Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.
In a world where blogs were once the rage, it’s unsurprising that people are wondering… is blogging dead? Now that online platforms make it easier to create blogs, everybody seems to have one!
Yet, at the same time, it sometimes seems like a dying concept.
Social media platforms, like Instagram and Facebook, have taken the internet by storm over the past decade. So, posting quick and easy-to-consume content might seem like the go-to strategy for engagement with visitors. However, blogs are still out there!
It may not be as easy as it used to be to succeed with blogging. After all, many niches appear to be oversaturated. Plus, plenty of potential visitors have migrated over to other platforms or marketing channels, especially video and social.
But in spite of all that, blogging is still a key part of building a successful online business. So, is blogging dead? Well, no… But it is an area where you need to dedicate some time and love in order to see long-term growth.
In this post, we are going to explore how the world of blogging has changed over the years, and figure out how to make the most of this key marketing opportunity!
How Blogging Has Changed
Depending on how you define blogging, the concept has been around since the mid-90s. Justin Hall’s “Links.net” is typically recognized as the very first blog. This personal website allowed Hall to write about his life and openly reflect on his unique journey.
The idea caught on, and within years, the idea of having a personal place on the internet to post whatever you wanted in an accessible way was a thriving idea. Jorn Barger coined the term “weblog” in 1997, which was later shortened to “blog” in 1999 by Peter Merholz.
And the rest is history, right?
Well, blogging as a whole has transformed a lot over the past two decades. What looks like a blog now would be unrecognizable in 2000, and vice-versa. It all started when popular online platforms like LiveJournal and Blogger started sprouting up – that’s when our current blogging era began.
Original sources of focus for blogs were personal interests and niche topics. Pop culture and fandoms were big themes for blogs, and direct commentary on ongoing world events was the rave.
WordPress, often known as the most popular blogging platform in the world, began in 2003. With this creation, blogging grew more popular than ever. People could start to make money through their work with AdSense, which launched within the same year.
Internet users all around the world started to see the true potential in a little thing called blogging.
In 2005, 10% of the population read blogs. That’s a pretty significant number when you consider how new widespread internet usage was! Mainstream media eventually made the transition to using blogs as a dependable communication channel, and things just continued to pick up from there.
Success In The Early Years
So, what did it take to be successful in the early years of the business in blogging?
Choosing a niche was the core component of successful blogging fifteen years ago, and it still is today! Unless you already have a popular presence online, few people will want to read about your daily life. This means that you need to pick a topic that people are already interested in and appeal to the audience that’s interested in it.
What the early 2000s had that we don’t have today is the ability to be original. Since blogging was a new concept, it was easy to pick a topic and be one of the very first blogs to cover it! Some of the most successful blogs out there were ahead of the trends and had the foresight to think about what may be popular down the road.
Nowadays, there are so many blogs out there that it’s next to impossible to start a blog that doesn’t cover something that has already been done. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a new way to put your own spin on things!
In addition to there being fewer blogs to compete with in various niche markets, there was also a lot less competition when it came to search engine optimization. With fewer competitors, it was easy to wind up on the first page of Google in your niche!
Transforming media was also an exciting way to become successful in the early days. Now that we have GIFs, high-quality online imagery, and imaginative video editing, only the best of the best can stand out. But in 2005, creative web design could help you go quite far!
Email lists were another advantage of the earlier blogging communities. This was an innovative form of communication. Before text messaging was simplified through smartphones, emailing was your best way to connect with people outside of phone calls. Blogs quickly picked up on how email could be used to their advantage!
Regular newsletters through email lists are still a part of the blogging sphere today, and for good reason. Email is growing at a rapid rate, and we can’t take that for granted!
However, it’s much harder to stand out in an inbox these days. With so much junk mail and business marketing, it’s a far cry from the good ol’ days of blogging with so much less competition.
Let’s recap what successful blogs utilized in the eary days:
- They picked a niche that had enough popularity, but found a way to be original.
- They made sure to stand out in the search engines.
