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“Errr… you make a living from blogging?”
“Is that even a job? How do you even make money from that?”
“Do people even still read blogs?”
And my all-time favorite:
“…but … isn’t blogging … dead?”
These are actual examples of things I hear on a daily basis.
From friends, random people on the internet, AND even family members.
Truth Bomb: Blogging has been our bread and butter for the last 5 years, and we consistently bring in five figures each month thanks to our blog. It has literally funded our travels, paid off loans, allowed us to tick things off our bucket list, and given us the freedom to travel full-time.
Thanks to blogging, we are free to live and work from wherever we want, without having to worry about money. It has helped us create our DREAM lifestyle.
Coming from someone who used to pull 12-hour days, working 2 teaching jobs, just so I could save enough money to travel, the freedom that blogging has given me has been a GAME CHANGER.
This is one of the reasons why I won’t stop shouting from the rooftops about how incredible blogging is and how much it can really change someone’s life.
Year after year, I hear the same skepticism about blogging, and yet here we are, still alive, kicking, and most of all THRIVING.
Now before I go on any further, let me answer the question. Is blogging dead?
Yes and no.
Let me make myself clear.
The OLD SCHOOL STYLE of blogging is definitely dead… but the NEW way of blogging is still proving to be as effective (if not even more) as ever.
In this article, I am going to walk you through a few points on the death of blogging as well as give you tips on how you can STILL build a profitable and successful blog in 2020.
The Death of Old School Blogging
In order to truly understand what I mean, let’s take a look at how Wikipedia defines “blogging”.
“A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries. Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page.”
Now, let’s take a look at some of my favorite and largest blogs out there today across different niches:
Food: Budget Bytes
Fitness: Nerd Fitness
Finance: Millenial Money Man
Travel: Adventure in You (umm, you bet I’m going to toot my own horn!)
Fashion: The Curvy Fashionista
Business: Smart Passive Income
Now if you take a look at each of these blogs, they are all far from the diary-style text entries that used to be associated with blogging.
Blogs are no longer just online diaries where you write about your latest holiday.
Instead, they are authoritative sites around one particular topic, full of valuable information, written to help a specific group of people.
Blogs are now used as a tool that allows you to grow and build an audience by consistently providing them with value through the content you create.
Gone are the days when you can just start a blog about anything and everything.
Yes, lifestyle blogs still exist… but if you want to grow a blog fast, while building a loyal audience to boot, you need to focus on one thing — and be awesome at it.
Take a look at all the big successful blogs out there. As soon as you land on their site, you know exactly what problem they are solving for their readers.
That is because they are focused on growing their authority in one topic and making sure they create invaluable content about it.
In return, by providing so much valuable content, blog creators can earn money through ads, by recommending products or services that they use and trust, or even sell products of their own.
In fact, blogs are SO effective that most companies now have one too as it is such a great way to build a loyal tribe.
If you want tips on how to do this, check out our hour-long free training where we dish out our top strategies that allowed us to 500x our traffic and grow our tribe!
Do People Still Read Blogs? (Why People Say Blogging is Dead)
If the industry of blogging is indeed dying, the stats would be there to back it up. But contrary to what most people think, there is still HUGE demand for written information.
In fact, according to this article on Blogging Statistics, approximately 409 million people view more than 20 billion blog pages each month. Here’s another crazy statistic: there are 77 million new blog comments generated by readers each month.
Does that sound like a dying industry?
Yes, the popularity of video content is rising but this DOES NOT mean that it will or that it has replaced written content.
Want an example?
With the rise of digital books being consumed via audiobooks, PDFs, iPads, and Kindles, people say that physical books will no longer be a thing.
Yet, there is still HUGE demand for physical books. Last year, according to the Association of American Publishers, books in all formats made around $26 billion in revenue and $22.6 billion of that was from printed books!
People will consume content the way they want to.
Whether it will be by reading, listening, or watching something, there will always be a demand for content.
Just because some people say they don’t read blogs anymore, it doesn’t mean everyone is doing the same.
Want more proof?
Since we started our blog in 2015, our readership has grown year after year.
Today, we get over 500,000 visitors to our travel blog who read our travel tips, destination advice, and more. As you can see below, we had a spike mid-year (thanks to an article that went viral) and our readership has been growing consistently year after year.
This same travel blog also consistently earns us five figures each month… pretty passively.
