Blogging

Daily Blogging is Broke Blogging

We live in a world where most bloggers are broke and frustrated, but it does not have to be that way.

Blogging, the Old Way

A few years ago, bloggers were told to put out frequent (multiple posts per day, if possible) to increase their web traffic. It was the ‘long-tail’ traffic strategy. With frequent posting, you’d naturally pick up all of this traffic from people Googling long, specific queries. Most search engine traffic comes from long-tail anyway, so it made a lot of sense.

And, quite frankly, it was working. So bloggers were pumping out content like it was going out of style.

Then, people got smart (see: lazy) and started outsourcing their content.

Typical boss mentality: “wait a minute, if I can pump out 10 pieces of content a day and pay homeboy on oDesk $2 per article, I can pick up long-tail traffic and my blog  will become automated…for $20 a day.”

Then, instead of having one blog, let’s pump out 10 blogs, then 50 blogs…

…as long as Google doesn’t know that I am spinning most of my articles.

Right? Remember when that was still working?

And because it was working, Google was in huge trouble. Their algorithm frequently ranked blog posts that had laughable English fluency. News outlets even started calling them out, as Matt Cutts addressed in his recent Pubcon keynote:

So out birthed these massive algorithm changes (Panda and Penguin) and the blogging world was never the same. Yes, they took down much of the ‘thin content’ out there, but they took out a lot of the good guys, as well.

You see, ranking for long-tail traffic was never the same, yet the masses continued to follow the same strategy that was working for them in 2011.

I call this the broke blogging phenomenon, and I sincerely feel for those bloggers out there blindly hitting the publish button on the daily.

And I have my own case studies to support  the phenomenon, but Glen Allsop at Viperchill already prophesized this in April 2012 (an excellent read if you have a full hour to digest).

So is blogging dead?

Absolutely not. You just have to switch your game up.

Lucrative Blogging Formula

Here is how to do it right, 2014 style.

First, make sure your site is high-performing. This means you want to get your site to load its pages in 1-2 seconds:

  • Use a lean WordPress framework like Thesis that allows you to escape the crappy, cookie-cutter-template blues relatively quickly.
  • Keep your WordPress plugins to a minimum. On most of my sites, I only use three: Akismet, W3 Cache, Google XML Sitemaps. Adding more and more plugins only bogs down your site performance.
  • Get premium web hosting. From my own experience, even a lean WordPress site on a Bluehost shared hosting account can still take 5+ seconds to load each page. Not good. Once you start seeing decent traffic, switch over to a premium service like Servint or WPEngine.
  • Delete or no-index any thin pages. Examples:  ‘Policy’ and ‘Terms and Conditions’ pages or lower-quality and outsourced content.

Then, adjust the way you produce content, starting with how you write each blog post.

Shoot for 1000 words, at minimum, and it needs to be borderline-epic. You can actually rank for dozens of high-competitive keywords in one single blog post just by talking about each keyword naturally in the flow of your content.

As an example, peep this review post I recently put together for an affiliate program: http://multiplestreams.org/empower-network-review/

Google any major Empower Network keywords, such as ‘Empower Network’ or ‘Empower Network review’, and you’ll see this review. Why? It is a longer, conversational piece that has real content and engagement. Naturally, Google likes it. Thousands of other people have also written Empower Network reviews, but few others took the time to put a stacked, value-packed piece that discusses many aspects of the program.

Finally, do these steps with each post:

  • Build 2-3 high-authority backlinks to your post, at minimum. Since your content actually provides value, reach out to webmasters who are in your niche and create a win-win scenario so you can get your blog post link on their site…offer content posts, visual posts, contests and always over-deliver to create long, sustaining relationships
  • Internal link at least 1-2 times to other helpful sources in each of your posts
  • Provide video or unique, visual assets in your posts to keep your content more engaging. Also, these visual assets typically will help your bounce rate, which theoretically will improve your rankings

Only post when you have time to produce baller content. For some, that is twice a week. Others, twice a month. You get the idea. Do what suits you, but don’t feel obliged to follow a routine if you aren’t up for producing epic content on that routine.

