So, another year has passed, and we've entered a whole new, more promising one. We find ourselves yet again asking the question that we ask each year - can you still make money blogging in this year? A question that, no doubt, will prickle the interest of many a bloggers, especially new ones or those aspiring to become one. So, can you really make money blogging in 2014?
It seems like only yesterday that I last wrote on a topic like this, even though it's been almost an year now. So much has changed, yet so much has stayed the same. Even though the backbones of SEO remain the same, a lot of frontal details have changed. So is this year going to be any different for blogging? Let's take a look.
What's changed so far?
OK, before we mention anything else, let's talk about Hummingbird - the latest Google's search algorithm.
While the Penguin and Panda updates in the last couple years were merely updates, this here is a big overhaul - a whole new algorithm. It's so big, that the major Caffeine update in 2010 doesn't come close. In fact, the last update of this scale was way back in 2001! So you can expect this one to be a major player, if not a game changer, yet.
The major emphasis now is on "conversational" search terms - queries which more closely resemble questions asked in real life. While this should not much effect bloggers who are currently publishing, it could, however, mean that beginners need to get more work done. Google is now trying to 'understand' queries, rather than just matching keywords. That increases the complexity of content that can be created - not a big problem for established bloggers, but definitely a mountain to climb for starters.
Google made the move to make all organic searches secure starting September 23rd last year. This means we've lost the ability to get keyword data for users arriving to our websites from Google search. This impacts publishers in many ways, including losing a valuable tool for understanding what the intent of customers that come to their site, for conversion optimization, and much more. This means that keyword data for tactical SEO is now harder to come by, and although there are work-arounds, they make it all very complicated.
This puts beginner bloggers at another disadvantage - the learning curve for them has been stepped up by quite a bit.
PageRank might finally be going away. Google has stopped updating it regularly (last updated in December, almost 7 months late. They also won't update toolbar anytime soon. This might suggest that PageRank could be going away, since Google itself no longer puts much emphasis on it. So how does that effect blogging, you ask? It doesn't really. But it does mean that since PageRank is now updated after a long time, new blogs will have to wait a long time before they get a PageRank, and get out of the "zero" zone, which is a huge disadvantage. A major reason is given below.
Speaking of disadvantages, starters now run a greater risk of being targeted by plagiarism, spam, malicious activity, and other illegal activities. No one is born a pro. But times have become difficult now. There are too many people doing these activities at the expanse of others. For example, a lot of people copy and paste content from this blog (MyBloggerTricks) to their own. Now of course, MB has a reputable standing (thanks to our beloved readers like you), so this plagiarism does not really effect us.
But what about a blog that started a week ago? Even if they are creating their own, original content, they run the risk of getting penalized for plagiarism. Although Google's algorithms are smart, and they can detect plagiarism, they do sometimes miss their mark. In that case, it's the newbie's word against a pro. Take a guess who'll benefit.
Malicious activity is another problem. You have to be very protective of your security and privacy these days. You never know when someone might be stalking you, observing, waiting for a wrong move - not uncommon for a starter.
Tonnes of competition
Well, that's not surprising. We're already past the era of digitalization, and almost everybody has had their share of online experience to decide what they want to do henceforth. So everyone who wanted to create a blog, has gone ahead and done it. Of course saying "everyone" is a massive generalization, but not a very in-accurate one.
The competition is high - too high, and the payout is low - too low. It was difficult getting a fresh start in the world of blogging in 2013. It is even harder now. I'm not saying this to discourage beginners, but that's the reality of the world! If you are going to take a step forward, you should know what you're dealing with. And if you feel confident that you can work hard and overcome the odds, then we welcome you wholeheartedly! We need more brave people like you!
Is it worth it?
Speaking of competition, the advertisement rates today are much lower than they used to be. This means that starters have to look for other, possibly unconventional ways. Blogging, as we knew it a few years ago, has changed.
You can no longer survive on hard work and luck alone. You need to lay down the entire groundwork. The concept, the idea, the design, the implementation, the maintenance. All of these things matter now. If you want to survive you need to have the full toolbox, and without a single component, you're a dead. To rise to equal footing with the others from the start, you need to offer something unique. Time is what it takes, and time is what you don't have.
So it it worth it, you ask? My immediate answer would be, no. However, you can turn it into a yes if you've got what it takes. Understand that you've got a long, tough uphill battle ahead of you. The rewards can be worth it if you set your goal to reach the top, and focus only on your goal. If you start thinking about the rewards, you'll get distracted, often frustrated, and you'll never get to the top.
So, what do you think? Are you considering picking this up as a career? We wish you the very best of luck, and we'll try to help you along your journey. Peace, and all the best :)