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.
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.