as Wordpress and Blogger, or from website hosts who bundle writing / blogging goodies with hosting.

 7. Commenting on blogs will go down fast

As blogs are no longer primary means of socializing, commenting on blogs will decline fast. It might even get limited to the community that develops around blogs.

In addition, as social sharing buttons are now seen on almost all blogs, even those who feel like commenting on a post will use these buttons rather than comment on the post. 

8. Bloggers' importance as influencers and earners will depend more on individual effort, but the trend might be negative

Blogs that grow into websites will definitely be seen by brands and advertisers as influencers. If they work on monetization, they will earn big money.

Blogs with strong content will be seen by search engines as valuable web property and will come high on search results. Similarly, opinions about products and services coming from 'reputed' (which does not always mean 'big') will rank high.

Blogs that do not have big following might lose the battle. As brands do not bother for them, bloggers' income from affiliation and CPC advertisements will decline. However, it will depend upon many factors such as localization, niche and topics, strength of content and reputation of blog, and effort towards monetizing.