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Whoa! That’s a scary headline, isn’t it?
The harsh truth is that a lot of blogging is certainly at its end. A lot of old practices and strategies are indeed as dead as an iPhone 5 at the bottom of a swimming pool.
If you continue these practices during the next 5 years, your blogging business is going to die a very slow and boring death.
(Don’t’ worry — we’ll tell you what these specific “bad” practices are!)
But blogging itself is far from dead.
Lauren and I made more than $100,000 in our first year with our health and wellness blog, and now we make that much every month with our blogs.
You can read more about that in our income reports.
We have also helped tons of our people make $1,000 – $10,000/month with their new blogs.
Blogging hasn’t died. It has simply changed from what it used to be, and it’s still changing today. As bloggers, we must continue to evolve with it in order to stay relevant.
I’m going to end with the #1 thing you can do to fail-proof your online business, now and into the future.
Also, if you’re here wondering about whether or not starting a blog is even the right thing for you, check out our podcast episode on the 5 reasons you should be blogging:
Do people still read blogs?
If you’re reading this, you’re likely skeptical about getting started or concerned about your future (or perhaps both).
I get it. Let me show you some facts to help ease some of these concerns.
- There are over 1.5 billion websites on the internet.
- 152 million of those are blogs.
- On average, Google has over 100 billion searches… every month.
- And 77% of Internet users are still reading blogs daily…
That’s a large volume of people reading blog posts. But this is even better when we look at the fact that 70-80% of Google searchers ignore paid ads and focus on blog posts for their answers.
And Google’s search volume continues to grow by 10% per year.
So yeah… I’d say that despite what internet marketer gurus are spouting these days… blogging is definitely still a thing.
Now that you know that blogging is indeed still alive, let’s talk about what parts of blogging are actually dead or quickly dying.
There are some important things you need to know if you plan on starting a blog now or have one that you want to grow in 2021 and beyond.
For our visual learners out there, we also have a video version of this on our YouTube channel:
The Walking Dead: 5 Tactics That Are No Longer Working in Blogging
In no particular order, here are some tactics, hacks, and strategies that are dying or in some cases already dead in the blogosphere.
1. “Clickbait” Headlines
It used to be considered a good idea to use an enticing headline that was so shocking the reader couldn’t help but click through to the article.
You remember them… The ones with giant photos of sharks the look and size of Jaws that would lead to an article about a baby nurse shark that accidentally bumped into a diver.
The ones that would come with a title like “This Floridian thought they were on a routine dive… You’ll never guess what happened next!”
I’m exaggerating a little bit here, but you get the idea.
The problem with clickbait: the headline does not satisfy user intent.
The user intent is the why behind why someone clicks on an article.
You can read more about why it’s so important in our article on blog SEO.
You’re trying to promise something mind-blowing and you generally can’t deliver on that promise. And when that happens, people bounce from your website.
This increase in bounce rate is what is really killing your blog as it signals to Google that your blog is garbage.
As The Verge reported, even Facebook is trying to stop clickbait blog posts from coming up in news feeds.
Why? Simply put, Facebook engineers said, “People tell us they don’t like stories that are misleading, sensational or spammy.”
And this isn’t just in the blogging world. It works the same way with videos in the world of YouTube.
If I title a YouTube video “HOW TO MAKE $30,000 BLOGGING TOMORROW IN YOUR UNDERWEAR,” I’ll get a ton of views.
But I will also get a ton of downvotes because it’s not completely accurate. YouTube will see these downvotes and show my new videos to fewer and fewer people, making my channel less and less effective for driving traffic.
Focus on writing headlines based on the real value that you are delivering in your content.
2. Blogging About Everything
The bloggers that are enjoying the most success these days are the ones sticking to no more than a couple of topics.
Multimillionaire Marie Forleo said it best when she said, “When you confuse people, you lose people.”
Sharing a bunch of posts on too many topics will confuse your readers as to what your blog’s expertise actually is — aka what YOUR expertise is.
Marie is a great example of this because while she posts about lots of things, but they all fall under the general umbrella of one thing: “creating a business and a life you love.”
Here is why this matters:
People are looking for specific humans to help them solve specific problems for their lives.
