I still remember that phone call with my parents when I told them that I’m starting a blog.
They were flabbergasted.
“Isn’t that a thing that teens do? It’s like an online diary, yes?” my mum said dismally.
It’s a misconceived notion that blogs are like online diaries. It’s still hard to explain to people what I do for a living. Most people take it as a joke and I can hardly blame them.
The notion isn’t very popular and can be construed as ridiculous.
However, after getting loads of questions like: Is blogging dead? Is blogging still relevant? Why do blogs fail? by my readers or people in general, I decided to write this blog post to clear the air.
I started blogging in 2015.
It was more like an online diary or a personal blog because I wrote about anything and everything I felt like.
That didn’t bode well for me in the least, no.
However, I wasn’t put off.
I swallowed that hard pill of defeat and decided to try again.
But this time, I researched what went into a successful blog and I started the Stray Curls blog in 2018.
I decided to incorporate my own hand-drawn illustrations in order to stand out from the crowd.
Thanks to a healthy combination of Pinterest marketing and SEO, I was able to make this blog work and it kicked off.
I was able to grow an email list of raving fans and I’m now enjoying Screwdrivers on the beach as I write this.
Just kidding, obviously.
I’m all hunched at my computer with my dogs at my feet in my home but my point is, I earn a full-time income from blogging.
And because Stray Curls has done so well, I went on to start a second blog in the personal development space which is still a baby blog right now but it’s picking up rather quickly!
In this post, I’m going to be cover the main question: Is blogging dead? And how you can start a blog that people actually want to read!
Before I begin, might I suggest that you take my super deluxe free 5-day email course on growing your Blog Traffic?
This post includes affiliate links to products I truly (from the bottom of my heart) recommend, meaning at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small percentage which I will use to feed my sweet, adorable pooches.
Is blogging really dead? Are blogs still relevant?
Even though video-based content is extremely popular nowadays, blogs aren’t dead.
Blogs have definitely evolved from what we knew it to be 5-10 years ago. Personal blogs are definitely outdated and are definitely dying out.
You can’t possibly hope to start a personal blog similar to an online journal and expect it to gain popularity or make money from it.
No one wants to know what your cat had for dinner or what movie you saw last night with your girlfriends.
No, Nancy. No one wants to know.
In short, personal blogs are dead. But blogs aren’t dead.
So, what is considered a successful blog?
Blogs that are helpful, cater to a specific target audience, and actually help the reader solve extremely specific problems are rather successful.
Basically, a successful blog has these two characteristics in common:
- It’s highly focussed on 1 specific niche (Read the types of blogs that make money here)
- It has a lot of high-quality articles that are over 2-4K words
Every time you go to Google and search for a query like:
- “Best foundations for Indian skin”
- “How to unclog a sink?”
- “Does my dog really love me?”
And you’re reading an answer to those questions, you’re basically reading a blog post or an article that’s been written by a blogger.
This forms the foundation of content marketing.
In the past few years, there has been a radical shift in the mindset of a Blogger.
From “What do I tell my readers about myself,” it’s become “How can I help my readers solve their problem?”
And this is what separates successful blogs from unsuccessful ones.
Do people still read blogs?
Every time you open your browser on your phone or laptop and google a recipe, or check out a review of the latest Marvel movie, you’re reading an article. You’re reading a blog.
If you’re looking for a recipe, you’re going to go to a food blog.
If you’re looking up a review for a lipstick you want to buy, you’re going to go to a makeup blog.
If you’re trying to understand what your cat just coughed up, you’re going to read a pet blog.
Blogs are extremely helpful and help everyone solve problems.
So, blogging is definitely not dead.
Not in the least bit.
Here are some blogging statistics from First Site Guide to prove my point:
- 77% of people regularly read blogs online.
- Around 7 million blog posts are published per day.
- 61% of online users in the US have bought something after reading a blog
As you can see from the above stats, blogging is still extremely relevant and isn’t going away anytime soon.
How much money do blogs make?
I already have an extensive article on the types of blogs that make money, but bloggers can make money in almost any niche.
Please note, that after you start a blog, it can take a couple of months for SEO and Pinterest marketing to kick in.
Affiliate marketing can be implemented almost immediately when you start blogging.
After you get over 1K-10K pageviews, you can start implementing other monetization methods like ads, selling your products, and so on.
Here are some examples of bloggers that make money with their blogs in different niches:
- Bjork and Lindsay Ostrom from Pinch of Yum makes over $50,000 each month with their food blog.
- Carly Campbell from Mommy on Purpose makes over $10,000 a month with her mom blog.
- Debbie Gartner from The Flooring Girl makes over $20,000 a month with her flooring blog.
