The future of blogging in the age of AI
Blogging has been around for three decades, and through the years, it’s seen many dramatic changes with the development of content management systems like WordPress, video blogs, and microblogging. With the advent of artificial intelligence, the future of blogging is poised to undergo even more transformative changes. In this article, we’ll explore where blogging started, how AI is changing the landscape, and how you, as a blogger, can adapt and thrive in this new era.
Where blogging began
To appreciate where blogging is today, it’s helpful to look back to where it first started.
The first proto-blogs emerged in 1993-1994, with Rob Palmer starting an online journal and Swarthmore student Justin Hall building a homepage with articles at Links.net, but blogging wasn’t really an activity people pursued in the early days of the web. At the time, maintaining a website was expensive and required knowledge of HTML, limiting who could have an online presence. The advent of sites such as Blogger in August 1999 and WordPress.com in 2005 made blogging accessible to people with limited budgets and technical skills.
As blogging grew, people used it for a variety of purposes, including sharing personal experiences and stories, serving as a source for news and analysis outside of mainstream newspapers and magazines, and for brands to promote values, products, and services.
Along with the rise of blogging came a huge growth in freelance writing, as people were needed to create content for all of the company blogs and alternative media that blossomed as the blogging industry grew.
Today, blogs are a fact of life, and it’s difficult to imagine the Internet without blogs. It’s where we get our information, learn about companies and organizations we support, and tell our personal stories. But with the rise of AI, especially generative text AI such as ChatGPT and Bard, things may soon change for everyone.
How AI is changing the nature of blogging
Since the launch of ChatGPT last fall, AI has been in the news nearly every day. Everyone is talking about AI passing exams, writing code, creating images that win contests, and maybe even taking our jobs.
Would it surprise you to learn that AI has actually been quietly at work helping writers and bloggers for years? For example, browser extensions running Grammarly and other grammar assistants use AI to help writers double-check their content. Google Image Search assists us in finding the original creator or instance of artwork (not to mention Google and other search engines use AI to return all those results in a blink of an eye). And, of course, there’s Akismet and other spam blockers that use AI to check the content of comments and block the majority of spam before the comment ever appears on our websites.
But there’s no doubt that we have entered a new phase of AI with the development of image creation AI such as Midjourney and DALL-E and text generators like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.
And with these new AI systems, blogging is already changing. Writers can use these tools to help them brainstorm new ideas, come up with titles, provide relevant illustrations, and even assist with optimizing their content for search engines.
The ethical implications of AI in blogging
The use of AI in online content writing and blogging introduces many pragmatic and ethical questions.
Many people worry that soon the majority of blogs will be written by AI rather than humans, which could undermine the quality and reliability of articles online as well as take away jobs for freelance writers around the globe.
Then there’s the issue of how AI creates the content used on a blog. Generative AI is trained on large quantities of written or visual data, and most AI companies lack transparency concerning where they get that data or how they use it. Bloggers should be concerned about copyright infringement when they use AI-generated content without significant revision since some of it could be lifted directly from another source without the writer even knowing about it.
And finally, there’s the question of whether it’s ethical for an author to even claim AI-assisted writing as their own, even if it has been modified.
So far, all of these issues are talking points as people grapple with the changes AI brings to the table, and our best recommendations are to be aware of these concerns so you can make the best decisions for your blog and your content.
How AI can offer new opportunities for bloggers
Ethical concerns aside, AI is here to stay. And as long as you use it responsibly, AI can become an invaluable tool for blogging. AI can help you write articles faster, provide more ideas, and give you new angles and perspectives. You can also use AI to come up with catchy titles, produce images to illustrate your blogs, proofread your content, and optimize your blog for SEO by suggesting keywords to include.
Established bloggers know how difficult it can be to find new ideas to write about. With AI, you can brainstorm new topics or angles to write about. AI can also help with research (as long as you fact-check the results), find additional talking points, or even revise a blog for a different audience (want to take that technical article and change it up for a beginner audience? That’s an easy task for AI!).