 Daily Blogging is Broke Blogging

Jeremy Page

Jeremy Page is an internet entrepreneur and search marketing strategist at Purch.
 Daily Blogging is Broke Blogging

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31 thoughts on “Daily Blogging is Broke Blogging

  1. Jeremy
    I love this article. I’ve been currently testing the links to other great resources thing. Would you consider it a good idea to make these links nofollow? or just leave them follow links. and y?

    1. If it was me, I would NOT no-follow links to quality pieces that support my own article – especially if they are on recognized authority websites. I have seen no indication that Google penalizes your piece for that and, in fact, believe they reward you for it.

      1. I totally agree with you Scott, after all google needs to give value to users so why not link to high quality relevant and authority blogs to your blog post! The more value you give to readers the more traffic you get from google and value includes linking to great resources since you want readers to be able to find as many information as possible in the easiest way possible…

    2. Grant, if you make the link an ‘in-text’ resource-looking link, that is the most natural link you can get on the internet these days. Its a pure natural citation, as long as you don’t link to your own site in the author bio…so you should be fine.

  2. I receive well over 50 SEO articles in my feed per day and frequently skim the headlines before deciding whether or not to even bother to glance at an article. Of the 200+ pieces I actually read per week, I’d say that less than five are in any way remarkable.

    In all honesty, I was surprised by how good this article turned out to be and am glad that I clicked through to read it. I couldn’t agree more that quality is the most important thing of all. I think the whole “content calendar” thing has led many blogs to produce less than stellar quality pieces. Believe me; I know, the pressure of “what am I going to write about this week” has caused me considerable angst in the past.

    Fortunately, I only have to worry about that for places that pay me to write. For my own blogs, I only write when I have something truly great (I think) to say. If that turns out to be once a week, once every other week or only once a month, so be it. I don’t know when the last time was that I wrote something that was under 1,000 words. 2,000+ word posts tend to be the norm.

  3. This is one of the best posts I have read on SEJ in a while, very simple ideas yet brilliant as all to easy to get lost in the idea of blogging and that which everyone is doing.

    Thanks

    Aaron

    1. Thanks, Aaron. Seriously means a lot. I always try to write content that is actionable and comes from my first-hand experience. Tired of all the lame posts out there that are full of fluff.

  4. Thanks for your thoughts, Jeremy! I actually just wrote a piece on BloggingTips.com recently called “In-Depth Articles: A Solution or a Curse?” about long-form and how it unjustly affects the SERPs.

    I do understand long-form posts usually get shared more, but do they really provide more value?

    I feel like Google’s advocacy of in-depth articles just punishes talented writers who can relay a message in 500 words or less. (That’s not to say people who do write 1,000 words or more are talentless, however.) My argument here is just because it’s longer doesn’t mean it’s better.

    What do you think? I would appreciate anyone’s thoughts on this actually.

    1. Maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t imagine being able to cover anything in less than 5-10 paragraphs that will rock anyone’s world. I’m sure they probably exist, but I have never seen a 500 word post that conveyed anything particularly valuable unless it was an intro to a video or infographic.

      I suppose you could have a valuable 500 word post that was more of a summary post that linked out to other articles (likely longer than 500 words each,). Valuable? To some people I suppose it is. But, is that really contributing something new?

      I wouldn’t mind seeing examples of these stellar 300-500 word posts, though!

      1. Scott, I agree. Packing value into 500 words is very difficult, and I doubt I could do it other than just by accident rather than by design. I read content on SEJ and many other sources and when I see content I like I can seldom figure out exactly why it is I like it, so probably have no hope of repeating that appeal.

        Many of my site’s pages are 1000+ words (just launched in September), and aside from functional pages like ‘contact’ or ‘terms’, I think almost all of my pages are 500+, and these seem to be getting me good rewards in SERPs. I’ve only recently started looking at linking strategies – I’ve been to busy doing work on other people’s sites. Long copy has certainly worked well for me.

