Every few years, articles pop up about the death of blogging. They discuss the rise of social media and the decline and popularity of blogging. Is it true? Is blogging dead? Is it worth it to start a blog in 2021?
Let’s find out!
Blogging in 2021: Frequently asked questions
Before I dive into the world of blogging, let me first discuss what a blog is and where it all got started.
What is a blog?
What is the definition of a blog? They are largely used as a forum for the author to share their views and opinions on any topic they wish.
Writers use this platform to discuss topics on which they have some sort of knowledge on. This is a bit different from the earliest versions of blogs.
Blogs first began as a type of online journal where authors could provide their readers with snippets of their daily lives, like an online diary.
What is the history of blogging?
Jorn Barger first coined the term weblog in 1997. It was later shorted to “blog” by Evan Williams in April or May of 1999 (source).
The word “blog” is a shortened version of the more formal “weblog.” As in, a log of journey entries posted on a webpage (source).
But blogs have been around since 1994 (source). That’s when Justin Hall started what is now referred to as a personal blog while a student in college.
By 2005, WordPress had launched with their free software that would make it easy for anyone to start their own blog.
Why should I start a blog?
There are plenty of reasons to start a blog. Blogs are a versatile tool that can be used in many ways, depending on what your end-goal is.
If you’re looking into starting a personal blog, the content you post online can serve as a bridge to your audience. It gives your readers a way to connect with you and as you share your passion with others.
Aside from creating personal blogs, companies also use blogs to promote their business, keep current customers updated, or even for content marketing.
Businesses can then monetize their blog traffic by promoting their products and services. But what about personal blogs, how they can be monetized? That’s what I’ll cover in the next section.
How do bloggers make money?
While not all bloggers blog for profit, the ones that do make money in a few different ways. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways your blog can start making money.
This is probably one monetization strategy you’ll be most familiar with. By joining an ad network like Google Adsense, you can be paid simply for placing “display ads” on your site.
The amount you can earn is entirely dependent on your traffic and your blog niche.
Companies will pay you a monthly fee to allow them to advertise on your site. For bigger blogs, this can bring in thousands of dollars a month from just one client.
Instead of spending on advertising, some companies prefer to pay you to promote their products through your content. This may require you to write a blog post with your opinion about what they sell.
If you have an established audience, companies will pay the big bucks to have you write a sponsored post.
Affiliate marketing is another way of earning passive income by promoting another company’s products.
Instead of paying for a specific blog post, the business provides you with a unique link to their website. This link will track traffic that comes from your site to theirs that results in a sale. You’ll then receive a percentage of the sale amount.
This one sounds pretty straight-forward, right? To make money, someone has to sell something. So why not have that be you? After all, it will eliminate a lot of the middleman fees the other methods inherently charge.
When it comes to blogging, there’s a lot of different types of products to offer readers. These can come in digital forms, such as an ebook, templates, and online courses. It can also come in the form of physical merchandise, such as handmade goods.
The state of blogging in 2021
Do people still read blogs?
The latest blogging statistics from WordPress.com show that over 409 million people view more than 20 billion pages each month (source).
Blogging isn’t dying, it’s actually growing. In 2014, there were 28.3 million bloggers. By 2020, that number had grown to 31.7 million (source).
Did social media kill blogging?
It’s true that social media did cause a shift in the blogging world. Influencer bloggers shifted to social media sites like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Now in 2021, it’s hard to even find influencers who even have a blog.
So, should you ditch your WordPress blog and stick to YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok? If you want to be a personality, yes, blogging in 2021 is not for you. But if you want to share information and help people, then you should double-down on blogging.
What about videos and podcasts?
YouTube is much more than a website for funny videos. With over 3 billion searches per month, YouTube has become the second biggest search engine, second only to Google (source). It has become a major learning platform on a wide variety of subjects.
Podcasts, like YouTube, allow listeners to learn new things while listening in their cars or during a morning walk.
So where do blogs fit in this landscape? Blogs offer people who prefer to read as a way to consume information, rather than watch videos or listen to podcasts.
Why blogging isn’t dead in 2021
Blogs help people solve problems
Most readers will ignore the paid ads that crowd the top of Google’s search results. Instead, they opt to click a catchy headline and read a blog post that answers their question.
