One of the continued growth areas that is often overlooked when it comes to the social web are blogs. It is a market that continues to grow at a rapid pace even if it is in part fuelled by pictures of cats. The success of Tumblr as well as the continued growth of platforms like Word Press, Google+ and Blogger shows no signs of letting up. By the end of 2011, NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company, tracked over 181 million blogs around the world, up from 36 million five years earlier.
Quora, the intelligent questions and answer site, has decided to throw its hat into the blogging ring and launch a Quora blogs platform. It isn’t, it wants to make clear, a place for cat pictures, or light viral type material like animated Gifs that you might find on Tumblr (among much else).
Instead the idea is a place “where people share ideas and thoughts. So the same type of people who write answers are going to be the same types of people who write on blogs”.
Quora has made the leap to take advantage of the many who already write long detailed pieces on the site. It clearly makes sense to offer them a different kind of Quora platform and build its community.
At the moment active writers on Quora average 30,000+ monthly views and 350,000+ annually. Its most active writers average 90,000+ monthly views and 1+ million estimated annual views.
So who in the busy blog market is Quora targeting?
“Blogs on Quora are great for people who (1) don’t have a big, established online presence already and (2) don’t want to do the time-intensive, heavy lifting of marketing their blog and slowly building an audience.
“If you are a good writer but don’t have thousands of Twitter followers or a big audience for your blog, Quora is an ideal place to write. Your blog will be discovered quickly without you having to do any work besides writing. Writing one great post on Quora will attract a big audience, no matter how many people already know or follow you,” Quora said.
However, Quora is also hoping to appeal to those with an established blog and audience and it is tempting them the “more quality distribution from an audience”.
What will be interesting to see is if it can translate the variety of questions and answers it gets, on topics from movies, TV, sports, food, technology, startups, career advice, parenting, children, politics, economics, and major news events, into blogging traffic.
Initially it is offering two choices for blog’s design: a basic themeless view and its first blog theme, Loose Leaf. Loose Leaf has been built specifically for an easy reading experience, with nice typography and a minimal layout. The new theme has been optimized for mobile browsing, and is readily visible inside Quora iPhone and Android apps. It sounds like it will be rolling out more themes in the near future.
If it gets all this extra traffic it has given no word on what it might do with it. Quora doesn’t monetize the site although clearly blogs would offer an opportunity.
You can see some of the blogs already up here.