Is it too late to start a blog?
When is the best time to start a blog?
These are two of the most common questions I’m asked by readers.
There’s also, “is blogging dead or dying out?”
And one of my favorites, “can you still make money blogging?”
You get the picture…
As such, it can very well be daunting to start a new venture when the first things you hear about it are all bad.
So, in this article, I’m going to help you get a better understanding of where blogging is. And, whether you still have a shot at starting a successful blog today.
Is It Too Late to Start A Blog?
Simply put, NO.
It’s true that there are over 400 million blogs around (although 360 million of those are on Tumblr). This means competition is higher than ever.
And, you’ll have to work harder just to do better than all these other blogs and websites.
And yes, it’s also true that there are many other forms of online media you can create other than blogging.
Over the years, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have also allowed people to reach audiences.
That said, here are some key reasons why it’s not too late to start a blog in 2019.
You Own Your Blog/Website
The biggest thing blogging offers is that you own your blog.
It’s your website.
That means you have the freedom to express yourself in the way you want to and monetize it however way you see fit.
But most importantly, nobody can just suddenly shut you down.
That last part is VITAL.
The same can’t be said with YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
These platforms can decide to delete, ban or disable your account at any time. More often than not, when they do so, they’ll give you vague reasoning for it. And, there’s no appealing their decision.
What do you do then?
The other thing with these sites is that you never know what happens.
They may merge with other platforms, change direction, be bought out or shut down.
Finally, they often change their algorithms or payment methods. When this happens, you can experience a sudden significant drop in traffic.
Similarly, if they do decide to change payment structures, it can likewise affect how much money you make.
This is what happened with Amazon Associates in 2017.
They changed their fees from a volume-based payment system where your commissions increased as you sold more of their products.
The new fee schedule is now more category-based, where your commission rate is based on the type of product you help them sell.
As a result, affiliates who were earning 8% commissions on products are now averaging anywhere from 4.5% to 6% commission or so. That’s a drop of anywhere from 25% to 43% in earnings overnight.
Similarly, YouTube did something similar a few years back when earnings of many YouTubers saw significant declines.
Bottom line: You’re better off owning your blog
It’s like owning your own home compared to renting.
You can do what you want, however way you want with your home. But, with a rental, you need to abide by their rules.
You can’t just repaint everything the color you want or make changes to the interior without their permission.
More importantly, they can terminate your agreement anytime or increase your rent without notice.
So, while you can earn a very good living on other platforms as well, you’re more secure when it’s your own.
That’s what you get with your own blog.
Google is Still Doing Big Business
One good way to know whether the internet or blogging is dying is to take a look at Google.
Basically, Google is a search engine.
As such, its main purpose is to help anyone find information on the web.
And, it does so by listing all the blogs and websites that help you find the answers you’re looking for.
So, if blogging is dying or on its last legs, wouldn’t Google be worried?
After all, when blogs and websites shut down, their main line of business loses its value. What are people going to search for without blogs or websites?
The thing is, if you look at Google’s parent company’s (Alphabet) performance, you’ll see that it’s flourishing.
The right question to ask here isn’t whether blogging is going away.
Instead, how can you make it as a blogger? Are you willing to put in the work in order to succeed now that there are more blogs around?
Because that’s the key.
Google isn’t going anywhere. Search is still going to be the main way people look for and find things online.
It’s now up to you on how you’ll position yourself to be found.
Content is Still King
One of the main reasons you and I go online is to find information.
Whether it’s statistics, health-related, videos or entertainment, we’ve all come to rely on the internet for information.
That’s not going to change anytime soon.
So, as long as you create high-quality content that’s useful and valuable to someone out there, you’ll be fine. That is, there will be people who will keep coming back to your site.
That’s what blogging is all about.
It’s finding your audience.
More importantly, your audience isn’t everyone.
That is, not everyone will like your blog.
… and, that’s fine.
Your goal is to find those people who do. They’re the ones who’ll become your loyal readers. They’re the ones who will buy your products.
If you look at all the successful blogs around, they have a target audience.
You should too.
That said, one way to quickly tell whether blog content is becoming less relevant is to look at the big digital media sites.
These include the Huffington Post, Kitchn, Pop Sugar, Tech Crunch, Refinery 29 and Mind Body Green just to name a few.
If they stop producing articles or slow down in publishing new content, then it’s time to worry.
But, that’s not the case. In fact, they’re churning out more blog posts than ever.
People read them. And, they keep coming back for more.
You Can Always Add New Media to Your Blog
As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest advantages of owning your own blog is you get to choose what you publish and how you do so.
This gives you the freedom and versatility to create all sorts of content, not just blog posts.
Whether it’s using images, cartoons, videos, podcasts, and other things, you’ll be able to express yourself in one, two or all of these methods.
Use that to your advantage.
That’s because different people prefer consuming content in different ways. Some prefer to read, others like listening and even more like watching videos.
It’s up to you to figure out where your strengths lie, and what medium your audience prefers.