That ability for AI to modify content can be invaluable to a blogger. Imagine being able to reach a new audience by transforming your existing content! Or you could ask the AI to help find holes in existing content or update older content to make it more relevant.
For freelance bloggers wanting to polish up a portfolio or reach new clients, AI tools can help you expand your knowledgebase and dig into topics that were previously unfamiliar. Need to pitch ideas to new clients? Ask the AI to come up with topics relevant to any industry, and you’ll have ready-made talking points. You can even get the AI to assist you with different tones of voice or writing styles that will allow you to reach audiences you may never have written for before.
When illustrating your articles, you can turn to AI tools like Midjourney and DALL-E to help you generate unique images that can highlight your ideas in a snap. For example, when turning to Midjourney for a photo-realistic image of a young woman working on a website, the AI generated the following image:
Maybe photos don’t fit your blog, however. Using the same Midjourney prompt but asking for an image in the style of a magazine editorial cartoon can generate something with the same content, but an entirely different look and feel, in seconds:
Using AI in this way will allow you to create illustrations tailored to your content and that suit your blog’s branding and style in a way that stock photo sites cannot easily replicate.
All of this comes with a huge caveat. Even though it’s tempting to use AI to generate entire articles, this is generally considered a bad idea. Without the human touch in terms of writing and editing, articles may come across as stilted or awkward, and they might include inaccurate information, all of which will make the articles less valuable and undermine the reputation of the blog. Because of these issues, articles written entirely by AI may not perform as well in search engines.
So while it’s a great idea to utilize AI as a tool to help generate content, the best blogs will still rely on human writers to produce the final content. And when it comes to illustrations or photos, AI art will do in a pinch, but most people can spot AI art from a mile away, so just like with writing, if you have the talent to illustrate your own blog or a budget to hire illustrators, both will allow your blog to be taken more seriously.
How can you use AI on a WordPress blog?
AI has been a part of many WordPress plugins for years. As mentioned above, there’s Akismet for spam, and SEO plugins that analyze content, such as Yoast SEO, help thousands of bloggers optimize their individual posts and pages for Google and other search engines.
But in 2023, there are also new ways to use AI on a WordPress blog. You can implement AI to read a blog to someone with visual or attention issues, add a chatbot to interact with your readers or customers, and so much more.
Here are just a few free and premium plugins to demonstrate the range of things you can do right now using AI engines within WordPress.
- AI Engine and ContentBot AI Writer both allow you to bring the power of ChatGPT to WordPress. These plugins can assist with content creation, titles, and more, and can even do things like generate ad content, change the technical level of content, or create listicles.
- Translate WordPress – Google Language Translator can help you turn your blog into a multilingual affair, translating your content into multiple languages so you can reach a wider audience.
- YARPP – Yet Another Related Posts Plugin offers a simple way of presenting additional content to a reader that’s similar to something they just read, allowing you to surface older content and keep people on your blog.
- ResponsiveVoice Text To Speech gives you the opportunity to convert all of your written content to speech, making your content accessible to a larger audience.
- RankMath SEO and Yoast SEO both utilize AI to analyze your content, offer suggestions on improvements for search optimization, and provide additional content areas to leverage the power of SEO on your blog.
- ChatBot– WP chat bot plugin for WordPress offers a straightforward way to add a chatbot to any WordPress site.
Will AI kill blogging?
Blogging has been around as long as the Web, and despite people periodically proclaiming blogging is dead, we see no reason blogs won’t continue to be a vital part of the Internet. AI will definitely change the landscape and how we generate blogs, but people will continue to express themselves online, and smart businesses will recognize the value of the human touch.
If you’ve been itching to start a new blog, you’re in luck. From May 9th through 15th, Namecheap will celebrate Blogger’s Week with a bunch of great offers on domains, web hosting, and security, as well as a host of brand and business DIY tools to help you get your new blog off the ground and grow your audience.