- Alex and Lauren make over $100,000 a month with their Create and Go Blog which deals with online business and blogging.
However, reaching this stage takes a lot of time. Sorry to burst your bubble.
If you have chosen a profitable niche and are writing content consistently, you can most definitely hit $200-$500 a month within 1 year. It will take 2-5 years of consistent blogging in the same niche to start making between $5-10K.
I explain more about how much time it takes to make money blogging here.
But all of this information is to prove my point that blogging is extremely relevant today and people are reading blogs.
So, you can start one without hesitating.
Why do blogs fail?
And now, getting to the most important question.
If blogging is so lucrative, why do so many blogs fail?
There are plenty of reasons, and here are some of them.
1. Blogging about “every single thing”
A long time ago, lifestyle blogs did really well.
This was also the time that Catching Foxes and Gathering Dreams picked up and grew their blogs.
Google has changed its algorithms heavily since then and the chances of growing a lifestyle blog are now slim pickings.
It is much easier to grow a blog in a heavily focussed niche because you start using keywords that are all related to your niche and Google understands that you’re an authority in the subject and allows you rank for similar keywords.
The same works for Pinterest as well.
Carly Campbell (one of the Pinterest Godesses herself) has released a mini-video training on how she started a small blog in a very small niche and grew her traffic to 30K page views a month in less than a year by only using Pinterest. Check it out here.
Take your time to decide how narrow you want to go, the narrower the better. I explain how you can find your profitable blogging niche here!
And once you do decide on a blogging niche, stick to 3-5 topics and continue to write posts around that topic.
Here are a few posts to help you understand more about this:
- 7 things I did differently when starting my second blog
- 13 blogging mistakes most blogging newbies make
- 10 blogger tips every new blogger must implement
2. Not honing in on your USP
USP stands for unique selling position.
If you’re going to be like every other blogger out there, you might as well throw in the towel right now.
Like I mentioned before, in order to start a successful blog you need to:
- Choose a profitable niche
- Attract an audience
- Monetize your blog
But a lot of bloggers fail at step 2.
If you don’t write content that people are interested in or write it just like everyone else, you’re never going to get those people to land on your blog.
In order to stand out from the sea of other bloggers, you need to ask yourself how your post will be different.
Are you going to:
- Approach it from a different angle?
- Present it in a different way?
- Write a completely new post that’s never been written before?
The key to becoming popular really soon is to provide immense value in a unique way consistently.
3. Not paying attention to SEO
SEO is what will make or break your blog.
You are a blogger. This means you are also a content marketer.
And every single content marketer needs to understand SEO otherwise you’ll never be ahead of the curve.
SEO simply means you are optimizing your content to be understood by Search Engines.
A few ways you can do this is by:
- Choosing low-competition keywords related to your niche so you stand a chance of ranking on the front page for that keyword
- Writing extensive posts that cover all the topics related to that keyword
- Using proper H2 and H3 headers and subheaders so that your content is spaced out and formatted well
- Adding descriptions (or alt tags) to all your images in the post so Google knows it’s related to your blog
- Linking to relevant posts within your blog so that you show Google how helpful you are to your readers
I explain more about how you can write a well-optimized post in this article.
4. Not having patience
A lot of people start blogs with the sole intention of making money.
They don’t put their heart and soul into this blog baby they’ve so eagerly started and when it doesn’t pick off almost immediately, they throw in the towel.
I’ve seen a lot of bloggers give up on their blogs without even giving them a chance to grow.
That’s not how blogging works.
You may have to write at least 30-50 long-form posts in a single niche in order to see some progress in your blog traffic.
Once you start getting a good amount of page views, you can start focusing on growing your email list and monetizing your blog.
Growing your email list will double or triple your traffic because you can send weekly newsletters to your fans and update them about your latest post.
How to start a blog that actually makes money?
Because we live in a day and age where we can do almost anything with a click of a button, starting a blog has also become a piece of cake.
Although there are free ways to start a blog, don’t go down this route if you intend to start ranking on Google and make money with your blog. You can’t do that if your blog is hosted on a free platform.
The best way to go about starting a blog is to choose a good host that has excellent customer support.
Before we choose the hosting, let’s pick a domain name.
1. Choose a good domain name
Here are a few tips on choosing a good name:
- Never keep your domain name too long. It will become confusing for repeat visitors.
- Make sure it’s easy to spell.
- Choose a .com because it’s super easy to remember.
- If you’re finding it hard to come up with a domain name, you can create something that describes the niche you’re in. For instance, take Saranya who chose to go with One Fine Wallet because her blog is all about finance and savings.
- For inspiration, look up your competitors. Try and not keep it similar to theirs, you want to stand out!