That’s what your blog should be: a compilation of blog posts that are direct answers to questions people type into Google.
People like hearing from authoritative sources
While you don’t have to be an expert to start a niche blog, bloggers usually have personal experience in what they’re blogging about.
When people search for answers online, they would much rather visit a blog and hear from an authoritative source on the subject.
By contrast, social media historically isn’t the place to consume information from experts. On social media, far too often you don’t know whether you can trust the information you read.
Blog content beats 140 characters
Social media is all about sharing small snippets to get attention online. While this certainly makes the content easier to take in and share, it doesn’t always give someone the specific information they’re looking for.
Long-form content on blogs is a much better way to get answers to pressing questions your audience has. Social media is the last place they’ll go when they need help with something.
Blogging tips for a successful blog in 2021
Don’t use shocking headlines for attention
Creating online content today is very different from what it used to be like five years ago. Today’s audiences are all about authenticity. They look for the true value behind the media they consume, including blog posts.
The era of “click-bait” and sensationalism is over. You don’t want to disappoint your readers when they open your blog post. You want them to feel satisfied with your content. This will help drive return traffic to your site instead of killing it.
Stick to your niche
The internet is an incredibly saturated space. There’s a lot of information going around. It can be incredibly overwhelming for anyone, especially your readers. When people go to the internet for something, they are usually looking for a specific topic or help with a specific problem.
If your blog covers every topic under the sun, readers will be overwhelmed and confused. They will turn to a blog that is more focused on the specific information they’re looking for.
Having a focused niche helps you build a reputation as an expert. It will help you build a knowledgeable blog that will stand out from the more generic competition.
Use media to your advantage
In today’s fast-paced society, there are very few people who set aside time in their hectic day just to read a blog post. To keep your blog relevant and updated, you have to use other media that will appeal to other types of readers. This can take the form of video or audio content, such as a podcast or a YouTube channel.
Podcasts are growing quickly in popularity because people can listen to them on the go. This could be a very interesting avenue to explore and fit into your blog.
Turn your personal experience into an educational resource
Years ago, blogging became popular as a way of sharing personal experiences online. Similar to a diary or journal, people could post about their everyday lives online and gain readers that way.
Today, these kinds of blogs are slowly dying out.
Social media has become the main way people get a glimpse into our personal lives. Creating a lifestyle blog today may not be as successful as it would’ve been a few years ago.
However, there are various bloggers who have found success by turning their personal experiences into a resource for others who may be going through similar things.
For example, a blogger who finds it hard to travel due to their low income could create a travel blog focused on budget-friendly vacations. Similarly, someone who struggles with addiction or other illnesses could turn their blog into a place where people could find a community full of helpful resources.
People will always be interested in content that they feel benefits them too. If you are passionate about helping people, this is a great way to build a blog focused on helpful knowledge and tools for everyone to enjoy.
Update your content regularly
Once you publish something online, people will be able to continue reading it months, even years, down the road. It is the reality of online content. Building traffic to your website starts with providing quality content.
There should be nothing on your site that could be considered outdated or old. Readers use search engines every day. You can’t run the risk of wasting a precious first impression with a new reader.
To avoid having old content on your site, you should do a little housekeeping every few months to make sure your content is updated. Make sure the information you are putting out is still relevant to conversations today. This is a great way to ensure your site is always ready to make a great first impression.
Wrapping it up
If you’re thinking of starting a brand new blog, don’t be discouraged by the apocalyptic question: is blogging dead?
We know this is far from the truth. With the right marketing strategies, your blog can become successful online. Using the tools I’ve described will help you develop a blog that will stand out and bring in a targeted audience ready to devour every word you write.
It’s easy to get lost among the millions of other blogs online. You have to pay attention to trends within the industry and adjust your mindset to fit these new changes to your website. The era of personal blogs and unfocused content is far behind us.
Operating a blog can be difficult when you’re first starting out. However, these tips will help you build a blog that will continue to adapt to future changes. Who knows what the blogging landscape will look like in another year? The only thing you can do is stay informed, ready and flexible.
Until next time,