It’s pretty bad.
If you go to Bing/Google and type in “Montana blogs,” you’ll get a lot of nonsense.
My ‘favorite’ is this post called Top 25 Montana Blogs and Websites. Their top site is Glacier Country, the official blog of Glacier Country. Their latest post focuses on a chef in Whitefish.
The next two blogs listed deal with tourism, and then we get to the Make It Missoula website. Their latest post offers tips on selling your house.
Next we get more tourism sites, a site devoted to dogs, and coming in a #12 is the Montana Post, a site that has not existed for most of this year, and their follow-up site stopped posting 5 months ago.
#21 is the Montana Cowgirl blog, a site that has not existed in several years.
The site doesn’t even list #22-25, so I guess those no longer exist, either. I can tell right now that if someone did a post called Top 20 Blogs in Montana, they’d own that top SERP spot.
When you type in “Montana political blogs” you don’t get any better results.
First we have that silly Top 25 sites again, followed by the Montana Times (dead in the water), then my site, and then Flathead Memo (a site nearly dead).
After that we get a somewhat promising-sounding site called Big Sky Political Analysis. Alas, they haven’t put up a new post since March.
Then it’s KXLH, my site again, the Montana Free press is mentioned, we see Montana Cowgirl’s Twitter handle, and then the Wall Street Journal, of all sites.
Yeah, a sorry state indeed.
Personally, I only visit one other Montana blog these days - RD. Sometimes they’ll mention Montana Free Press or the Montana Daily, and then I might go and see what they’re doing. But I don’t visit those sites everyday. They’re boring.
RD is one of the most interesting sites in the state, but they are hamstrung with their Wordpress platform, which simply won’t be picked up by the search engines.
I did a couple test cases, typing in some queries to Bing to see if RD would come up. So I typed things like “Tim Adams,” “Missoula homeless killings,” and “Johnny Lee Perry, Missoula” as well as “Sean Stevenson, Missoula,” but RD never came up.
For those last two, RD should be one of the main results in my search. But I feel the wordpress platform is keeping them down. Might be time for a change.
Perhaps we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of which Montana blogs are the best...maybe we should ask, which are even operating on a regular basis.
Big Sky Words, RD, Flathead Memo (he’s putting up about 2-3 posts a month), Jackie Moore’s site in Great Falls, the E-City Beat site out of Great Falls...and honestly, that’s all I can think of off the top of my head.
That’s 5 sites.
State of over 1 million, and just 5 websites document politics and personalities on a regular basis.
Will it change? I don’t think so.
I think one of the big problems is Facebook. So many just piddle-away their thoughts there, either in one-off posts or comments on similar. There’s no lasting value, none of that ever comes up on search engines, and whatever insight was imparted is quickly swallowed by ‘the feed.’
Imagine if some of these folks use their time more wisely, with regular posts on a regular website, something that could be picked up by Google to educate people months or even years after that wisdom was dispensed.
Each month, hundreds of people read stuff I wrote years ago, simply because they typed something into Bing/Google, and my site came up.
This is power. The power to educate, impart, and dictate.
We’re guiding these thoughts, forming those opinions, and dictating how people will vote in the future. When it comes to the issues and stories they’re searching for, we provide them with the information; we supply their talking points.
Who the hell do you think the out-of-staters are getting their history from when they move here?
But just 5 or so sites in Montana post on a regular basis, and most of them never appear in the search results.
It’s no secret that my favorite Montana blog of all times was Logicosity. Back in 2017 when we looked at rankings, they were #21 out of 24 for most visited Montana news sites.
No one ever knew who those two writers were. When the rumor started that a former state senator from Missoula, who had moved to Billings to teach, was the writer...well, the site was scuttled soon thereafter.
And since then we’ve been down to 5, and just about 2 of those are worth reading on a regular basis.
Every couple of weeks I’ll go to #mtpol on Twitter to see if there’s anything new, but it’s just the same tired old people with the same tired old ‘arguments,’ and that’s boring as hell.
Maybe if we’re lucky someone with some grit and determination, backbone and character, will start a new site.
But I doubt it.
Sad and sorry, indeed.