Is blogging still relevant in 2021?
My answer: Hands down, blogging for personal & for your business is not only relevant, but a must. I’ve been blogging for 2+ years, and it opened doors that I would never have imagined. Here are the 4 main benefits of having a blog vs not having one:
- Content lifespan on your blog lasts years longer than on social media thanks to SEO
- Earn money from placing ads
- Earn money from affiliate marketing
- Blogging is personal branding & often it brings in new opportunities
Blogs, social media & YouTube have their own pros & cons. I use all 3 of them for different purposes:
Blogging Vs. Social Media Vs. YouTube
|Purpose||The hub to place & organize all of your content: articles, images & videos||1. Awareness of your brand & new content|
2. Connect with audience
|1. Content in video format|
2. A great way to showcase your personality
|Biggest Benefits||1. Fully customizable: Themes, colors, landing pages, plugins & ad placements|
2. Content lifespan for years thanks to SEO
|1. Rapid exposure (virality)|
2. Supports short form text, images & video content
3. Can create most content with only a smartphone
|1. For content not suitable in text & images|
2. Earn ad revenue
|Biggest Weakness||Costs money to run & can get quite technical||1. Short lifespan traffic|
2. If the platform loses popularity or gets greedy, you’re screwed
|Not everyone can or want to make videos|
Here’s a visualization on how I flow all of my traffic back to my blog:
Let’s address another common follow-up question:
Should I Start a Blog or a YouTube Channel First?
Find out which feels more natural to you, and start with that. For me, I did both. Because some people prefer to watch videos, and some prefer to read articles.
Killing 2 Birds With 1 Stone: When I create an outline script for my YouTube videos, I repurpose it into a blog post. So I publish the blog post first. Then, when I’m done editing the video, I embed it at the top of the article. Here’s an example:
Great, now lets dive a little deeper into the benefit of having a blog that I realized over the years:
Blog Benefit #1: Organic Reach (SEO)
In 2018, Facebook changed organic reach for their content. What that means is that nowadays, you have to pay Facebook to get your content to reach your own page followers’ newsfeed.
Let’s take a look at a live example: Neil Patel, a renowned Digital Marketing expert with 1M Facebook page followers. If you look at each of his posts, there are only an average of about 50 comments:
That means, his posts only reached a very small percentage of his total followers organically. This is true because I follow his Facebook page, and I’ve never seen his content show up on my news feed.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like that my content can’t reach my own followers, unless I pay Facebook. That’s what can happen if you rely too much on social media.
The platform can get greedy and decide to change how things work to benefit them financially. If you only have a Facebook page, you’re at their mercy.
But if you have a blog and have published enough quality content, Google will start to trust your blog and rank you higher on search engines. You’ll slowly build steady organic traffic to your site (this can take a few months to maybe years). Take a look at my blogging traffic over a 2 year timespan:
If YouTube or Instagram decides to follow Facebook’s greedy footstep in the future, you won’t be too fussed about it, because you have a lot of organic traffic.
With steady traffic to your blog, you can start earning additional revenue. The 2 most common ways are by placing ads and affiliate marketing:
Blog Benefit #2: Earn Money from Placing Ads
The easiest way to earn from display ads on your site is through an ad network. After you register with an ad network, they’ll automatically (through the magic of AI technology) place ads on each page of your blog that will be relevant to your individual viewer. Here’s an example:
The ad network will keep track of how many people viewed and clicked on the ads that they placed throughout your blog. You’ll get paid for impressions and clicks on the ads. For beginner bloggers, you have 2 popular ad network options:
I started with Adsense but moved on to Ezoic after a blogger friend recommended me to them. Ezoic’s customer service is pretty good, and they took care of everything during setup. When everything is up and running, you can start seeing daily ad revenue in USD:
Nice, this is as close to passive income as it gets! But wait, there’s another way to make money from your blog:
Blog Benefit #3: Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is when you promote other people’s products and services through a special link, and you’ll earn for each referral sale.
