An article on Mashable today discussed a study by Pew Internet that broke down the online activities by age groups, starting with as young as 18 and working up to 74+.
Many of the results were not surprising. Email was an almost uniform activity across every age group, as were searching and getting news online. Also, younger individuals were more likely to play games online, IM and use social networks while their slightly older cohorts were more likely to visit government sites and check financial information.
All in all, the younger the respondent, the more activities they likely did online, though it seemed almost no one was using virtual worlds.
However, one thing that did catch some off guard was the decline in blogging. Not only was blogging an unpopular activity across all age groups, less than 10% said they blogged and less than half said they read blogs (with younger respondents having the highest percentage), there was a marked decline from the previous year’s survey.
Many will undoubtedly look at this and see dark things in the future for blogging. However, the truth is likely much different and there are very simple reasons for the numbers and why they aren’t very important.
Define “Reading” Blogs
I find it hard to nail down what it means to read blogs. Virtually everyone on the Web reads blogs. The study itself showed that virtually all Web users perform searches and a good percentage of those searches lead, at some point, to a blog.
How many people routinely read a page or two on a site without realizing it might be considered a blog? How many people bookmark blogs, visit regularly, but don’t think of themselves a blog readers?
If you think of “blog reading” in terms of RSS, then you’d be right in thinking that there has been a sharp decline. But there are countless ways to read blogs. For example, if you use Paper.li to read blogs and other news sites, it certainly isn’t the same as traditional “blog reading”, especially since it is done through Twitter.
In short, people read blogs without realizing that they are doing so. After all, few blogs (other than this one) make the fact that they are a blog a major part of their identity.
Of course, that isn’t the only definition problem that the study faces when it comes to blogging, the bigger one likely has to do with blogging itself.
The other problem with this, or any other attempt to find out how many people read blogs, is that the definition of what is and is not blogging is changing.
Nearly every site created has some blogging elements. Funadementally, a blog is just a series of posts being updated at somewhat regular intervals. That could describe just about anything from a news site, to a recipe collection or anything else that has a “stream” of content.
When most people think of a “blog” they think of something personal or at least a personal expression. But what about sites like TechCrunch that are news sites presented in a blog format?
In a strange paradox, the activities that could be considered blogging have expanded at the same time as the definition of what people think of as a blog has shrunk. Part of this is because of microblogging and social networking adding new kinds of personal publishing that sometimes overlap, but also because blogging, in some circles, became something of a negative term, a sign that a site shouldn’t be taken seriously.
In many areas, people have shied away from this particular “b-word” and you even see companies renaming their corporate blogs to something else, such as with GM and its “Updates” and “Conversations”.
In short, blogging as an activity likely isn’t going anywhere, but the term blogging may be falling on harder times.
In the end, bloggers don’t have to worry about their activity going anywhere. Whether people recognize it as blogging or call it blogging may be an issue, but sites with frequent, original and high-quality content are not going to fall our of style any time soon.
While it’s true that social networking and microblogging are competing for reader attention, these are trends that can supplement and help blogging rather than simply being competition.
The bottom line though is that bloggers need to focus on how their sites are doing and what their growth is like rather than wondering what is happening to blogging at large. With a term so hard to nail down, it’s possible to write almost any headline you want and back it up.
Blogging isn’t dead and it isn’t dying, but the terms may be on life support. That, in a strange way, may say more about the success of blogging than its defeat.
After all, when we stop “blogging” because almost all sites have blogging elements, it means that the format powerful and compelling, not that the act of blogging is dying.
Should You Use AdSense on Your Blog?
I admit it. I have waffled on this topic a few times. Back in the day I used to call it Ad Cents. But going forward I do see benefits in adding Google AdSense as a low ticket income stream on your blog. Even for newbies. I know, I know. This seems surprising to you.
Think abundance guys. Why not add a few cents here and there to boost your income stream? Please don’t use AdSense as your prime means of income as a new blogger or if you are struggling as a blogging veteran. Cents do not make up a full-time income, as your sole income stream. But if you create courses, coach, and add Google AdSense as an income stream for driving a few bucks each month in the beginning, you are well on your way to seeing steady profits are the channel.
The key is to think detachment. New bloggers in many developing nations see Google AdSense as the Holy Grail of monetizing. Why? Mostly, because it seems easy to make money through a channel involving no creation or human interaction on your part. Think about it. All you do is post the ad and create content. Money should flow to you easily, right? The ultimate wake up call is experiencing one, two, or three cent AdSense months. Then you realize big earnings flow through blogs with a huge amount of targeted, hyper-focused traffic. This is why you need to detach from Google AdSense as your prime income stream. Big bucks flow through the channel after years of generous, patient, persistent effort on your part.
Take the Cents with AdSense
As a newbie, pennies will flow through your AdSense profits for your first few months. In most cases. But take the cents because cents add up to dollars. Dollars add up to hundreds of dollars. Hundreds of dollars add up to thousands of dollars. Think like an abundant blogger. Keep adding small ticket and big ticket income streams to boost your overall blogging income.
Everything Adds Up
I wrote a post recently discussing why wealthy bloggers take the time and effort to add affiliate links even if they earn pennies on the link. Between their ever-expanding presence and abundance mindset, the pennies add up to thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars over the long haul. Think this way with AdSense. Everything adds up. Again, just don’t make Google AdSense your prime income stream because as the pennies add up you’re better off earning more money through channels like coaching, consulting, freelancing, writing and selling eBooks or creating and publishing courses.
