In this post, I'm going to answer the question "is blogging still relevant".
Over the last few weeks, I have had some discussions with people regarding my last post about earning money by starting a blog.
They thought that it's useless to start a blog in 2020.
This is why I did some research (purely out of pettiness) to find out if you can still be successful if you start a blog in 2020.
My hope is that this will become your go-to post if you ever need to convince people of the value of blogging.
I'm going to show you some history, data, and tactics for blogging in 2020 after that you can form your conclusion.
The State Of Blogging in 2020 + Infographic
Let's start with the most simple question do people still read blogs in 2020.
The fact that you're reading this proves that you still read blogs but that doesn't mean others are so let's take a look at some research to see what we can come up with.
It is estimated by Hubspot that Google gets around 70.000 search queries per second. A big part of the search queries are questions that lead to blogs that answer these questions.
If you look at Google Trends, you'll notice that the term "blogging" was mostly trending between 2005 and 2008 and after that, it started to decline.
Looking at it at face value it wouldn't be weird to conclude that blogging is dead but a lot of statistics say something different. Even in 2020 a lot of businesses are getting a positive ROI on blogging.
According to a study done by Demand Metric, even in 2020 60% of people purchase a product after reading about it in a blog post.
Blog posts are also among the most shared content online in 2020.
Here's an infographic showing more precise stats of the state of blogging in 2020.
Just because the terms around blogging aren't trending doesn't mean that the act of blogging isn't relevant anymore. For example, right now podcasting is trending.
If you look up the term "how to start a podcast" in Google Trends you see a huge search but when you look it up on Google you'll mostly see blog posts talking about how to start a podcast.
Judging from my keywordplanner these blogposts get a huge amount of traffic.
Sidenote: AVG stands for the average amounts of searches for specific keyword.
While the subject blogging isn't popular anymore, blogging itself as an activity is still insanely popular.
What has changed in blogging?
A lot has changed in the blogging industry over the years and it's important to keep up with trends. Where it used to be relatively easy to get traffic to your website it has become harder.
This has happened because of two reasons:
1. The number of competing blogs
In 2019 a study was done to find out how many blog posts are created every day. 4.4 million blog posts are created across all content management every day.
2. People crave high-quality in-depth content
It's search engines their job to present their users with the best content so it's only natural that they're going to give the content with the highest quality the most exposure.
The fact that search engines do results in bloggers having to raise their standards when it comes to content creation.
What blogging practices don’t work in 2020
Picking a broad niche
This is a mistake that I see a lot of people make that haven't done enough research when it comes to starting a blog.
In the early days of blogging, you pick a broad niche like fitness, fashion, dating, and that would be enough to create a relevant blog but nowadays there are just too many blogs that cater to the broader niches.
To succeed you're going to have to narrow down your niche to a specific sub-group that isn't getting catered to that much.
Fewer people might be part of that niche but the chances of them being exposed to your content are that much higher.
Instead of Fitness, you can narrow it down to weight loss and if that isn't narrow enough you could narrow it down even more to weightloss for physically disabled people.
You can keep doing that until you find a sub-niche with a good balance between how many people are in that niche and how many blogs you're competing with.
Treating your blog like a diary
With the emergence of YouTube, the art of lifestyle blogging has become a dying art. The emergence of vlogging has taken over that niche.
This doesn't mean nobody is reading blogs anymore they just aren't reading them for entertainment purposes.
Studies have shown that a large part of the traffic of successful bloggers still comes from search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
People use Google more for educational purposes than entertainment purposes which mean just blogging about how your day was doesn't give you a high chance of succeeding in 2020.
While it's important to be consistent just relying on mass posting isn't going to get you anywhere unless you have found a unicorn-like popular but not competitive niche.
There was a time where if you just put out content eventually you'd get noticed.
With competition rising every day the chance of this strategy working is very small.
Believe it or not, before 2003 it was possible to get a lot of traffic in the craziest ways.
There wasn't that much competition and Search Engines weren't at the level that they could determine how good the user experience of a website is as they are now.
A lot of people just started keyword stuffing their content to get ranked. The problem with keyword stuffing is that it lowers the quality of your content and thus the user experience.
On November 16, 2003, Google changed its algorithm for ranking content and introduced the Florida update.
This update prevents websites that keyword stuffing their content from getting ranked on the first page of Google.
You just need to a find a specific keyword and put it in the 5 places it work the best and you're fine.
Authority websites linking to your website have been a ranking signal for a long time. In the past, people would get creative with how they'd get those links.
People would create multiple websites and have them link to each other, pay for backlinks, do excessive reciprocal linking, and more.
In 2005, Google started to exclude websites that did these kinds of things when they introduced the Jagger update. Ever since then they have been refining how they find websites that do these things.
What blogging practices do work in 2020
Quality Pillar Content instead of quantity
I've said this earlier but let me repeat it because it's important. People that search for content on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines often crave in-depth quality content.
There are a lot of statistics that show that most successful bloggers create what is called pillar content. In-depth quality content that's often somewhere around the +2000 words.
Source: Here's what we learned about SEO
Source: Orbit Media Study
Pillar content is often made in the form of how to's, guides, and ebooks.
While content with fewer words is still effective depending on the quality I'd advise the moment you're at the point that you're able to create pillar content to double down on it.
Some advice I got when I just started is to see creating pillar content as a never-ending project. It might start as a simple short post but the more you learn, the more context you add to the content.
Strategical Internal linking
Internal linking is heavily underestimated in getting your website to rank.
It's not a direct ranking factor but it has been stated on the Google webmasters blog that a good internal linking strategy plays a huge factor in getting your pages (this includes blog posts) indexed correctly and ranked on Google.
Make sure your link architecture is set-up right so you don't get "orphan pages" that aren't connected to other pages and as a result can't be found by Google.
Internal links will also help with spreading the "link juice" from the page you have with backlinks to those that don't and as a result, give them a higher chance to rank high on Google.
While I'm personally not a fan of guest posting I can't deny that it's a great way to get your name out there.
It's also a method you can use to get high authority websites to link back to your website by putting a link in the author box under your guest post.
In terms of building links nowadays, guest posting falls in the grey hat area. Google has already stated that guest posting if not done by Google's guidelines can be seen as a violation that can have consequences.
Here’s an excerpt with Google's stance on the misuse Guest posting.
Although it's time-consuming, I have seen a lot of people get great results by focusing on guest posting.
Influencer marketing can be very effective when it comes to blogging. Influencer Marketing Statistics have proven that the ROI of influencer marketing 11x higher than traditional digital marketing.
While it's very effective according to search engine journal it's still considered as paid traffic and therefore links used must be no-follow ( this means these links won't contribute to you ranking higher on Google).
That being said, you can still build a large email list that you can market your future content too.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing has become a popular alternative for people that don't want to spend too much time on ranking their content.
A big player when it comes to blog promotion is Pinterest.
A lot of people think that Pinterest is just a social media platform that you can post pictures on.
Pinterest is more like a graphic search engine. There are a lot of bloggers that optimize the pins they place on Pinterest and attach links to their blog posts.
it's a very effective method to get traffic to your blog if done correctly.
Pinterest won't help you raise your domain authority on search engines such as Google but it can bring in a huge amount of traffic and that's the end goal.
A lot of beginning bloggers use Pinterest because while they do SEO for their blog since it takes a while to get any traffic doing SEO.
So is blogging still effective?
I showed you:
- the history of how search engine algorithms changed blogging.
- the emergence of social media platforms effected blogging.
- 2020 statistics about blogging.
- how you can create a successful blog in 2020.
I'm interested to hear your take on blogging in 2020.
Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
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