Completed 14 years of blogging- What has changed in recent times?

On this day, 22nd May 2006, 14 years ago I started a free blog on blogger. I didn't have a clue it will be my main companion and online identity over the years.
I've written about my Blog's journey in several earlier posts:
Over these years I've received immense support from readers, friends and family on my blogging effort. In this post I would like to focus on some key changes and observations w.r.t my blogging journey in past few years.

1. Got time to author a book. After years of wanting to publish my own book, it finally happened in 2019. I managed to publish a book on world travel in low budget, both in Kannada and English. Unfortunately Covid-19 pandemic has put a halt to world travel.

More about my books here

2. Reactivated Adsense
After several years of running the blog without ads, I finally reintroduced Adsense in 2019. Earning a few possible dollars each month has become vital now. Revenue hasn't been substantial but tiny drops do add up over a period of time and no money is too small in current situation

3. Not much luck on Instagram and other platforms
Brands have shifted their focus from blogs to Instagram to tiktok to other mediums. Unfortunately I haven't had much success there. I am not comfortable taking shortcuts such as buying followers and other unethical means to increase popularity. I am ok to work with fewer and fewer brands who value genuine efforts over fake populism. It may hurt short term but will payback over time. At least that is what I believe. Here's how I am doing on various platforms.

4. User behavior has changed
As I've written in this post people now no longer want to do some study/research. They want information to come to them directly. Instead of trying to fish out information they need, most people now simply put out their question in the open (FB groups, Quora etc) and expect the community to give them curated answers. We can't really blame them- one there's too much info out there so searching and fishing out right info is challenge, second there're many jobless people ready to answer even simple info that is readily available with a basic search. This means bloggers need to not just write good content, but also keep scanning for people who may benefit from this content and keep pushing relevant posts.

5. Guest post queries have shot up.
Last few years I'm getting multiple guest post requests every day. I find that most of these have a commercial motive- they want to get a link to their client's website (for which they charge the clients) and pose as if they are doing me a service by providing free content. The content they provide is often crappy, compiled sitting at home picking up from google, without any first person experience.

I've now drafted a Guest Post Policy. I send link to this post to anyone who approaches for guest post. I am open to guest posts based on first hand experience but those with a hidden commercial motive will be rejected.

This also establishes that blogs do have strong reach and SEO benefits despite the rise of various other social media platforms.

6. Top blogger lists
Making a top blogger list is an easy way to gain visibility and popularity for many sites. While everyone is free to make their own list, the sad part is some of them simply recycling an existing list or come up with a list without any scientific criteria, without evaluating enough samples and without a fair selection process. There're many who would happily share a post and give free publicity to the website which otherwise had no identity so far.

In any top something list it is common those who are included feel happy and those excluded feel bad. Part of life. I don't have any control on who does what, but I have made couple of attempts to provide a scientific basis to top blogger lists. 

7. Freelance assignments
I am currently providing content to a state government's tourism website. This is keeping me busy during the lockdown, else would have blogged more. Will share more details once the new website goes live. Providing authentic content for an official website demands more research, highest possible accuracy and consistency compared to writing our own blog posts.

I am also doing some unpaid voluntary work translating Govt of India's Covid-19 documents from English to Kannada.

8. Lazy to fix technical issues
Blogger CMS has several limitations but Google isn't doing any improvements to blogger. [Details here]. Having spent 14 years and close to 3000 posts, migrating to wordpress is an extremely complicated and risky process I am resisting since years.

Have received a dozen notifications from Analytics, Adsense and other sources to fix multiple issues and optimize the blog, but I've been lazy to act upon them. God give me strength to work on them.

9. Yet to get the pricing right
I get inquiries for sponsored posts and other assignments and often won't get a reply after I revert with a quote. I've not yet mastered the art of giving winning quotations I guess. However I've decided not to undersell. It is OK to miss some opportunities- we shouldn't devalue ourselves. Negotiation is also a tough art. Many try their luck asking for one tenth or one fourth of whatever you quote, however low. It is a vast unregulated market so we have to carve our own path and identity. Read my detailed post on pricing dynamics.

10. The future
Thanks to Covid-19, travel prospects have vaporized.  It will be interesting to see how we can adapt to the new normal. I've shared some thoughts here on Future of Travel Blogging. I am yet to write about many past trips and can travel locally for a while. Working on the tourism project has given me information on lot more places to explore. I think I will be busy for a while, rest let us see.

Thanks for reading and thanks for your support.

8 comments:

  1. Great going. Congrats. Though blog readership is considerably reduced in recent years, genuine bloggers and readers are still running the show.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am so proud of you to see that you have been doing this for 14 years and you are so passionate in everything you write. You also really believe in long-term which is so encouraging, for the world around me is filled with bloggers some of who run away at the prospect of doing this for years before it make any sense or money. I resonate with valuing our work and not buying followers or just shifting from one medium to another for the sake of brands. I feel nothing could be worse. I hope you find the strength to optimize and shift to Wordpress. It would help. Many congratulations :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Heartiest Congratulations :)
    Best wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations for completing this stint! And you have covered many important points in this article, like blogger lists, change is user behavior, and better tools to easily fix up technical errors.

    ReplyDelete

Appreciate your efforts and interests to comment. Comments may be moderated due to increased spam. Will ideally respond to comments within few days.Use Anonymous option if you don't wish to leave your name/ID behind- Shrinidhi

Powered by Blogger.