I’ve been a blogger for almost nine years and in that time I’ve seen a lot of changes. In the early days (circa 2005), I would put a post up and things would go crazy almost immediately. It was truly the wild-wild west. Comments would roll in, and the conversations were lively. It wasn’t uncommon to have one of my articles picked up by one of the big blogs.
Early on, Lifehacker and other large sites would link to me and crash my hosting server. I had days with over 10,000 visits. Then things started to settle down. More blogs popped up, the competition became intense. My traffic leveled off and I started to look for ways to stand out. I tried different things…
I put together a series of posts
This was a good strategy and still works today. Create a long and substantial work and break it into smaller pieces. Like chapters in a book, share one chapter at a time with your audience. When you are done, you have the start of a great eBook. The difference in 2014 is that Google and other search engines are looking for longer and more substantial posts.
In the early days of blogging, quantity was the rule. As long as you had 300 words, it was considered a post. Now, Google is looking for quality and specifically for authority. To become an authority means writing posts of at least a thousand words, with two thousand as the goal. This post needs to be linked to by other authoritative sites and have helpful information that is not shared by everyone else in your field. Bottom line: You need to write well, write long, and come up with unique ideas.
I wrote from the heart
This has always been good advice and is even more important now. Readers in 2014 want authentic posts written by real people. Keyword stuffed tomes with little or no practical content are out. But here is the kicker. In the old days I could write about anything that was on my mind. I’d put a great headline on it and it would take off. Now, it is important to stay on topic and write within your niche. Google and readers in general are looking for specific content when they come to your blog. The secret is to be real, but stay on track.
I wrote everyday
Thankfully this strategy died an early death. It used to be that you needed to post every weekday to stay relevant. People wanted fresh content now. Over the years, Google changed their algorithm, and now it is much better to write one or two substantial posts a week on a consistent schedule, than to just crank out any old post. In fact some of the top bloggers may only write one or two substantial posts a month now.
Linking has always been a source of traffic. Getting a site with more Google Juice to link to you was a goldmine in the early days. Because of this all sorts of link farms popped up, the black hat SEO’s sold access, and everyone had a field day… until Google came out with Panda and Penguin and killed off this Golden Goose. After these algorithm updates, Google would now penalize you if you have links coming in from unsavory sites. The secret now is to write great content and have other trustworthy sites share it.
Google is changing again. They are now going after spammy guest bloggers, so it is even more important to write good stuff and share it with other people that write good stuff.
In the current environment, it’s best to focus your blog in a specific niche area based around a handful of keywords. The content needs to be relevant, helpful, and unique. If you are just sharing what everyone else is, you’ll just be another mediocre blogger. You words need to be crisp, specific, and well edited. You need to reach out to others within your niche and start meaningful conversations. Become an authority on your subject. Bottom line: Create powerful ideas worth pursuing.
Here are a few helpful posts that can help you get up to speed.
- Use Power Words
- Become an Authority
- Create Powerful Content
- Create Amazing Headlines
- Start a Blog in Four Easy Steps
How to Blog: Overall
Blogging in 2014 is different than it used to be. The new winners will be those that focus on a specific problem and create helpful and creative content to solve it.
Question: What blogging strategies are you using?