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How The Blogging Landscape Has Changed & What It Takes To Win

How The Blogging Landscape Has Changed & What It Takes To Win

The blogging lifestyle isn’t for the faint of heart.

It’s hard work and you’ve got to put the effort in over the long-term.

Blogging isn’t a quick path to profit. Anyone that tells you otherwise is a liar.

You have to “stay above the line” and hold yourself accountable every day. Create, learn, adapt, grow, and repeat.

Develop your skills and keep pushing through whatever obstacles are in your way.

But the blogging landscape has changed. And there’s more competition than ever before.

In this post, you’ll learn how the blogging landscape has changed, how your value as a blogger goes beyond your blog’s income, and what it takes to win in this hyper-competitive age.

The blogging landscape has changed

Back when I first started blogging, the technical side of things were very challenging.

Whether it was the process of building a blog or selling anything – it was an uphill battle.

Getting decent page load times out of WordPress was hard work. Plugin conflicts were more frequent.

Just finding a decent web host was hard work. And good luck if you had an actual problem.

I do not miss spending over an hour on live chat to Site5’s support trying to convince them of a problem. Only for them to refer me to tier 2 support who spent 9 days failing to solve the problem.

Then things started to change.

Slowly but surely WordPress became faster and more robust.

The underpinning hosting technology got better too.

This paved the way for the next generation of web hosts. The kind of hosts that would actually acknowledge problems and solve them. Within a decent amount of time too.

Some things have gotten harder though.

Like getting readers and rising above the noise.

…It was inevitable with barriers to entry being lowered by advancing technology. We couldn’t stop that 18,000 ton freight train if we tried.

And with the increased competition we also saw the rise of video and attention spans continuing to be squashed into oblivion.

But the advances of technology present an opportunity. They can help offset the increased competition.

And there’s a hidden opportunity buried within the increased — more inspiration than ever.

Just remember that anything worth doing. Whether it be blogging or mastering any other craft — it’ll take a long-term commitment and some elbow grease.

Blogging isn’t a game of chance

Ryan Biddulph recently reminded me that blogging isn’t a game of chance.

Sure, there’s an artistic component but you can break down everything that successful bloggers do into a scientific process. A process you can repeat.

Successful bloggers won’t all follow the same strategy. Some will rely on paid ads to build their email list and promote courses off the back of it. Others will rely more on affiliate marketing.

Whatever approach they take – it can be repeated.

And that’s all it comes down to. A number of strategic steps to be repeated.

The key is that you need to keep repeating them for a long time.

Writing content, publishing content, promoting content, creating products, optimizing everything you do, etc.

Do this all for long enough and you’ll be successful.

It’s going to take time to win as a blogger

One-hit wonders are what everyone wants. But they’re rarely a reality. Sorry but that’s just how it is. We have to put the work in.

Look at any successful blogger. Chances are they’ve written hundreds if not thousands of blog posts.

The same goes for all other content creators. YouTubers are a good example. One of the guitar YouTubers I follow has around 800,000 subscribers. It’d be easy to claim he was lucky but he wasn’t.

He started making videos and never stopped. His success is the accumulation of his efforts over the course of 15+ years where he’s published more than 8,000 videos.

So, what can we learn from this?

The most important part is to keep going.

But you’ll need to be able to stay motivated. You need to enjoy blogging.

This gets a lot easier when you focus less on the numbers and focus more on the content you create as a blogger.

Building out your blog with useful and insightful content is the priority. When you make that a priority the numbers will start to fall in line.

Sure, do all of the things that will help you attract an audience and market your content. But those things need to be secondary to your content.

Understand the why behind every failure

I talked about this in my post about why most blogging advice fails.

If you try something and it doesn’t work, you need to understand

It’s worth repeating here because this is one of the biggest mistakes I see.

When most people implement blogging advice, they’ll try it once and give up almost immediately when they don’t see the results they’d hoped for.

Don’t do what they do. Approach the problem with logic. Invoke your inner Vulcan.

When you understand why a thing didn’t work, you learn a lot. Even if it involves external factors you can’t control.

