Pack it up everyone! Shut down WordPress and stop sending out checks Amazon Associates and Google AdSense. Didn’t you hear? Blogging is dead.
This sort of headline and topic has been in circulation since early 2010. Each year, people talk about how blogging is dead and you should move on to other forms of marketing. Before it was all about how social media was going to kill off blogging, then it was how YouTube and video creation would make blogging irrelevant.
But a good blog, with great content and high rankings is an incredibly valuable asset. So what is the reality? Is blogging dead? Is it a waste of time to blog? My answer is yes and no. Read on.
Personal Blogging is Dead
Dooce.com is one of the original mommy bloggers and one of the first bloggers to become famous, making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month and landing multiple book deals.
Her writing is smart, funny and brutally transparent. It’s sort of like a real life soap opera. It’s this great writing and drama that drew a massive audience to her blog. It’s this sort of blogging that is dead for most people. Writing about whatever you want, hoping and wishing to build an audience.
Don’t get me wrong, if you feel compelled to write then write. Writers write and I would never want to discourage you from doing what is in you to do. But the overwhelming majority of people who visit my blog want to make money from blogging, and want to know how this business model actually works.
If you’re more interested in creating a personal writing outlet that has readers I would strongly suggest using a platform like Blogger for casual use or better, a subscription platform like Ghost or Substack because casual writing or writing about your passions tends to not lend itself to getting a lot of organic traffic.
Outdated Blogging Advice
I launched DavidUtke.com in 2022. I’ve launched blogs for the last decade and blogging advice you’ll see online is incredibly outdated and often pushed by those who started their blogs 5-10 years ago. What worked in the past does not work today and I want to share with you some common advice that does not work.
- Click bait headlines
- Posting a lot to get a lot of traffic
- Gust posting a lot
- Blogging about your personal life and thoughts
Click bait headlines
With blog posts, your headlines need to be clear and specific. They need to directly relate to what the blog post is about, meet the specific search intent and use specific keyword phrases that people use. If you want to rank a blog post for Bluehost Review for example, you need to create a catchy title that has that specific phrase in it.
Just calling your blog post “Bluehost Review” is not going to cut it. It needs something more like, “Bluehost Review – The Stunning Truth.” At least that second title is more interesting. So as Google has gotten more sophisticated about ranking content for search intent, pure clickbait no longer works with blog posts.
Posting a lot to get traffic
Seth Godin made this type of blogging strategy famous. He originally used a free blogging platform called Type Pad but has since moved on to using WordPress. He has posted a 300 to 600 word blog post every single day for a decade.
That’s a nice writing habit, but it’s not the secret to blogging success. He made the claim that is was this consistency that made his blog popular.
Maybe back in the early 2000’s when blogs were sill a fairly new thing, publishing a lot of content day after day made a difference. But in today’s landscape it’s a waste of time to publish just for publishing’s sake.
Instead, you need to focus on creating helpful, searchable content. Content that has some specific keyword focused so people are able to organically find your content. Because that’s why you blog today. To get search engine traffic that you can convert into product sales or email signups.
Just posting a lot of mediocre content will not help you get search traffic. Quality over volume is the reality for today.
Guest posting (with a caveat)
Gust posting used to be a very powerful strategy for building up authority and your rankings with a website. If you were able to get content on other websites linking back to yours it helped create authority for your website so you would rank more quickly and easily. Today, guest posting is a massive waste of time unless you’re posting on a high traffic, high authority websites.
That means you want to create guest blog posts for big players in your niche where you create for them a 2000 word+ blog post. A link from a trustworthy, content relevant website is much more valuable than a random link from a new blog.
So guest posting does work, it’s just not a lazy man strategy anymore. You’ll need to put tremendous effort into finding, negotiating and creating a high quality piece of content for other websites.
Blogging about your personal life and thoughts
The old idea behind this was to make your blog more personable to help readers connect with you more as a way to help grow your blog. You can and should leverage personal experiences and stories into your blog post when possible, but it should be done in a tactful way where it enhances the content.
People need to know why you have the authority to give advice. But just publishing a bunch of personal updates is not helpful for growing your traffic and may hurt your blog as it’s too off topic. Google likes brands to build an brand around an industry topic.
