Is Starting A Blog Still Worth It In 2020 Or Is It (Finally) Dead?
Is blogging dead yet? A question that gets asked every year and the answer always remains the same, even as the technology changes.
Blogging is definitely not dead, but the competition has increased and that means you need to be more clever than ever before.
You don’t really need to be more clever, you just need to know the right way to get the best traffic as the competition is heating up, and it is heating up. Your best bet is to learn from someone who is already doing it and heavily invested in the industry.
The good thing for you is that you are learning from someone who has been involved in Digital Marketing for over 10 years, first building a 6 figure Digital Marketing Agency and then creating 4, 5 figure per month blogs including a $240k Blog sale in 2019.
I wont lie, when I started out in Blogging, I got lucky, I did a blogging course that thought a good method, hired a load of writers and it worked, we created a high flying site but the truth is, I was incredibly naive, jumping into a competitive field and just throwing a load of mud at the wall and hoping it would stick and thankfully some of it did.
The biggest part of my luck came down to hiring good writers who knew the industry inside out and who wrote quality articles that eventually started getting a ton of traffic and that method was also highly affiliate oriented. The goal was that “Every Page Needs To Be Making Money” and “We Get The Income To $10k Per Month, Sell It And Move Onto The Next One.”
The course didn’t have too much finesse but it was more like a sledge hammer. After completing more and more courses in the industry, I learned things like “Weighing Up the Competition” and “Always Aiming For First Place.”
I discovered tools like “Keywords Everywhere” that would give me ideas for which blogs to write and I learned that Google Autocomplete will pretty much tell you straight up what people are searching for and all of the different variations.
I learned on my journey that Google tends to favour longer form content, once the quality is good and the user is engaged, the post with more words will generally end up getting that coveted number 1 spot and I learned that people search for the same things in slightly different ways.
1 or 2 blogs might be incredibly strong in a certain industry but they can’t cover all of the different variations that people search as the blogs would be so similar and this leaves an option for you to be the next strong blog and take top spot for a different variation of the same theme.
I guess I got lucky when I started with blogging, I saw it as a way of making money and I picked a topic that I was vaguely interested in but that I knew had a lot of money, lots of expensive products that people buy and also one of the largest niches in the world for growth.
Don’t get me wrong, you can make a profitable blog on almost anything once the niche is broad enough not to strangle your growth but if the audience reading your blog has money and they are willing to spend it, that can make a big difference to how much money you can make and how quickly you can make it.
That first program I did, it was all about selling on the Amazon Affiliate program and that was the only way I thought we could monetize the blog and don’t get me wrong, we made an absolute killing from Amazon Affiliates (And still do), but that is not the only way to make money with blogging by a long way.
I had messed around with Ad Sense once or twice in my Digital Marketing business but never made more than 20 or 30c a day so I didn’t really understand how powerfully this can compound.
What I learned from various courses is that if you go with the right platforms like Ezoic, Mediavine, Ad Thrive and Moumentum you can earn upwards of $10 per 1,000 views.
If you write blog posts that are directed and provide valuable information for questions that get searched a lot but have less competition, you can easily rack up 3, 5, 8, 10k visitors per day which quickly can turn into a full time income that is incredibly stable, scalable and sellable for 24 months income.
Digital products, online courses and membership sites are on the rise in 2020, especially with the global pandemic, people are looking to learn from home and many have lost jobs and need a new occupation or way to make money and they are looking online.
Indeed, online is the very best place they can look to make money and passive income through Blogging and Affiliate Marketing, Youtube, Podcasts, Print On Demand, Dropshipping and E-Commerce all being excellent ways to make a fortune online.
While certain ways of blogging are definitely long gone, I find a lot more people who get the concept, have a good idea for a blog and yet are just slightly misguided in what they are doing and could grow a lot more success.
With some guidance from a seasoned veteran of the game who has been around the block, done all the courses and picked up their own knowledge in the trenches and are on hand to give you the advice and guidance that you need to succeed.
As I say, all that is needed most of the time is a little nudge in the right direction and the clearing up of certain factors like what Blog Titles to pick and what Google is looking for so it can rank your content at the top of page 1.
What Is Not Going To Work With Blogging Anymore
Writing About Your Personal Life
In the distant past, people could get away with making blogs about their lives and all of their interests and call it something like ‘Mikes Blog’ where they wanted to be the star of the show and write about all of their lives and daily happenings. If they saw a show they liked on Tv, they would write about it.