But most of the time it comes down to the fact you need to do the thing more.

In the context of blogging, this means publishing more content.

Never failing but always learning

The idea of failure has been twisted and abused by mainstream media.

Someone makes a mistake and all of a sudden people are up in arms.

That’s had a dangerous effect on the world.

It’s given some folks the impression that failure of any kind is not acceptable.

That’s just wrong. And here’s why:

What most people see as failure isn’t really failure at all.

It’s part of the learning process.

We’re only human. We’re imperfect beings and we make mistakes.

And not everything will stick. Sometimes you may need to go back to the drawing board.

But everything we do as a blogger teaches us something new. It’s practice. Trial and error.

Whenever something didn’t work, figure out why. Embrace logic and invoke your inner Vulcan.

If our blogging strategy isn’t yielding results, we haven’t failed. We’ve done a thing. Celebrate that fact and learn from the experience.

So keep doing your thing. Keep blogging. Every post you write and video you create will get better.

Don’t let perfectionism stop you from putting your content out into the world.

Ignore the critics. Even your inner critic. Their opinions are not valid.

I say this partly as a reminder to myself. Because I’ve allowed perfectionism get in the way of creating videos for years.

I’m a keen observer. I’ve had the skills to create a YouTube strategy and market videos for years. But doing my own videos? Being on camera? That wasn’t my thing.

At least, I thought it wasn’t.

Once I got my first proper YouTube video out of the door, it completely changed how I felt about creating my own videos.

If you’re curious, here’s the first one:

This is part of the reason why I jumped on TikTok as well. Perfectionism was a huge roadblock. But I took the plunge. Left my comfort zone and started creating short videos that weren’t as good as I’d like.

Sometimes, we just need to get the “cringe” out of our system.

Here’s an example. The video could have been way better but I needed to get through my perfectionism.

Reduce reliance on external platforms

With advances in technology, increased competition and diminishing attention spans, things may feel a little uncertain.

That’s only natural.

But there are a few things we can do here.

More than anything, it boils down to identifying the failure points in our business and diversifying to make them a none-issue.

For example, if you’re relying on a single income source, your next step is to diversify and add more income sources. Remember the old proverb – it takes many streams to make a big river.

The same goes for traffic sources as well but things work a bit differently here.

If you’re relying too much on traffic from search engines like Google, it’s time to focus more on social media.

Sure, social media is more competitive than ever. But you have the ability to reach a lot of people.

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But it’s also critical to understand that you’re essentially “building a house on rented land” with these platforms. Google and other search engines included.

The key is to drive people to something you have more control over. Your email list, for example.

So, if you haven’t already, sign up for one of these email newsletter tools and launch your email list!

Don’t chase the money – let the money chase you!

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

Money.

If you want to earn money fast, go and sell something on eBay.

Blogging isn’t that. It never was.

If your singular focus is money, then there are better ways than blogging.

Start a blog because you want to start a blog. You’ve got to enjoy it and serving your audience has to be a priority.

I’m not saying earning money can’t be a goal. It should.

But it shouldn’t be the motivation for starting a blog.

Here’s why:

Turning a blog into a thriving business doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a long time.

So my advice is to avoid chasing the money. And let the money come to you.

What I’m talking about is more of a mindset thing. You still need to do the things that will enable you to earn money.

You know – affiliate marketing, product creation, seek out brand sponsorships, and all that.

You still need to do all of those things and more.

The important thing is that you psychologically disconnect from the money and let it just happen.

Because otherwise you’ll be too anchored to dollar signs and it’ll distract you from doing what you need to do.

If you wake up every day to check your blog’s income, you’ll be wasting valuable time doing the work that’ll help you manifest that income.

After which, motivation will start to erode. So, yeah, that’s not the way to go.

Your blogging skills matter and have monetary value

I’ve said this for years. The quickest way to earn money as a blogger is by leveraging the skills you’ve developed.

For example: you learned how to build a website with WordPress and manage it.

You also learned how to write compelling content, acquire backlinks, set up an email marketing system, build landing pages, and plenty of other things.

