Blogs Are Dead
Really – blogs are dead?
No, not really.
Blogs are not dead. Blogs are far from dead. Blogs are alive and well. Blogs are some of one of the biggest content producers on the internet.
Blogs are also typically what artificial intelligence scrapes to get information to return to the user asking questions about a topic.
Blogs are alive and well. But they’re harder to be successful with these days because of the amount of information available on the internet.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t win.
In this article, I’m not only going to disprove the myth that blogs are dead, but I’m going to tell you the secret of winning with your blog.
The Myth that Blogs Are Dead
Blogs aren’t dead at all.
I even asked ChatGPT if blogs are dead, and it told me they weren’t. It said that blogs are still important for niche marketing, personal branding, SEO, and niche communities. Blogs are also important for ChatGPT and other AI programs because they scrape most of their data from blogs.
Blogs are also most of the results on search engines.
Videos tend to be first. A video is basically an animated blog in a roundabout way. But if you removed videos from the search engine, you’d mainly have articles and blog posts.
Try a search for whatever keyword you want to search for. Here are a few random ones:
- How to grow corn (the first result is a blog post)
- Why do cats get the zoomies? (the first result is a blog post)
- Beginners cycling tips (lots of blogs, even some of the sponsored links are blogs)
What do all of the search terms above have in common?
They’re all informational search terms. Blogs and websites that feature articles (online magazines, news, static websites with articles, etc.) best inform a searcher about a topic that interests them.
That’s why it’s a myth that blogs are dead. Because people still seek information on the internet, and blogs and articles get them that information.
Even videos aren’t the winner here. How so? You can’t scan ahead on a video without potentially missing the information you’re seeking. Video chaptering helps, but it’s not the same as quickly scanning an article or using the FIND feature to get what you want in seconds.
Blogs get you what you want, and that’s why they are and will always be alive and well.
But blogging will continue to get more and more difficult for most people starting one. That’s because there are many blogs out there for almost every niche. I’m sure every notable niche is well-oversaturated. That means a lot of content for that niche is being distributed online, and you’ll have to compete against said content.
It’s possible, but it WILL take hard work. I’m going to warn you of that from the get-go. But if you accept the challenge and will put in the work, then keep reading because I’ll show you what to do and when to do it so that the hard work will become a little bit easier.
How to Make a Blog Successful
Now that you know that the saying that blogs are dead is a complete myth, it’s still important for you to understand what lies ahead of you as a blogger.
Blogging is not an easy venture. It takes work. It takes precision. It takes dedication. If you can’t provide these things, you will fail.
If you’re ready to provide it – let me show you exactly what to do!
Step 1: Identify Your Niche
You need to choose a topic to blog about. Blogging about everything isn’t going to work unless you create a following around yourself before you start a blog. This would be for a celebrity or a local influencer.
But if you’re not a celebrity or local influencer, then you need a specific topic to blog about.
We call these topics niches. A niche is simply a topic or industry that you blog about. My “hiking tips” blog is an example of a niche.
Find a niche and make sure there is a market for it. If a market doesn’t exist for it, chances are, you won’t be able to have a successful blog. Look for a market on places like Reddit and forums, social media, and YouTube.
Now, the only way your niche blog will work is by you giving your expertise in the content. So, are you an expert in your niche? Or do you at least know a lot about it? You’ll need to either answer yes for both or just one. You must choose a niche about a topic you know a lot about. Focus on something that you’re passionate about.
And if you can niche down even further, it will increase your chances of being even more successful at blogging.
Niching down further simply means that you specifically cover specific topics within a niche. For example, this blog focuses primarily on blogging, online community, and newsletters after I pivoted to just posting about that sort of content. My hiking blog mainly focuses on Shawnee National Forest content.
You become an expert on a specific topic when you niche down even further. It might mean a reduction in the audience, but if there is a big enough audience for that specific sub-niche, you can shape yourself as the top expert of that sub-niche.
After choosing your niche or sub-niche, learn as much as possible about it. Learn something new daily. Know when updates are made about it. This will help you ensure that you’re the expert on that topic.
Step 2: Create a Blogging Strategy
Your blogging strategy is important to have. This allows you to plan for your blog, content, and organization of what you will focus on each year.
I’ve written an article about creating a three to five-year business plan for your blog that’s worth revisiting. It basically tells you to focus on content for the first year, marketing during the second year, and monetization in the third year. That’s really one of the best systems to follow in such an oversaturated blogging internet.
Now when strategizing your blog, it’s important to focus on what matters.
- Review your competition. What are they doing a good job at? What are they not doing a good job at? What gaps are missing in their content distribution? How long are their blog posts? What are they covering in their blog posts? What are they not covering? Know your competition from front to back.