Those days are gone, the reader has to be the star of the show now with blogging and if you want a channel where it can be all about you and your interests, Youtube is a much more engaging medium, where people can get to know you better and build that personal relationship.
With Blogging in 2020, you need to be laser focussed
Writing Short Blog Posts
In the past you could get away with writing 300 and 500 word blog posts and just rely on a lack of competition or long tail keywords to generate your traffic.
Those days are also gone, as the competition heats up year on year, you really need to be writing longer content. I would say at least 2,000 per article and even more for some of your more authoritative content.
Plenty of people swore by shorter blog posts in the past and it may still be effective for news and sports to make high 5 figure incomes, the fact that Google rankers longer content means we can future proof our blogs by writing more on each topic and it will also serve to stave off some would be competition from writing on the topic.
If I see a short blog post ranking for a good keyword in one of my industries, my first thought is the take the top spot with my own post.
It might seem like there isn’t anything more to say on the topic but you can always add more value to a blog by added a related topic to your post like we can add Best Blog Niches and Best Blog Platforms to this article and people will want to read it.
Using Facebook Pages To Drive Traffic
When I started out in blogging, Facebook was super effective for driving traffic. We could create pages, get fans easily and drive them to our blog.
Sadly, those days are gone and we know have to work a little bit harder to get our sustainable traffic on our blogs.
While Facebook groups can still be highly effective, that too could come to an end any time as Facebook looks to keep its users on its own platform.
Focussing 100% On Amazon Affiliate
Amazon has again showed a willingness to drop it’s Affiliate Commission rates in 2020 to the disappointment of many of it’s affiliates.
Some categories dropped from 4.5% to 1% with the vast majority dropping down to 3%. Certain niches like Pets and Home Improvement dropped from 8% down to 3% which is an incredibly steep drop from the E-Commerce giant, especially during a pandemic.
When the pandemic hit, Online sales went through the roof and delivery became much tougher for companies like Amazon. I believe they got swamped during the pandemic and cut affiliate rates to try and reduce the amount of orders coming in.
When you look at companies like Printful, they also got swamped and delivery times have absolutely been hammered and have not recovered since.
Whatever way you look at it, putting all of your eggs in one basket with Amazon is silly. You never know when they are going to cut their affiliate rates again and this can leave you high an dry.
Amazon used to pay upwards of 12% for some categories but this has been steadily declining for years.
EBAY Partner Program
The Ebay Partner program is still offering 5-7% of sales for it’s affiliate program and it also benefits from high trust and good conversion rates, just not as good as Amazon in most cases, but still a worthy alternative.
Almost every company has an affiliate program nowadays and you can also go straight to the supplier and probably get much higher rates. There is a lot more upkeep in this solution though as company switch affiliate platform and you will need to change links around more often.
Amazon dropping commissions WILL keep bloggers out of the market so this is good news for the ones who are willing to educate themselves and push through to become successful in the industry.
You need to have monetization plan in place before you set up so you can orient your content around driving leads and sales to the products and services that you want to push.
Not Using Youtube
Youtube is the biggest opportunity in the Digital World right now.
The amount of people watching Youtube continues to grow exponentially year on year and the platform is crying out for content creators to fill the needs of it’s thirsty viewers.
If you can back up your posts with quality Youtube posts, you can really take your earnings and viewer potential to the next level quickly.
WHY? Because users get to see who you are, build trust and rapport with you face to face and it can also put a personality to your blog posts.
Including highly informative Youtube posts can also push people directly to your recommend affiliate products, Digital products, courses and membership sites at much higher conversion rates.
When you search for a competitive term on Google, you might see 10 or 20 strong blog posts. Go to Youtube and you are lucky to see 1 or 2 videos on the same topic and this is a massive opportunity if you are not too scared to jump in front of the camera and articulate your points.
You want to have a series of videos where you can point your viewers to another video at the end. This will keep the user on Youtube, which is what the platform wants and they will through more viewers your way.
Podcasts are another great option for engaging with your audience in a more personal way that can build trust and rapport for your audience.
That is not to say Blogging is dead, that is like saying the Television has taken out Physical books and this couldn’t be further from the truth.
True, more people are going to Youtube but when people are researching a topic they will go to many resources to get a full picture, you need to make sure you are a quality resource on as many relevant platforms as possible.