The beauty of it is that blogs let people consume content in whatever way they want.
This gives you the opportunity to venture into different channels to expand your reach.
When Is A Good Time to Start A Blog?
Now that you know it isn’t too late to start a blog, the question moves on to when is the best time to start a blog?
Well, Right Now.
There’s really no reason to wait.
That’s because like all businesses, it takes time to learn the ropes, set things up, grow your audience and build a relationship with them.
In addition, it also takes time to build your credibility and authority not to mention rank in search engines.
So why wait?
But that’s not all, here are a few other important reasons to start a blog now.
More And More People are Using the Internet
Statistics show that there are now over 4.3 billion internet users around the world. That means there are potentially more people visiting blogs and websites.
Since your readers are the lifeblood of your blog, this lets you reach more people around the world.
More importantly, you have more potential readers and customers who will be interested in what you have to say and sell.
While it’s true that only a fraction of all the people who are online fall under your audience, this increase means that you almost never have to worry about running out of visitors.
Knowing that, your focus now shifts to how do you get them to visit your blog.
Blogging is One of The Easiest Businesses to Start
That’s worth mentioning again…
Blogging is one of the easiest businesses to start.
More importantly, anyone can start a blog.
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you do or how old you are.
The internet makes geography a non-issue.
And, it also allows readers to visit your blog 24/7, 365 days a year, even when you’re on vacation.
You can’t do that with a traditional business.
And, it doesn’t stop there.
One of the reasons why the blogging business model works so well is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get started.
While blogging does have its cost, (click here to see how much it costs to start a blog), it’s very inexpensive compared to a traditional business or store.
Because of the low cost of investment upfront, it’s easy to make your money back.
If you do things right, you’ll be able to more than break even during your first year of blogging. Better yet, you may even come close or earn enough to make a full-time living from blogging during that time.
Compare that to the average brick and mortar business that takes about 3 years to break even.
Another thing that makes blogging cheap is that you don’t need to stock inventory. So, there’s no paying suppliers, warehouse storage or shipping costs. The only exception to this is if you run an eCommerce store.
Additionally, you don’t need an office!
You can work from anywhere.
The biggest benefit of being location independent is you can work from home, a coffee shop, a co-working space or the beach.
It’s up to you!
But, nothing beats the fact that it just takes 15-30 minutes to get your business up and running.
Yup, that’s all it takes to set up your blog and get it ready before you start writing.
With a traditional business, it takes months or even years just to set up a business. You also need to hire and pay employees to man the store or business.
Last but not least, all sorts of tools and resources are now available. These make everything so much easier.
The right tools let you install your blog in a few minutes. They also let you schedule your social media posts, so you don’t have to do it manually. And, they’ll let you organize your email list so you can grow your subscribers faster.
You Don’t Even Need to Know How to Code
One of the most common reasons I hear from readers about what holds them back from starting a blog is the technical stuff.
The good news is because of how blogging has matured, more and more tools have come out to make the process easier.
Believe it or not, you don’t need to know or write a single piece of code to create your blog.
That’s my guarantee to you.
It’s one of the reasons why starting a blog is easy.
Setting up your blog host, installing WordPress, your blog’s theme and plugins are all via clicks of a button. From there all you need to do is follow the steps.
There is no coding needed…
There is no techie jargon to understand…
And, if somewhere down the road, you may want to make some complicated customization to your blog that requires some programming, all you need to do is hire someone.
Freelance online sites and services make it so easy to hire a designer, coder and tech person to set up whatever personalization your site needs.
You don’t have to do it yourself. So, there’s no need to fear the technical stuff.
Your Competitors Aren’t Really Your Competitors
One of the most common misconceptions about blogging is that you’re competing with other bloggers in your niche.
But the reality is, in blogging, your competitors are your friends.
As odd as that sounds, other bloggers aren’t really competing with you. They’re actually an opportunity for learning, collaboration, and partnership.
This is why blogging isn’t like most industries where companies compete with one another.
Because most people read more than one blog. So, you don’t have to worry if your readers enjoy visiting other blogs.
It’s not like selling a car where the buyer will probably only buy one car for the next 5-10 years. Nor is it like TV shows where if they watch one show on your time slot, you’ve lost the viewer.
In fact, many readers follow multiple bloggers in one niche. This is why you’ll see many bloggers do cross-promotion.
That is, they’ll do guest posts or interview one another. Often, bloggers also feature their “competitors” in their blogs.
That allows them to expand their audience.
So, use the fact that there’s more “competition” to make your blog better. More blogs mean more relationships you can build.
As such you can get more backlinks from them. It also means more opportunities for partnerships and places to find untapped traffic.
You Get to Be Your Own Boss
This is probably one of the biggest benefits of being a blogger.
- You make your own time
- You get to choose what type of blog you want to start and what you want to talk about in it
- You decide what kind of content to create
Let’s not forget. You also choose:
- How much work you want to do
- When you work
- Where you work
- What your schedule is
This not only gives you full control of creative expression but also how you want to work.
