The State of the Indie Blogosphere

I can’t do it.

In a comment from the piece about the state of the industry blogosphere someone asked about the state of the indie side of things. That is more of a challenge than I can really even consider taking on right now.  There are simply too many voices out there to try and identify them all and evaluate their collective status.

Let’s just say that it is strong.

There is a private Facebook group for fly fishing blogs so we can share issues around conservation and ask questions about blogging platforms and technology. The group was started this year and in the span of about three weeks reached over 100 people. It has 128 now.

There are a lot of voices out there. Some are new and won’t last, but many are established and have been getting after it for years now.

Blogging is not thankless. People often comment to give thanks or praise or otherwise show appreciation. Blogging, however, is not financially rewarding. I’ve managed to get on a few amazing trips and I’ve gotten some gear out of it, both some loaner gear and some I’ve got to keep.  What I haven’t managed to do, and something almost no one has managed to do, is pay bills with a blog. You have to come at this with some other desire at heart. You have to want to share, to tell a story, to express some point of view or to further some core belief. Then the work begins.

You have to feed your baby. Blogs, like children, are easy to create. Really, the two acts take about as much time to get started… about a minute and a half. Then you have to keep it going. A blog lives or dies on content. You need to give people a reason to show up and check out your site. You have to deliver fresh content on a very consistent basis. I’ve seen many, many blogs come and then, well… stop, because the writer/owner just stopped putting up new content. A blog doesn’t come down on its own, so the half-finished work remains there for all to see. You can see the last post from 2009 and then just silence. That is what it looks like when a blog dies.

There are many, many blogs out there who have passed the hump and look set to remain. I pay less attention to the trout blogs these days, not because I don’t love trout, but because the salt feeds my soul in a way that the exotic often does. Still, the trout space is where most of the typing being done these days is focused, and there is no shortage of it. I literally cannot keep track of it and I’m not going to try here because any list I make will leave someone out that I really don’t mean to leave out. There are a growing number of saltwater focused blogs and I look forward to those voices developing further. I used to be pretty much alone in that niche, but no longer.

There is one site that tries to rank blogs and there is a fishing section (not fly fishing, just the broader “fishing”). In that, I rank 13th and it should be no surprise to see Moldy Chum, The Trout Underground and The Fiberglass Manifesto above me, so in that regard I think the rankings are more or less accurate, even if the numbers they list are not. There are many, many blogs not on the list and that is likely because it actually takes some effort to get added to the list and many folks either don’t care or don’t know about it, so it won’t be an exhaustive ranking.

So, let me conclude by saying the state of the Indie blogosphere is strong… very strong.

Thanks for reading… thanks for writing.

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  1. Jeff Currier is one of the most talented fly fishermen in the world and he does a great blog that is 100% fishing. No hype, no bullshit – just trip reports and great photos. I’ve learned a few new techniques from Jeff’s blog.

    Mike Dawes doesn’t post frequently, but when he does it is epic.

    Also: TRIW, Fly Paper, Outsmarting Fish, Carp on the Fly, Roughfisher, Fly-Carpin and, of course, Bonefish on the Brain. When I want to read great writing, I go to Fishing Jones or Mysteries Internal.

    I follow too many really good blogs to list here, but those are some of my faves.

  2. The problem is, when you write to please everyone, with a SEO ranking in mind, the content blends in, as it’s simply designed to get traffic to attract advertisers. It’s easy to find a blog about fly fishing, but it’s all commercially motivated. So, you have to ask yourself – “Am I writing to express, or for American Express?”

  3. I don’t know too many bloggers writing for a paycheck… or who have managed to cash a single check even. The more generic your content, I’d bet the less appeal you actually have. I don’t think we have too much of a problem in the fly fishing blogging world with people selling out or going commercial. I think folks would take that road, some gladly, if it were available, but it simply isn’t an option.

  4. Interesting that the likes of Chi Wulff, Mysteries Internal, Up The Poudre, Die Fieshe, Gink & Gasoline, or Compleat Thought are no where to be found on that page. Wonder where they really get their information.

    I’ve never wanted money out of it. Along with you, it’s provided some small incentives, but it’s more about writing and spreading the good word.

  5. You have to put in some hidden code somewhere or register your site. I know there’s some action you have to take and if you don’t take it, you aren’t on the list.

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