I started blogging back in 2007. Blogging was very different back then.
There was no social media, no images, no video.
People wrote short blog posts about whatever their site was about.
And even if the site was about a particular subject, they would also go off topic in an effort to connect with their readers.
Often, we would reach out to other bloggers and post memes to help introduce them to our own audiences.
It was fun.
How Blogging Has Changed
But then things changed.
Because people wanted more traffic they started link schemes and gaming the search engines.
As a blogger you now needed to create images, videos, reels, and be on every social media platform imaginable.
It became unsustainable and more of chore than fun.
The Age of Poor Quality Information
In an effort to churn out content, the quality of blog posts went down.
Have you ever searched for an answer to a problem and land on blog posts with really generic solutions?
It is obvious that the author never really had the same issue.
They are just parroting solutions that they found on other websites.
And now with AI (Artificial Intelligence), it is even harder to figure out if the blog post you are reading contains authentic information or if it was just pieced together from a many different sites on the web.
How to Compete as a Blogger
If I sound frustrated – it is because I am.
As a blogger, it is very disheartening to feel that you must compete with large teams of professionals and even robots to maintain your little corner of the internet.
Not only are you competing with other websites but you are also competing with Google – the very site that you rely on to serve your content to the zillions of searchers every day.
You see Google wants to compete with bloggers too.
In recent years, Google has made many changes to the search results that they deliver.
They cracked down on thin content and on product “reviews” from people that haven’t actually tried the product.
And they have also changed their algorithms and search result displays.
If you search for something simple like “How to make coffee” – your first search result will be a YouTube video.
This is followed by the “People Also Ask” section that provides pertinent details – so that the searcher never has to leave the search result page to find their answer.
Which in turn means that the searcher will never actually click through to your blog.
Bloggers Must Build Relationships
So the funny thing is that I think blogging has actually come full circle.
To stay ahead, it is the personality and authenticity that we bring to our blogs that makes the difference.
Our blogs are not an encyclopedia or merely a factual account of how to do something.
Rather, it is my belief that the personal experience we infuse into each blog post is the secret sauce that will make a reader choose our site over a different one.
I have landed on many a niche site about something I was searching for – something like “best place to eat in New York City” for example.
But you and I both know that the answer will vary based on so many factors like whether the blogger has
- a large family or dines alone
- is vegan or loves meat and potatoes
- likes a busy environment or a quiet table
- has a large budget or counting pennies.
The recommendation that I would be most likely to follow would be from someone with similar tastes and life experiences to my own – someone that I may have gotten to know by reading their blog.
A New Approach To Blogging
Personally, writing to make search engines happy was stifling to me.
My blog would go “dark” for large periods of time because I could not bring myself to create a new post based on SEO alone.
So, instead of writing generic and lifeless blog posts – I am going to focus on writing based on my experiences and infuse a bit of myself throughout this blog.
In her last days, my mom asked me a few times “What is the name of your blog?”. Though she was quite familiar with it, the name escaped her.
Finally, I asked her why she wanted to know – and she said “Because I like it very much.”
Well, mom, from this day forward I will work to make this blog a site that you would be proud of.