There is a tendency these days to think of blogs as an antiquated relic, a holdover from an earlier, less technologically advanced incarnation of the internet. The smart money these days, such wisdom holds, is in social media, video-hosting websites, and microblogging platforms. Nobody reads long-form blog posts anymore. So they say. Does this mean that blogging is dead?
Over the course of this article, we plan to examine this claim of whether or not blogging is dead (or dying). If it’s true, is there any point in starting or maintaining a blog? If it’s not true, is there a danger of it happening in the future?
Table of Contents
Are Blogs Dead?
Short answer: no. Long answer: it’s complicated.
The fact is that blogging has definitely waned a little as something that most internet users are interested in. Searches for the term ‘blog’ have, according to Google, definitely declined over the past five years. By way of comparison, searches for ‘video’ have risen (though it’s historically always been a more popular search term than blog anyway).
Does this mean that blogs are dead, then? Not exactly, blogs aren’t dead and neither is blogging. Blogs may not be as popular as videos, but that’s relative. It doesn’t mean that blogs are not popular at all, and it doesn’t mean that nobody is reading them.
In fact, the exact opposite is true. Blog posts are still hugely popular, and remain widely read. In fact, 77% of internet users read blogs, and 23% of all internet time is spent on blogs and social media.
So, is blogging less popular? Yes – but the amount by which it’s less popular is so small as to be negligible. Is blogging still worth your time? Absolutely. However, there are a few caveats to go along with that.
Blogging Isn’t Dead – But These Approaches Are
Blogging as a medium (and as a marketing tool) remains almost as relevant as it’s ever been, so let’s not toss the baby out with the bathwater. However, that bathwater does have to go – particularly when it’s representative of tired, outdated, and archaic practices that simply don’t fly with modern internet users.
But what are those practices, exactly? And why should we be steering away from them in this day and age? Let’s take a closer look.
“Kitchen Sink” Blogging
You may or may not be familiar with the phrase “everything but the kitchen sink”. It’s a humorous way of saying “everything imaginable”, and when applied to blogging, means trying to blog about absolutely everything. Cooking, travel, video-gaming, lifestyle, you name it – whatever pops into your head, you make a blog post about it.
This is an absolutely terrible idea, and should be avoided at all costs. Blogs without a focus confuse readers and make them unsure about what, exactly, your blog’s theme is. Worse still, they undermine any credibility you might have built up in your area of expertise – there’s a reason why a jack of all trades is routinely seen as a master of none.
Generic information isn’t seen as reliable information by many people. So sure, you might have a great blog on cooking Mexican-style burritos – but if it’s on a blog that also has health, lifestyle, and gadget blogs, then it’s going to lose a lot of respectability.
That’s why it’s important to pick a niche for your blog, and to stick to it. Generic blogs may be dead, but laser-focused blogs that have a specific niche? They’re going as strong as ever.
For a while, clickbait headlines were the way to go in order to attract views on your blog posts. It’s not hard to see why – clickbait headlines were, before people got wise to them, intriguing and had people wanting to know more.
However, the issue with clickbait headlines is that they’re often misleading, and the headline that had people clicking to read more was either very misleading, or outright untruthful. And once you’ve been burned by a clickbait headline, you’re much warier of anything else that resembles one.
After a number of years of this, the fact is that people are wise to the act – and they avoid anything that so much as has a hint of clickbait to it. What does this mean for your blog? It means that if you give even the impression of clickbait, you’re going to rapidly turn potential readers off.
Another issue with clickbait blogs is that they lead to an increased bounce rate. This means that people will click through on the strength of an intriguing headline, see that they’ve been duped, and rapidly leave. The fact that the viewer (a) hasn’t stuck around for long and (b) has not looked at any other pages ups your bounce rate. This, in turn, is picked up by search engines like Google, who then tank your page’s performance.
Bottom line: clickbait titles destroy trust and torpedo your placement on Google search results. Avoid them as assiduously as readers do.