It isn’t just us either.
Every day, our students (some of whom only just started their blogs last year!) and thousands of other people are able to make money while sitting at home in their pajamas — all thanks to their blogs.
Pretty awesome for a “dying industry”. #justsayin
Is Starting a Blog Now Even Worth It?
Now that we’ve established that blogs are very much still a thing (and people are earning from it on a daily basis), is it still worth starting a blog now, given how competitive and saturated the market is?
A big resounding YES!
If I told you that you could earn good money writing about something you LOVE, would you do it?
Blogs are essentially created by people who are SO passionate about a particular topic that all they want to do is write and share their experiences with others. For us, the topic happened to be travel. For others, it might be finance, fashion, food, crafts, etc.
Nowadays, you don’t even need hundreds of thousands of followers to earn from your blog!
Although there is a correlation between the amount of traffic and your earnings, how much you can earn from your blog is still very much dependent on the monetization strategies you use.
If you keep on reading, I will share with you concrete strategies on how to grow a successful blog in this day and age and give you actionable tips on how to succeed with this so-called “new style of blogging.”
Out With the Old… In Comes the New: Blogging in 2021
So, what exactly has changed?
Back in the day, because there were only just a handful of blogs, as soon as you publish something, you stuff a couple of keywords, and soon… boom… your article would start ranking.
Nowadays, in order to get something ranking, you need fantastic information, a distinct voice, good UX (user experience), SEO knowledge, and a whole bunch of other things.
BUT… this is a good thing!
This means you can say goodbye to the days of poorly-written articles filled with non-relevant info, spammy-looking sites, and information obviously written for the sake of just being written.
Take our blog, Adventure in You, for example.
When we first started, we were just like every travel blog out there. We thought, “As long as I write good articles and take good photos, people will read our blog”.
Oh boy, we couldn’t have been more wrong!
As a result, we struggled for years.
It wasn’t until we started to get smart about our content and actually created a strategy behind it did we start to see our traffic and earnings increase.
Just take a look at our revenue over the last 90 days from various affiliate channels!
We started providing content that real people were actually searching for and focused our efforts on helping people solve their problems, all based around one particular topic.
Providing value and building a loyal tribe is what the new style of blogging is anchored on.
It was only when we did this did we actually start to see results.
This, combined with a solid strategy for SEO, will consistently help you keep consistently grow.
If you want some actionable strategies on how to grow your blog, check out our free training below!
How to Build a Successful Blog: Our Top Strategies
In the last few years, we have placed our travel blog, Adventure in You, under our Research and Development department at Blogging Fast Lane, essentially turning it into our “blogging strategy guinea pig”.
Our blog is where we test out what works and what doesn’t before we share them with our students in the Blogging Fast Lane Accelerator Course.
For us, it is important that we don’t just teach or blog about blogging but that we actually take the time to test out strategies ourselves.
With that in mind, the strategies that I share with you below are the same strategies that have consistently gotten us (AND our students!) results, even further proving that blogging is far from dead!
Find Your Blue Ocean
If you have attended our free training, you will know that finding your Blue Ocean is at the core of what we do and it’s why our students are seeing incredible success with their blogs.
If you’ve never heard of the marketing term Blue Ocean, this is essentially when you carve a specific niche for yourself, allowing you to stay clear of the so-called Red Oceans which are oversaturated with competition.
Now, what exactly do I mean by this? Take a look at the two scenarios below.
Red Ocean: I’m starting a travel blog
This is great – unfortunately, everyone else wants to do this too.
There is nothing particularly unique about this, and you will just end up competing with the thousands of other travel bloggers who all write great content, take good photos, and travel.
Blue Ocean: I’m starting a keto diet-based travel blog that focuses on helping people find healthy, keto-friendly places to eat while on the road.
Yes, it is superrrrrr specific and it only appeals to travelers who are interested in the keto diet… BUT, if you want to stand out, you need to be specific.
You are better off having 10,000 dedicated and loyal readers who trust your recommendations on products and services than 100,000 readers who visit your site occasionally and are not really interested in anything that you do.
Having a clear Blue Ocean is what will set you apart from all the other blogs out there.
The aim is to find your voice, grow your tribe, and get them addicted to the unique content that you create!
When people join our Fast Lane community, one of the very first lessons that we walk them through is on how to find their Blue Ocean because it is THAT important.