And if you haven’t learned those things yet, don’t worry. You’ve got all those fun things to come.

Now, these are all skills you’ve developed and continue to develop as your blogging career progresses.

Most importantly, they’re skills that other people and brands are willing to pay money for.

Your blog is a portfolio that demonstrates what you can do to make money for others.

You can use your blog as a springboard to propel you out of the job you don’t want and right into one that you’ll enjoy.

That’s how I scored a job as an operations manager at a marketing agency without any relevant qualifications.

Years ago, I was working in a customer support role for a company that treated all their staff like garbage.

But I knew I had to make a change for the sake of my sanity. There was no way I could continue working for a company that told my co-worker to “think about the needs of the business” as she was sitting in the back of an ambulance while paramedics rushed her father to hospital. Nope.

So, I used the skills I’d acquired as a blogger as leverage to get the job I wanted. I was up against marketers with actual qualifications. They’d studied marketing for years. I hadn’t.

Instead of studying marketing, I did marketing.

And that’s what allowed me to exchange a soul-sucking low paying job I hated for a higher paying job I loved.

Then, I continued to build up my blog as a side hustle until I was able to quit and become a full-time blogger.

Some bloggers keep their blog as a side hustle and continue piling in the skills to increase their value & move from bigger to better jobs.

Both approaches can work.

But the main takeaway is this:

Even if you don’t earn a full time living from your blog, the skills you develop are better than a marketing degree. Some employers won’t recognize this reality. But the smart ones will.

Those skills are valuable. People literally pay thousands and thousands of dollars to go to university to study this kind of stuff.

Your blog is proof that you’ve got the skills.

And whenever I consider hiring someone for a marketing role, their blog is the first thing I look at.

AI isn’t the golden ticket some people think it is

Sorry. I know it’s only been 3 seconds since you last saw or heard someone mention AI. But, we’re talking about the evolving landscape of blogging so we’ve got to talk about it.

The “AI bros” would have you believe that you’re an idiot if you’re not pumping out 100s of AI-written articles each day.

But that’s not true.

Human content is where it’s at.

After all, who is going to really want to read a blog filled with 100% AI-written content?

I’m not. Sod that. Seriously.

Now, I’m not saying don’t use AI.

Because sometimes we all need a little helping hand now and again. It’s easy to burnout creatively as a blogger. And there are a lot of ways we can use AI to get more done in less time.

Just don’t let it takeaway the best part of your blog – you.

What it takes to win as a blogger

I’ve written a lot about the processes, tactics, and strategies that you can use to grow your blog already. If you want to find these, just read through the Blogging Wizard blog.

But there’s one thing that I don’t talk about often enough… heart.

It might sound corny but that’s just the way that it is.

Your hearts got to be in it. Not just a little bit either. Like, really be in it.

Only when you blog with heart can you be persistent and relentless in your craft. And that’s what success takes.

You’ve got to enjoy the craft of blogging. And everything it entails.

You need to enjoy learning new things. You’ll have to do that a lot. The learning never stops. And it keeps things interesting.

And more than anything, you need to enjoy the content creation process. Whatever form that content takes.

Even if you’re publishing content to the sound of crickets – you need to enjoy it.

Because you’re going to have those moments in your blogging journey. And a lot of them!

Every successful blogger has been through this. So, you’re not alone.

And regardless of how successful you are, some content will fall on its arse and perform worse than you expected. Whether you’ve been blogging for a minute or a decade.

But if you enjoy the craft of blogging, it won’t matter. You’ll be doing what you love.

Adopt this mindset and nothing can stop you.

Final thoughts

Quitting is easy. Putting in the work is hard.

If we don’t put in the work, nothing positive will happen.

We create our own luck by implementing proven processes and sticking to them.

Earning a living from blogging is the holy grail but it can be a great side hustle too. And it can unlock opportunities to flip a lousy job for one we actually enjoy.

But this ain’t for the faint of heart. Your heart has got to be in it.

So, if you’ve got the heart for blogging; run with it and never stop as long as you continue to enjoy it.

And that’s the reason we should be doing this blogging thing — not for the money — but because we enjoy it.