If you ever visit a blogging Subreddit, you’ll inevitably find a new blogger telling you that the sky is falling. They’ll say something along the lines of…
- Google is going to take all of the traffic for themselves.
- Artificial Intelligence is going to put bloggers out of business.
- Established Websites Will Consolidate All The Traffic.
- A regular guy can’t compete against a business with a team of writers
- Video is going to replace blog posts. Etc.
Do they have a point? Let’s tackle each of these issues then I’ll give my personal thoughts on blogging as a long-term business venture.
1) Google is going to take all the traffic for themselves
Worry-Meter: Mildly Concerned
The number of zero-click searches in Google has skyrocketed the past few years. Google simply puts the answer directly in the SERP now, so the user has no reason to click-through to your website.
I think bloggers overestimate how damaging these snippets are to their business. If you win the snippet, you’ll still get tons of clicks to your website. Plus, how valuable is a visitor if a one-word answer solves their query?
Bloggers could definitely sell me that this is a net negative for the industry. That said, I’m not worried about blogging disappearing entirely because of it.
2) Artificial Intelligence Will Put Bloggers Out of Business
Worry-Meter: Not Concerned Yet, Ask Again in 5 years.
I wrote an entire blog post about GPT-3 where I did a deep dive on the tech and how it could be valuable for bloggers.
My takeaway? AI isn’t ready to destroy the blogging industry as we know it. You can’t simply tell GPT-3 to write an entire blog post for you and get a fantastic result back. GPT-3 will pump the article full of falsehoods, and the whole thing will be a meandering read. Anybody who thinks that’s good content is an idiot.
However, AI is quite good at rewriting a paragraph or title to read better. Or to spell/grammar check it. You’ll still need to write the original text and working with the AI is time-consuming. It’s not going to help you mass-produce content.
3) A Regular Guy Can’t Compete Against More Established Websites
Worry-Meter: Extremely Concerned, Already Happening
Forget the future; this is a problem right now in the blogging industry. Neil Patel will always outrank me simply because he has a much bigger website. It doesn’t matter how much better my blog post is.
Worse, I’m convinced Google implements site-wide traffic caps on smaller websites. This trend is only getting worse as more players enter the market and Google gets more concerned about misinformation spreading online. Why should they trust a regular guy over an established brand in the search results?
And so, this one really does concern me. I still feel like a regular guy can get into blogging and find success with a long enough time horizon and a mild amount of talent. But, the barrier to entry is rising every year.
4) A Regular Guy Can’t Compete Against a Team of Writers
Worry-Meter: Not Concerned At All
It’s frustrating as a new blogger when you’re competing against a company that hires writers to churn out thousands of posts. These companies can churn out 500 articles in a few months; meanwhile, it’d take you 5 years at two posts per week to reach 500.
When you see that, it feels defeating. Like you can’t win.
That said, I think this worry is entirely overblown. It’s overblown because the articles you buy for $20 are unlikely to be all that good, and the ones you buy for $200 are unlikely to turn a profit (and also may not be very good).
In the future, every post will need to compete on quality (because every niche will become saturated). In a world where you’re competing on quality, hired writers will find it difficult to compete with you. Not the other way around.
5) Video Will Replace Blog Posts, Nobody Reads Blogs Anymore
Worry-Meter: Not Concerned At All
Video results are coming back more and more often in the SERP. And while that isn’t necessarily going to help your blog traffic, a surprisingly large number of people will choose to click the blog posts over the video results. I have proof of this because I rank #1 for queries with video search results, and the click-through rate is still good.
And I don’t think that’s likely to change. Sometimes video is helpful, but oftentimes I don’t want to sit through a 10-minute video. I’d rather skim a blog post and get my answer more quickly. Because of that, I don’t think this is likely to change, and the fear is overblown.
My Personal Thoughts About the Future of Blogging
We’re in a situation where the number of content creators increases each year while the overall size of the pie (number of total searches) stopped growing exponentially several years ago. If anything, the overall search traffic pie is shrinking, with video and snippets eating up more and more of the clicks.
Because of this, we’re looking at the industry becoming dramatically more competitive over the next decade. But, all industries become more competitive as they mature. I could say the same thing about YouTube, TikTok, or whatever the new hotness is this year.
I think the real question is, can you compete? Search traffic isn’t going away entirely, and that traffic will only become more valuable with time. The real question is can you outperform the competition?
I obviously believe that I can (otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing this). But, I don’t feel that’s true for everybody. Blogging is no longer an easy game. Your effort, talent, and luck will determine your success or failure in this industry that’s getting harder year over year.