Every so often some new internet guru proclaims to the world that blogs are dead. (Spoiler alert: they’re not.)
They (you know… “they”) have also tried to declare email, Facebook groups, and static images dead, so they don’t have a great track record here.
The fact is that blogs are still an amazing way to make money, whether you use them as an income producer on their own or you use them to market products or services.
And to prove it, here are some pretty mind blowing statistics provided by Optin Monster:
- Every month, 409 million people view more than 20 billion blog posts
- Blog readers post 77 million comments per month
- Companies who blog get 97% more links to their site
- Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trustworthy source for gathering online information.
- 77% of internet users read blogs.
- Businesses that blog experience twice as much email traffic as businesses who don’t.
- Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to have a positive ROI on their efforts.
But perhaps the most compelling evidence that blogs are still effective is that so many people are still using them! With all the options available to companies – from solopreneurs to massive Fortune 500 companies – the fact that so many still blog regularly as a way to grow their revenue is telling.
The Blog is Dead. Long Live the Blog.
What most people mean to say when they say blogging is dead, is that blogging isn’t what it used to be… But let’s be honest; what is?
I started blogging in 2012 which, in internet years, was a million years ago. What I did back then to build my business isn’t what I teach people to do today. Just like my mentors couldn’t teach me to blog like they did back in the 1990s and early 2000s.
There are lots of things that have changed about blogging over time – more about those changes in a future post – but the biggest thing we have to think about today is intention.
When blogs first started they were a means of connection and communication. It was easy to start a blog, but more challenging to monetize it, and honestly that wasn’t the point. People shared about their day-to-day lives, swapped stories, and built connection and community in a less formal way.
Bloggers were thought of as outcasts, and they formed their own online Island of Misfit Toys.
A big turning point for bloggers was 2003 when 2 major developments happened. WordPress released their open-source blogging platform and Google launched AdSense and AdWords
Those 2 tools allowed bloggers to create their own websites and monetize their content much easier than they’d been able to in the past.
This is when blogging became a business.
The intent of blogging had shifted. It wasn’t just about connection, now it was also about capitalism.
Even still, the content of blogs didn’t change a whole lot. Yes, they were on self-designed websites and there were ads on the page, but the posts were still very personal and informal.
Now there were 2 other platforms having an impact on blogging: Google Analytics and the popularity of email.
Google Analytics allowed bloggers to see data on what readers were reading and sharing, which meant that bloggers started to plan content around what their readers wanted, as opposed to what they wanted.
Also at this time, email was becoming an essential service, but because it was still new, people happily gave their email address out to anyone who asked for it. All bloggers had to do was ask people to join their newsletter mailing list. (Ah, the good ol’ days.)
Once blogging was established as a viable, sustainable way to make money, the floodgates opened.
By 2010 just about every news outlet had a blog.
Blogs weren’t just for outcasts, college kids, and stay-at-home-moms anymore!
These days there’s a lot more to blogging than there was even 10 years ago.
Social media became a massive force, not just in blogging, but in society as a whole. YouTube became a thing (enough said about that). Podcasts got started. And people guard their email addresses with more fervor than they do their social security numbers.
But, while it’s not as easy as the olden days, it’s still totally worth it.
To stand out on the noisy, crowded internet, especially if you want to make money, you need more than a website with some words on it. You need to solve a problem, build relationships, and become a consistent go-to source for your audience.
Some tips for doing blogging right in 2022:
- Stay in your niche. Once you choose a niche and decide on your content pillars, make sure your content stays true to your vision. It’s tempting to follow trends and do what others are doing, but you’ll see the fastest return and growth when you become an authority in your niche rather than a generalist. Need help choosing your niche? Grab my freebie, The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Topic for Your Blog, Podcast, or Video Show.
- Design matters. If you read blogs that were first published on WordPress in the early 2000s, you may have noticed that they were, well… ugly. These days your blog needs to be visually appealing and easy to navigate to keep people from clicking away. Make thoughtful design choices and frequently check your website for broken links to ensure a greater user experience.
- Be yourself. With the vast internet at everyone’s fingertips, the biggest factor that will get people to choose you as their go-to source is YOU! Let your personality shine through on your website and you will attract people who like who you are (and repel people who are just going to give you agita).
- Repurpose your content. Here at Side Hustle Teachers I call my blog a blogcast because I repurpose this blog into a podcast. You can also save yourself a ton of time by repurposing blog posts into social media posts, and these days you must continually promote your blog, so do it without creating extra work for yourself.
So, no, blogging is not dead. It’s evolving, just like everything else.
For your investment (money and time), blogging is still the easiest way to get started with content marketing and start building your business. There’s an extremely low barrier for entry and just about anyone can be successful!