Is facebook screwing bloggers or have readers’ sharing habits changed?

Is facebook screwing bloggers or have readers’ sharing habits changed? April 22, 2015

I’m trying to figure out what’s going on with my blog traffic. A year ago, on my self-hosted blog, I had awesome traffic and I was on an upward trajectory. Because of this, I was invited to join the Patheos Progressive blogging community. Lately, my traffic has been in a funk and I’ve noticed from my google analytics that search engines are driving the majority of my traffic even on days when I post a fresh post. Noticeably missing in action has been facebook.

I’ve had a few semi-viral posts recently, but I’ve been shocked at how tepid the response has been to my lower volume posts. Two years ago, I was getting more shares on posts where I went super-nerdy and included completely inaccessible things like Hebrew words written in the Hebrew alphabet. On the last couple of posts, I’ve shared them multiple times with excerpted portions, and several times, these posts haven’t generated any facebook likes at all, which makes me suspect they haven’t been seen by anyone. At least a third of my facebook friends became friends with me solely because of my blog so that doesn’t make any sense.

So I’ve been getting suspicious that facebook has mischievously set up its algorithm to hide content that it thinks I ought to be paying facebook to promote. I feed my blog through a facebook blog page in order to promote that page and then share from there to my personal profile and several groups. I noticed recently that facebook recently restricted sharing from a facebook page only to your personal profile, which got my suspicions up. I need to figure out a way to make facebook think I’m sharing cat pictures instead of semi-professional content. When I share goofy photos of my sons, I get hundreds of likes.

What are other bloggers experiencing? Is the golden age of facebook blog-sharing a thing of the past? I suspect that a much higher percentage of readers are using smartphones now than a year ago. I’ve heard some grumbling in the past about the Patheos smartphone interface. Is that still an issue? Do any of my other readers have insights? I’m really puzzled about what’s going on. I used to bombard people with 4-5 posts a week. Now I’m down to about 2-3. I’m all ears if anyone has any suggestions for what to do when posts that seem accessible and timely just won’t get off the ground at all.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I saw that RSS Graffiti is going to be shutting down. Have you found a good alternative to automate blog content posting to Facebook and Twitter, or do you do it manually?

    • I post manually. Is there an advantage to doing otherwise?

    • I use Graffiti, too, and I’m looking for alternatives. I’ll let you know when I find one. (Morgan, the automatic posting is just less work on your end, and it allows you to experiment with different headlines/teasers)

  • Jeff Carter

    I’ve noticed a decline as well, but thought it was just me.

    I use twitterfeed (twitterfeed.com) to send my blog to twitter & facebook.

  • Chris

    I can only speak for myself with any certainty, but I think there is a general downturn of interest in blogging. FWIW, I still have your posts sent to my Facebook notifications to check them out =) But you’re one of the few compared to how I had previously set up my Facebook. There is an overabundance of bloggers, many of whom all share conflicting opinions, and I think people are growing disinterested. I am guessing that there will be something of a blogging bust over the next little while.

    • Guess I just got into this shit too late. If I’d peaked three years earlier, I’d be where Rachel Held Evans is now. Well maybe not but…

      • Chris

        A man can dream =) But nah, keep it up. If I were in a kind of ministry position like you, I’d probably still be blogging as an extension of my ministry.

  • Thomas Wiley

    A little late seeing this post, but yes, Facebook is purposely limiting the visibility of posts that link to external websites (whether blogs or otherwise). See here: http://online.wsj.com/articles/new-facebook-rules-will-sting-entrepreneurs-1417133694