Blogging Advice for 2022
The reality is that building a high traffic blog is more simple than ever, but not necessarily easier. Instead of blogging about your personal thoughts and opinions (which most likely no one will read). You need to instead focus on keyword research and create content people are actually looking for.
Next, depending on how competitive your topic is will determine if you need to promote your website by getting links from other websites. Link building is always important but it is critical when you are entering a well established market.
In addition, you’ll want to focus well on internal links and getting external links pointing back to specific blog posts on your website. Let’s jump into some blogging advice for 2022 that actually works.
- Quality and quantity
- Focus on the 80/20 rule for publishing
- Go where your audience is
- Don’t pay attention to search volume
- Build a brand with authority
- Email marketing
Quality and quantify
Don’t expect to build a high traffic website without content. Too many get excited about starting a website, publish 11 blog posts and then abandon their project for one reason or another. You need a quantity when starting out or don’t even start a blog.
When starting a blog you first need to get to at least 25 to 30 blog posts just to start getting any amount of traffic. It’s at this point where you’ll be indexed and considered somewhat of a resource on a topic.
From there you’ll want to work to get to around 100 blog posts which should be earning you 500-1000 visitors a day if you are creating searchable content. Maybe even much more than that depending on your niche and ability to keyword research topics.
100 good blog posts is time consuming if you do it yourself and expensive if you’re hiring writers. But if you’re going to blog know that if you do it, do it right.
Long term you’ll want to get over 250 posts. To do that you’ll typically need to focus on the writing yourself by putting in the hours or instead hire writers and and curate content yourself as the business owner.
Focus on the 80/20 Rule for Publishing
The 80/20 rule for publishing means that 80% of the content you put out is going after some phrase you know people are looking for. Don’t waste your time publishing content people are not searching for because that content won’t be found.
The other 20% is for you to round out your website with content that is required for your topic. Sometimes that means creating content that is on a super competitive topic. Other times it means creating content that is not too popular, but your website would not be complete without it.
For example, I have a detailed blog post on how to create a website. That topic is incredibly competitive and my blog post will likely never rank, but this blog would be incomplete without it.
Go where you audience is
Depending on your audience will determine where you spend the most time. Some topics it makes more sense to focus on YouTube with a blog as a secondary traffic source.
Other website topics it may be Pinterest, Facebook and running paid ads to an email list. Again, know your topic and go where your audience is.
In short, I strongly suggest creating SEO optimized blog content, YouTube videos and one additional social media outlet max. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself until you have a team to help you create content across multiple platforms.
Don’t pay attention too much to search volume
You need to create content that people are looking for, but don’t focus too much on search volume so much. As long as people are looking for a specific topic, your piece of content on that topic has the potential to rank for that phrases as well as similar phrases.
Google is sophisticated about indexing and ranking content and driving traffic for multiple search phrases to one piece of content. SEO’s in the past would make a distinction between phrases like “create a website” and “make a website” when in reality the search intent is the same.
Google knows this so you don’t need to stress about search volume per keyword. Just create a quality, best in class piece of content that goes after the main keyword and incorporates and related keywords in it and that content will get traffic for multiple keywords.
Build a brand with authority
Google and other search engines love brands and will rank brands that build trust and authority on a given topic over time. Brands are valuable because over time they will rank well for competitive, valuable keyword topics without much effort.
By creating a brand your goal is to be the authority on a given topic. Instead of creating a website on the best “tea kettles” go after the broader and more useful topic of brewing tea. Brands can take a year or more to build, but it becomes a valuable digital asset long term.
Email marketing is how you turn a blog into a business
Email marketing is something that should be on your radar as on online business owner after you prove to yourself that your idea will work. In general for most bloggers I would recommend focusing on growing your blog to around 500 visitors a day at a minimum before investing into an email list provider.
When you do start email marketing make sure to have a proper funnel setup for lead generation. That means you have a compelling reason to subscribe to your email, you take your visitors to a dedicated “thank you” page and you have some onboarding series of emails setup.
Last, you simply have some sort of purpose or strategy for starting email marketing. You know what products, services and content you want to promote. Don’t go in blind, built out a roadmap for what your goal is with your email list.
Is Blogging Dead?
Blogging is not dead if your intention is to use a blog as a form of content marketing to drive leads, sales, affiliate commissions and subscribers. It’s more effective and simple than ever because Google has gotten more sophisticated at finding and ranking content that deserves to rank.