“Lifestyle” blogging in this context means posting stuff about your personal life. It might be slice-of-life sort of blogs where you share what a day in your life is like or something similar. It might be anecdotal, where you share with readers something funny your kids did. It could be random musings and your sharing things like what you had for lunch that day.
The fact is that while not all blogging is dead, this kind of blogging is definitely dead. It’s a holdover from an earlier era of the internet, where blogs were the only outlet people had to share these sorts of personal details.
Obviously, people do still share details of their personal lives with people. It’s just that it’s moved from blogs to social media, microblogging sites, and short-form video hosting sites like Tiktok. Because these blogs are for entertainment, rather than informative, purposes, they don’t fit the paradigm of the contemporary blogosphere. People no longer read blogs to be idly entertained. They read to learn things.
The conclusion for your own blog, then, is obvious. A good blog is about something, and it educates.
Blogging In A Vacuum
The internet has become as interconnected as the world in which it exists, and no blog exists in a vacuum. If you’re blogging without any sort of extrinsic support for your blog, then chances are you’re not getting much of an audience.
Your blog, therefore, needs to be a multimedia, multi-channel experience. Share your blog posts on your social media channels. If appropriate, make a vlog to act as a companion piece to your blog. In turn, your vlogs can be turned into podcasts for increased exposure.
The more channels you place your content on, the more reach you’ll have. By making use of such tools as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tiktok, Spotify and iTunes, you can ensure that you’re attracting as large an audience as you possibly can.
Bottom line – a blog cannot afford to be a mere blog anymore. You need to embrace a multimedia approach, or be left in the dust.
Prioritizing Quantity Over Quality (And Short Blogs Over Long)
Another mistake that has been historically made by bloggers is the supposition that the more content your blog has, the better it must be. But that blogging strategy is certainly dead or close to being dead.
Don’t get us wrong – content is important, and your blog shouldn’t be scant on it. But that doesn’t mean pumping out 5 low-quality blogs a day just so that you’ve got a high volume of blog posts. It’s ultimately a balancing act between how much content you have, and how good that content is.
And that is, ultimately, the priority – putting high-quality content on your blog. One solid blog post that gives great advice is worth five lower-quality copy-paste jobs – or worse, AI-written posts.
This doesn’t just help attract and retain readers – it means that Google will prioritize your content more. Its algorithm increasingly prefers long-form, high-quality multimedia content.
While the average length of a blog is 1376 words, the fact is that when it comes to blog posts, the longer the better. According to Orbit Media in the same article just linked, bloggers who write longer posts report better results. Bloggers who publish blog posts that fall between 1000-1500 words report “strong” results from those posts; conversely, 43% of those who published long-form blogs of 2000-3000 words reported strong results. That increased to 53% for blog posts of over 3000 words.
Another factor to consider when thinking about blog quality is the layout and overall look of your blog. To ensure that your blog looks appealing and professional, you should use the right WordPress theme – check out our separate guide on that topic.
Simply put: the longer and better quality your blog posts, the better they’ll do.
Leaving Posts To Decay
All too often, bloggers will fire out a blog and forget all about it. Two or three years later, the blog post will still look exactly the same, gathering dust in the bottom of your archives. It may have been getting good views a couple of years ago, but if it looks exactly the same as it did then, it’s probably been a while since anyone gave it a second look. This would easily lead to the impression that blogging is dead, but the problem is elsewhere.
The problem with older blog posts is that the information they contain can easily become outdated. Statistics, references to years, and outdated tactics or tips can really harm the legitimacy of your blog posts. You may also have broken links, which damages your credibility with Google.
All of this aside, it’s likely that you have grown in knowledge and experience since you wrote that blog post. It’s therefore worth casting a critical eye over it to see if there’s anything you can do to improve it. Not only does this make it a better blog, but it makes it more valuable in the eyes of Google – whose algorithm loves refreshed content.
A Hubspot experiment in updating old content resulted, in fact, in a 106% increase in organic traffic to those old posts. This means that it’s very much worth making sure that older content is getting a periodic facelift.
But what form should that facelift take? Should you be rewriting the entire article, or simply touching it up for accuracy and up-to-date links?
