While influencers on social media channels and YouTube channels rage on about how blogging is dead and ask rhetorical questions (for them, at least) like “Is blogging worth it?”, bloggers continue to create successful outlets for their creativity, make money, and help millions of people.
Blogging is far from over. In fact, it’s a great time to start blogging. Your words have the potential to reach billions of people, all for free. Google rewards good content, and this still applies to small players in the blogging world. If you build it, they will come.
In late 2021, NerdWallet, a blog about personal finance filed for IPO with a valuation of $5 Billion. That's billion, folks. According to TechCrunch, this filing shows how valuable high-margin content businesses really are. Empire Flippers, a marketplace for websites, is selling millions of dollars' worth of assets every day. Many of these websites are nothing more than blogs, albeit blogs with huge traffic numbers.
Social Is Fickle And Fleeting
The best way to get noticed on Facebook is to be a complete douchebag. There’s nothing that Facebook likes better than outrage. The key to Instagram is to be good looking. Bikinis and abs help. A lot. TikTok is, well, TikTok.
When the board of directors of a billion-dollar social media network decides to cut off your life support, there’s nothing you can do about it.
Stories of entire businesses (albeit fleeting ones) built on the rented grounds of social media platforms being destroyed in an instant are much more common that you think. Social media gurus selling their Facebook courses don’t talk about the losers. The losers no longer have a platform so they are suddenly quiet. When the board of directors of a billion-dollar social media network decides to cut off your life support, there’s nothing you can do about it. The focus of those board meetings is how to generate more profit for the platform, not for your business.
Despite Some People's Advice – Starting a Blog is still a great business model
I recently listened to the Nomad On Fire podcast with the great travel blogger Gary Arndt, where Gary talked about how starting a blog now was a waste of time. He wouldn't recommend it because social media, video and audio are the way to go these days.
Next up on my podcast app was an episode by That Remote Life, an excellent digital nomad and entrepreneurship podcast. Host Mitko interviewed Alex Azoury, who started a coffee blog and sold it for over a million dollars. A blog, based purely on SEO, potentially made Azoury a millionaire.
What struck me was the juxtaposition of the two views. Blogging is a bad idea in 2021 but people are still selling blogs for millions in 2021.
Google’s An Algorithm Too
But Google’s an algorithm and blogs rely on this algorithm, so isn’t this just as bad as the social media networks?
That’s a good point. And yes, Google’s search algorithm is one of the most powerful in the world at the moment. It delivers information to billions of people every day. A slight tweak in the matrix and different (potentially conflicting, wrong, or dangerous) information could be delivered to millions of people instead of the real “answer” to their question.
Email Lives – Long Live Email
But with your own blog. You’ve got more options for communicating with your audience. Email marketing, often derided by fans of chatbots and whatever new tech is storming the charts, is still a powerful way of talking to your fans or followers. And it doesn’t have to be a one-sided conversation.
Email is asynchronous but designed for conversations online. The people on your list can write to you with their questions, concerns, ideas (and offers of money).
Your email list is one of your most powerful marketing channels. But email lists are ignored because they're not sexy. It's not new. Marketers have written every angle on the topic. What's next? Oh, look at this shiny object called TikTok……
The Death Of Facebook Organic
Facebook was once a fairly novel idea (although I never really took to it) that had the basic goal of getting the world on a platform where it would be easy to share ideas and keep in touch. So much easier than remembering email addresses, phone numbers and other details about your “friends”.
Facebook is pay-to-play for businesses, entrepreneurs, and creators
My friends know how to find me. If they don’t, they’re not really my friends. That’s how I see it. I’ve been “friended” on Facebook many times over the years and the conversation stopped there. I’d be expecting some interesting banter or nugget of information from this person I haven’t spoken to in years. Nothing comes. They “friend” me and leave it at that. So what’s the point? The point is, these people aren’t worth having in your list of contacts. They add nothing more than clutter to your life.
Facebook is pay-to-play for businesses, entrepreneurs, and creators. If you want people to know about your latest products, blog posts, and news, you’ll have to spend money on Facebook Ads to reach even the people that follow your business page. Trying to reach people organically through sharing on a Facebook business page is a fool’s errand. In fact, I suggest that businesses forget about it completely and focus their energies on other channels.
What about YouTube?
YouTube videos are another form of blogging, albeit a visual one. Some people prefer to watch videos, others prefer to read. I’ll always be in the second camp. And there will always be people that prefer the written to the spoken word. One look at Google Trends data shows that the interest in starting a blog is weaning and the number of searches for “start a YouTube channel” has caught up with “how to start a blog” in Google.
Just Do It! Start a blog!
I'll admit that personal blogs are hard to grow. In fact, I don't recommend starting a personal blog if you're goal is the monetize through affiliate marketing or display ads. A successful blog is anything you want it to be. You set your own goals. But in today's digital marketing world, getting blog traffic to a personal site is hard. A better bloging strategy is to create a blogging platform that helps people. Answer questions, create helpful guides, build your email newsletter list, grow a profitable blog that you can leverage for other projects.
Blogs are a beautiful thing. It’s a place on the internet that is completely controlled by you. Even if Google was to, one day, stop sending you traffic, as long as people know your website URL or even part of it, they will find you. Links from other websites, mentions of your blog in emails and messages will all send visitors to blog posts, your pieces of land on the World Wide Web.
A blog can be a place to express yourself in short form or long form. With images or with video. In multiple styles without limitations. You have complete control over your world. Start a blog!