If I get lung cancer, I want my problem to be solved by a specialist.
Not by a general doctor, not by an oncologist, but by an oncologist who only deals with my type of lung cancer.
It’s the difference between you getting some generic advice from a Men’s Health article or from a guy who is your age and your demographic who is teaching from experience with his own personal transformation.
We don’t want generic information. We want specific information from experts we can trust and believe in. But just as importantly, people we can actually connect with.
If you start a generic fashion or food blog today, it’s not likely going to work. Or you will at least have a MUCH harder time monetizing it than other blogs.
There are just too many media companies taking over those big, generic spaces.
But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start a fashion or food blog.
It just means that you need to make it specific.
You need to niche down enough to reach a targeted group of people who identify with you for a specific reason.
So if you niche down from general fashion for women to fashion for women ages 20-30 who live in colder climates like Chicago, you’re golden!
This is something that the larger websites and big media publishers can’t compete with. You’ll be able to deliver the personal connection that they can’t.
3. Blogging About Your Personal Life
This is kind of related to what we just discussed above. And if you consider yourself a “lifestyle blogger” or want to become one, this section is even more relevant to you.
There was a time where people would follow personal bloggers or lifestyle bloggers just through their website.
People would blog about their kids, what they ate that day, or just share bizarre personal details that people connected with.
Well that kind of blogging, my friends, is on life support.
Because this content is entertainment content.
Entertainment content and personal blogging have moved from websites to social media (especially Instagram) where the content is more accessible and easier to consume.
You can still blog about your personal life, but you can’t JUST blog about it and hope to be successful. You’ll need a killer Instagram and/or YouTube channel to go with it.
But really… If running a successful blog as an online business is your goal… You should be educating rather than entertaining.
While it’s easy to entertain someone with a meme or short video on Instagram, it’s much harder to explain the complexities of dating advice without multiple lengthy blog posts or videos.
People visit social media because they want to be entertained. They look to Google (and therefore websites) when they want answers to their problems.
There are some exceptions, of course, but this is how you should generally think about blogging and social media as you move forward with starting and growing your own business.
Entertain on social media and educate on your website.
If you can successfully do both, you’re miles ahead of the rest!
4. Posting All The Time to Get Traffic
Another outdated tactic in blogging is to post more content to try to get more traffic.
More blog posts mean more social media posts and more chances for more traffic.
In the past, yes, to some degree. But content was more sparse on the internet.
The internet has since evolved to a multi-media hodgepodge of more blogs and other types of content than ever before, and it’s exponentially growing.
Not only do you have more blog posts, but you also have gifs, memes, videos, photos, and opinionated family members on Facebook all competing for your attention.
The focus of your blog posts should generally be on quality, not quantity.
You need to create content that stands out. They should be longer and damn good enough to captivate someone’s time and reach the top of Google or Pinterest.
Quality Over Quantity
It’s generally better to create 1, high-quality blog post per month rather than 5-6 average or mediocre posts that will have a much shorter life span.
Google especially is favoring longer, more in-depth and multi-media filled posts.
According to 99 Firms, the average length of a blog post is now 1,151 words. They also said, however, that the optimal length for a blog post is 2,250 to 2500 words.
Longer, more detailed posts help to establish you as an authority figure. If you really know your stuff, you should be able to talk about it for DAYS (or hundreds of pages…).
If you’ve written a few articles under 1,000 words and don’t have anything left to say, it’s time to do some more research and learn more about your topic.
THIS is also why we don’t post new videos to our YouTube Channel very often.
Cranking out a ton of videos, in the beginning, helped us to initially grow our channel.
But long-term, continued, and truly sustainable growth… That comes from longer, higher-quality videos that take a lot more time and preparation to create.
I will say that there is an exception to this rule.
If you’re a brand new blogger starting a blog from scratch, you’re probably better off publishing more posts.
This is because publishing more content can help you get some initial traction on some social platforms like Pinterest and YouTube.
AND because writing different types of content more frequently can help you learn more about what your audience is most interested in.
Once you know what type of content your audience wants most, you should take a step back to focus on giving them that content in the form of less frequent, longer, higher-quality posts.