- Review your potential audience. Find the people you want to be your readers. What kind of questions are they asking about the niche? What problems do they have that continue to go unsolved? What is your competition not helping them with? What topics do they love engaging about the most? What kind of blogging format do they like best?
Decide on what kind of content you’ll post on your blog, and then create a content calendar to keep you organized and scheduled on when to post.
It’s important to be consistent about it. That means you should post on the same day and time for each post. It doesn’t mean you have to post daily. It just means that whatever you choose, you must stick with that pattern.
I post on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday consistently. If I let my content calendar go empty, I typically miss days that consistently post on. That can hurt me in time. So, I have to really discipline myself and keep on schedule.
The only time blogs are dead is when you let your blog die because you have a poor strategy.
Step 3: Create First and then Publish
Before you start publishing content, create a whole lot of it first.
Create blog post after blog post. Make sure each blog post is better than the last post you created. I mean it. Your content needs to be high-quality and the best content possible.
Look at what your competition is publishing! You should include everything they included in their blog post about the topic you’re writing about but in your own words. But – you also need to add stuff to those sections that they didn’t add. You need to fill in the gaps in your article.
You have to do this every time you post a new blog. It has to be high-quality every time, or it will not work.
Choose formats that get read. As I did with this blog post, you can choose a controversial hook. A title like “Blogs are Dead” will get people to stop and explore further. But other great formats get read the most, too. Listicles are one of them. That’s your “Tops 10s” and your “100 ways to” type posts. People love lists. Another great format is “How to,” which helps people solve their problems. These formats will help you win every time if you include the best quality content possible.
Create about twenty to even fifty blog posts before you start publishing.
After you create these best blog posts ever, start scheduling them to post on your blog. This is where you need to figure out how often you want to post a blog. That’s because you need to be consistent about it. You should post at least once a week. However, experts say that posting three times a week might be best, so I post three times a week.
After you get all those posts scheduled, start writing more posts. The idea is to stay ahead of the game as much as possible.
But when it comes to content, the content that will get read the most is content that answers the top questions in the niche or that solves the hardest problems. Find the answers. Provide an easy solution for your blog post. Win everyone over immediately and be seen as the expert of the niche.
Step 4: Master SEO and Marketing
SEO isn’t dead, either. Some say it is, but it’s far from dead.
AI could kill it, though. It’s possible, but until it does, learn it and master it for the best results.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and the goal of it is to optimize your content to appear on page one of a search result – namely, Google Search. Most searchers don’t go past page one.
Learning SEO is simple, but mastering it can take time and dedication. You need to focus on keyword selection and research, placement of keywords, and technical aspects of search engine optimization.
Keyword research is simple. Find keywords that are being searched for but don’t have a high competition using them. You can use tools like SEM Rush, Ahrefs, and Uber Suggest to help you with your research. I also like to use Keywords Everywhere, too. Or you can use good ole fashion Google Search by seeing suggested search terms as you type in the search box or looking at the “People also ask” section on the results page. Then you research the content of websites producing it and determine how to improve yours.
Long-tail keywords are going to be easier to rank for. An example of a long-tail keyword would be “bicycle shops located on Illinois Ave in Carbondale.” Since there are multiple shops on Illinois Ave, people are likely searching for that term, but it’s not highly competitive as “Carbondale bicycle shops” would be.
When it comes to placing your keyword, focus on these exact things and don’t worry about the rest:
- Put your keyword in your title
- Put your keyword in your URL slug
- Put your keyword in the ALT tags of your first image
- Put your keyword in the first sentence of your post
- Put your keyword in the H1 header of your blog post
- Seamlessly place your keyword in your content three or four more times, scattered out a bit
- Add your keyword to your meta description
That’s it! The trick is ensuring that the keyword smoothly integrates into where you place it. Don’t put it too many times, either. That can hurt your search engine optimization and even get your blog banned from Google. Don’t feel like you need to go overboard with keywords. It’s not that complicated.
Regarding technical SEO, focus on having a fast blog that fully loads in under two seconds. Make sure your blog is friendly for mobile first. More than 90% of your readers will be using a mobile device. Use visually appealing images but not huge images that cause the blog to load up slowly.
That sums up SEO in a nutshell.
Next is marketing! Focus on link building in particular. You want to use social media for links, Reddit, and forums where linking is allowed, and ask websites to add your link. Try to guest blog on other blogs. Get interviewed on podcasts. Start a YouTube channel. The trick is getting your link out there. That’s what you what to do when it comes to marketing.
