I have been blogging for quite a long time since the internet came into being. That was 2009 when I jotted down some notes online. At this juncture, I wondered if blogging is already a passe activity or it has reached its useful life.
Is blogging passe or dead? Shall I continue to blog without end or stop as it is no longer a productive activity?
I searched for answers to this question online, trying to reflect on my blogging activity for over 10 years. I passionately blogged almost every day when I started, even writing 5-6 blogs per day. That’s because it excited me to receive even a pittance of money from blogging platforms like the defunct Triond, Factoidz, Hubpages, Wikinut, Ezinearticles, among others.
Blogging for Measly Earnings
The writing platforms I mentioned paid so small for the effort I make. That is because those sites also depend on their ad sponsors, which conspicuously display their products in the articles I write. I get a percentage from the income they gain, which is not really transparent for me to gauge their honesty in sharing their revenue.
I found out that indeed, there is rigging in the earnings because when I am nearing the threshold of earning $100, the daily earnings from an ad server became lesser. When I complained to the writing platform’s representative or perhaps the owner about the earnings, I was paid right the next day even though I have not reached the threshold.
Somehow I lost my interest in writing just for earning and resumed writing as a passion. I just loved writing and enjoy the flow of ideas and the discoveries I make as I develop topics and themes.
Requirements of Blogging
I don’t know why I wrote a lot despite the poor earnings. I was so passionate about writing informative articles. But that intention alone is not enough.
Along the way, I also realized the importance of such things as linking, search engine optimization (SEO), broken links, keywords, power words, keyword density, among other internet lingo. Knowing these things will help your article get indexed by search engines. When search engines index your article, it has the potential to be read by people looking for the specific information you are sharing.
Keywords, primarily in English, play a great role in the profitability of a blog or a website. Without the right focus keyword, and you being the authority for that keyword, the target audience will not read your article.
Hence, the advertisers cannot display their ads on your articles. No display, no revenue.
Building a Personal Blogging Platform
Given the poor earnings and the sudden twist or even total switch to something else that writing platforms make on their websites, I built my writing platform using WordPress. But this decision comes at a cost, because having your own standalone website entails expenses on domain name, hosting, security, storage space, crucial plugins, among others.
Putting up a working website where you have greater flexibility and control or customization requires money. Free websites have limitations on their features, among which is site speed. Site speed is critical for blogs where display advertising is a dominant revenue earner.
I invested money and time to improve on my blog and attempted to monetize it to keep it going. The next section details the monetization scheme that I applied.
How I Monetized My Blog
How do you monetize a blog? There are many recommended ways on how to do it but I opted for only a few.
I monetized my blog three ways: displayed ads, sold e-books, and engaged in short-term consultancies.
In displaying ads, I participated in Google’s Adsense program. In the middle of 2022, I joined Ezoic given the good reviews I’ve read from this intriguing ad serving network that uses artificial intelligence.
I realized that Ezoic can increase your earnings from ads to more than a hundred percent! It’s one of the best decisions I made to monetize the website.
With a little help from their representative, I was able to optimize this website with their easy to follow guide and expert help from their representative. It’s a decision I won’t regret at all as the ad earnings can keep this site running. More opportunities are coming up as the earnings improve through time.
The e-books also helped boost the earnings. However, I noticed that as time goes by, the earnings dropped. It’s good to have these ebooks, but they need to be updated each time, ideally every two years or so, to be relevant.
Provide consultancy services
Consultancy work also gave opportunities to help masteral and doctoral degree candidates. Since I started offering my services in 2016, at least three of them finished their studies with my help. They’re so glad to receive my advice and tips. Perhaps as a gesture of their gratitude, some even offered me to visit their place so they can thank me in person.
Blogging Keeps on Evolving
After all this knowledge on how articles have to be written as prescribed by search engines so these robots can index them properly, I seem to have lost the momentum and the passion to write. My daily writing sputtered to weekly, then monthly, then almost none for months in some blogs I have created.
Part of the reason perhaps is the endless line of the search engine updates dominated by Google’s Chrome browser, search engine optimization (SEO) schemes including blog length, site speed, content structure, and so on, and so forth. Google’s rules appeared to have dominated the blogging landscape and left the blogger with a gaping mouth.
What’s that? Why is that? Why do we have to do this, not that, this way?
The many requirements confuse and annoy poor bloggers like me who just want to write and share to the world what they know.
My intention is just to share the information in my head; not to be subject to these endless prescriptions of what to write and how to do it. And to get indexed by Google or Bing as the dominant search engines of this time.
The saving grace for this blogging activity which drains my energies and gives me sleepless nights in pursuing better blogging performance is the opportunity to share and get feedback from the readers, that the information I shared is useful to them. Those kind words, likes, and shares truly uplift the spirit.
Blogging Helped Others
For more than a decade, I did just that, blogging and sharing whatever insights and knowledge I gained from my readings and experience. Those articles in my blog appeared to have achieved their intended ends—many of these articles became references or authorities on the subject, cited by PhD or MS candidates in well-known universities in the world.
I never expected that to happen, as my blog’s design was mainly for my undergraduate and graduate students’ consumption, such that they will understand what I would like them to learn. I linked my blog to my lessons, explaining the course content using the easy-to-understand blogs or articles that I write online.
The other things I wrote are just ideas that boggle my head and I want to let them go through my writing or blogging activity. Whatever I think of, I write. Writing is a cathartic activity to vent out ideas that are fleeting and forgotten unless put into writing.
Is Blogging Fun?
The fun of blogging has gone away when I started to seriously apply those SEO stuff. That’s because many “writers” messed up the blogosphere. Some plagiarized other writer’s original content. I have seen a lot of these, copying almost every word I wrote as if they’re the ones who thought about it.
Writing appeared to be like a race, getting edge or credit over someone’s original work without even batting an eyelash or giving credit to the original author appears to be acceptable in Google’s ranking algorithm.
Is this the way things should be written nowadays? Where’s the originality and pride in composing your piece of content?
Well, one reason is that the person plagiarizing someone’s work could not think for themselves. They lack originality and respect for themselves.
I have had so many experiences with people like this. They take credit for something I wrote. They claim that my work is theirs when, in fact, they have written nothing.
Is this part of the freedom we espouse in a democratic country? Freedom to trample on other’s foot?
Oh, it’s so sweet to write freely and express yourself. If you’re reading at this point and can relate to what I have just written, then we’re in the same boat.
Perhaps the original blogging excitement has gone, as more audience on the internet become more visual, and would prefer to listen to videos or podcasts, instead of attempting to understand the written word.
I have shifted to the contemporary way of sharing the knowledge I gained through the years. No longer just pure blogging or writing in text, but creating videos and adding interesting illustrations to keep up with the apparent shift in interest, from the written word to videos as internet connections become faster, and reader preference changed.
Apparently, there are no longer pure readers online, but mainly viewers, for that matter. Pure blogging with just simple text is already dead, but blogging with pictures and video embedded in the content is very much alive.
©2022 October 29 P. A. Regoniel