- They produced creative content that resonated with their audience and stood out from the crowd.
- They utilized email lists to foster a connection with their customers.
Hmm, does that seem familiar to you?
You may have noticed that a lot of the elements are the same as they were 20 years ago – but the competition has gone up!
To make money online, we still depend on SEO, email lists, and being creative in our niches, but we have to work harder.
So, how can we do it?
Building a Successful Blog
Is blogging dead?
You might still be wondering this after hearing how much simpler of a time it was in the early days of blogging.
And we know that might be what it sounds like, but it’s really not. Let’s take a look at some of the things that people interested in starting a blog, or those trying to build up theirs, might need to know.
Know Your Audience
Remember how we talked about the importance of finding your niche? Well, it’s equally important to know the audience that comes to read about it. You need to know your audience and you need to be able to solve their problems, and sometimes this has to be done before they even know what their problems are!
How? With trend analysis! One way of tapping into your reader’s minds is by seeing what they’re actually looking for. You can brainstorm topics and look at sources to see if they’re trending before you dedicate the time into writing them, or look at what’s trending to get ideas for content.
Using Google Trends is one of the easiest ways to get a glimpse into what people are searching for. You can type in a general topic or get a little bit more specific to see how well the theme is doing online.
Take the above images as an example. These results come from searching “wedding.”
So, what information can I gather from this information?
- People are particularly interested in learning about weddings during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
- Marriage licenses and marriage officiants are a popular theme.
- The search term has been relatively stable over time, with a slight decrease in popularity.
Another option is to use a platform like MonsterInsights. This will allow you to gain insights that other bloggers and companies have already found. This works as a Google Analytics plugin and will work directly with your WordPress account.
Click here to learn more and start using it now!
Write GREAT Content
Let’s face it… There is a lot of content out there on the internet. How can yours stand out? By being GREAT, of course!
One common way of creating great content is by using what Brian Dean calls “The Skyscraper Technique.” This technique of content creation is when you do a lot of research on popular topics and cover them from a unique angle, or with additional information that hasn’t been written yet.
Once you have your new-and-improved content out there, you’re able to reach out to the places you had gone to in the past for research. Maybe they’ll want to share your information with readers, too!
Here is why this method is so popular and will help you succeed:
- You know that there is already a demand for the information. This will have been uncovered during your research phase.
- You know that your content is worth reading. If you’ve added an extra spin on your content, you can be sure that it’s things that people will respond positively to.
You’ll also want to ensure that your content is well-written, free of errors, and accessible to your readers. A great place to go for help in this area is Grammarly. You’re able to check all of your content to make sure it’s perfect and plagiarism free before it hits the web! You can check out more about what Grammarly has to offer here.
Finally, when it comes to great content you’ll want to ensure that it utilizes multiple forms of media. This includes audio, video, imagery, and more. We can’t let our blogs and websites be nothing but walls of text! Spruce that space up with some beautiful graphics and design elements to engage readers and get those views!
One of our favorite places to go for a beautiful website is Elementor. This WordPress page builder will help ensure that your site looks nice, runs quickly, and is easy for you to build. Click here to learn how it can help you out!
As you have learned, blogging is a constantly changing space. The way to thrive with blogging is to keep up with its evolution. And who knows? Maybe in ten years, blogging will be dead. But we don’t think so!
For now, blogging allows you to attract your target audience organically through content, which is an incredibly powerful tool, whether you’re monetizing an affiliate site, powering an ecommerce store, or promoting a service business.
Taking blogging courses is a great way to ensure that your knowledge is consistently up-to-date. You can take a look at our review of the 7 best online blogging course options here. This guide will share free and paid options that will meet the needs of every blogger looking to hone their skills!
Lastly, there are a few more tricks that any blogger can incorporate into their content creation routine. These include:
- Posting on a regular schedule.
- Regularly updating old content to stay up-to-date.
- Building email lists through opt-ins and lead magnets on their website.
- Adapting to new forms of social media to engage with their audience.
