I asked if you had any blogging related questions on Instagram stories last night and when the questions started coming in I realised they all required much longer answers than what I could give on a quick story!
Many of the same questions came up a few times, such as if it’s worth starting a blog now or if it’s too late and knowing when it’s time to pivot with your blog.
So here are the answers:
Is it worth starting a blog in 2020?
I had this exact question about 10 times so let’s start with the biggy! Is it worth starting a blog in 2020?
I’m quite an old fashioned blogger. I started blogging in 2009 when people blogged or vlogged simply for the love of writing, photography, video and sharing their passions online. A blog is like an online scrapbook where you can store all of your memories and thoughts and keep it safe in your corner of the internet. It can also be an amazing place to share something you’re passionate about and connect with like-minded people all over the world.
A blog is a great way to learn new skills and keep learning as the industry progresses so there is never a bad time to start a blog!
But if you’d like to launch a blog as a new business venture….hmmm….you’d have to think long and hard about it. If you already have a small business or you’re launching a product then I do think a blog can be an amazing marketing channel for selling your product. It’s a great way to get traffic to your product, attract new customers and keep your existing customers engaged and interested.
But if you want to start a blog purely to make money then there are lots of better ways to make money online in 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many brands aren’t putting big budgets into influencer campaigns like they were last year so it’s much harder to make money from a blog right now. Affiliate sales are down because people aren’t spending as much and RPM rates on display ads are down too.
It will pick up again I’m sure but it’s been a tough year for bloggers and influencers and I can’t see it picking up much in 2020.
Is it worth pivoting from blogging to Instagram or is it too late?
It definitely isn’t worth giving up blogging to focus entirely on Instagram, but it’s still worth investing more time and energy in Instagram.
I’d say it’s always worth having a blog because it’s a platform you own and have full control over. Instagram is flakey and the future is uncertain so I definitely wouldn’t put all your eggs in an Instagram basket. But having said that, Instagram is still huge and most of the brands I work with still want to work on Instagram campaigns. The platform is still growing and there’s so much space for creativity and the opportunity to connect with people.
But do check where your target audience are. Older social media users are still on Facebook so if your audience are 50+ then most of them will be on Facebook.
How do you get followers?
Quality content and consistency! That’s the best way to gain a real audience who are going to stick with you.
Now quality content will mean different things to different people. It could be great photos, relatable posts that make people feel understood, funny content, something interesting and something informative that helps people. If you manage to combine all of the above then you’re on to a winner.
And consistency is important because it takes a while to become known. You can’t share 10 posts and think your followers will come running, it can take years of consistently sharing incredible content.
There are other tactics depending on the platform you’re using but I think people rely on tactics too much and forget that you need to get your foundations right. It’s an old saying but content is king so focus on creating top content and the rest will follow.
What am I doing wrong? My blog has everything that one need in it.
I get this question a lot and I’ll be totally honest here. There are usually two things:
- Not writing in your first language
- Not understanding basic SEO techniques
Unless your English is absolutely 100% perfect, it can be difficult to attract an English speaking audience. It’s different if you’re vlogging but if your content is written then it really needs to be perfect English. People may read an informative post but it’s unlikely they’ll keep coming back.
And when it comes to SEO, I’m no expert but I understand the basics and it makes a huge difference. All you really need to do is think about what people are Googling.
Let’s say you want to write a blog post about your weekend break in Wales. Lots of people will name their blog post ‘My holiday with Jeff’ and then wonder why it gets no pageviews. Your holiday with Jeff was probably amazing but no one would ever Google this. They might Google ‘holiday in Wales’ but this search term is highly competitive and you’re going to have to compete with some big holiday websites! So go niche and focus on the specific area you visited. Something like ‘My weekend break to Aberporth, Wales’ is better because people really would Google ‘Weekend break Aberporth’.
If you want to take it a step further, use KeySearch to help. If I was writing a blog post about Aberporth, I’d use KeySearch to find out what people are searching for when they’re researching Aberporth. I can see that ‘Aberporth Beach’ is actually a good term to focus on so I’d call my blog post, ‘My weekend break to Aberporth Beach’ and ensure the phrase ‘Aberporth Beach’ is dotted throughout the article. Just think about what people are searching for and put this phrase in your post because no one is searching for your holiday with Jeff.
Any platform/program recommendations? Not sure what to do with my old WordPress blog.
I’d stick with WordPress. WordPress is the best.
How does the blog make a difference from just writing Instagram posts?