Update Old Content
Just as important as writing new content…
You need to continue to update your content. It should never be considered “old.”
It should always be updated and relevant to your readers because people will continue to find and read those posts.
If you have been blogging for a while, do a little content audit of your site and identify areas that could use a facelift:
- Broken links
- Outdated statistics
- References to really old dates
- Outdated strategies or other tactics
- Anywhere that you can see room for improvement
Sometimes it helps to update old content because you’ve likely learned enough since you originally wrote the post that you can now provide even better advice than you could before.
Lauren is constantly updating our blog content and blogging courses to make sure that they are always up to date with the most relevant information and as helpful as they can be to our readers (and for our business).
When you make major updates, send out an email to your audience and let them know that you’ve got some new content for them!
5. Blogging Without Supplemental Video or Audio Content
Y’all aren’t going to like this…
I can hear many of you groaning from here.
Videos and podcasts are all the rage these days.
More and more people are listening to podcasts and audiobooks while multitasking rather than carving out specific time to sit down and read a book (or a blog post).
Your blog needs to evolve into a multi-media site if you wish it to survive into the future.
People want to be able to see you, stalk you, and consume your content in a variety of ways.
The more options for people to consume your content, the better. You’ll reach a greater number of people and get more back for the time that you put into creating your content.
We are primarily reaching people through the following mediums:
This is why we embed YouTube videos into all our posts. It gives people another way to connect with us and has helped us grow our YouTube channel.
If you’re not into video, audio is another great way to get in someone’s earbuds and connect with them more intimately. Consider doing a podcast and embedding the episodes into your posts.
Remember… Your blog is not just a blog anymore. It’s a multimedia website.
You need to embrace this fact or get left behind…
The #1 Thing You Can Do to Make Your Blog Successful
Whether you’re bringing your blog back to life or just trying to make a new blog successful…
I want your blog to not only survive but also to thrive — now and in the years to come.
Whether you have already launched a blog or are thinking of creating one, here’s how to prevent your own pre-mature blogging death:
Think of Your Blog As An Authority Site on a Subject Matter
This first point is the #1 most important thing you can do right now to protect your blog for months and years to come.
We touched on this a little above when we discussed blogging about generic topics, but I want to dive into more detail here about how to do this and why it’s so important.
This is a strategy that will put you MUCH further ahead than trying to constantly scramble ahead of small algorithm changes as they pop up.
Anyone can start a blog on a random topic that they have some degree of interest in and throw up random posts about various related topics and begin to get visitors and scrape some money from it.
But with more and more people trying to do this, more competition is invited and the odds of you making any REAL money from this are far less than they used to be.
That shit is on its way out – FAST.
The doors on this strategy are closing, my friends, and it will be dead quite soon.
People, and Google, are getting better and better at recognizing real experts when they see them. They are becoming savvier at understanding the quality of the information coming from a website.
So the solution here isn’t tactical.
It’s not to write juicer headlines, create longer blog posts, get amazing backlinks, or any other marketing strategies.
The solution to long-term blogging success is to dedicate your time and energy to becoming an expert in your chosen niche.
Lauren and I have positioned ourselves as “professional bloggers” and included all of our credentials on our team page.
This is to help show our audience and Google that we are experts in what we teach.
By becoming a true expert in your blogging topic, you’re going to need real experience, real results, and a real way to stand out from the crowd.
The more of an expert you become and are seen as an expert by others, the less you will need to focus on the tactical.
- People will read your content and watch your videos because they truly want to hear what an expert has to say on the subject.
- They will link back to your blog because they trust you enough as an actual authority in the subject to recommend you to their readers.
- And they will buy your products because it’s actually getting people results.
This sucks for everyone who wants blogging to be a get-rich-quick scheme, a mindset that we have always discouraged our readers from believing.
It’s also bad news for internet marketers who want to do quick some quick work to collect some passive income while sipping Mai Thais in Bali.
But this is GREAT NEWS for people who are genuinely passionate about a topic and want to start their own online business while also helping out others.
And guess what…
You can also build this business in a way that allows you to do all of these things — while also sipping Mai Tais in Bali!
THIS is what we teach at Create and Go and these are the PEOPLE that we want to teach.
