Blogging Past, Present and Future
In 2008, blogging was in its infancy. It was popular among writers and geeks, but rare for businesses. While I had a personal blog before then, the first official blog post on the Roundpeg site was published on January 2, 2008. At 131 words it was just a quick thought inspired by something I had read on Seth Godin’s blog.
Back then, the rules for blogging were different. Blogs were about conversation, not SEO. The goal of the blog post was to build on the ideas presented by others and encourage people to comment and share their thoughts on your blog. Good blogs were lively, interactive places where even business blog posts had a more personal touch. The short blog post was simply a conversation starter.
But then came social media, and the most interesting conversations moved to Twitter and Facebook. Search engines became more sophisticated in their quest for great content, and blogging became an important marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. Sites like CopyBlogger and SEO MOZ sprung up filled with great tips on how to craft compelling content to engage readers and search engines.
By 2012 we saw blog posts becoming longer, more key word rich, more formulaic (10 Ways to do X), and less personal. But many companies still weren’t blogging, so if you were cranking out 4 – 8 blog posts a month, roughly 400 words each, you would enjoy traffic and relatively good search position. Cross links, still had value as Google, flooded with new content, looked for ways to assign authority to blog sites.
Over the next few years, we saw blog posts get even longer (800 words is now fairly typical), all but the highest quality links bring little or no value, and traffic to individual posts dried up.
So is blogging dead in 2019? No, but the game has changed. And if you want to be successful, you have to learn the new rules.
2019 Blogging Rules
Quality vs Quantity
From 2008 – 2011, we published one short blog post a day, seven days a week. Gradually we reduced the number of posts and used the time to write longer more informative posts. These days we publish two blogs a week, and our traffic is higher than it has ever been. We are making the same shift for all of our clients.
Writing fewer, more content rich blog posts gives us time to dive into a topic, hitting both top key words and some of the more obscure long tail phrases. At the same time, on our blog and on blogs for most of our clients, there are a handful of older posts which still drive traffic day in and day out.
Update Old Content
Every day, posts we wrote years ago get traffic. These articles continue to attract attention because they are unique and rank well for search. Because of this, we routinely take time to go back and review the old posts, adding 100 – 200 new words of additional information, pictures, a video (more on multimedia later), or a link to a new related article. Those internal links help transfer some of the authority from the old post to the new one.
A word of caution, do not change the date on the blog posts, this may actually break all the original inbound links, but do let readers know the article has been updated recently. Then share it on social media and introduce a whole new audience to your most popular post.
Last year, the top post on Roundpeg was What’s the Best Size for your Logo. Originally written three years ago, it has consistently been a top performing post, so last year we added a call to action at the top of the page. With more than 15,000 visits each year, it made sense to give readers a logical next step right up front.
Other ways to breath new life into old content is to round up posts, collecting several articles on the same topic, like this Web Design Roundup. Not only does it give you a chance to shine a light on a great post many people may have missed, it is also an SEO boost. Roundups make it easy for search engines to find similar content, increasing the authority of your site.
Find Niche Topics Only You Can Write
With so many people writing and writing and writing how do you stand out? Well it isn’t with just another “10 Ways to Do “X.” There are already hundreds of articles on that topic. What you need to do is bring a unique perspective to the topic. Some of our best posts connect marketing to pop culture with topics like:
In 2019 Blog Posts are Not Just Words
Look at your news feed on any social media platform and you will see audio files and videos filling the timeline. If you want to get noticed you need to get into the multimedia game. Record a short podcast on the same subject as your blog post or transcribe your podcast and publish the text as a blog post.
If you don’t have a YouTube channel, get one! Start publishing your videos with links in the description back to the related content on your blog. Record a quick Facebook live video and share a link in the post back to your blog as well.
Keep the videos for social media short. People won’t pause their scrolling to watch for more than a few minutes of a video. However, if you have informative content on a topic people are interested in, they will commit for longer on YouTube or embedded in a blog post.
Spend More Time Promoting
I read recently that you should spend as much time, or more promoting your post as you spent writing it. So when you have a new post, or a newly updated post make sure you tell people with social shares and links in your newsletter. But don’t stop there! Look for ways to expand your reach. Contact organizations who might be willing to publish your content on their site. I don’t mean sending thousands of spammy requests, but a few well written offers might just do the trick.
So, are you ready to take on the task of blogging in 2019? Grab a copy of our blog guide before you go!