If you are reading this post, chances are that you are interested in knowing how to create a successful blog despite heavy challenges in the industry.
I really don’t know why you are blogging but the truth is if you take it with levity, your long-term blogging dreams may be cut short.
My business is blogging. I do it with excitement and a huge dose of satisfaction. It’s my main source of income so I care about its long term results.
I have many different ways I generate online income in the activity but this post isn’t about that. As a full time blogger, looking at what has happened in the past, I think the days ahead aren’t going to be bread and butter.
There are three main challenges you must overcome to be able to create a successful blog in our times.
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Before we get into seeing why the days ahead are going to make things a little more hectic, I want to be thankful to Neal for allowing me to share my thoughts with you here. It’s always an honor to connect and interact with you Neal ;)
Creating a successful blog in the years past
The early days of blogging were quite amazing. The few bloggers who began the activity can tell you it was a breeze.
Google was easy to manipulate and ranking was with a few words. But a lot has been improved making blogging tougher
According to Devesh Sharma of DesignBombs, “Setting up just any blog is easy but creating a blog that commands success is a tough game to play.”
I completely agree with him. Why?
Because it’s becoming more and more challenging. It’s not just about installing the script and configuring the themes and plugins. It’s about what you face in the marketing process.
Let’s talk about the three main blogging challenges and how you can breakthrough to end up with a thriving blog.
Challenge #1: Competition is only becoming stronger
One of the things we fight for is to be noticed. If no one else (apart from you and your family) reads your articles, it’s a complete waste. The more readers we get, the more we go near our reasons for our blogging.
But Google (for instance) only has a page of 10 results for the millions of entries to scramble for. As being on SERP Page #2 and beyond means less exposure, the struggle for Google page #1 and the first position is becoming more and more tightened.
I see the competition beating you down from two directions:
- The number of competitors
- The capacity of the competitors
It’s not just about how many people you compete with. It’s also about their strength. Brian Dean talks about the Skyscraper Technique. This is just to point out how tough it is in our days to conquer your rivals. I look forward to seeing another term in the years ahead, describing what we should do to overcome the big guns ;)
How to deal with this challenge:
Don’t compete with the tough competitors. There are other low hanging fruits around you. You need to do a bit more research to discover those areas with weak competition. It will always be hard to find opportunities with zero competition. But you can be smart, anticipate opportunities and create content to be the first.
This is something I have done with satisfying results. I was collaborating with an SEO company and one day they announced they were to fold up. Quickly, I knew people were going to be looking for its alternatives.
I hurriedly created a money making article targeting the keyword “XYZ Alternatives” Before the news about them closing their doors went public, I was ranking on position #1, page #1 of Google. Now, you can imagine the results.
There is tough competition in every area, not only in ranking on Google. The key to making your blog successful is always to think differently and avoid putting a fight against those far ahead of you.
Challenge #2 Social media is changing fast
This shouldn’t be news to you. If there is an area on the Internet that changes as the clock ticks, it’s social media.
We know how Social Media is strategic in blogging. There is no social media platform without bloggers scrambling to be noticed. Whether it’s Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc, they all constitute huge sources of traffic for bloggers.
But the bad news is that these are all platforms owned by their creators who at any point in time (without your consent) can decide to change whatever they want about their businesses. For the most part, these changes will leave users snatching their teeth in disappointment.
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A few years back, Google+, a social network by Google was a serious point on the table. It was on all the lists of social media platforms. But Google didn’t ask your opinion to terminate it on April 2, 2019.
In recent times, Facebook Fan Page users are noticing a decline in organic reach as Facebook makes changes to prioritize paid ads. Don’t complain about them and their changes. It’s Facebook and they’re allowed to do what they want, when they want.
More of these changes are even expected in the years ahead. Social media will never be static and if you don’t have this in mind, your blog may soon collapse.
Tips to deal with this challenge
- Don’t focus on just one social media platform. If Google+ was your unique source of traffic, its end would have marked a terrible story for your business. Focus on 2 or 3 properties.
- If you are a Facebook lover, spread out on Groups and Fanpages
- Follow platform rules strictly
- Engage with your followers on Social Media and drive them to follow you on different platforms. This way, if there is a change in one tool, you continue with others
Challenge #3 – Search engines are moving at the speed of light
Search engines are the main sources of free targeted traffic for many of us. Of course Social Media is a big player as well. Search engines drive sustainable, long term and more targeted traffic
Like Social Media, Search Engines change every now and then. They are businesses owned and run by folks who want profit. Given this, they are free to make changes at will to protect and promote their investment.
Some years back, it was not a big deal to rank for popular keywords and drive traffic. These were the days when keyword optimization was the king. All you needed was to focus on keyword density and a few backlinks with Private Blog Networks (PBN).
But these have all changed today. PBNs are dead. Neil Patel in this post clearly stands against it:
Keyword density won’t help at all. Find out more about it in this article by Anil Agarwal. Thin content and backlinks from profile pages are all things of the best. If these SEO techniques don’t work today, they definitely won’t work tomorrow.
How to handle this challenge and create a successful blog
While backlinks are still a solid ranking factor, you have to focus on creating link-worthy content with semantic optimization at the core.
Semantic SEO is focusing on user intent. Optimize your content for topics not keywords. I wrote an article on Semantic SEO you may want to read for details on that.
Stay away from black hat SEO. Stick to Google Webmaster guidelines.Create content to drive traffic from other search engines. Google is the master. But don’t leave back Bing, Yahoo, etc.
3 actionable tips to help you on how to create a successful blog
1 – Build an email list for your blog
List building is no longer a new practice. But some bloggers are still on the fence. Email Marketing is still very effective, though more complex than ever.
It’s one thing to create a list of subscribers. It’s another thing to maintain the list and keep your subscribers engaged. Many bloggers who do Email Marketing end up driving their subscribers away by way of what they send out. Knowing how to write professional emails will help your blog survive any drastic changes ahead.
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I didn’t have a list for my blog until after a very long time. While that wasn’t smart enough, I think it was really silly and I don’t want you to look as stupid as I was. So start with your list for the obvious reasons:
- It’s a steady source of traffic
- It helps you engage more with your readers
- The money is still in the list
2 – Don’t leave out videos
Videos are fast becoming an inevitable ingredient in Online Marketing.
Google says 6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TV.
In a Cisco Whitepaper, video traffic will account for 82% of traffic by 2022.
From every indication Videos are beginning to take a leading role online. It will be an error to completely keep them away. Videos on popular platforms like YouTube drive traffic and engagement. Embedding videos in your blog posts also goes a long way to improve your SEO.
As your readers spend time on your posts watching your videos, that increases your dwell time, an important SEO ranking signal.
There is no doubt blogging in the years ahead will be with much more difficulty. But this shouldn’t scare you away. Stick to it and do it with excitement. Follow these few tips and I can assure you, it will still be an interesting business.
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3 – Connect with other bloggers in your industry.
For many years, I have kept telling people successful bloggers are unlike Island. They don’t stand alone. They connect with other bloggers and that gives them the strength to stand always.
Connecting with other bloggers doesn’t have to be hard at all. The first step is to position yourself to attract attention.
While folks start seeing you as a nice and helpful blogger, they will not resist any attempt to hook up with them:
- Comment and share their articles
- Link out to their posts from your blog
- Offer to help solve their problems
- Show interest and recognize their worth
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Creating a successful blog in today’s touch and challenging Internet world has to do with going above the usual steps. Don’t always follow the trend. Identify the hungry and tiny crowd. Create helpful content for them and see how they drive you to success.
Learn more tips and tricks on how to put together a successful blog in this great infographic from Blogging.org.