It doesn’t get any better than that!
And, if you do things right, you’ll be able to make a full-time living as a blogger.
This means you’ll be able to spend more time with people you want to be with, be it your kids, partner, friends or anyone else.
More Ways Than Ever to Make Money Through Blogging
One of the arguments against blogging is that there are more blogs around. As such, there’s more competition.
Earlier, I discussed why that isn’t really a problem.
That said, there are many positive things that have come about because more and more people are blogging.
One is that there are more ways to make money.
Yup, that’s right.
Because there are more bloggers and influencers, many large companies have taken notice of the “pull” bloggers have on their audience.
This kind of follower loyalty allows bloggers to recommend products or services to their readers, many of whom will take their advice to heart.
As a result, you see a lot of blogs earn a good living from sponsorships and advertising.
Let me explain.
Sponsorships are agreements where companies from your niche will sponsor a blog post or series of blog posts.
As such, the blogger will write about the company, its product/s or a topic that’s related to the company and mention the firm.
In return, the company pays you a fee.
Here’s how it works.
For example, you run a fitness blog. And, hypothetically Gatorade approaches you to create a series of posts to feature their sports drinks.
The terms may vary…
It can be something like one post for each of their products. Or, you can agree to mention their brand in each post. The terms are up to both of you to agree upon. Plus, you’ll likewise agree on the fee.
So, on your part, you write the blog posts and publish them according to a schedule based on your agreement.
In the end, you get paid.
Not bad, right?
These types of agreements weren’t around a few years ago.
And, when they were, they were only available to the uber-big blogs or super influencers. Now, you can get sponsorships even if your blog isn’t huge.
This kind of advertising is very similar to the display ads you see on blogs. But, instead of having to sign up for Adsense, Mediavine or AdThrive, it’s the company that directly deals with you.
This is similar to the sponsored post where you’ll have to come to terms with the company to decide where and how the ads are shown. You’ll likewise agree on your pricing.
But, instead of writing posts, you’ll put up advertising blocks on your site for the product. How big, how many, how long do they show for are all terms you need to discuss and agree with the company.
But, it’s a way for you to earn extra cash with the space on your blog.
These are just some of the ways that the increase in the number of bloggers and the rise of internet influencers have changed how monetization works.
The good news is, it benefits you even as a small, beginner blogger.
More Ways to Reach People
In the same way that there are more ways to earn money from blogging, there are also more ways now to get visitors to your site.
Search is still the best long-term approach to get visitors. But, it does take time to build.
That said, because the number of people who use the internet keeps increasing, more and more people search for things online.
This not only increases the number of keywords you can target but also increases the monthly search volumes of these keywords.
This is why it’s always a good idea to make sure your blog posts target a specific keyword.
In fact, Google has mentioned that 15% of searches done each and every day are new keywords. That is, they’ve never been searched for before.
That means you don’t have to worry that the “older” keywords are very competitive. You can always target the newer, long-tail keywords.
In addition to search, which is dominated by Google, you can also drive visitors to your blog through social media.
The best part is, more and more social media platforms keep popping up.
This means you not only get more places to find your audience, but you’re also able to figure out which platform most of them use.
A few years ago, social media was mainly Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
But, now, Instagram has become a power player as well.
Of course, you can likewise get visitors coming from Snapchat and other platforms.
When it comes to video, YouTube is still king. But, the number of videos being watched is soaring.
Believe it or not, over 1.3 billion people, yes with a “B”, use YouTube…
And 300 hours of video are uploaded each minute…
Just as importantly, nearly 5 billion YouTube videos are watched every day.
So, if you noticed, there’s more than enough to go around.
As a blogger, if you can get 100,000 visitors to your blog each month, you’ll easily be able to make a full-time living from it.
As such, you shouldn’t worry whether there’s enough traffic to go around.
Instead, figure out where your audience hangs out and how you’ll attract them to your blog.
Finally, there’s advertising as well.
Once upon a time, Google Adwords was the best way for bloggers to access paid search or ads.
Now, there’s Facebook Ads and a few other options.
In fact, many bloggers will argue that Facebook Ads is much bigger and more effective if you want to bring new subscribers and buyers to your blog.
Besides Facebook, other platforms have their ads as well. Twitter and Pinterest both have paid advertising services you can use to drive visitors to your website.
So, if you have the funds to pay for ads, they’re the fastest way to build your readership as well as your email list.
You’ve probably heard all the doom and gloom stories about blogging.
But the reality is, it’s still very alive and kicking.
The question is: why are your still standing on the sidelines?
Blogging has grown to become just like any business. There’s competition, there are challenges and there are many things you’ll need to figure out.
That said, it’s also the easiest business you can start.
You won’t come close to spending $500 launching your blog.
You’ll be able to work at home… or anywhere else for that matter.
Best of all, you’re your own boss.
What’s the biggest thing that has kept you from starting or growing your blog?