When casting a critical eye over old blog posts, you should ideally be looking for three things – comprehensiveness, accuracy, and freshness. It should provide as much relevant information as possible (comprehensiveness), should not contain anything incorrect or misleading (accuracy) and should contain only the most up-to-date information and facts (freshness).
If you can do this, then you can ensure a steady stream of traffic for your older blog posts. And if it’s already getting good traffic – well, Hubspot increased their already-considerable traffic to older posts by 106%. What’s to stop you from doing the same?
How To Resurrect Your Blog (Or Stop It From Dying In The First Place)
Perhaps you’ve already made some of the mistakes we’ve detailed above, and that’s why you think blogging is dead. Or perhaps you’re looking for strategies to ensure your blog doesn’t end up languishing in the doldrums of page 2 and beyond. In that case, you’d do well to consider the following strategies.
Make Sure You’re An Authority
Nothing inspires confidence more than knowing the blog post you’re reading comes from a voice of authority. If you’re able to project that authoritativeness and demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about, then it will reap dividends.
There’s a reason that more than 70% of blog posts published are ‘how-to’ blogs offering advice and tips. In this day and age, that’s the sort of content people want to see. That means that it’s the sort of content that you should be offering, too.
Make sure that you use other channels to increase your reach, and to establish yourself as an authority. Similarly, interact with your followers and subscribers on social media – particularly if they have questions pertaining to your field of expertise. The more you get yourself out there, the more you’ll be seen as someone worth listening to.
The ancillary benefits of this are almost without number. Other bloggers will link to your content because you’re seen as an authority, which will, in turn, increase your website’s domain authority and make you more visible on search engine result pages. If you sell products, you’ll find that you’re selling many more based on the strength of your blog and the sense of confidence you project.
It’s not the easiest road to success, by any stretch. But the roads worth taking seldom are.
Answer The Questions People Are Asking
Think about the last question you Googled the answer to. Now think about the top organic search results that came up. How satisfactory were they in answering your question? If they’re at the top of Google’s search results, chances are that it was pretty satisfactory.
There’s a reason that the top (organic) search results on Google get there – because they anticipate the questions that people are going to ask. And then they go about answering them.
This means that you need to do the same. You can use SEO tools like Moz or Surfer SEO to help you find out what questions people are asking. Our firm favorite is Semrush – the leading all-in one SEO solution on the market. This, in turn, informs the structure of your blog posts, and makes writing them faster and easier.
You can also check out the competition (e.g. the top 1-3 organic search engine results) and figure out what it is that they’re doing right. That used to mean using the right keywords (at the right volume), but it increasingly means writing quality content for the sake of quality content – rather than trying to game the system in a bid to hit page one.
Note that this does mean ripping off your competitors – Google looks very harshly upon any attempts at plagiarism. It just means taking a look at the competition to see what they’re doing right.
Make Sure Your Niche Is Not Too Wide (But Not Too Narrow Either)
We spoke earlier about the dangers of making your blog too broad. If you cast a wide net, you may very well catch no fish. It’s better to focus on what you’re good at, thus improving your authority and establishing trust with readers.
However, it’s also possible to go too far the other way and hyper-specialize too much. If your blog is exclusively about travel tips for China’s Shandong province, then you’re going to attract a very small audience interested exclusively in that (if you attract anyone). If you broaden your horizons to write about travel to all Chinese provinces, then you have your niche, and you likely have a sizeable audience.
Striking that balance between being too specific and too general is no easy task. Again, it might be worth looking at the sort of blogs you can be expecting to compete with. This may help to focus your endeavors a little.
Is blogging still worth it? As we have seen, it absolutely is. However, while blogging certainly isn’t dead, that doesn’t mean it’s easy or straightforward. Building a trustworthy, reputable and authoritative blog takes time, patience, and expertise. It also means avoiding all of the pitfalls that we detailed above – and embracing some of the blogging best practices that we’ve taken a look at. If you can manage to pull this off, then you’ll soon be looking at a successful blog – and the traffic will come rolling in.