You can buy ads but use common sense about it. Before you spend a lot of money on an ad, make sure that the ad will give you something worth spending that money on. That means you need to have a strategy and goal for your ads.
Master these things, and you’ll have nothing but blog success.
Step 5: Build a Community and a Mailing List
If AI kills search engine optimization, you need a Plan B.
Plan B is a community and a newsletter.
Really, it’s where it’s at, and if you miss that train – shame on you!
Build an online community. You’ll be able to start one by choosing your biggest fans to become your organic ambassadors. Invite them to the community and task them with helping to market your blog to others. Then more people will join your community.
A community platform can be free or paid. But as a Community Manager of a paid community, I’m here to tell you that you better offer pure value if you want people to pay for community membership.
Otherwise, I suggest you keep it free. You can use a message forum, community plugins on your blog, or even social media community features. I have a social group on Facebook that’s about 25,000+ members.
You should nurture your community. Give members a lot of value. Be active and engage with them daily. Be friendly. Be helpful. Be okay with answering the same questions over and over again.
But social media and other rented platforms aren’t the best for retaining followers. I say rent platforms because they own your community, not you. You can’t access email addresses and contact information on social media. If they shut you down, that’s it, you’re shut down, and you lose it all.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use social media. It just means that you should only use social media as a tool and not rely on it.
Rely on your mailing list! Start building a mailing list and keep in touch with your subscribers with a newsletter. Many newsletter creators send them once a week, but you should at least send them once a month.
Social media and search engines use AI and algorithms to show people what they want them to see. They don’t always favor your content, especially when it takes visitors away from their site and onto yours.
But a mailing list can defeat AI and the algorithms that work against you.
But like with a blog, ensure your newsletter content is PLAIN FREAKING AWESOME, or you’ll lose your subscribers.
Step 6: Engage and Analyze Everything
Engagement might almost be more king than content in today’s virtual society.
Bloggers traditionally posted articles and engaged with people who left comments. But there seemed to be a rush of bloggers who turned comments off and quit engaging. They might have done it to prevent spam or those leaving comments to share their blog links.
Whatever the reason – ultimately, it’s a bad move.
Don’t cut off engagement with your readers. It’s one of the most important aspects of running a content machine like a blog, article, or news site. You want to engage in every way that’s possible, especially in the comment section of each post.
Engage to build a community. Engage to shape followers into super followers who will become your organic ambassadors and promote your blog without asking them to do it. Engage to answer questions and solve your audience’s problems so that you can be seen as the expert in your niche. Engage to make your blog better.
You can engage on other avenues, too. Engage on your blog, of course, via comments and the contact form. But you should also engage through newsletter replies and video comments on YouTube and on social media. Engage on forums and chats. Engage in communities that you didn’t make. Basically, engage everywhere you can.
Follow the sacred rule of “replying to every comment until you can’t do it anymore.” That means replying to every single comment on your blog, videos, social media, etc. Do that until you grow so big that you can’t possibly do it anymore. That’s how you’ll build a community of loyal super followers. That’s how all the big bloggers did it. That’s how all the social media influencers did it.
You must put in the time and energy to get something out of blogging.
When you engage, try to keep the discussion going as long as it’s effective. Answer a question and then present another question. Keep the discussion going to keep people returning to your blog posts and social pages.
After everything above – the next step is analyzing it all. Learn your analytics and research them. Do an A/B test to see what works best. Do a SWOT analysis of your blog and the competition’s blog. Set goals and monitor your analytical data. Get good at interpreting it, and it will help you shine.
But analytics isn’t just reading what Google Analytics or Jetpack stats say. You also need to get real-time data from your audience. Survey your readers from time to time. You could even add a “Was this post helpful?” poll at the end of each post to see what readers thought of your content.
I add a survey to my newsletter asking subscribers to rate that month’s newsletter. It works well. I get a lot of feedback that can help me serve my readers more.
Put your audience before you, and you will succeed with your blog.
And that’s my article about the question of whether or not blogs are dead. Are they dead? Nope. You just need to practice the simple and proven steps above, and you’ll be fine. If you’ve enjoyed this blog post, consider subscribing to my free newsletter by filling out the form on my homepage.
About the Author
Shawn Gossman has created content, blogged, ran online communities, and shared a passion for digital marketing for over twenty years. Shawn believes the best way to help content creators, businesses, brands, and marketers is to give away more than you sell. The same advice is recommended for the readers that follow this blog. Shawn also offers a variety of services for extra help in the area of content creation, blogging, forums, and digital marketing. Learn more about Shawn Gossman by clicking here.
Sign up for my free newsletter to learn about outdoor recreation content and marketing!