Is Blogging Dead? And More Questions Answered
Now that you know the answer to “is blogging dead?” is a firm (but constantly evolving) no, we wouldn’t be surprised if you had a few more questions to ask. So, we’ve included some of the most common questions when it comes to blogging!
Do People Still Read Blogs?
There are more than 500 million blogs in the world. That’s a reassuring number to hear when you’re thinking about starting your own! But if everybody has a blog, does that mean that there is anybody left to read them?
The answer is yes!
Research has found that at least 77% of people on the internet will regularly read blogs. That’s a pretty incredible number, and we imagine it’ll only grow beyond 2020.
Is Blogging Still Relevant?
With Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook being the biggest sources of fast consumption, many people fear that blogs have lost their relevance.
But unlike these social media platforms, blogging gives users a unique experience. Not only does it allow the poster to go into much greater depth about a topic, but it also gives the content creator the freedom to relay this information however they please: through text, audio, video, infographics, images, animations, and even interactive apps and presentations!
As long as blogs can continue to promise something unique and provide value to businesses and readers alike, they’ll continue to remain relevant.
Is It Worth Blogging?
We admit, it’s gotten harder to create a successful blog with so much competition out there. But it’s also never been easier to make money from blogging!
There are many new forms of monetization popping up in the blogging world. Currently, there are three main routes that bloggers can take to make money:
- Affiliate marketing
- Advertisement revenue
Affiliate marketing is when a user posts a link to products or services within their content. When a reader clicks on their link and buys the product or accesses the service, the affiliate marketing publisher will gain a commission from it!
Here are a few examples:
- A cooking blog that releases recipe guides using certain kinds of kitchenware. They decide to link to an oven sheet and then showcase how it can be used. The oven sheet product is displayed with an affiliate link.
- A website that exclusively lists products for sale that they recommend. Every product can be from an affiliate merchant.
- A blog that recommends services for people within their niche. The services they recommend may all offer affiliate commissions.
Amazon Affiliates is a great place to start when it comes to affiliate marketing!
Advertisement revenue is when you display advertisements on your blog. You will earn money each time an advertisement is clicked on. This can be done by installing Google AdSense.
Lastly, we have sponsorships! This is a relatively new way of making money through blogging, but can be the most profitable when done right.
Sponsorships will occur when a company pays a blogger to write or post about its services or products. They may pay the blogger with a one-time fee, an ongoing payment, complimentary products, or other compensation.
For example, consider a music blogger. A prominent guitar company may sponsor them and send them a free guitar to use in their tutorials. This blogger may also be paid a flat rate of $5000 for their promotions, or an ongoing $2000 per month to be in front of the blogger’s audience in any number of ways. In addition to using the guitar in tutorials, the blogger may be asked to write various promotional pieces, feature the product in display ads, or send out an email blast about the product to their subscribers.
This sponsorship arrangement will benefit both the blogger and the company that sponsors them, as it works as a form of advertisement for their products! Best of all, if you’re a trustworthy blogger who only works with sponsors you believe in, your readers benefit as well.
Blogging Isn’t Dead
After sharing the history of blogging and where it’s at now, we hope you can see that it’s still alive and well.
At the same time, it’s also important to remember that blogging isn’t the straightforward path to business success that it might have once been. Instead, it’s just one piece of a bigger puzzle that incorporates multimedia, social channels, email, display ads, and any number of other marketing tactics.
Blogging may not be dead, but you still need to do the following to ensure that you’re able to reach the success that you deserve:
- Write in-demand content in a popular niche.
- Keep learning about the ins and outs of blogging.
- Integrate social media and email with your blog for optimal engagement.
- Implement various forms of monetization.
Most blog readers and internet users don’t spend hours mindlessly reading blogs for fun. Rather, they seek them out to learn more about a certain topic or to buy something that will help them achieve their goals. If you want to make an impact, you need to be willing to put in the work to solve a problem that your audience has.
So, is blogging dead? Maybe, maybe not… The real question is, will your blog be one of the ones that survives and thrives?