- When all else fails, go with your own name. See how Kimi Kinsey is rocking her Blog.
- Think of what you want to be remembered for and use words that resonate with that!
My domain name is Stray Curls because I wanted people to associate me with curly hair. Plus, it’s really catchy!
It has nothing to do with blogging and online business but hey, it works!
You can check the availability of your domain here:
I absolutely love Bluehost because it’s quick, efficient, cost-effective, and reliable.
It’s the perfect solution for Beginner Bloggers.
Not only do they have 24/7 customer support, but they also give you a money-back guarantee if you’re not happy.
Now, that’s confidence!
Apart from this, WordPress gets installed automatically!
You’ll also get free SSL.
Ain’t that sweet?
And the best benefit of all: You get a free domain!
Why buy a domain when Bluehost is allowing you to pick one for free?
Go ahead, and click the Get Started Now button. I’ll wait over here.
2. Choose a hosting package
If you’re just starting out, you can choose the basic plan and slowly move your way upwards as and when you feel your website needs more space or grows a little bigger.
3. Type in your domain name
Now you’re going to have to pick a domain name if you already haven’t done it before.
The good news is, if you’ve already purchased a domain, you can click the second option. If not, then think of a good and suitable domain name (if you haven’t already) and select the first.
If however, you can’t think of a domain name, that’s not an issue at all! Just click on “I’ll create my domain later.”
Did you know that I had no name for 8 days after I was born? Yep. My parents couldn’t decide on what to name their firstborn child.
To think that they had 9 months to come up with one…
After this, you will be asked to enter your payment and address details.
4. Entering Account Information
Below, you will have to choose your package details.
The best option according to me is either 36 months or 60 months because although this is a lot of money to pay upfront, it’s a huge saving in the future.
If you choose the most expensive plan, you will only end up paying 5.95 per month which means, you end up saving almost 2 dollars every month or $24 in one year!
5. Entering Payment Details
Below, you will have to enter your payment details.
After you’re done, click the little box to agree to all the terms and conditions (that no one reads anyway) and click on submit.
On the next page, you’re going to find some add-ons. You don’t really need these for your blog, so just click on “complete”
Congratulations! You’ve just purchased your domain and hosting. And you’ve finished the first step of building your own website.
Now, set a good, strong password, until the bar shows green and you will get this screen.
Bluehost will have already installed WordPress for you. So, all that’s left is to pick a default theme. Just pick one. We will choose a better theme later.
Once you’re in, you will be able to see your Website’s Dashboard! This sweetheart is where all the magic happens!
Please read this post which is a whole tutorial on how to get started with your blog by installing a WordPress Theme, and then creating the necessary pages.
How to drive more traffic to your blog?
Now that you’ve started a blog, here are a few tips to get more traffic!
1. Aim for low-competition keywords
When I started writing for Mind Space Cafe (my new blog), I looked for low-competition, long-tail keywords with Keyword Difficulties between 0-5.
Please note that these keywords need to be related to your blogging niche as well.
Because this is a new blog with a Domain Authority of 1, I knew I had to be very deliberate with my keyword research.
You will get better results if you use a paid keyword tool like Keysearch (use KSDISC to get a 20% discount) than a free tool like Ubersuggest or because the results are more accurate.
Your keyword research is the most important step in writing a blog post that gets a lot of traffic.
Once you pick a low-competition keyword, enter the keyword into Google Search and see all the domains that are ranking on the front page.
If there is even 1 domain on the front page results that have a similar domain authority to yours or is lower than yours – then there is a good chance that you can outrank them, and your ranking might replace theirs. You can use the Ubersuggest chrome extension to help you with these stats.
There is a lot that goes into writing a blog post, but here are the main steps:
- Grabbing a low-competition keyword
- Checking the front page of the search results to see what is the domain authority of all the pages ranking
- Writing a blog post that covers everything a person would want to see for that keyword
- Constantly updating the post to help it make it to the front page and stay there
2. Write excellent long-form content
Writing a blog post that stands a good chance to rank on the front page has taken me years to understand.
There is a fixed formula, and it isn’t hard once you understand all the steps that go into it.
I chose this keyword recently, “how to draw cartoon hair,” which had a Search volume of 1.2K and an SEO difficulty of 15.
I spent one day writing this post, and within six days, it was ranking on the front page for “how to draw cartoon hair for beginners,” and within two months, it was ranking on the front page for keywords – “how to draw cartoon hair” and “draw cartoon hair.”
This is basically how the Google Search algorithm works.
They rank you for long-tail keywords.
It will be easier to start ranking if you’ve aimed for low-competition keywords because not many people are writing posts for those keywords. Then, with time and how people respond to your post, they will boost your rankings, and that same post will rank for multiple short-tail keywords.
