Is blogging still relevant in 2022? I have been blogging regularly since 2012 and have noticed a lot of changes since then. I realise I wasn’t especially early to the party, and some people have been blogging a fair while longer, but the recent tendency has been for content creators to move towards video as technology has made this better and easier. In an age of YouTube, TikTok, and smartphones with the capability to record high quality video, is blogging a dying art?
I don’t know if any of you have come across a certain stigma associated with blogging. Often when I meet people and want to share that I have a blog, I hold back. This is because I think bloggers have a reputation for being mediocre, and most blogs aren’t tended to with the kind of effort and attention to detail that makes them a joy to read. There are many exceptions, of course, but there are hundreds of thousands (millions?) of blogs out there with just a few posts, very few if any pages, not much design flair, and not much to entice potential readers.
I’m disheartened that blogging isn’t always taken seriously. A blog is the perfect platform for both fiction and non-fiction authors to share their thoughts and build an audience for their work. Not all of us want to make video content, or create a podcast, either because we are introverted, or simply prefer to express our thoughts using the written word. I think the written word will remain important even in a TikTok age, because we’re all still taught how to write in school, and of course the fact that God sends human beings Scriptures in writing demonstrates that the written word is a hugely important part God’s plan and the way His creation operates.
WordPress has undergone a lot of changes recently. With the Gutenberg editor mixing things up in an (in my view) overly complicated and messy way, it’s clear that those behind the WordPress.com platform are trying to keep blogging relevant and advanced technologically. It’s still the case that nearly a third of the Internet consists of people who blog either using WordPress.com or WordPress.org (the latter of which offers people the means by which they can self-host their blogs). There are so many blogs out there, but is it a serious case of quantity over quality?
I have experimented with Substack on two occasions. Substack is a platform that allows writers to produce a regular newsletter in exchange for a paid subscription. So someone might charge $7 a month, for instance, to allow access to their newsletter. It’s a great business model, and some people are making good money doing this. WordPress have taken notice and have introduced ways in which we can do something similar — in fact, there are many ways to earn money through WordPress now, just take a look at the ‘Earn’ page in your blog’s settings to explore them.
But how many people are making money from their WordPress blogs? Podcasters and YouTubers often make quite a bit of their income from advertisements or sponsorships, but I know of few bloggers who are making any money at all via these avenues. In my understanding, making money from a WordPress.com blog is close to impossible. It’s partly because despite what WordPress claim, the search engine optimisation of our blogs isn’t great, so we don’t get as much traffic as we would need from search engines in order to make advertising on our blogs a viable option for generating an income, even if we are producing great content.
In my view, the main benefit of WordPress is for people who write in a particular niche to meet like-minded people and network. The tagging and Reader functionality makes it possible to locate people who have similar interests to us and connect with them. My blog, for example, is a small community of people who enjoy discussing subjects related to philosophical theology. I doubt there will ever be millions of people who share this interest, but it is a passion I share with a good number of other bloggers whose blogs I follow and enjoy reading and engaging with, and they with mine.
I would argue that for independent authors, having an active blog is still highly desirable. You really have to put the work in though, and as I have argued in a recent post, finding ways to promote one’s blog is just as important as writing great articles when it comes to connecting with people and reaching an audience. I don’t think I will ever make money as a blogger, but I have certainly reached a large number of people with my books through my blog. If I didn’t have a blog, it’s unlikely many people would have discovered my books and bought or downloaded them. I also love using my blog as a testing ground for ideas which eventually turn into books, so that’s another great reason for me to keep blogging in 2022 and into the future.
I’m interested to throw a couple of questions out to you: Do you know any bloggers who are making a living from blog-related activities? If you do, please leave a link to their blog/s in the comments below so we can all take a look. Also, what are your favourite blogs with a substantial following, and why do you think they are popular? Again, please leave a comment with a link. Thanks for reading!