Has Your Blog Jumped the Shark?

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Are you familiar with the phrase “jumped the shark” or “jumping the shark”? 

That original television moment occurred in 1977, and during the mid-1980s the term was coined to refer to something that is believed to be past its peak in quality or relevance on TV.

The phrase has since gone onto broadened beyond television, indicating the moment when really anything, a brand, design, franchise, or creative effort’s evolution declines, or when it changes notably in style into something unwelcome.

That’s what I’m focusing on today, how to identify if your blog has jumped the shark.

jumped the shark

Warning Signs

I understand that this is a highly subjective topic. Here are some of my warning signs that might mean your blog has jumped the shark.

  • All of your post titles start in odd number
  • At some point, you’ve hired a head-shot photographer
  • You complain about being tired of work, yet you’ve been working full-time for less than ten years, and not doing anything about it.
  • Amazon Associates is a keyword you rank for.
  • You only reply to comments you deem worthy.
  • You’ll post any content as long as it meets your price.
  • All of your products are currently on sale and end in a $7 increment.
  • Your posts are becoming less informational, thought-provoking and more like a Facebook highlight reel.
  • You spend more time on editing pop-ups than content.

I could go on, in fact, there was a recent thread over at Rockstar Finance Forums about this topic, but you get the point.

Course Correction

If you fear your blog has jumped the shark, don’t worry there is help. It seems Bruce Wayne, AKA, Batman, AKA, Adam West had a solution years earlier in 1966. It’s a can of shark repellant.

In all seriousness, getting back to a core message or defining one might be a good place to start if you feel your blog is off course.

There are times like I have felt like I’ve circled the shark. I don’t believe I’ve ever jumped it, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

I want to read blogs that share great content. Blogs that make me think. Ones where I take a tidbit of something away that I could use in my own life. A blog that I can relate to in some way.

If I take the time to stop by, and leave a comment, be kind enough to repay the favor.

I don’t believe anyone starts off with intentions of ever jumping the shark it just happens over time for some of us. We get lazy, complacent, other things take priority or lured by page views and money.

Do you feel like your blog or any of your favorites have jumped the shark? Do you consider Debt Discipline shark bait?

36 thoughts on “Has Your Blog Jumped the Shark?”

  1. I think it’s really hard to realize when you aren’t prioritizing the reader experience over monetization. You *can* make money blogging, but it does require a lot of work/planning. I think too often we get caught up in that aspect and forget that people are there for information and entertainment. There are some blogs I don’t bother reading any more because the site loads too slowly from all the ads; when I can get to the content, it’s maybe 300 words and riddled with affiliate links. It’s okay to monetize, but don’t let it take over your blog.

  2. Also “you can get rich if you stop doing this.” type posts. or “Why I did ___and you should too!” I don’t have access to that thread. 🙁 Does that mean I jumped the shark and people are talking about me? 🙂 Anyway, I do feel bad when blogs lose their soul. I like personal stories and journeys. I think it’s OK if things are peppered into a blog, but for the most part I like real posts, if you know what I mean. I better get to responding to yesterday’s comments! lol!

  3. It’s so easy to lose focus, isn’t it. I’ve been thinking about this same idea for a while now and just yesterday deleted 32 old posts from my site that weren’t a good fit. I’m trying to maintain a clear and consistent message rather than posting crap just because I had a goal to “publish X times per week” or something like that. Hopefully that will help me avoid jumping the shark!

  4. I think I’ve circled the shark a couple of times. And it’s funny, because I’ve noticed anytime I write a post because “maybe I can get a good thing going,” it bombs. The ones that work best are when I’m enthusiastic about something and it shows.

  5. You’re definitely not shark bait. You’re informative and funny and kind and it shows in your writing.

    To me what’s key is having excitement for what you write about and keeping fresh ideas in play, whether they be in a draft form, or a list of things you want to write about. Easy for me to say since Mr. Groovy’s been doing all the writing lately and I have not been excited at all.

    • Thanks, Mrs. G! I admire team Groovy. Mr.G seems to be on a roll lately, so let him go. I’m always brainstorming topics and post ideas. In fact, I wrote this post about 2 months ago. 🙂

  6. My blog hasn’t been established to the point it could be considered jumping anything 🙂 but for my current needs and motivation it’s doing what I intended.

    I am incredibly inspired by bloggers that hit the ground running with solid content on a regular basis, and my favorites that stay my favorites are always those who continue providing thought-provoking content.

    Your point “All your posts start with odd numbers” made me laugh pretty hard 🙂

  7. I have definitely seen this happen to blogs I used to enjoy. I feel like people tend to get caught up in trying to make money or get as many clicks as possible and they forget to focus on content. I hope that I haven’t hit that point. (And I hope that folks like you would call me out if it did!)

  8. Good topic, Brian. And I love the list you put together–very tongue-in-cheek yet true! I’m always joking that my blog has jumped the shark because it’s a funny phrase. And it does get harder to keep thinking of more original content as the years wear on. I don’t meet the criteria you listed though, luckily!

    • I think your blog has a nice balance of personal stories and thought-provoking articles to avoid the shark. 🙂 I do agree the longer you write the tougher it seems to come up with original content.

  9. I love this! I, too, have probably circled, but hopefully I haven’t jumped!!! It’s hard being surrounded by all these people that you started out as a baby blogger with and they have turned their personal blogs into large, successful commercial businesses. I struggle with self-imposed pressure to do the same, and get self-conscious about my “voice.” Like right now my blog probably looks pretty schizophrenic. But I write about issues I care about, even if my tone changes. I don’t know. My sponsored posts are all heavily vetted. I turn down a lot of inquiries, but am not opposed to making money when it’s something helpful and on topic.

    Hmm I feel like I’m throwing out a lot of justifications here. Maybe I’ve jumped. ????

    • Thanks! It true, it hard not to get envious of some of the other’s big-time success. $100k blog incomes per month or 1 million page views, but I’m not sure I want to take my blog down that path to achieve that. I’m not even sure what I do here could duplicate that success.

  10. The pop up one is huge. There are some sites that I go on to leave a comment, but by the time I click that No, I don’t want browswer notifications from their website (seriously?) and then click away the offer to sign up for their newsletter that appears every single time you go to the site, I forget what I was going to say.

    I write a list post now and then, but try to make them few and far between.

  11. I’m too new to have a shark 🙂 but I hope I’ll never have to sell my soul. I would create another (and move to) a different blog of my own if I wanted to sell. You don’t really sell frugality. What does the first bullet point mean? Starting with an odd number?

  12. Great list, Brian! I noticed you stopped after an even number of bullet points 😉

    I frequently find myself coming across new blogs loaded with ads and it’s such a turn off. I don’t have a problem with people trying to monetize their site, as it takes a lot of work and I think people should be rewarded for their hard work, but it’s not a good look when they get in the way of the content.

    I’ll keep these points in mind as I continue my new blogging journey.

    You happen to know where I can get some shark repellant? 😉

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