This strategy isn’t hard to implement, and if you’re looking to understand how I do this, please check out my SEO ebook that delves into this in detail.
3. Use Pinterest to double your traffic
In this post – Pinterest for Bloggers, I explain how you can use Pinterest for just 10 minutes a day to get maximum traffic. I’ve explained how you can maximize your Pinterest game just by spending 10 minutes a day on it and no more.
Pinterest certainly doesn’t work for all blog niches. But if it is suitable for your niche, then you should utilize it.
Using a mix of both SEO and Pinterest will really help you get more blog traffic.
I only pin for about 5-10 minutes a day, and the results really show!
I use the Pinterest Keyword tool – Pin Inspector to help me get the most popular keywords in Pinterest and it has really helped with my pin reach even for my new blog:
Read my entire pinning strategy in this post.
If you’re looking to understand how to gain more traffic with your blog, here are a few posts to help you with that:
- 33 blog traffic hacks that will take almost no time to implement!
- 7 quick blog hacks to help you boost your traffic
- 7-holiday blog post ideas to skyrocket your traffic
- 13 proven strategies to decrease your bounce rate
- 13 free ways to market your blog and business
- How to use Pinterest in 2021 to get traffic after all the algorithm changes
- 17 killer ways to get tons of blog comments
- How to write consistently even when you have no time to blog
How to make money with your blog?
I’ve already covered this topic intensely with this post on making money with your blog, but here’s a summary:
Before you pick a type of blog to start, see the money-making potential of the blogging niche. Not all blog niches can be monetized the same way.
But some of the most common methods of monetization are:
Ads slow down your website a bit, so I always suggest that my readers work on their blogs for 6 months and have at least 30 posts before applying to an ad network. Otherwise, people will leave your website if they see 2 blog posts and a website full of ads!
Here are a few ad networks I recommend:
- Ezoic – They don’t have a cut-off; you can apply as soon as you finish 6 months of blogging.
- Monumetric – You need to have 10K page views a month before you apply.
- Mediavine – You need to have 50K sessions a month before you apply.
Please do not apply to Google Ads, they don’t pay well, and they slow down your website heavily!
2. Affiliate marketing
This is one of the best monetization strategies that work with almost any type of blog. Because there are companies that you can tie up with in pretty much any niche and start promoting straight away. Tracie Fobes has a good guide on all the affiliate companies you can join for any niche. It’s free; please check it out!
The only factors that you need to consider are:
- Is the affiliate product/service in your niche?
- Do you actually enjoy using this product/service?
- Can you see yourself promoting this product/service to your readers?
Please be careful when picking affiliate companies.
You want to be very picky initially because you are building trust with your readers, and you cannot jeopardize this over a few measly bucks. So do not promote products you don’t use or don’t like.
Promote something that you are comfortable promoting and know will work for your audience.
Here are some affiliate marketing hacks you may enjoy!
3. Selling your own services/products
Once you’ve established yourself as an expert in your niche with at least 40-50 posts and have a decent email list of at least 2-5K subscribers, you can start promoting your own products and services.
Because by then, you will have built a loyal following of readers who are super interested in the topics you’re blogging about.
Why is this important? Because when you understand who your readers are and what they want from you, it’s easier to create a product tailored for them! You don’t need to break your head marketing that product for them.
For instance, most of my readers are beginner bloggers who require help starting their blogs and driving traffic to them, so I create more products for them than I do for my readers, who are intermediate bloggers.
If you are still a blogging newbie but want to try your hand with product creation, I recommend writing an eBook because it’s a low-risk mini product. You can get my free 25-page ebook guide here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is blogging outdated?
Blogging has definitely evolved in the past 10 years. And it’s no longer revolving around personal blogs.
Blogging has developed to become content marketing and content is now being devoured in several different ways apart from text, like videos, images, and articles.
Does anyone still read blogs?
Blogs are extremely relevant and people still read blogs to discover answers to questions and queries they type into Google Search.
Bloggers make a full-time income with their blogs and it’s not hard to start your own online business.
Are blogs still successful?
If you choose a profitable niche from day 1 and start blogging consistently with each post solving a specific problem for your audience, you will become a successful blogger.
Once you start gaining traction and getting several thousand pageviews a month, you can implement any monetizing strategy and start making a full-time income with your blog.
Is blogging dead? It most certainly isn’t.
I make a full-time income blogging and so do a lot of my friends who are in several other niches.
Blogging isn’t hard and it’s something almost anyone can pick up at any age.
So, if you’ve been meaning to try starting a blog, why not give it a try?
What’s stopping you?