Creating review content works really well for affiliate marketing. Here’s an example of me reviewing a robot vacuum on YouTube & my blog. Look at where I place my affiliate links:
If anyone clicks on these links and buys something, I’d get a cut (typically between 1 to 7%). Pretty neat right?
You can register with any affiliate marketing networks out there, but I personally use Involve as I find their dashboard to be the most user-friendly for beginners.
Here’s a quick 5-step breakdown on how affiliate marketing works:
- Register as a Publisher with an affiliate network
- Once approved, find the product that you want to promote (e.g: Lazada or Amazon)
- Generate your affiliate link for that product through Involve
- Insert your affiliate link in your blog & social media content
- Promote your link & earn for each sale that came from your link
Pretty sweet! Here’s a glimpse of my affiliate marketing revenue for a blog with less than 10,000 users a month:
Not much, but hey, it’s something. If I were to scale up and publish more SEO content, I’ll be able to increase my organic traffic and ultimately my ad & affiliate marketing income. Nice!
Blog Benefit #4: Powerful Personal Branding
Out of all the things I’ve listed above, the best reason to have a blog is for personal branding.
When you have a blog and an about me page with your face on it, essentially what you’re doing is personal branding yourself as an expert in your topic. Take a look at my blog home page. What’s your first impression?:
What’s the big deal about personal branding? Well, having this blog opened up so many new doors that I would otherwise never access. Let me share with you my experience:
Connect With Influential People
I have several bloggers and Influencers that I admire. Turns out, they also enjoy reading my blog. Contacting them for business or personal agendas is much easier as I have portrayed value through the contents of my blog.
This would be unachievable if I didn’t have a blog, as nobody would know who I am.
Brand Sponsorships & Collaborations
From time to time, as your content ranks organically on search engines, companies would approach you for brand sponsorships and collaborations. For example:
Would you imagine that, without a blog, you have to approach brands to work with you. But with the blog, some companies might be approaching you instead. That’s the power of personal branding.
Easier to Sell Your Own Product or Services
If you are launching a new business from scratch, you’ll notice pretty quickly that selling to strangers (cold traffic) is damn hard.
People don’t know you exist, let alone trust you enough to purchase your product or hire your services. A blog is the perfect medium to warm up cold traffic to show how you can solve their problems:
For example, if you’re a solar panel installer, creating a lot of blog posts about how solar panels work and how it can save the homeowner money, can get people to start noticing you. The more content you create, the more people will move down that AIDA funnel to having an interest in you, desiring your products or services and ultimately taking action (contacting you).
Change Careers in a Crisis
Here’s a story where having a blog literally saved my career & finances. When my Airbnb business went bust right before the whole COVID lockdown in March 2020, I didn’t know what to do.
It was a terrible time to start a new business, and most companies weren’t hiring. But I realized that there was a lot of job ads with the title: ‘Digital Marketer.’
I applied to thousands of jobs online. At first, most of them fell to deaf ears. So I rebranded this website into a personal finance blog and documented my blogging journey.
Then, several job applications later, one of them went through and the hiring manager of a marketing company asked if I have any experience creating content about online marketing. I send him this blog post & the link to my blog. He liked it, arranged for a video interview, and I was working for them by Monday.
I am extremely grateful that I was able to pivot my career in this tough times with the help of my blog. I consider my blog as my CV of what I can do to the world.
Start Your Own Blog
There you go. I’ve shown you the importance of having a blog for your business and for you personally.
What to do next? If you’re interested to start a blog yourself, you can register your website name and get your web host with Shinjiru (that’s what I’m using). They cost around RM 200+ a year. They work great if you’re located in South East Asia,
But if your audience is mostly from the US, try Blue Host starting as low as USD 2.95 a month.
If you need help picking out your niche (specialty), check out my over-the-shoulder guide here.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve found this article helpful and if you have any comments about blogging.