For years there has been speculation that blogging is dead. After all, it seems like there are fewer blogs out there than there once were. And many blogs have grown to the point that they’re really a whole website with a blog format. However, much of this speculation comes from the fact that there are many other places to express yourself online these days. Blogs aren’t the shiny object anymore, either.
Is Blogging Dead?
In a word, no. Not only is blogging not dead, but it’s alive and well. Some blogs are huge, and in many cases they’re heavily commercialized. There are many ways to make money with blogs, and the best blogs use a variety of techniques.
Don’t take this type of evidence as the last word, though. In fact, my page on business blogging statistics shows that blogging is alive and well. First, businesses that have a blog enjoy 126% higher lead growth than businesses that don’t blog. For one thing, content marketing is a major source of leads. By having a blog, these businesses can offer value to customers.
WordPress, which is the largest blogging platform and content management system, is huge. In fact, 36% of websites are built with WordPress. You can make both blog posts and non-blog pages on a WordPress site, but using this management system typically means there’s a blog somewhere.
Blogs are popular, too. According to experts, 77% of Internet users read a blog every day. Similarly, when someone shares a blog post, it’s intended to help someone 94% of the time. In a nutshell, this means that people find what they read on blogs to be helpful. Is blogging dead if people read blogs so much? I don’t think so.
Here’s the thing: blogs are useful for a lot more than just sharing your thoughts. In fact, 60% of consumers will buy something after they’ve read a blog post on the topic. This can be anything from beauty products to heavy machinery. And, even though social media has become a major opportunity to express ourselves, we still love our blogs. A whopping 23% of social media posts have at least one blog link. These linked posts come from influencers with sponsorships, as well as from ordinary readers.
If Blogging Isn’t Dead, Is It Still Relevant?
From the statistics above, it’s clear that the answer to “is blogging dead” is a resounding no. One of the biggest reasons for this is the huge variety of information one can find in blogs. For instance, if you are shopping for a new credit card then there are several huge blogs devoted to this subject. We also know of several blogs where the current health crisis is discussed by doctors and scientists. Not only are these doctors providing valuable information, but that info is uncensored by the press.
What’s the lesson here? As long as people look for information on the internet there will be a demand for blogs. All it takes for a blog to be relevant is the author providing timely information that people can trust. With a million Americans searching for “keto diet” each month, it’s easy to see how a blog dedicated to food and keto diets would be popular. The best part of it is that people writing blog posts on this topic are everyday people.
What Kind of Blogs Make Money?
Only when we understand the economics of blogging can we understand the answer to is blogging dead. In fact, blogging can be very profitable. This helps ensure that, so long as blogging remains relevant, it will survive.
Blogs that can attract advertising dollars
Like most forms of media, blogs make money when they can attract customers for monetization. The most basic way to do this, and the one which most bloggers try first, is selling advertising. You can sell advertising on your blog by using services like Google AdSense. A similar revenue source is affiliate marketing, where you post a link and get a commission whenever people make certain purchases through that link.
Then, there are bloggers that use more complicated methods for monetizing their content. One way is with sponsorships. Here, a brand will pay the blogger to create a custom blog post, typically their product or service. Finally, some bloggers sell their own products and services. Sometimes this is because the blog itself is corporate. Or they might be using their blog as a form of content marketing for professional services. A small number of bloggers might even have their own product line, usually started after the blog gets big.
Blogs that have excellent content and help people solve their problems
People generally linger on blogs that have high-quality content. This is true, even if the blog has a largely noncommercial topic like politics or religion. People who ask “is blogging dead” typically are thinking about the hard-to-find jumble of words that were many early blogs. On the other hand, high-quality content that keeps people coming back will probably make money.
Blog content should naturally attract readers interested in purchasing related products and services whether they are yours are ads
Even types of blogs with a largely noncommercial feel can benefit from monetization. For instance, religious blogs often attract people who buy religious books, listen to religious music, and enjoy religious gifts. Chances are, the creators of these blogs can get advertising dollars for these products. Some publishers might even sponsor a book review or provide a free copy of the book. In my case, I make money off the blog both with advertising and selling my services. Any professional blogger can do this at some level.
How do I start a blog with no money?
