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Blogging has been one of the most popular ways to make money online for years, but changes in the way users consume content have led many people to wonder, is blogging dead?
Five or ten years ago, if you were looking for a way to make money online, you were sure to run into many people telling you to start a blog. Today, blogging seems to have lost some of its appeal due to the growing popularity of YouTube channels, podcasts, and social media influencers.
I started my first blog in 2007 and I’ve been running my own blogs and websites full-time since 2008 (currently, I own a few different blogs). Over the years, there have been countless changes and transitions. The process of growing and running a profitable blog in 2007 or 2008 is almost completely unrecognizable today. The social networks are different, Google’s algorithm and policies have changed drastically, and the approach needed to grow an audience has evolved.
Despite all of the changes, blogging is not dead in 2022. The process of growing a successful blog is much different than it was just a few years ago, but the opportunity is still there. In fact, I believe the payoff for becoming a successful blogger is better than ever (more on that below).
It’s true that personal blogs have mostly gone out of style in recent years. Social networks have replaced blogs as the ideal way to share or consume personal content. But for the purposes of this article, we’re looking at blogs that are started for the purpose of earning income.
The State of Blogging in 2022
There are more than 600 million blogs online in 2022. With a total of 1.9 billion websites in existence, blogs account for about 32% of all websites today. And those blogs publish about 6 million posts per day.
Okay, so lots of blogs exist. But that doesn’t prove that they’re still effective today.
Studies show that anywhere from 60% to 80% of people (depending on the study) read blogs on a daily basis. Those numbers prove that blogs are still relevant, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the real statistics are actually higher than these numbers.
As we’ll talk about later in this article, many blogs today do not look or feel like the blogs of years past. In fact, many people arrive at a blog through a Google search or a link on social media and don’t realize they’re reading a blog. They see it as an article and may not consider it a blog post. If that’s the case, the stats on blog readership are probably understated.
Blogging is still an effective way to reach your audience, and people are still reading blogs. Yes, video content is more popular than it used to be, but people are consuming much more online content every year. There’s still a need for text-based content, and people are still reading it. Plus, you can integrate videos into your blog to supplement the written content.
The Evolution of Blogging
There’s no doubt that blogging has changed drastically over the years. Here are some of the specific ways that blogging today is different than it’s been in years past.
Quality Over Quantity
Blogging has always been about content, but the bar has been raised in terms of what’s considered helpful content. I cringe when I go back and look at the content I published years ago. Even the posts that did extremely well and attracted thousands of visitors are downright embarrassing by today’s standards.
Google demands higher quality content today if you want to rank at the top of the search results. As an example, they’ve made significant changes to their algorithm specifically for product review content. Blogs and websites that want to rank well for their product reviews must go in-depth and show Google that they’ve really done thorough research and testing.
It’s not just Google that demands quality content. Social platforms like Facebook and Pinterest are also constantly evolving and trying to find new ways to showcase only the best content shared by users. And of course, today’s blog readers expect content to be useful and worthy of their valuable time.
The amount or quantity of content a blog publishes will always have some impact on the amount of traffic the site gets. A blog with 1,000 posts has more opportunities to attract traffic than a blog with 100 posts.
But now more than ever, quality trumps quantity when it comes to content marketing. Bloggers are better off dedicating the time needed to create one high-quality post as opposed to creating three low-quality posts.
The Importance of User Experience
User experience continues to become an increasingly significant factor for blogs (as well as other types of websites). Today, it’s absolutely critical that blogs are mobile-friendly so the content can be accessed from any device.
Page load speeds are also more important than they’ve ever been. Visitors have always been impatient and likely to click away if a page is loading too slowly, but now it’s also a factor that can impact search engine rankings. Google uses core web vitals as one of many factors in its algorithm. If your blog loads quickly and provides a positive user experience, it may help you to get more Google traffic.
Shifting Trends in Social Media
When I started blogging in 2007, the popular social media platforms for bloggers were Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and Reddit. Reddit is the only one that’s still relevant today.
The most popular social networks today include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. These platforms are ideal for connecting with other users, including people who may be readers of your blog.
Digg, StumbleUpon, and Delicious were all more appropriate and effective for sharing free content than they were for connecting with other users. As a result, they were excellent sources of blog traffic. My first blog got loads of traffic from social media. In fact, I don’t think it would have ever gotten off the ground, and I doubt I would have ever become a professional blogger had it not been for the traffic I got from social media.
Social media has also impacted the type of content that’s published on blogs. Years ago, the average blog post was much shorter than it is today. Individuals and companies would use blog posts to share news or post short announcements. Today, these types of posts are typically shared through social media rather than on blogs.
Growth of Video Content
The demand for video content has increased drastically over the last decade. That’s a big part of the reason why more people are starting YouTube channels or social media profiles instead of starting a blog to make money. However, the rise of video content doesn’t mean that text-based content is irrelevant or dying.
There’s still plenty of demand for written content, and the truth is, video content can be used alongside written blog content. You can embed YouTube videos with your blog posts to support the written content, or even create your own videos. Many YouTube channels exist as an extension of a blog or website instead of a replacement for a blog or website.
