After a lifetime of blogging, it’s important to share the truth.
Blogging is hard.
I’m a full-time, 6-figure blogger. Well, a content creator might be a better way to summarize what I do. I create content in the form of written blogs, Youtube videos, webinars, courses, emails, and social media.
Blogging has gotten much harder over the year. I’m referring to the written blog. Back in the day, when AOL was shouting “You’ve Got Mail”, blogging was easy.
Back in The Day
We could write 300-500 words in broken English even, ripe with written spelling, and poor grammar, and rank #1 if put our keyword in enough times. And since social media was basically a bulletin board and private messages, the influence wasn’t yet “a thing”.
I owned my niche.
I had a catering company and blogged about all things event planning. Google ate it up. And while I wasn’t trying to monetize a website with ads or affiliate income, I generated enough business to keep my team of 10 full-time employees, and a couple of dozen part-time employees very busy.
Surprisingly, though, the majority of businesses found blogging to be pointless. That was excellent news for me since it meant I had less competition.
Honestly, I didn’t even have to be very good at it.
How Blogging Has Changed
As people began gravitating to the search engines, once everyone had internet (Yeah, I lived before the internet), search became valuable.
They went to Yahoo or Google (or one of the many other engines that rose and fell during that era) if they needed to learn how to locate anything, do anything, or learn something.
Suddenly, businesses started catching on, and everyone was starting to hit publish. Back then, it was quantity over quality, and freshness mattered.
To be a successful blogger, we blogged nearly every day, although, with 500-word posts, it didn’t take all that long.
Spellcheck wasn’t a frequently used tool like it is now.
Websites were ugly, they were slow to load, and the blog looked like a huge wall of text. And, nobody cared.
Even then, brick phones were still in use, and it would be a while before mobile phones became powerful enough to read the material.
And then, there they were.
Everyone in the United States had a phone. Blogs suddenly had to load faster, look better, and the “user experience” was becoming more important.
The search engines became more intelligent, and there was plenty of material for Google to choose from. It began to be selective.
Bloggers began “optimizing” their content for the search engines, and now SEO was a purposeful project.
Writers couldn’t be writers, they had to be computer geniuses, now too.
With the competitive environment, search engines began to seek topical authority in order to rank sites more effectively.
Experts in the area they write about became important.
Keyword stuffing was ejected, and long-form content creation was adopted.
With improvements in technology, websites got prettier. And so did the blog posts within them. (Thank God!).
With time, blogs became more than written content. They were now showcasing images, audio, and video.
And with the onset of Page Builders, blogs became full-blown, beautiful, lead-capturing websites.
And the market became saturated.
Add in video blogs and social media, and the entire game changed.
Why Bloggers Fail
The reason blogging works for me, I think, is because I’m always open to reinvention. I hone my skills and show up every day. All-day. (Except when I’m taking 2 months off to buy a house.)
The truth is, bottom line, I’m disciplined. In fact, I didn’t want to write this blog today. Well, THIS blog was inspired, but I didn’t want to blog at all today. I was tired from yesterday’s 7000 words, and the two videos I made this morning.
I made a green salad, grabbed a fresh cup of coffee, and sat down to accomplish today’s goal.
Now, I’m happy. I feel accomplished. And I don’t care if it fails. It doesn’t matter. It can fall within the 80% or 20%, and either is OK because I get the law of averages. (I talk more about that in a bit).
Bloggers Fail because:
- They aren’t disciplined enough to do the work.
- They don’t master the skills.
- When things stop working, so do they.
- They get lazy.
- They get distracted.
- They get bored.
- They give up.
- They aren’t willing to fail until they succeed.
Most bloggers failed out when times changed because it got hard, it stopped working, and they stopped showing up.
I’ve seen a lot of fuss on Medium about the recent changes in how writers make money. I’ve read about publications changing, mass exits, and writers who lost their income “overnight”.
Yet, I also see success story after success story about people who are pivoting and figuring it out.
There will always be people that figure it out.
80% of what I create, fails. That’s right. Only 20% of what I create makes any money, ranks on the search engines, gets video views, earns clicks, etc.
And that’s the 80/20 rule that applies just about everywhere.
So, I have to be OK with knowing that 80% of my efforts are going right down the toilet. And I am.
Because that 20% earns me 6-figures, and I can stay at home in pajamas with my cat. Yes, that’s my life by design, and I love it.
I’m willing to fail until I succeed, as long as I have a proven model.
When Blogging Works
So what does it really take to be a blogger heading into 2022?
A great niche. I listened to a video this morning that talked about the best niches for websites based on profitability, and revenue.
Among the top were the spiritual niche, lifestyle blogs, and finance.
Yet, these are also 3 of the most competitive niches in the space. Therefore, someone who takes on a top niche must be knowledgeable, passionate, and active in the project.
The alternative is to have the funds to outsource everything required for the blog, including writers, social media managers, SEO specialists, website developers/designers, and so on.
Blogging works best when the blogger is an authority in the niche or has access to experts in the industry.
A growing factor is having a recognizable brand. Google is rewarding bloggers that earn direct traffic. Direct traffic comes from a non-referring URL, which means the user is probably typing in the domain name directly.
We see more and more “brands” taking over the blogging space. This is why Youtube offers so many opportunities.
It’s also easier to blog on Youtube as far as gaining connections. It’s harder to find blog followers, and easier to gain subscribers. That’s true, at least, for certain niches.
Personally, I believe the days of building niche websites and hiring writers to create all of the content, are numbered.
With machine learning software being used to write or rewrite on almost every subject, it’s getting simpler to create mass content.
The average joe blogger is going to struggle.
The bloggers that will succeed in the long term, are likely to build a brand, have coordinating social media channels like Pinterest, Youtube, and TikTok. They are trusted in their space, and their influence is authority.
Bloggers like me, that focus mostly on search engines, will have to focus on long-form, comprehensive content. We will need to build contact lists, social groups, and create communities.
You’ll see us cross platforms, a lot.
Where it comes to making a living, blogging is hard. It just is. But for bloggers that are willing to apply discipline, master skills, and create a brand, there is a world of opportunity.
The lazy days of blogging are behind us, and influencers are taking the lead. Search is competitive but open to all of us.
It’s time to get up, do the job, and perform it well. And those who achieve, receive substantial rewards.