Ultimately, successful blogging is creating and connecting generously. Never believe that an income stream makes money. Income streams are passive, completely subject to your command, and pretty much worthless on their own. An income stream cannot do anything, including make money. You make the money with your generous effort. Practice writing, create helpful content and build meaningful connections with top blogger generously every single day over the course of years. No matter the income streams you open, your blogging profits will increase over time if you stick to the fundamentals.
Do you need a blogging guide? Buy my eBook:
Why Do People Still Sleep on Blog Commenting?
Chapters 2 and 3 of my eBook:
dissect both my commenting success stories and why to comment on blogs from your niche. I lead in with a clear primer prepping you for the blogging journey, commenting-wise.
Why do bloggers still ignore the immense power of commenting? A few reasons reveal themselves but at the core, bloggers fear nobody will read their blog comments. Seriously; do you genuinely believe folks read all blog comments? Of course not because folks sometimes skip over comments. But a percentage of bloggers and readers do scan comments or take apart comments word by word, getting to know fellow bloggers. At the core though, fear rings strong, guys. Bloggers fear wasting time. I get it. I too have to catch myself, to remind myself of these sweet blog commenting benefits.
Benefits of Blog Commenting
- bond with top bloggers through an underused vehicle, often ignored, but totally free of gatekeepers, unlike trying to reach someone through email or phone
- anybody can comment on a blog; new blogger, struggling veteran blogger, etc
- anybody can impress with comments at any stage of your career; any human being can share their thoughts in genuine fashion
- blog comments are forever; evergreen content
- blog comments serve as branding and bonding vehicles
- blog commenting is a free method for connecting with bloggers
- blog commenting on blogs with raving communities ejects you into the blogger’s tribe
- people who buy your stuff often need to see you are legit, active and social online; enter blog commenting
Those are but a few reasons why you want to comment on top blogs from your niche. Do your best to dwell on these reasons if you want to mail it in, skipping on blog commenting because you feel like commenting on a top blog wastes your time.
I just find it weird that years into me discussing blog commenting as a viable means to bond and grow business, bloggers scoff at it. I do have an idea why, though. Bloggers focus on things over people. Bloggers want links and do not put in the time and energy to develop connections with other human beings. Put in the time, and you will be golden. But if you want to deal with things to manipulate people you will have a terrible time getting traction online because business may flow through things, but business originates in humans. Think that one through for just a moment.
Commenting works if you comment genuinely on blogs from your niche. Nobody likes someone who wants to publish a link, and to leave. We call these guys comment drive-bys. Stick around. Write a few sentences. Be genuine. Be helpful. Be warm. The more you give to blog commenting, the more you get from blog commenting. Do you see how it works? The process is quite simple but you need to be onboard, fully, to be a generous, genuine blog commentor.
Be present. Imagine yourself speaking to another human being, in person. How should that feel? Good, methinks. Bask in that feeling as you publish a few sentences or paragraphs via a blog comment. Feel the fun in connecting with humans. Blogging is 100% in the connections. Never forget that.
Clients, customers, business and traffic find you through genuine, generous, frequent comments. I am living proof. Peep my example if you want to comment but believe commenting will be a waste of your time. Trust me; it won’t.
4 Ways to Respond to Blogging Critics
We all have ’em.
Or, if new to blogging, critics will pay you a visit eventually. Being seen online means being criticized sometimes. Part of your successful blogging tax.
Fools waste precious time and energy engaging critics in some way, shape or form. Avoid doing this. Paying, loyal, loving fans deserve your energy. Go to where you are loved.
Follow these 4 tips to respond to blogging critics effectively.
1: Ignore Critics Completely
If I come across a nasty 1 star review of my eBooks, I ignore the barb completely because miserable, angry, unhappy people cannot think clearly and tell the truth. Why trust a raging, mindless, idiotic bull? Ignore these people. Buy my critics eBook too to begin spotting these fools.
2: Listen for a Shred of Stinging Truth
OK guys; following this step feels uncomfortable but you need take the step to become a successful blogger. Listen closely to critic feedback. How does it feel to you? Upsetting? Embarrassing? Does a critic anger you or annoy you? Do you want to debate or debunk those morons? If any negative emotion feels triggered by receiving criticism you believe some or all of their critical feedback. I did tell you; this step/tip feels unpleasant. But how could you ever sell a bunch of eBooks and help people and make money if you genuinely do NOT believe in the value of your eBooks? How can you become a pro blogger if you believe you will always be amateur hour?
Critics trigger false beliefs you need face, feel and release to reach the next stage of your blogging growth. I never had powerful break throughs until a critic tossed some nasty barb my way, triggering some fear I needed to release to gain enough clarity and confidence to reach the next stage of my growth.
3: Psyche Homework
Critics see you as a mirror. What criticism seems doled out to you, on to you, is a critic speaking of themselves. We are connected; all of us. Critics never seem to see this and choose to speak of self via their criticism of you. Do your mindset homework. See how criticism serves as a projection of individual onto you? Relax. Prep yourself for future criticism. Consider writing blog posts discussing problems critics see in self if this topic applies to your blogging niche. Turn criticism into help and profits, too.
4: Never Gang Up
Ganging up on critics with your friends only shows your weakness. Critics fear. Critics are in pain. Imagine taking time to rile the troops and kick a wounded dog? This is what it’s like to get your tribe rounded up to gang up on and belittle critics. Plus, try getting featured on world famous blogs by building a bully image these days. I dare you.
Relax. Critics have issues. Ignore these folks outright. Leave them be, and you will be happier, healthier and wealthier, too. Never waste your time fighting critics; especially with friends. Do something uplifting and enriching with your time, energy and efforts.
Help people. Do not try to hurt, hurt people. Give your attention and energy to love, generosity, abundance and service to experience the greatest blogging success.
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