Ooooh good question!
The main difference is that blog posts are searchable via Google so you could write a blog post and people will still be reading it for years to come. With Instagram, it’s unlikely many people will read your caption 24 hours later.
If your blog post performs well in Google then this post can potentially earn you money for years through display advertising and affiliate links.
This also means that it’s easier to attract new followers because if someone searches Google for ‘best face wash for greasy skin’ and they find your blog post, they’re likely to follow you and then you’ve got a follower for life.
A good example is a post I wrote about ‘what women should wear in India’. I wrote this post in 2013 and it’s had over 1 million pageviews! It ranked really well in Google and I gained a lot of new followers because of this post. People often tell me they found my blog when searching for what to wear in India and they’ve been following ever since. That post has affiliate links in it and display adverts so it’s probably earned me about £2 a day for about 7 years. Admittedly, it’s not going to make me rich but that’s over £5,000 in total. If you have 100 posts on your blog that can do that then you’ll earn £500,000 over 7 years AND keep gaining followers.
How often do you need to post on a blog?
As often as you possibly can! Most people don’t grow their blogs like they want to because they simply don’t have enough content and don’t post often enough.
I’d aim for twice a week as a minimum.
Of course, there are some exceptions and I’ve heard of bloggers growing huge blogs with just a handful of posts. But, unless you’re an SEO whizz, it’s unlikely to happen unless you have a lot of content.
Another thing about posting often is that you learn something new from each post so if you’re posting regularly you’ll be learning a lot!
And another thing links to what I said above about earning money. It’s unlikely that each individual blog post will earn you much money. Most bloggers I know won’t earn much more than £3-4 a month from every blog they write! But you’ll earn £3-4 every month for years to come. So if you’ve got 1,000 blog posts earning £2 a month then you’ll earn £2,000 a month for the foreseeable future. The sooner you get to 1,000 blog posts the better!
What non-Instagram ways drive traffic? How much do you use SEO to determine content?
Instagram barely drives any traffic to my blog in comparison to other sources! It drives 0.08% of my traffic! Having typed that I’m now wondering why I spend so much time on Instagram!
This is how my traffic is broken down:
- Organic search: 65%
- Direct: 14%
- Social: 10.7% (and 80% of that is Pinterest)
- Other: 8%
- Referral: 1.5%
So SEO plays a BIG part in my content.
Do you use WordPress? I’m struggling to get my head around it. Any advice?
Yes I do and I 100% recommend everyone uses it. I learnt to use it simply through Googling each and every question I had. It takes time but it becomes easier little by little. YouTube videos can be great to follow step-by-step guidance.
How do you know when it’s time to let go/move on/pivot?
I had this question a lot. Some of the questions were from people who have been blogging for a long time but they’ve lost their mojo and they don’t know whether they should just pack it in. Some people have changed and their original blogging topic no longer suits them.
It’s a question I could never answer for anyone else, but I’d assume that if this question is going around in your head then it’s probably time for a change.
One thing I’d like to stress is that a blog should never be something that makes you feel guilty. It should never be a chore on your to-do list. We all have enough chores on our to-do lists!
To answer this question from my point of view I’m going to change this question to ‘when did I know it was time to pivot’.
The real time I realised it was time to change was when I realised I like to be the best, or ‘one of the best’ at least. I always thought I wasn’t very competitive but maybe I am!
I realised I was never going to be ‘one of the best travel bloggers’ ever again because I simply don’t travel enough. You can’t be a top travel blogger but only go away 5-6 times a year! It’s like trying to be a beauty blogger but only reviewing 6 items of makeup a year, or a food blogger only making 6 meals a year! You can be really good but you’re never going to be the best. But, what’s more, I didn’t really want to be one of the best travel bloggers. It just didn’t interest me anymore and I found myself reading fewer and fewer travel blogs. I no longer got excited reading about other people’s holidays and found myself reading other types of content and watching more videos on YouTube.
I always think you need to create the kind of content you like to consume yourself or you’ll never feel that passionate about it.
How easy/hard was it to change a domain name?
I didn’t actually do it. I use rtwlabs.com for my hosting and Chris did it for me. He set up the redirects so any old links now point to monicalucy.com. Chris is amazing and such a lovely guy so I trust him to look after all of that side of things. Whatever he suggests I just go with and it’s a nice weight off my shoulders knowing I don’t need to worry about hosting and domains etc.
I have actually changed domains in the past and, with the help of tutorials and YouTube videos, I managed to do it!