Some people who ask is blogging dead assume it’s dead because of the perceived cost. Hosting your website costs money, and over time these fees add up. However, blogs start small, and by the time they’re big there’s usually enough money coming in to make a profit. With that in mind, here are some budget blogging tools to help you get started blogging.
Starting a blog is relatively easy on WordPress.com. This is the for-profit version of WordPress, and you will pay them a yearly fee to use it. In addition, the owners of the site might place their ads on your part of the website. Depending on your plan choices, you may or may not be able to use a dedicated web address. Instead, the less expensive plans are formatted as yoursite.wordpress.com. This is similar to the way Blogger assigns addresses.
Another challenge with WordPress.com is that you are more limited in how you can use the software. Here, you’ll have few options for your own branding. Most plugins can’t be used on the dot com version, either. Finally, SEO options are very limited.
On the other hand, WordPress.com is one way to start blogging with minimal effort. They take care of all the site maintenance, hosting, and security. All you have to do is write killer content. Just keep in mind that if your blog is successful you may well outgrow these capabilities. Overall, this is a good fixed-price way to spread your message.
The nonprofit version of WordPress includes all the open-source functionalities. You get a large number of themes, which are used for branding and customization. In addition, your options for monetization and SEO are almost unlimited. People wondering is blogging dead may not realize that these highly agile websites are, in fact, blogs.
With that said, there’s a tradeoff. You’ll have to load WordPress onto your own domain name, do the security yourself, and deal with hosting. This is a bit more work, but it’s still inexpensive: Domains start at $10 per year, and web hosting at $5 monthly. Overall, you’re looking at $70 per year to start, which is minimal.
Armed with some form of web domain and hosting, you’re ready to blog. This is a time-consuming task, but any form of content creation requires resources. Especially if you’re talking about your professional expertise, much of the content will come naturally. Hobbyists, of course, have fun. Your time is worth much more than any services you must purchase.
Why Do Blogs Fail?
Many people asking is blogging dead pose this question for one reason: a lot of blogs fail. In fact, the internet has a lot of dead blogs out there. However, this is like so many other things: not every blogger runs their blog to last. With that in mind, these are the common causes of blog failure:
The author didn’t niche down
Simply put, blogs need a specific niche. Not only is the niche needed to attract readers, but it is needed to keep those readers. People tend not to hang out on blogs that are a random mishmash of information. They also will avoid blogs that look too much like they’re trying to copy everyone under the sun. Don’t be a “jack of all trades and master of none.”
The blogger didn’t do market research
Seeing what other people are doing with their blogs is invaluable. It helps the author fine-tune their niche, and it helps them see what’s successful. Learning from other people is a valuable tool in business. Then, you can work towards producing better content than they have.
Lack of keyword research
Generally speaking, people don’t “stumble on” blogs. Rather, they look for certain topics and ask specific questions. Keyword research helps a blogger answer these challenges.
Failure to do SEO
Even with keywords, it can be hard for blogs to show up on search engines. For this reason, it’s important for bloggers to use SEO tools. The maxim that people rarely go past the first page of search engine results isn’t always accurate, but you still want to place well. It’s the best way to increase blog discovery.
Author quit too soon
No matter what you do, it takes time to develop a following. Some bloggers don’t have the patience and quit before their readership gets large enough to monetize. As with starting a business, the early stages take a lot of work.
Blogger isn’t passionate about the topic
At the end of the day, if you aren’t passionate enough about your topic you’ll probably give up. Blogging takes time, and if this time is taking you away from something you enjoy more, it’s tempting to quit. This is one reason why you should be careful about your chosen niche.
Got bogged down in technical issues
That’s why I HIGHLY recommend you consider subscribing to a WordPress maintenance service.
With so many changes in how ideas are traded online, asking is blogging dead seems legitimate. After all, trends come and go. Plus, it’s sometimes hard to understand how blogging is paid for. However, from what we’ve discussed above it is clear that blogging is here to stay. If anything, it’s just matured into a more useful medium.
If you’re still not convinced, check out fellow blogger Konrad Sander’s take on Are Blogs Still Relevant Today?
What do you think? Do YOU think blogging is dead?
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash