The short answer is an emphatic no, blogging isn't dead, but the rules for blogging successfully have definitely changed.
Old tactics and strategies, even those used as recently as a few years ago, are destined to die a slow death, others a fast one. And rightfully so.
In this article, you'll learn what's working now, what's no longer working, and how you can make your blog one of the ones that succeed.
Who reads blogs anymore?
It turns out that a lot of people still choose to read blogs. Over 75% of the 3.7 billion people in the world with internet access read at least 1 blog every day. 1 million more people gain access to the internet every day.
There are now almost 2 billion websites in existence, although according to a survey by Netcraft less than 200 million sites are still active. Even so, over 500 million blogs pump out content daily to satisfy the hungry audience of people searching for up-to-date information to answer their questions and entertain them.
Despite all the talk about how video is taking over, blogs will always have certain advantages that keep them relevant and indispensable.
1) Many people simply prefer to read than watch videos. Still others like to watch videos AND read blogs to get the information they want and for additional points of reference.
2) It's often easier to "fish out" the information you need from a well-organized blog post than from a video. This is beginning to change with the ability to add markers to Youtube video timelines but it will always be easier and quicker to scan text.
3) For quick and real-time answers, text is the superior and sometimes only option. In the time it takes a video to load, even if it's fast, a user can read some text and be on their merry way.
4) Long-form content tends to rank better in search engines than video. Unless a video is accompanied by a transcription, a text-rich article has more chance of not only achieving a high ranking but also be ranked for all sorts of different keywords. The video, if it ranks at all, is more likely to rank based on the title alone.
What blogging tactics no longer work?
Here are three blogging tactics to avoid if you want to grow your blog quickly.
1) Blogging about anything and everything
For most solo bloggers, writing generic content to try and capture a huge audience is a recipe for failure and burnout. Even if you had superhuman typing skills and could crank out 10 high-quality articles a day, you'd be far better off on almost every metric by narrowing your focus to a specific niche.
If you write for everybody, you write for nobody. Readers want content from experts that specialize in solving their specific problems. Not the problems of a general demographic.
2) Clickbait titles and content
When I read the word clickbait I think of one of the first so-called viral sites to explode on the internet. ViralNova, a site run by one guy (Scott DeLong), seemed to come out of nowhere in 2013 and quickly amass 70-100 million monthly views a month. Intriguing pictures accompanied by curious headlines like, "Lion escapes from enclosure. What happened next will shock you."
For a few years, these sites were gobbling up traffic like crazy, spawning lots of copycats who saw the absurd growth and success and wanted a slice of the pie with their own viral site.
Eventually though, people starting getting fed up with the big headline promises that the sites weren't able to deliver on once a user clicked through. Users got mad, bounce rates went up, downvotes went up, and big sites like Facebook, Google, and Youtube starting cracking down on this kind of content. It became known as misleading, sensational, or spammy, and the strategy lost its effectiveness.
3) Content spraying
Trying to be everywhere, just like trying to appeal to everyone, is a recipe for frustration and failure. Unless you have a trained media team who can quickly slice and dice your content for consumption across social media, this method is best avoided.
A more effective strategy for a solo blogger is to choose one social media platform (usually whichever one your ideal audience hangs out on), and focus your efforts there. That will keep you plenty busy, you'll get better at it faster, and you won't feel overwhelmed.
What blogging strategies are working today?
We've covered some of what's not working or losing effectiveness, so now let's take a look at what IS working and where to focus for maximum impact.
1) Long, high-quality content
It's no secret that long-form, high-quality content ranks well in search engines. Not only does it rank well for the main keywords but there's also a high probability it will rank for a range of relevant keywords.
So what is considered a long article? Long articles tend to be over 2500 but a good target to shoot for is somewhere between 2000-2500 words.
2) Help people solve their problems and get results
By writing and publishing consistently on a topic you are knowledgable and passionate about, you will gain a following of people who come to trust you and see you as the go-to expert.
When readers have related questions they will be more likely to seek you out again, as someone who they remember was able to help solve their previous problem.
Not only that but they are more likely to share your content, join your mailing list, give you feedback buy your products and leave testimonials.
3) Document and show your journey
People love seeing behind the scenes and the inner workings of how you solved the problem they have. For example, you could do this through a case study, a tutorial with lines of code, or a series of images/diagrams, explaining your thought process and all the steps involved.
It's one thing to write about a successful outcome, quite another to show and explain how you did it to help others on their journey.
The Number 1 Tip to Make Your Blog Successful
In summary, the fastest path to blogging success is to become an expert and authority in your chosen niche and share long, high-quality content on a regular schedule that you then share to grow your audience.
Other platforms like social media are more useful to entertain and attract people into your web. Once they reach your blog, you can educate them and encourage them to join your tribe, read more of your content, and buy your products.
This is a long-term, successful strategy you can start using immediately. You're in this for the long haul, right? Get started today!