If you’re thinking about starting a blog, you probably want to know if it’s actually going to be worth your time. You heard that blogs can make money, but how long ago was that? Can blogs still make money, or are blogs dead?
I started my first blog in 2012, and as of mid-2022, I’m still a blogger. My blogs are still around, still making money, and I create a new blog every couple of years. Blogging as a way to make money is definitely not dead, so if you are thinking about starting a blog as a side hustle or a full time business, I highly recommend you do it. In fact, most people don’t ever get past the “Oh, I should start a blog” phase, so if you actually take action and get the thing online, you are already ahead of 90% of bloggers ever.
I have extensive information on my website here on how to make money from your blog, but before you get to that, there’s two main things I want to cover so that you are set up properly. The thing is, not all types of blogs are surviving and thriving these days. Your concept of “blogger” might be different from what I’m talking about, so let’s look at what types of blogs are actually good to start, and which ones are not really working well any more.
Yes, Personal Blogs Are Dead (It’s Social Media Influencers Now)
Way back in the day, a “blog” was like a personal diary. You told people what you had for breakfast, what you did after work, and all the interesting things about you. The “bloggers” who were making millions at the time were simply interesting people with interesting lives.
Blogging was a new type of media in those days, and it was interesting to peer into people’s lives. In fact, this is how YouTube started. In the beginning, it was mostly about sharing videos about yourself, hence being called YOU-Tube. You know, putting yourself on the “tube”. People would upload basically video diaries and collect followers if they were interesting enough to watch.
In recent years, you don’t see as many of the “personal blog” success stories as in the past. These days, personal blogging has been overshadowed by social media, and bloggers of the past are now social media influencers.
These are the people who lead interesting lives and post the content on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and others. Social media beat out blogging because it’s bite-sized content you can consume quickly and scroll to the next dopamine hit. With blogging, you really had to write enough content to justify having a blog post, and then people had to read it. It required insight and effort from the writer, and it required reader attention.
Instead, now you can just post a picture of a guy getting punched in the nuts or a girl doing yoga in shorts and say “Happy Friday”. End. Million views. Easy.
Of course, it’s not really that easy, but it sure does seem that way sometimes. Realistically, to get noticed and eventually paid for doing social media takes a good amount of work.
The point is, if you hoped to start a blog about your life and make money from it, it’s probably not going to happen. My advice is to stick to social media. Pick a platform you enjoy using yourself, and start taking mental notes on what big influencers in your niche do. That’ll give you an idea of how to get started and how to be successful.
If old-school social blogging is pretty dead, how is it that I’ve been “blogging” for more than ten years and still making money? The secret sauce here is the definition of “blog”.
No, Niche “Blogs” Are Not Dead (They’re Just Websites Now)
Actually, when a lot of people say “blog”, what they really mean is “information website”.
A blog is updated frequently with time-relevant content, while a website is static, long form content or ecommerce with product listings.
For example, the Shopify is a platform for building websites. You build a shop, list products, and people buy stuff. You probably aren’t adding 2000-word blog posts frequently to the site.
Maybe you runs some ads to drive traffic to the site and switch up products from time to time, but that’s the basic work you do.
Another example could be a non-profit organization, where there’s 5-6 informational pages, then people hear about the website through word of mouth, or links from other websites.
A blog, however, publishes content weekly, updating with fresh ideas.
All blogs are websites, but not all websites are blogs. The difference is subtle, and the words are often interchangeable, so the exact definition doesn’t matter. The main idea is that you are publishing written content on the internet, and we’ll just leave it at that. To make it simple: A blog is for publishing articles online.
Do blogs, or websites, or whatever they’re called still get traffic and make money? Absolutely. As I mentioned at the top, I’ve been doing this for 10+ years.
The main difference these days is that blogs are about SPECIFIC THINGS, not GENERAL PEOPLE. Let me explain.
Instead of being about “Mike who likes cycling on the weekends”, a modern blog would be about “weekend cycling”. So instead of talking about Mike, and Mike’s feelings, and Mike’s life, the blog would just be about cycling. There would be bicycle reviews, portable bluetooth headphone comparisons, information about local biking trails, tutorials on how to fix a bike, and so on. The blog would, of course, be written by Mike and have photos of him, but the focus would be about the bikes.
Nobody cares about Mike any more. They care about going to a legit website where they can get quality information about bikes., and that is the key value proposition of blogs and why they make money.
In this example, Mike is a bike expert. He takes his time to study, tinker with, and write about bikes in his spare time. When you go to his site, you read the content for free, and Mike gets paid via ads on the site. Sometimes those ads are displayed automatically on the page, and sometimes he gets paid when you click a link.
As you read what Mike writes, you can decide if he’s a trustworthy source of information. If what he writes resonates with you, you can sign up for an email list with extended information, or apply his discount code when you check out, or a number of other things he may be using to monetize his website. Maybe you’ll even turn off your ad blocker to help out Mike so he gets paid!
The main thing to remember here is that blogs are about a specific topic, because people are seeking out information. You can make a blog about any topic, as long as it’s focused on something specific.
To be honest, the bike idea isn’t great from above because it’s not specific. A hardcore mountain biker has different priorities than a family casually biking through their town trails, and someone who bikes to and from work is still a different category of “bike enthusiast”. Someone biking to work probably wants to know how to arrive to work without sweating in their suit, while someone doing a mountain trail on the weekend probably needs information about first aid kits.
Pretty much anything you search online has more than one dedicated blog to the topic. Anything from the best cooking utensils for small apartment kitchens to how to fix your own Ferrari can be found online, and there is a hard working blogger behind each one of these websites. These blog-style websites are extremely lucrative if done well, and I can’t imagine a scenario where they stop being so profitable.
MORE people are getting internet access. MORE searches are being done every year. MORE content is required to serve people searching every single thought that enters their brain. Every single search is money in the bank for bloggers who have high quality content deployed on their website.
Is blogging dead? Definitely not. You can learn how I started blogging and how I currently make money from my blogs here.
Personally, I prefer creating blog-style websites rather than going the social media influencer route. That’s just my personality. I hate the grind of posting every day and trying to look “cool” and “perfect”. I am seriously not a social media person, and I ended up deleting all of my social media accounts in 2021, with the exception of Pinterest for my business. I tried doing some influencer stuff in the past, and I just hated every minute of it so I stopped trying and decided to refocus my efforts on what I was good at: blogging.
Blogging is great because you can take your time to write thoughtful, well-informed, helpful content. You blog is accessible on desktop and mobile. You can choose to make surface-level content like listicles, simple tutorials, and answer basic questions, or you can do in-depth reporting, deep dive tutorials, and write original research on your topic.
Plus, blogs do a great job of combining text, images, video, and you can even interact with your readers in the comment section. Blogging is a great way to build an audience around a topic you deeply care about. You not only get to teach others about something you find interesting, but you get to learn from others, and expand your own knowledge along the way.
Blogging is great for those who are curious and creative, and it doesn’t come with the social pressure and daily grind of social media. You can take a week to research, write, edit, and publish a post rather than posting 2-3x daily. With blogging, it’s satisfying to spend time creating timeless content that can help tens of millions of people searching on the web, rather than just fill a few seconds of downtime when someone flips open their phone.
I’m a huge fan of blogging as you can see, and I hope you take the time to learn how to create a blog for yourself!
It's Time To Take Action!
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