Goodbye to Blog Comments
One of the biggest changes I’ve seen in my years of blogging is related to reader comments. Years ago, the conversation between readers and the blogger was an important part of most blogs. But over the years, comments became more and more infrequent.
Today, many blogs (including all of my own) no longer include a comments section. I remember when Copyblogger removed comments in 2014. They were ahead of the curve in realizing that communication on social media was replacing blog comments.
Sure, some blogs still have very active comments sections, but they’re in the minority. Most blogs today either have no comments section, or they accept comments, but most posts have no comments at all.
Updating Old Content
Years ago, the thought of updating old blog posts seemed weird and pointless. Very few bloggers ever updated posts aside from fixing errors or broken links.
Today, for existing blogs that have a decent amount of content, updating and improving old posts is every bit as important as writing and publishing new content. Sometimes the updates are minor, and other times it might involve completely re-writing an article that’s outdated. It can also involve deleting posts that are no longer relevant.
Google wants to see content that’s fresh and up-to-date. Keeping your posts relevant, especially those that generate the majority of your traffic, is key to building a successful blog today.
There’s no doubt that growing a successful blog is harder today than it was in 2007 when I first started. With many more blogs online and more businesses investing in content marketing, there’s more competition for attention and Google rankings. The truth is, you need to be better to have success today. That may sound discouraging, but the next point is equally important, and it will make you feel better.
While it’s harder to build a successful blog today, the payoff is higher than it’s ever been, and there are several reasons for that:
- Today’s ad networks like Mediavine and AdThrive are very good. You can make more money from less traffic than you could with Google AdSense or the advertising options that were around ten years ago.
- There are more affiliate programs out there for monetizing your site, and the income potential from affiliate marketing is higher than it used to be.
- There are more (and better) resources for selling your own products, creating landing pages and sales funnels, and automating email marketing. A few years ago, I ran a blog that was primarily monetized by selling digital products. I switched to ThriveCart for handling the checkout and immediately doubled my revenue thanks to features like high-converting checkout pages, order bumps, and upsells. Other resources like ConvertKit, Podia, and Teachable make it easier to effectively monetize a blog than ever before.
- More and more brands are looking for bloggers and influencers to publish sponsored content or participate in brand partnerships. This can lead to a significant boost in revenue for the blogger.
- If/when you go to sell your blog, valuations are higher than they were in years past. There are more individuals and businesses looking to buy blogs and content-based sites, and that’s driven the prices higher. Several years ago, you might be able to sell a blog for 24-30 months’ worth of profit. Today, it’s not unusual for a blog to sell for 40 months or more of profit. That’s a huge difference that can have a major impact on your long-term financial situation.
My Approach to Blogging in 2022
My approach with my blogs today is much different than it was five or ten years ago. You may have heard or read about “niche websites“, another common way of making money online. These content-based websites are very similar to blogs, but traditionally, there have been some distinct differences.
In my opinion, many of the successful blogs today (including my own) are being run more like niche websites than traditional blogs. What does that mean? Well, here are some of the details that have changed in my approach.
Very Tight Focus
Some bloggers publish content on a wide range of topics. I’ve always tried to keep my blogs focused on specific topics, but that’s more true today than it’s ever been.
Every Post Has a Purpose
I don’t publish content simply because I need something new to publish. And I don’t write articles just because I feel like writing about a topic. Each blog article must have a specific purpose. It may be written to target a specific keyword for search traffic, to mention or promote an affiliate product, to attract links, or some other specific purpose.
Over the past two years, I’ve done full site audits on a few older blogs and it’s astounding how much of the old content lacks a real purpose. Now, I aim to avoid that by ensuring that each post has a specific purpose before it’s written.
Every Post Must Be High-Quality
Since the quality of content is so important to Google and to readers, I want to ensure that I’m only publishing quality content. If a post feels like it’s low-quality, I’ll either improve it before it’s published or scrap the idea altogether. I don’t want to add any low-quality content to my sites.
I Prioritize Organic Search Traffic
Search traffic has always been important, but in the past, I’ve also dedicated a lot of time and effort to social media and clickthrough traffic from inbound links. Today, I focus almost exclusively on search traffic.
Yes, there’s some risk in not diversifying, but I’ve found that other traffic generation efforts haven’t paid off as well in the past, so I’m putting my focus on what’s generated results for me.
Focusing on search traffic involves creating high-quality content and keeping existing content updated, which ultimately results in a better website.
Social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest are still useful for generating traffic, but I feel like they’re more temperamental than Google. Of course, Google updates its algorithm frequently and it’s very common for blogs and websites to experience decreases in search traffic. But Facebook and Pinterest are on another level in terms of volatility.
I’m not saying it’s unwise to focus on social media, but with limited time to run multiple blogs, I’m choosing to focus on what’s generated the best results for me.
I Do Extensive Keyword Research
Several years ago, I did very little keyword research. Now, keyword research is a major part of my content strategy.
There are a lot of different keyword tools out that, but I mostly use KWFinder. I say “mostly” because I do use and try other tools from time to time, but KWFinder is the only one I pay for month in and month out.