There are billions of searches on Google Worldwide and over 80% of these are going straight to the blog posts. Users don’t always want to watch videos, sometimes they want to skim through blog posts to get the top pieces of knowledge quickly without having to listen to someone waffling on for 10 or 20 minutes and trying to pick out the good points.
You Have To Keep Up With The Times
The TRUTH of the matter is that technology and the platforms we use are changing all the time and the way Blogs are used is also changing, it is imperative to keep up with everything that is going on in the industry and adapt to the new technologies.
If you want to stay relevant and maximise your audience potential, you need to adapt and embrace these new technologies to get a maximum benefit from blogging.
The fact of the matter is Blogs are still highly lucrative but when you add in Youtube, you can go to the very next level in a matter of weeks.
Sub Niching Too Small And Strangling Your Growth
If you pick a niche that is too small, you are going to run out of things to write about. If you pick a topic too broad and you are just one solo writer, it will take a long time to fill up each category of the blog.
You need to pick a niche that is not too broad and not too narrow for your personal circumstance and if you can make it about a topic where you are already an expert, it will be that much easier to write the content without having to study up extensively on the topic first.
An example of a niche that is too specific would be Puma Golf Shoes. A perfect niche might be Sports Shoes and a one that is too broad might be all shoes.
Break your target niche into the categories it contains a see if it meets the following criteria:
Audiences that are passionate are more likely to engage, register for your courses and become top fans of your content.
Have Money To Spend
Some niches like boxing or skateboarding, people want a lot of content but they don’t necessarily want to spend money. A new pair of boxing gloves isn’t going to make you a better boxer.
If you look at something like Golf or Hunting, people are willing to spend money to improve.
At Least 5 Sub Categories Within The Niche
When I start a new blog, I want to break the overall category down into its component parts and if there are only 1 or 2 sub categories, it might be too narrow for a full blog.
At Least 1 Other Successful Blog In The Area
Check out the competition for your blog. If there is no one else doing it, the chances are it is not a profitable niche.
I never worry about the competition because the more people that are blogging in the niche shows that there is good money in it and we can ALWAYS compete with them.
Trying To Do Everything Yourself
TRUE, we encourage everyone to write the first 20 or 30 posts themselves to get a feel for their market and to develop a good understanding of the type of content their users want.
This will also help you to set the tone for your blog going forward and put a solid foundation in place.
As you start to get more mature in your blogging, it might be time to start looking for expert writers in your niche to start create quality content for you.
This will allow to expand much quicker and go full time in a shorter period. There are plenty of top notch writers on services like I Writer and I have always had good success with writers on Upwork.
Just make sure to check their previous content first to make sure that they are experts and that they are native English speakers as sometimes their profiles will be disingenuous.
Steps To A Successful Blog
OK, so enough of what is dead in blogging and let’s have a look at what is definitely working in Blogging in 2020.
We know what works because we a re creating more and more new blogs all the time and seeing them generate traffic within 2-3 months.
#1 – Have Realistic Expectations And Realize The Hard Work Needed
Blogging is a business and it needs to be treated as such. Don’t expect to put in part time hours and expect a full time salary right away.
New Blogs are not trusted by Google so you need to wait at least 3 months to start getting decent traffic, your first commissions from Amazon and starting to earn an income.
Within 6 months with a high level of commitment you can be earning hundreds of dollars per month.
The AWESOME thing about Blogging is that you do the work once and you can reap the passive rewards for years to go but it takes a huge investment at the start with little or no returns for the first few months.
If you are working hard on the project and are outsourcing a lot the writing, you can definitely make a handsome full time income within 1 year.
#2 – Pick Your Niche And Break It Into Sub Categories
Picking a profitable niche, breaking it into sub categories and plotting a list of Blog Titles that you are going to write, up front is a great way to prepare for success.
Some of the Best Niches in 2020
- Dating And Relationships
- Personal Finance
- Making Money Online
There are tons of options, it is all about finding a perfect fit for you and your expertise.
Set Up Your WordPress Blog
Always use WordPress, it is open source and you actually full own all of the site. Using a platform like Medium.com or Blogger is a risk you dont need to take.
If that company goes under or decides they don’t like your blog, they can take it down any time.
I personally had my Medium.com account disabled recently and it is like, ‘Why would I ever use this platform again.’
To set up on wordpress, you need a hosting account.
Hostgator, Bluehost and Blacknight are all good and reputable companies with excellent support.