    2. James, I think the key here is actually: Most ordinary people who write copy to gain ranking, don’t know how to write well. Let’s face it, there are near 700 million websites in the world, and probably only the top 0.5% of them will get a decent sniff of page 1 in SERPs. Writing great content is an art. many people who post here are great at this, and I’ve seen engaging articles ranging from 500 to about 3000 words, but usually toward the longer copy end of that spectrum.
      My point is that MOST people can’t write great short copy, so having a tendency to favor longer copy makes many more great articles available to the reader. Isn’t that a positive thing?

    3. I can certainly see how seasoned bloggers would think 500 words or less is a joke, but by definition a good writer is supposed to relay his/her message in as few words as possible. It also depends on your niche and if they want to read that much.

      If you’re in the “make money” niche and your audience is all newcomers, I think you’ll find it very difficult to hold their interest with a 1,000 word post. In this situation, you increase your chances of losing your reader with every word.

      However, I will say this. I’ve noticed that as time goes, my articles get longer and longer. I find it hard to explain myself in 500 words more often than not, but I don’t think that means they are “better” just because they’re longer.

    4. Right, right, I see your point there. But adjust your mind.

      You probably can explain something thorough in 500 words or less, and that is fine. So instead of covering just one topic, cover 2-3 other related topics in the same post…over-delivering on value. Google will associate the content together, and it will rank better.

      This example shows what I mean… (I actually had this resource link in my original draft, but the editors stripped it out)

      http://multiplestreams.org/empower-network-review

      This post makes me thousands of dollars a month and I rank first page for “empower network” (49,000 searches a month!), “empower network review”, “empower network products” and other competitive words. All in one post.

      Most people would think that I would need to create different posts or pages going after each one of those keywords, but I was able to do it with one post. That is the lucrative blogging formula that I am talking about.

      1. Apart from search engine benefits, I’d argue that there are huge benefits for readers from long-form content if its written correctly.
        It was brought up that you may have difficulty keeping an audience for 1000+ words and that is true to some degree.
        Personally, the biggest reason I jump ship on an article is because I found something interesting in the article and wanted to follow it up other places. Imagine if all the information you need on the subject in within that one article.
        For example, lists have been huge for a number of years, but most people just throw out a short bullet point list. Why not turn each of those bullet points into a full paragraph and flesh out the idea? Easily turns your 500-word list into an epic, lengthy post that still has great content.
        Just my thoughts :)

  5. Jeremy,

    I’m hopeful this line of reasoning takes root. Long-form, high quality content is welcomed. Jason Acidre talks/writes about this often, especially as it regards evergreen content. I hope more of us follow suit in 2014.

    RS

    1. Hi Ronell, I absolutely agree, however I find most people who blog for the business write poorly. Only regular ‘professional’ bloggers tend to pick up the skill of writing copy for web. Thus dawns a new era for copywritters of old, who used to have to write punchy short copy that grabbed attention on billboards. I wonder if they are even capable of taking up the new art, or whether we will see the rise of an entirely new breed of copywriter?

  6. Hi Jeremy, first and foremost: Merry Christmas (sorry, late I know) but also Happy New Year!
    I really appreciate the input that people provide here on SEJ. I have found quite a few contrasting opinions placed here in the last few months. I tend to pick through the stuff that makes sense to me, and put it to the test.
    Lately, my advice to others has been about plugging themselves into RSS feeds and using latest updates to gather ideas for their blogs. I’m not sure I agree with your suggestion of a routine as thin as once per month though, although admittedly my own site has had few posts (less than 20 in 4 months). It’s very difficult to write ‘epic’ content, for most people. I’m no different. I suggest to others: ‘emulate what top performing sites do in your category’ and you’ll probably do OK. If you want to do better, become the person or site that gets emulated. That’s usually only achieved with regular daily updates, and powerful writing skills.
    Our company is also one of those that made the mistake of outsourcing. When I joined the company, I advised them to stop, and we haven’t looked back.