My goal is to find keywords that people are actively searching for, although the search volume doesn’t have to be extremely high. I also look for low levels of competition, but I’m willing to target more competitive keywords if I think the content will be a valuable addition to my site. KWFinder helps me to do that without spending countless hours digging through reports.
I Assume Most Visitors Are First-Time Readers
This is a subtle change that most people probably wouldn’t notice, but it’s a complete 180 from the way I used to write blog content.
Since most of the traffic across all of my blogs comes from search engines (Google), the majority of people reading my posts have never been on my site before.
In my early days of blogging, I wrote posts for regular readers and subscribers. This is common among blogs, but not common with niche websites. If you’re writing for repeat visitors, you’re assuming readers know something about you or are familiar with your site and the existing content that’s already been published.
If you’re writing for new visitors, you’re not assuming that readers are familiar with your personal story, and you’re not assuming they know anything about the other content you’ve written. It takes away a bit of the personal feel of a blog, but it’s far more useful for new visitors because they don’t feel like they’ve stumbled onto something unfamiliar.
No Concerns About Post Timing
In the past, I tried to publish at regular intervals. For example, I might aim to publish two new posts per week: one on Monday and another on Thursday. Maybe I didn’t always hit those exact days, but the content was still spread out.
This goes back to the point about writing for subscribers and existing readers. I didn’t want to publish content too quickly because it would be hard for regular readers to keep up. And I didn’t want long gaps that would frustrate people who come to the site frequently.
Today, I publish content whenever it’s ready to publish. I might publish three new posts in one day, or there might be ten days between posts. Generally, I don’t try to spread it out. Instead, I just want to get it published as soon as it’s ready.
How to Have Success with Your Blog in 2022 and Beyond
In summary, here are my recommendations for how to keep your blog relevant and have success with making money:
- Choose your primary topics and stick to them. Personally, I’m not a fan of lifestyle blogs that cover a bunch of different topics. I know some people have success with them, but I believe the odds of success are much higher if you focus on a specific niche or topic.
- Create high-quality content to establish your expertise. Great content is essential if you want to have success blogging today and in the future. Take more time on your content if necessary and publish less if that’s what you need to do to maximize quality.
- Create content with a purpose. Make every blog post count. Think about why you’re writing it, how it will help your readers, and how it will benefit you and your business. Don’t write content just to have something to publish.
- Keep your content up-to-date. This will decrease the amount of content you’re able to publish because you’ll need to dedicate time to updating content, but it’s worth it. You’ll be able to increase the quality of your site overall, and you’ll see that your search traffic increases.
The Truth About Blogging in 2022
Blogging is definitely not dead, but what’s needed to have success has changed over the years. The success rate or percentage of bloggers that actually make money has always been low. In my opinion, that’s mostly because there are so many different ways to grow a blog. With endless possibilities, there’s not really a clear plan to follow, and there’s a lot of room for error.
But if you approach your blog more like a niche website or an authority site, there’s a clear plan to follow and the odds of success are much higher. If you’re looking to learn more about that plan, please see my Guide to Building a Profitable Niche Website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, anywhere from 60% to 80% of people (depending on which study you’re following) still read blogs on a regular basis. The demand for video content has increased, but there’s still plenty of demand for the written word as well.
Yes, blogs are still relevant. A blog is simply a site that publishes written content, and that content can cover any number of topics. As long as the articles are well-written, accurate, and up to date, the blog is still relevant.
There are about 6 million blog posts published every day. Although the demand for video content has somewhat impacted the visibility of written content, there’s still plenty of demand for quality blog content. If you’re concerned about the long-term sustainability of blog content, you can supplement your written content with videos. There’s no reason you can’t do both, and the two actually work very well together.
Yes, it’s worth starting a blog if you’re willing to put in the work that’s needed to have success. If you don’t have the patience to work for several months without making money, blogging is probably not the best option for you. But if you have a long-term focus and some patience, it’s still an ideal online business.
Almost everyone reads blogs, even if they’re not aware of it. Some people may not subscribe to blogs or have favorites that they visit on a regular basis, but anyone who uses a search engine reads blogs when they’re looking for specific information.
Some topics are popular and extremely competitive, but there are also many niche topics that are wide open. Overall, blogging is not oversaturated, but if you’re blogging in a popular niche, you’ll need to find your own unique angle.
Is Blogging Dead? Final Thoughts
Blogging is still a great way to make money online. However, a lot has changed in the past decade and you need to be willing to adapt if you want to have success and earn extra income with your blog.
To have success today, you’ll need to focus on creating better content than other websites and blogs in your niche. That includes creating content with a purpose and updating your posts so they remain relevant and useful.
Is blogging dead? No, it’s not. But it has changed, and it will continue to change. We need to be willing to adapt.
- Web Tribunal: How Many Blogs Are There? We Counted Them All!
- Demand Metric: Content Marketing Infographic
- Hubspot: 40% of People Say They Don’t Read Blogs: Here’s How You Can Still Get on Their Radar