Buy your domain – Try to make it something with your niche included like Mikesgarage or TopNotchGolf.com
Install you theme – I personally recommend Enfold, It costs $50 from Envato market but you can use it as many times as you want.
Start Adding Your Articles
Everybody has different advice for adding content to your site but almost everybody agrees now that the optimal length of a Blog post is at least 2,000 words and even more for competitive keywords.
We follow a 5 Prong Method
Authority Articles – 2,000 – 6,000 words that cover everything about a topic in your niche
Top 10 Lists – 2,000 Words + That cover all the best products in that niche
Product Reviews – 1,000 words + Quality Reviews that tell the reader everything they need to know before making a buying decision.
Vs Posts – 1,000 words plus pitting 2 products against each to see which is the better buy.
Question Answer Posts – 1,500 Words + Answering questions that people ask through Googles autocomplete feature. These build authority and usually have less competition.
For more info on the perfect blog structure and advanced topics on how to structure your site, keep an eye out for our upcoming Blogging Course.
Track Your Progress
Over time you should be checking how your site is progessing with the following tools:
Will tell you how many people are visiting your site and how they were acquired, Organic, Social or Paid Traffic.
What pages and how many pages they visited and how long they stayed on the site.
This will give a rough guide of what search terms you are ranking for, what pages are ranking the most and how many impressions your site is getting everyday.
This can be an awesome tool to see your search volume increasing day by day and week by week.
Google And Youtube Autocomplete:
When you start typing into Google or Youtube, it will tell automatically try to complete your search query for you with queries that other people are typing in.
Once you know what what people are searching for, you can create a quality blog post or video to address their query perfectly and increase your traffic fast, especially for searches with low competition.
This will show something similar to auto complete but it will display the best searches in the sidebar of Google or Youtube and this is one of the very best places I go to find low hanging fruit.
Moz or A-Hrefs:
This sites can be a bit costly and you don’t really need them at all but they are great to track your rankings and spy on the competition.
These tools will actively tell you how many keywords you are ranking for and how it is increasing over time but it does not pick up smaller or long tail searches that can bring a ton of traffic.
I use these tools to spy on competition and see what broad areas they are ranking for. I will then do my own research into those areas and come up with my own blog posts to get traffic in those attractive areas.
Weigh Up The Competition
You should always be aiming for number 1 spot on Google when you write a post but even if you get to number 2 or 3 you will still get considerable traffic from most blog posts.
You can always slightly vary your title from strong competition so you can take first spot when different variations are used.
Eg Best Golf Clubs For Women 2020 and Best Ladies Golf Clubs 2020 – Two different sites are likely to rank for these even though they mean the same thing. This is why it is impossible for one blog to dominate an area completely.
Monetize Your Blog
Monetizing your blog is the most rewarding part of the whole business model. Once you put the correct structures in place you can be earning for years to come off of one piece of work and that is INCREDIBLY exciting.
Three Ways we look to Monetize:
Google Ad Sense, Ezoic, Mediavine and Ad Thrive are all exceptional ways to earn up to $10 and more per thousand visitors to your site.
This is 100% PASSIVE income once you have developed a quality site so make sure you look into doing this as early as possible.
Some sites are set up completely for Affiliate but with all the Google Algo changes, we strongly recommend to build an authority site that offers the maximum value to your customer and create what Google considers QUALITY content as much as possible.
Use Amazon, Ebay, Share A Sale, CJ Commissions, Impact radius and go directly to the companies with the offers to promote the best products to your audience.
Again remember to only promote products that you would consider buying yourself to avoid breaking trust with your audience.
AVOID the trap of saying every product is great. I know it is tempting, especially when starting out, you just want to grab those commissions as quickly as possible.
Digital Products, Courses And Membership Sites.
You know every visitor to your site is interested in you niche and a good % of them will be willing to spend a little bit more to get premium content.
The demand for these products is only going to expand even more with the current Corona Virus crisis and with people realising that college is a rip off more and more.
Blogging is not dead, it is just changing and if you keep up with the times, you can be just as profitable if not more so than ever before.
Learn from those who have done it before and more importantly are still doing it and you will have a better chance of making it to the top.
More and more people are earning $10k, $50k and $100k per month online and if you are clever and embrace new technology like Youtube to stand beside and promote your blog, website and digital products, there is absolutely no reason why you cant be the next success story.
Don’t forget to check out our upcoming courses and digital products.