Many leading experts in the information technology world would suggest that blogging, the way it was understood in 2004, is dead. And so many money making opportunities that came with it are gone. However, the good news is, that it is still possible to grow your influence on the web. It is still possible to generate a 5 figure income (in USD/Pounds), but just not the way that we knew in the past.
When blogging was in its infancy, people who understood its power and were quick to latch on it were able to produce powerful platforms that are multi-million pounds companies today. Not everybody then was successful, but there was certainly a greater chance of achieving success than it is now. Most new technologies brings with them opportunity to lift a business if they are adopted quickly.
Today, success is still possible but there are a lot more actors at play and there are many more rules that have to be followed. If rules are taken as guiding posts and if success stories are used as fuel for inspiration, than sky is still the limit for a web based platform.
Today, it is all about growing your “tribe” and doing so “Organically”. For many people organic growth can be a slow process. Pat Flynn, who is the owner of SPI (Smart Passive Income) blog, very wisely puts it “Overnight success is not possible and no stream of passive income is truly passive” In other words, one has to invest significant amount of time and effort and then enjoy the fruit of labour. Discounting exceptions, it could take a few years before a web platform will allow an individual to break away from a 9 to 5 job. Nonetheless in the long run, a powerful platform can yield dividends that a far exceed the run of the mill job.
Success is entirely dependent upon the effectiveness of your blog. And it is the “effectiveness” that is the key term here along with the mantra of “organic growth” mentioned earlier. In other words blogging platform that effectively grows today have at their core the idea of organic growth. It is a gradual and a relatively slow process. Just like trees in nature, not every tree grows the same rate. Not every tree bears the same fruit and not every tree is evergreen. And after years of growth, it takes only a force of nature to dislodge a tree. Blogging platforms are similar and their rate of growth is dependent not only the interest that exists but also the interest they create.
To unpack the idea a bit further, it is important to focus on the term “blogging” itself. This term as understood my most people is a misnomer compared to what it should be for success. Rants and Ramblings about someone’s day, one’s likes or dislikes got eyeballs a decade ago but it is something that just doesn’t cut it today. Unless off course you are a celebrity and you already have a following. This type of blogging has been captured and has become the preserve of the “Twitter” platform.
So there are two different things to be noted. Firstly blogging activity should produce something of “value” for its followers. Secondly, its not just good enough to produce valueable content, effort should be made to grow the “tribe/followers/readers”.
Niel Patel of Quick Sprout very succinctly puts it that there is a far greater chance of your platform succeeding if time is split between creating content and marketing. If all your time is consumed in creating content than no matter how good the quality, traffic is unlikely to flow. It is almost like you are giving a wonderful presentation in an empty room.
In today’s world, having a following on social media is not just helpful but mandatory. Even book publishers are reluctant to roll out high quality books in the absence of the author’s tribe. Many publishers have placed a condition on authors to have twitter accounts with at least a thousand followers.
So part of the game is to create a tribe, a big tribe but also a high quality tribe. Growing a tribe goes hand in hand with creating high quality content that is of value to the audience. The organic way therefore is that platform development takes a slight lead before creating of the tribe.
What is tech blogging today?
As technology evolves continuously around us, there is a growing interest not just in the nature of technology/devices but the impact of their interaction with humans. Manufacturer specifications how detailed they may be, do not tell a story. This is exactly where a tech blog fits in, it tells a story. It brings in the human experience. For example, despite the thousands of qualities listed for a new smart phone, most people are interested in the experience of other individuals about that product. There is a growing readership that takes a note of people’s reviews. And so many websites have a review section or comment section for each product. Even higher interest lies in an expert’s opinion. This interest is the Raison d’etre for highly successful shows like Top Gear. People like to know others opinion about machines before they invest in them. For an expert opinion, one should have profound knowledge on a subject. It is impossible to have deep knowledge for every facet of technology, therefore it is important to focus on a particular area. Modern day tech blogging has a defined scope (niche). Car review sites would not be reviewing cameras, refirgerators etc.
If you are to start tech blogging today, than it has to be made sure that the right niche is selected. And this niche must be based not only on your own interest but passion. Only then will you be able to produce valuable content, day in day out. It takes a lot of drive and commitment to make a blog fly. Pat Flynn for instance only started getting serious traffic when he had posted almost 150 blogs on his Smart Passive Income website. Pete Cashmore of Mashables used to write up to 10 posts a day. However one must make sure that with quantity of work, quality should never be compromised. There are blogs which average 1 blog post every 5 days but still get a sizeable audience. The build up to a tech blog is the difficult phase. Sustaining it takes due diligence but a lot less effort.
It should be noted that most Tech Blogs today like “Tech Crunch” have as popular social media pages as their website. There is also an appetite for delivering content in the form of short videos (less than 3 min). Most modern blogs often summarize their popular content in videos which makes it even more eye catching and succinct.
