We Must Change the Way We Blog

I can say without a trace of bragging that I have been blogging and talking to people about blogs for a long time. I have felt the joy of success and the sting of failure over the years.

We Must Change the Way We Blog
I don’t have all the answers yet

I can say without a trace of bragging that I have been blogging and talking to people about blogs for a long time. I have felt the joy of success and the sting of failure over the years.

There have been days I wanted to quit everything, and sometimes I did. Abruptly. One day I shuttered three blogs and threw them in the “failure” pile just because they weren’t performing like I wanted them to.

But I always believed in the blogging fundamentals I’d learned and developed. I took the knowledge I had garnered over the years about SEO, blog marketing, monetization, branding, design, and social media seriously, enough that I felt comfortable teaching others what I knew.

I wrote blogging articles with the goal to help people and knew that the concepts I was putting out there worked. I wasn’t trying to scam anyone. I had all the best intentions. My main goal was to help people make money blogging, even if my second goal was to make a few bucks myself with affiliate marketing.

I was on top of the world because I had valuable information I could share through my writing, and I was excited to help people.

I was doing research into new monetization strategies for a blog and I was seeing how others were doing it, but I kept coming across the same information, packaged differently, on each blog. They were all offering courses and eBooks on their “secret method:”

“Make thousands of dollars every month! We are doing it; why can’t you?”

Their information is the same material you can find in thousands of other places for free on the web and was not even much different than the supposedly unique methods I used.

We were all slinging the same bullshit, and I had to ask myself: if this was such a successful method, why are the only people making money blogging earning it by showing others how to make money blogging?

Yes, I know there are a few outliers who have taken the standard method and make money month after month, but if everyone supposedly can do it, why can only 17% of people who run their own blog make enough to sustain their lifestyle or support their family?

Was I ready to stake my reputation on a method to make money that had such a low chance of success? Was the approach I teach the best way to make money blogging?

I had to answer no, and the epiphany was the way we were all teaching people to make money with a blog was entirely and utterly wrong.

“Today, not starting is far, far worse than being wrong. If you start, you’ve got a shot at evolving and adjusting to turn your wrong into a right. But if you don’t start, you never get a chance.”― Seth Godin

The Journey and the Experiment

I was shocked, and a little pissed off, that I based much of my blogging life teaching something that was destined to fail for most people.

So, I set out to right a few wrongs and started writing about them. I asked questions, and along the way, tore down a few of the tenets I thought were correct before I started this journey. I went back to the basics and started to analyze everything I thought to be true.

And while not everything I knew was wrong, a few things stuck out to me:

  1. Most people should not start blogging because they are unwilling to put in the hard work and sacrifice. We need to stop telling people it’s easy to make money blogging. Stop telling people that blogging is passive!
  2. You don’t always need a WordPress blog. There are blogging platforms like Ghost, Wix, Medium, and Substack that work as well. You may have to change the way you monetize, but changing the way we blog is essential.
  3. Don’t keep worrying over niches. We need to start looking for problems to solve and build our blogs around that.
  4. The pandemic has changed the way we do everything, and blogging needs to change with it. We have an opportunity to change with the times. If not, we will fall under the wheels and be crushed.
  5. We have to start looking for other ways to monetize our blogs. Display ads are especially heinous. Start looking at subscriptions and solutions like Mighty Networks, Patreon, or Kofi.
  6. We need to start considering whether social media is a good return on investment of time.
  7. Speaking of ROI, is stressing over SEO the best use of the time we could be using to improve our writing? Isn’t creating quality content, with amazing headlines, and proper formatting, enough? Do we still need to keep trying to trick Google to get good rankings?

I don’t have all the answers, and I am only at the beginning stages of experimentation, so it may be a while before my theories become fact. The more I research and test though, the closer I come to finding the answers.

I know we need to adjust the way we do everything when it comes to blogging. My gut is telling me what my experience isn’t. We have been doing things the same way for so long, and maybe that is why only 17% of us are making enough to feed ourselves blogging.

So if you are looking at getting into blogging, start questioning everything you learn from the gurus and the web.

Blogging is changing. Will you change with it?

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