So, don’t just start a blog on anything or on some topic that you think will be the quickest ride to riches. Find the thing that you truly care about and become the expert in that thing.
What does this look like in practice?
Let’s say your blog is all about natural soaps.
Your website should reflect that you are an expert in making them, and all that soapy goodness.
For example, your content could include in-depth posts like:
- WHY it’s important to use natural soaps
- Materials needed to make soap and where to buy them
- The start to finish process for making different soaps
- Ways to store the soap once it’s made
- How to package homemade soap as a gift
You could have a whole YouTube channel with video tutorials and other content related to how to make natural soaps.
To monetize, you could create and sell an eBook or course on the subject.
You get the idea…
The point is… You shouldn’t also blog about being a mom. Or saving money. Or parenting.
You should live and breathe (but probably not eat) natural soaps.
You. Are. The. Expert. On. Natural. Soaps.
How do I become an “authority” on a subject?
Well, first of all, you don’t have to have a professional degree in a topic to be super knowledgeable about it (although it certainly helps).
A lot of what people learn is on the job, but having a background or some serious experience on a topic helps.
For example, Lauren isn’t going to start a mom blog anytime soon because she isn’t a mom.
We started a health and fitness blog first because I had been a personal trainer for a few years and I do have a few certifications in fitness and nutrition.
While Lauren technically didn’t have any certifications, she did have experience as a vegan for two years and had years of personal experience with successful dieting.
Together, we put our heads together and started a health and wellness blog that centered around a weight loss program for middle-aged women.
With Create and Go, we started teaching others the strategies that we had personally used to take our first blog to earning six figures in a year.
That was the extent of our “blogging” background specifically, but we also both have business degrees and Lauren also has her Masters in Business Administration.
Between the blogging experience and the years of knowledge about business and marketing, we became experts on running an online blogging business.
And if you don’t feel like you’re an “expert” on anything enough yet, learn something new!
Think about topics that you’re passionate about and make some serious effort to learn more about them. Read books, take courses, and BECOME an expert!
Help People Solve Their Biggest Problems
Forbes said that “customer success will emerge as the new frontier” in content marketing in 2019 and beyond.
In other words, how much your website helps people is what will make or break it in terms of success.
The more you can help your readers, the more popular and successful your blog will be.
This circles back to what we discussed earlier about social media being the place for entertainment and blogs being the place for education.
People are searching for blog posts on Google and Pinterest because they are looking for solutions for their problems:
- How can I lose weight fast?
- What can I do to train my dog while working a full-time job?
- How can I get out of debt without giving up my Starbucks lattes?
People are searching for answers. Solve their problems, and do it well, and you’ve got a loyal reader and buyer for life.
They’ll also spread the good word about what you preach, which further helps your authority figure status.
Is blogging dead?
Nope! But it’s up to you to keep your own blog alive!
As of 2019, there are more than 152 million blogs on the internet, and a new blog post gets published every 0.5 seconds. (source)
With all that noise online, it’s easy to get lost in the mix.
If you’ve been playing it safe and trusting too much in the “old ways,” it’s time to step out from the masses and become the success you deserve to be.
So, remind me… What in blogging is dead?
- Clickbait headlines
- Blogging about everything
- Blogging about your personal life
- Posting a sh*t ton to get more traffic
- Blogging without supplemental video or audio content
And… What should we be doing again?
The #1 thing you can do to make your blog successful now and in the future is to position yourself as an authority figure in your niche.
In addition to becoming an expert in your niche, you should also do the following:
- Rather than driving more clicks (but also more dissatisfied readers) with clickbait headlines, just focus on telling it how it is.
- Make sure you niche down enough to blog about a more specific topic that will attract a more targeted audience.
- Keep the personal, entertainment-type content to IG. Educate on your blog.
- Write fewer, longer, and more in-depth articles (over 2,000 words) rather than more frequent, generic, surface-level posts.
- Diversify your content with some video or audio content, if you can. At the very least, consider another source of traffic.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, we’d love to hear your opinion on what we’ve discussed above. Have you found that any of these strategies have been working or not working for you?
And if you haven’t started yet but still have some lingering questions, ask away!
Leave us a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.