The traffic footprint for a tech blog?
The source of traffic for a tech blog can be broadly divided into three categories. These are:
- Organic traffic (coming from search engine)
- Referral Traffic (coming from social media shares)
- Paid adverts and mailing lists
Paid traffic is generated by running advert campaigns. It is a choice that is not compulsory but it helps immensely. High organic traffic on the other hand is a must. Organic traffic comes from search engines, therefore it is important to make the likes of Google, Bing and Yahoo realize the value of your content. If your tech blog also offers products (Ebooks, Reports, Courses) than there is another type of traffic that holds the highest interest, i.e Brand Traffic. In an ideal world, paid traffic should eventually fizzle out to organic traffic which in turn should fizzle out into brand traffic. For brevity of this post, the focus will remain on organic traffic.
How to get more Organic Traffic for tech blog?
Organic traffic is all about “Building Authority”. Matt Cutts from Google explains that not only the content should be relevant but it should also be reputable. For example a pseudo- celebrity (Kim Kardashian) may have a popular opinion on medical procedure, but it will be discounted by Google when it thinks people are interested in genuine information on the procedure. Today having your blog rank high on Google is as important as having your shop in the high street.
It should be noted that Google (or any other search engine) does not have a panel of experts on every subject passing judgement on the relevance and reputation of every page on every site. To overcome this limitation, search engines look at certain signals. This brings us to the question, is it important to understand these signals? The answer is absolutely “Yes”.
Lets look at the few of these signals:
Google looks at the length of content
The more lengthy the content is, the more likely it is to be in-depth but not necessarily. One can fill the page with unending garbage. The content will be long but it won’t be valuable.
Google looks at number of links
The more the number of links shared on other websites the more likely it is the your content is authoritative. Again this is not necessary. There are people who will accept a price to share your link on their website.
Social media like and shares are an indicator of remarkable nature of content. Again that is not entirely true. Social media likes and shares can be doctored.
The bottom line is that one can get around Google’s signals but as the search engine gets cleverer, newer signals are made with every algorithm update. And Google will eventually weed out content that is spammy or low value. The golden rule that never changes is that “valuable and high quality content will be rewarded”. Therefore, one should strive to produce remarkable content and the signals will follow suit rather than going the other way around.
Most modern tech blogs today have three sections. First they feature news that provides the latest information in the fast moving world of technology. Second, they offer in depth analysis and review of technology. And thirdly, they have a blog section which offers the human experience with technology interaction.
Almost every 6 seconds a new blog is launched. Google understandably takes its time in sending traffic to a site that has been recently launched. Traffic throttling is a technique that is used by Google in which it restricts hourly traffic. For instance a newly launched blog may receive up to two visitors every hour from Google. This bar is raised gradually as the site establishes its authority and more content is added.
Finance Model for Tech Blog
Websites and blogs often have different models for monetization. Most successful is selling your own product through your platform. However, the advantage of a tech blog is that even without a product, it can still produce reasonable amount of income from sources like adverts. Your website is a real state on the internet and sections of it can be allotted or leased out for adverts. Technological adverts are among the highest paying in the market. Furthermore, adverts on your website will be relevant to the technology that is supported on your website. People with interest in technology are more likely to click relevant adverts on tech websites. Therefore most tech blogs have high CTR.
A Youtube channel can also be opened in conjunction with the tech blog. More and more people are consuming information in the short video format. The videos on hosting sites like YouTube can also be monetized. This generates a secondary revenue stream.
The website Synergy Files started as a renewable energy blog site. Over time it evolved and today is more geared up towards an authority site in the field of Renewable Energy and Sustainability. Most technology websites have evolved over time and some have completely transformed. For instance Mashable that started as a tech blog is now a social media power house.
It is therefore good practice to start the blog from a focused area and gradually expand it to be more inclusive. This is similar to a tree that stands on a single trunk but branches out. The blog likewise can be spread overtime to cover diverse fields, but at the start it must remain focused on a single niche.
As mentioned earlier, Google will gradually increase the traffic to your tech blog as it keeps ascertaining the quality. Synergy Files website traffic has consistently increased as can be seen from the graph. Traffic spikes have also occurred indicating content occasionally has gone viral. Inforgraphics are more shareable and can bring several thousand visitors to a website. This also holds true for synergy files which has nearly 10% of its posts as infographics.
Organic traffic for Synergy Files has also increased around 15% month on month. This equates to an annual increase of 5.35 times the base traffic. the This is a healthy rate of growth as even Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income blog has grown in traffic at about 7-8% per month. The percentage of growth can be even higher depending upon the activity on your blog. Activity is not limited to producing more content but also includes user engagement (likes, shares, comments and rating).
An E-book will be available on Synergy Files website soon that will cover the topic “How to launch a successful tech blog”. Watch out for this space and please leave your details in the comment section for updates on the mentioned e-book. Best thing is, subscribe to our site.
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