No, please, no, not at all.
But then, a resounding YES!
What the hell am I talking about? Have I been on crack or cracking out 5,000 words per day has finally taken its toll on me? Well, none of them. It’s the 21st century and I speak from experience, over a decade (I started my first BlogSpot blog in 2006).
My point is, you cannot start a blog like you used to do back then. You cannot buy a premium theme, buy cheap hosting, whip up a website and lo! Virtual readers are thronging at your door. It just does not work that way anymore. Over 200 million blogs floating around with millions of posts being posted every single day…it’s too much of a competition to even dare to go against.
Should you stop blogging in 2018? No, I asked you not to ‘create’ your blog but not to refrain from blogging. A better way to blog would be to start writing and gaining audience first and then get a website. How? Let me summarize what Jon Morrow explains in this post.
Define your audience.
It’s easy to choose a niche audience. They must be large in number. They must have ongoing interest in the subject (not a passing thing!). They must be socially connected on the topic, e.g. share on facebook. They must target the biggest sub-niche of the niche. They must actively seek knowledge on the topic. That’s it.
Decide the most popular topics to write on.
Use AllTop (a free service) or BuzzSumo, EpicBeats or Social Animal (paid and much better) to find out the most shared—in other words, trending—topics in your niche. Go to a few blog topic generator like HubSpot, Portent, Inbound Now, Content Ideator, The Hoth, SEOPressor, etc. to generate the most appealing blog topics unless you are a Shakespeare yourself. Next thing, just write.
Publish on Medium, Quora or anywhere else you like
Frankly, you don’t much choice in this. Unless you have the liking to send query letters one after another, the best way to start publishing instantly is to write on Medium. It attracts over 30 million monthly readers, as well as celebrity writers like Matthew McConaughey and James Altucher. Quora, Live Journal and WordPress.com might tender traction to your writing piece though. (So, don’t discredit them.)
Reach out to influencers in your niche
No, this is not to garner publicity for yourself. This is a test – a test of worthiness. Is your writing worthwhile? Does it meet the minimum quality standards of the blogging community? Once you see at least 2 out of every 10 influencers submit a positive feedback, you are ready to start a blog. Hurrah!
Start a blog in 2018?
Did you get your answer yet? If no, let me confuse you by answering this question. Should you? Yes, the heck you should. There are three reasons for my saying it:
Yes, people are still reading blogs
Big online publications like Copyblogger, mindbodygreen, Pure Wow, PopSugar, and Refinery29 would not be hiring writers for thousands of dollars and publish high-quality content on a daily basis.
Even in case of this rather small-ish blog, I still see readers in the hundreds to early thousands per month. How about that, huh?
Because some people love to read
That’s true. Everyone has their own way of consuming content. Some prefer written content. Some prefer video content. Some prefer audio content. Target the ones that love to read more than they love to listen or watch.
Don’t fall for the myth that video content is the future. For that matter, Pew asked U.S. consumers aged 18 to 29 whether they prefer to watch, listen or read the news, 42 percent responded “read” versus 38 percent who “watch,” and just 19 percent who would rather “listen”.
As Mark Schaefer says, don’t follow the crowd.
Most importantly, search engines are not vanishing anytime soon.
Even if they do not go anywhere, do you seriously imagine Google pulling up only podcasts or videos? That’s as ludicrous as it sounds. Just because newer forms of content (well, have you heard about VR and AR?) are emerging, does it mean people will stop watching videos and listening to podcasts.
Yes, the amount of time dedicated to each might be cropped in a skewed fashion. One group inclining toward video and another toward eBooks. One toward podcasts another toward blogs. All of the content forms will jostle with each other for their consumer’s time.
But hey! Your mom and your brother will still read your blog. Both for their own reasons though.