    1. Great message…”become a site that get’s emulated”

      Nowadays there are many of the get to the top fast with inflated numbers kinda outfits. I tell our clients that they need to be the one with the dynamic cutting edge content rather than reacting or expounding on their competitors. Once you become the original source let the visitors line up!!!

      1. Hi John. Thanks, yes, it’s the key in my opinion. Most of us, however, don’t have the skills to write killer content, let alone do it every time, so emulating other successful businesses and sites is a great place to start – so long as you’re not breaching their IP by copying their content verbatim. The trouble is figuring out what it is that makes the site a success. Ranking is not the only indicator of course, as I still often see absolute rubbish ranking in the top 20 – sites on a particular topic that got ranked because they stole content or used spam techniques to gain momentary ranking, only to do it over again a month later with another page or site.

        I’ve worked with many clients, personally connecting with over 300 businesses in the last two years, and very very few of them had the skills to write engaging content – simply because that’s not where their skill set lay. They were great at their business, but too often lousy at writing. And with SEOs like me, we also can’t write great copy about stuff we don’t understand or know about. That leaves some degree of copying or emulation of others as the only thing you can do.

    2. Perry, glad you found value in the post…I only try to write things that can make marketers lot’s of money. You’ll never find a “3 Marketing Tips” blah blah post from me. Sadly, this post was 400 words longer than this version but it was shred apart by the editors at SEJ.

  7. This hit home for me. I mean it truly makes sense. Basically, writing quality content is what blogs have to convert to. And I’m happy to hear that we don’t have to update all the time. Instead, we just need to network with other bloggers in our niche. That gives us a great chance to get to know the community and improve engagement. A long post is definitely do able. Yes! It will take time. but that’s our job. I kinda want to thank google haha, if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have such a motivation for better useful content.

  8. Long content or short ? I believe it all depends on what you are trying to achieve and audience. As the same advise about posting content everyday or numerous times every week gained traction so also will the idea of long content and posting contents when you feel it is important. As for me, I will do what i think best suit my strategy.

    1. Adegboye, I agree you have to do whats suits your audience, but there is also a strategy that plays into Google’s algorithm…so that is what I will focus on in 2014.

  9. I read an article with a case study not too long ago and it seems like posting content on a daily basis might not be as good as generating contents once in a week

  10. Hi Jeremy, thank you for all of the great insight about blogging. This has really been a great read for me and I intend to utilize some of your information to help me further my experiences in blogging. Good to see a fellow Empower Networker doing so well. Thanks again!

  11. Hi Jeremy, thank you so much for sharing these great tips. I have moved to VPS but still my site’s load time is calculated as around 5 sec by different tools. When I access my site in browser, it loads quickly and the load time isn’t 5 sec at all. Does Google looks the site speed like tools or it evaluates from visitors’ behavior? i.e. from bounce rate.

    In addition, I have some questions. What about on-page SEO as you said that you use only 3 plugins. SEO plugins are a must as WP doesn’t allow us to write meta descriptions for the posts.

    Rehmat

  12. Blogging is not dead yet but quality producers are limited, writing a long tail keyword is not the only license to ranking higher in search engine but creating a full content that doesn’t hold back readers point will be a better way forward to stay ahead of our competitor in 2014.

  13. I’ve been saying this for ages – the web is cluttered with millions of pages of content generated for the sake of keywords – its hard to find well written posts among it all. Sadly I can’t see the influx of crap ending any time soon – people still believe it works.
    Google seems to be learning how to spot these articles and keyword placement – it now takes good content and good links to rank in the SERPs

  14. Thanks Jeremy for a great post :-). I have been working on my blog for a couple of years – and still learning. The early posts are lower-quality. I have 371 post – I would say 25-40 are lower-quality (not that good – early days).

    Would you advice be to remove them? Some of them I can update and make better – but most of them, it would be a wast of time to that.

    Thanks for a any advice and a happy new year