Consumer tests and product reviews

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Why blogging is obsolete in 2019 - case study

The most important reasons why blogging has no meaning whatsoever in 2019

no blogging in 2019

Wondering whether to start a new blog this year? You are keen on something and want to share your thoughts and knowledge with the world? Think twice before you waste your time...

So, to summarize it, why blogging is obsolete in 2019, here are the main reasons:
  1. Blogs don't rank as good in search results (just make a simple comparison with online stores, they rank much higher).
  2. One needs to make a serious investment (time and money) to get through the competition - millions of bloggers cover almost every topic that you may think of.
  3. Changes in algorithms in search engines and social networks, relying mostly on paid results.

And from the very beginning I want to share this - don't get me wrong, if you like sharing your thing online in front of small audience than do it, if it makes you feel better than you should definitely do it. Why I believe blogging is obsolete by 2019 is the way bloggers are treated by the big players in the Internet.

What went wrong?
I remember 10 years ago when I started my first blogs about technology and some fun stuff. It was very exciting, the process of designing and creating posts every day that is something personal and that can grow to audience of thousands of years was really cool at that time.

And one could also benefit from the efforts of providing quality content online - once the blog was recognized by search engines, forums and social platforms as something worth visiting it was quite easy to monetize the traffic coming from those sources.

Unfortunately search engines these days do not appreciate personal blogs the way they did before. Most forums are no longer platforms for free speech on specific topic and most of the good ones are actually gone for good. And I am not saying that back then everything was right and done as it should be. Yes, there was a lot of spam, fake blogs, unfiltered content and such but it was definitely better than what we see now - paid search results dominate the net, you can create your own rules and "force" your opinion to others as long as you have enough cash for pay per click campaigns in social platforms and search engines.

Search engines' role
A lot changed for bloggers in regards to search engines in the last couple of years. Do you actually remember when was the last time you searched for a product online and you came upon a real consumer blogger who shared their impressions first hand? Nope, not going to happen, now all we see in top search results are online stores and their platforms for what I believe most of the time are fake opinions and reviews.

So why do I think search engines create a big part of the problem? There is nothing wrong to have large online retailers and businesses of all kinds. What really worries me is the fact how easy it became to manipulate audiences online. And believe me that reflects all aspects of our lives. You probably remember at least couple of times when you were disappointed by a product that didn't turn what you were expecting but it got the highest scores in Google rich snippets reviews.

Manipulating audiences is one thing but bloggers loosing their income is completely another. You have probably heard about "professional bloggers". Well, these days this term is used mostly for people being paid by big brands to promote their products. I have many example but honestly I choose not to share since many of them get quite aggressive when their "honest" opinion about things is compromised. Now it is probably a good time to share how traffic from one of my personal tech blogs changed over years and how I lost my income through these changes:

Here is a screenshot of the traffic just before things started to get really wrong:

At mid 2017 traffic dropped 50%, by the end of 2018 it dropped 90% :
How organic search traffic changed just within a year

I am not sure if I could blame this on latest Google search updates, on GDPR changes, on updating the design of the site or anything else that happened in this period but one thing I noticed it is not just me. Every single search I make related to the topics I cover returns the same results - 3-4 big online stores, couple of sites for genuine fake reviews and that is it. I also know that I use multiple platforms for tracking traffic and that were no indicators for what happened. Of course some may say that going to "mobile first" may also have some impact but what we see above is just brutal and will make most bloggers just give up on writing.

Social networks (Social nOtworks as I call them)
Turning social networks like Facebook and Twitter into advertising platforms. Selling audience info and data and turning us into targeted market is anything else but social. You've probably heard about the elections scandals around the most popular social network and others claim that now governments and presidents win the vote over Twitter or Facebook. I am not sure if it is just nostalgia but I really missed the time of free social networks that didn't have complicated algorithms for blocking and filtering your content.

I also remember the times when if you had 1000 Facebook fans and you post an update at your FB page at least 500 of them would read it. Now we have to pay for all that, nothing is free these days. And the bitter taste and feeling that someone is using us bloggers remains, no matter which of the monopolistic online products we are using. Digg is no more what it used to be and Technorati is gone!

Blogging is not FREE
Yes, there are blogging platforms that are free of charge but that is just one small part of the whole process and the expenses. If one wants to keep a blog with professional looks and technologically updated by the latest standards and requirements, the some money need to be spend. Having fresh and quality content all the time also comes at a price. Most bloggers like myself relied very much on income coming from guest blogging, AdSense and few other marketing options. Nowadays these methods work mostly for a bunch of few out there. Part time bloggers have small to none chance to get through in organic search "thanks to"  SEM overtaking SEO in the SERP.

I can add a lot more about what good and bad about blogging in 2019 but I doubt it would reach many of those who are interested (topic is already covered by many). It is my personal opinion that bloggers have more options to work with like design and management tools but all these come obsolete when just small audience is reached.

And here's what fellow blogger Neil Patel has to say on the topic about blogging in 2019:

For this to be a real case study I wanted to share more of the metrics I had prepared for direct comparison but then I remembered it wouldn't really matter. After writing down my thoughts I believe most of you experienced the changes in question and there isn't really much to prove here.

From going for Alexa top 100 00 site to out of the most popular 5 000 000 sites
I remember back in 2013 my consumer project was expanding vastly and I was planning to get to Alexa top 100 000 sites in couple of months, without any paid advertising whatsoever. I relied mostly on content, regular updates and social networks. Traffic from search engines was huge, back than they really appreciated first hand thoughts and reviews, something that we don't see very often these days. Unfortunately I had to drop the project for couple of months and worked on it much less after I returned. Still it was stable in the top 1 000 000 results ranking.

Now it is very hard to get anywhere relying only on organic search and no marketing at all. You can check the current Alexa ranking (yep, things look ugly now).

2019 Alexa rank
Alexa ranking for in 2019

I really hope things will change for better in 2019. Other than that, if you don't plan to be fully dedicated to your blog and spend all your time, money and efforts on it, just to forget about it all. You can use YouTube with much better success and reach much bigger audience rather than to keep your own blog in Blogger or Wordpress.

If you already made your mind and you want to start new blog, here are my "must follow" rules for blogging in 2019:
  • Post original content
  • Post regularly 
  • Don't steal anything - if you do, always refer to the original
  • Be patient
  • Don't change your blog/site design too often, chose one and stick with it
  • Don't pay for link-building services
  • Cooperate with fellow bloggers
  • Follow and talk about the latest trends
  • Don't get lazy
  • Don't give up the first 3 months

Good luck to all bloggers!