If you want to succeed in blogging, you need to find a super specific niche, have an ideal audience avatar in mind, and create content tailor-fit for them.
There is so much power in being able to identify your ideal audience and how you can serve them through your blog!
Again, this falls in line with building authority blogs and being an amazing resource around one particular topic.
Need help discovering your Blue Ocean? Check out our free training which comes with a fillable workbook to help you find your blog niche!
Build Your Authority Pillars
If you want to build a profitable blog and see success with it, you need to build your authority, one topic at a time.
When you are creating your content strategy, make sure that you are not writing about a hodgepodge of topics.
Instead, create clustered content around one topic, making it easier for Google to “trust the information” that you put out there.
Remember: Google isn’t some almighty person (or cat) who reads your article to help decide if your article deserves to be on page 1 or page 2.
Google is an algorithm that uses context clues (hello there, SEO) to decide what gets ranked.
By building your authority around one topic, Google is more likely to rank you faster! It sees all the related content and thinks to itself, “Hey, this site is an authority in this subject – the content must be good!”
In our course, we call this strategy “Building your Authority Pillar”.
Show Google you know your stuff by writing a kickass, in-depth pillar article, with tons of value and information. From that main pillar article, create a series of sub-articles to support your main idea – hence, building up your Authority Pillar.
This strategy is what allowed us to grow our traffic from 5,000 pageviews to over 500k pageviews every month. It is also the same strategy that has helped some of our students reach over 100k pageviews in under a year’s time.
Don’t waste your time writing articles that people will never read.
Instead, create a solid content plan and build those Authority Pillars!
You Gotta Build Trust… AND your Email List
Email lists are GOLD, and building ours was one of the pivotal moments that contributed to our blog’s success.
You see, when we first started, people told us, “Build your email list, it is important”. We thought, “Great, let’s do just that”.
So we did what every other blog does.
We placed some cheesy popup saying something like: “Like our content? Stay updated and get our stuff delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up below!”
Although we had that, we didn’t really know WHY we were building our email list and soon, it became something that we completely ignored.
This method of list building did not work then and it won’t work now! If you are still doing this, you need to change your strategy ASAP!
Fast forward to today, our email list is one of our most prized possessions.
Because it is our lifeline to our audience. Our emails are how we build trust and how we get them to keep coming back to our site.
Over and over again.
We call this Trust Marketing.
Story time: On our travel blog, Adventure in You, we created an authority pillar around a super specific topic that was extremely competitive.
In fact, if we based it on keyword research alone, we probably wouldn’t have even tried to compete with these keywords.
However, we knew the people in our email list were interested in this topic and we also knew that there was an opportunity to affiliate a high-ticket product.
Although we knew ranking for these articles would be tough, we wanted to see if we could get more traffic to these articles using email marketing to distribute our content.
Long story short, we now make around $1,000-$1,500 EVERY month just from this affiliate stream alone, even though we only have a handful of content on this topic ranking.
The rest of our bookings come from the Trust Marketing system that we applied, allowing us to get relevant information straight to people who are interested.
See what I mean by email list = being gold?
Don’t just stop there! Build segmented email lists so that you can tailor-fit the content that you send out based on your reader’s interests.
Leverage Your Strengths to Stand Out
One of the great things about blogging now is that there are SO many technological innovations that allow you to create a better and more personalized user journey, making it easier to stand out.
If you are good at video, you can add that to your content. (Mix media content always performs well!)
If you write detailed guides, you can turn it into an ebook.
If you enjoy doing a specific task or you love giving advice on something, you can offer your services through your blog as an add-on.
If you prefer to create a personalized experience for your readers, there are ways that you can segment your list so you can send them only content that interests them.
In a certain sense, blogging (and figuring out ways to earn from it) is now easier than ever due to the vast number of tools and technology that you can use.
It is just up to you how you want to evolve and stand out!
The Future of Blogging
So what is the future of blogging?
Although no one really knows, year on year, the blogging and content marketing industries have been on the rise.
If companies are investing hundreds and thousands of dollars to build and set up their own blogs, then the industry must be heading towards the right direction.
One thing is for sure though.
Blogging is growing, evolving, and consistently getting more advanced. However, with the right type of strategy, it is STILL possible to grow a profitable blog from the ground up!
What do you think about the future of blogging? Share your thoughts in the comments below!