Blogging trends are changing – are you up to date?
The future of blogging is highly competitive. As with all online content, technology and algorithms are evolving, and we as content creators have to learn to evolve with it. Gone are the days when we could just pump out text-driven blog posts – now both Google and our audience demand something more. We really need to prove ourselves by creating content that can give value, and by making sure that we can assure our readers that the information we are giving them is trustworthy.
These days, blogging really is the survival of the fittest. How can you improve your chances of rising above the swamp of lower-quality content that is being produced each and every day? Here’s my take on it.
What blogging used to be
When I first started blogging – and it really wasn’t all that long ago – the advice was this: produce as much content as you can, as regularly as you can, and make sure that you have a high enough percentage of keywords to get you noticed by Google.
You see, before blogging and social media and even Google was a fully established, well-oiled machine, there really wasn’t much of a precedent for content to live up to. Most businesses were still marketing using old-school methods, no-one knew much about what blogging was, much less how to use it as a marketing tool.
When people and businesses started to see how it could be beneficial, it was all just experimental. The internet, as a whole, was being judged by Google (and presumably other search engines that used to be popular, anyone remember Ask Jeeves?) on what the content was about. And that was measured largely by looking at the keywords that were appearing on websites and other channels.
With that in mind, the logical thing to do was to use as many of your chosen keywords in your content as you could possibly get away with. Yes, people really used to do that. And it was awful. What we ended up with was loads of content that was really badly written, didn’t always make much sense, and wasn’t always very fact-driven.
Blogging in 2021 – and beyond
These days, we’re past all that. We know a poor-quality blog post when we see it – and we demand better…and so do the Google bots. In fact, producing those kinds of blog posts is likely to land you in hot water, because firstly the people who read it will vote with their feet, but possibly more importantly, you won’t be seen as a reputable source of information by Google, and they will fail to rank you at the top of the search pages (in fact, you’ll likely be so far down, no-one will ever find you…. ever.)
Aside from all that, we are all pretty savvy about the internets these days, and we’re pretty particular in what we choose to consume. Long blocks of text turn us off, and we like our blog posts to be neat, easy to read, and have lots of graphics and headers to help us to navigate our way around.
Back in 2014, the majority of blog posts tended to be much shorter than we’re used to seeing now. In fact between 2019 and 2020, blogs have followed a steady rise in their word-count, and now almost 15% of posts are over 2000 words long.
Of those who write long-form posts, typically they report that they have seen much stronger results (as in more people finding and reading their posts) than when they post blogs of under 1000 words.
Something else that’s been changing is the frequency of blog posts – as I’ve said many times before, it’s so important to be consistent in your blogging. It seems that many bloggers have begun to notice that the more often they blog, the better results they tend to get.
As well as seeing longer, more frequent posts doing well, there is also a big change in the type of content we expect to see in the blogs we read. They have on the whole become a lot more visual, and as well as photos, items like charts (like the one above!), quotes, and video have become much more popular.
In my view, the way we write and consume blogs is always evolving, and we need to keep up as best we can. If we continue to insist on writing short blog posts – I’m talking less than 500 words – and publish on a ‘when we feel like it’ basis, we’re not going to do ourselves any favours.
We need to make sure that we are:
- Writing long-form posts (at least some of the time), of more than 1000 words;
- Including good-quality images, graphics and video to back up what we’re saying;
- Posting regularly and consistently – preferably once a week, or more;
- Fact-checking, and stating sources when we can.
I’d love to hear what you’ve learned about blogging through your own experience. Have you noticed some types of posts doing better than others? Let me know!