Become a Top Blogger Resources for Writers By Mary Jaksch Is blogging dead?Is it time to dig a grave and sing hymns for blogs or to celebrate a revival of blogging?You’d think blogging had finally died when you look at a slew of articles pronouncing the death of blogging. In fact, further down, you'll find a list of blog posts that have trumpeted the death of blogging each year since 2009.Of course, we need to think carefully about what we mean by blog. Blogs originally started out as web logs, that is, as online websites where writers would create a log or journal of their activities. These days, the word blog means a standalone website with changing content, either self-hosted on a domain belonging to the blogger or on blog-specific, free blogging platforms, like Blogger or WordPress.com. It’s safe to say that blogging is here to stay, even though articles on the death of blogging abound. Here are some examples (with the three most recent examples linked): 2019: Is Blogging Dead in 2019?2018: Is Blogging Dead?2017: Are Blogs Dead In 2018?2016: Is Blogging Finally Dead? 2015: Are We Seeing the End of Blogging?2014: Is Blogging Dead?2013: The Blog is Dead2012: Why Blogging is Dead2011: Blogs Are Dead2010: Blogging Has Peaked2009: Blogging Is Dead (Again) In 2009, Brian Clarke wrote tongue-in-cheek: "Welp, it’s time once again to log out of WordPress and turn out the lights. Once again, blogging is dead."He went on to say: "Don’t get me wrong… as always, change is definitely happening. But it doesn’t mean blogging is dead this time around anymore than it has every other time this discussion pops up."However, not every kind of blog or every blogging style is still viable ten years later. Further down, I’ll talk about what kind of blogs do well these days. But first, let's consider authors.I learned a long time ago how important it is for writers to have an online presence. In 2000, long before there were blogs, I created a simple website and published some articles on relationships.Imagine my surprise when a well-known publisher contacted me and invited me to write a book about improving relationships. When I read their email, I screamed so loudly, my cat fled under the bed. My book “Learn to Love” was subsequently published in seven languages. My motivation for creating the website was to showcase my writing skills and knowledge about relationships. It was like hanging out a shingle. But these days, people start blogs for many different reasons.Why do People Blog?Recently, Kyle Byers of Growthbadger asked over a thousand bloggers about their motivation. Here are some of the results about motivation from the article Blog Statistics: What We Learned from 1,117 Bloggers (2019 Study):As you can see, making money is the no. 1 motivation for blogging, closely followed by 'interest in the topic'. Running a blog also takes motivation. You need to have real interest in your topic otherwise creating content becomes a chore. Why Blogging MattersLooking at the stats above, I'm surprised that making an impact or helping people shows such a low score for professional bloggers.For me, that's the joy of blogging! We recently created a free course, Confidential Strategies of Top Blog Writers and I love waking up each morning to fresh testimonials of enthusiastic people. Testimonials like these... I loved the clear, concise, engaging, and succinct presentation. Nicole Parker “I've learned so much - even just from the first lesson. And to think that this course is free...Thank you for your generosity!” Sloan Manson I think that If we want to grow as human beings, we need to be generous and focus on how we can help others. That's why I think 'helping people' should be the no. 1 motivation for bloggers. Below you can see that superblogger Jon Morrow of SmartBlogger.com agrees. Jon Morrow on why Blogs Matter"We want our writing to help people, to inspire them, to change them from the inside out." Isn't that a wonderful goal? To change people from the inside out. Every time you write a blog post, ask yourself, “How can I change the lives of my readers today?” You don’t need to aim for big changes; you can change the lives of your readers in small ways by...Helping them realize they’re not alone.Offering them new information. Letting them learn something new.Inspiring and motivating them.If your motivation is to help other people, if you truly care about your readers, you'll never get sick of blogging.Of course, a blog that is thriving is more fun to run than one that's stalled. Let's take a look at which kind of blogs work in 2019.Which Blog Types Work in 2019?Check out the following infographic to find out. These days, personal blogs have lost their appeal for readers. However, some bloggers have tweaked their personal blogs and become very successful. Take, for example, the blog MummyWasASecretDrinker. This blog was conceived as a public diary of a woman trying to become sober. However, a few months into blogging, Clare Pooley started adding advice for others who struggle with sobriety. With this move, the blog turned into a resource of others. Clare Pooley then wrote a New York Times bestseller: The Sober Diaries (based on her blog entries). She has now started a new blog with her own domain and is an acclaimed public speaker. The lesson here is that you can rescue a personal blog by making it into a resource for others whilst still basing it on your life and experience. Why hasn't Social Media Taken Over?When people wrote about the demise of blogging in the past, most authors thought that social media would take the place of blogs. Take a look below to see how Brian Clark of Copyblogger already grasped the full picture in 2009, way ahead of anyone else. Why Social Media hasn't Killed BlogsThe impact of Facebook and Twitter is a powerful trend that shouldn’t be dismissed. But the story remains the same: people who mainly want to socialize, share links, and post pictures of their cat should be using social networks instead of blogging, and that’s exactly what’s happening.Brian Clark, Problogger There are two reasons why blogs continue to flourish, despite social media.Reason #1: People like long-form content Many people like reading in-depth articles. In fact, long-form posts with 2,000 or more words have a better chance of getting ranked higher on Google than short posts.In his article, Why You Should Create Long-Form Content (And How to Do It), Neil Patel weighs in about long-form posts. Why You Should Write Long-Form Posts“Ultimately, you should create long-form content because it will get you more of what you want: more online visibility (social shares, links), more proof of your authority and industry expertise, and more material for altruistic community building and engagement.”Neil Patel Creating lengthy, in-depth posts with plenty of information not only suits many readers, it also has benefits for the blogger. The Advantages of In-Depth Posts 1. The post can rank higher on Google. According to SearchMetrics, the average word count of top-ranked content in Google is between 1,140-1285 words. 2. If you want to gather subscribers, longer, in-depth blog posts get nine times more leads than short ones. 3. Longer articles get more social shares and these function as social proof. Yes, longer posts are not only attractive to readers, they also have multiple benefits for bloggers. However, longer posts need to be easy to read. I'll explain more about this further down. Reasons #2: People distrust social mediaThe second reason why social media hasn't killed blogging is that many people now distrust social media. There have been so many example of false news that people are wary of social media. This trend is having a negative impact on Facebook.Stats show that many people have already deleted Facebook or access it less often.The stats about Facebook below are from an article by the Pew Research Center which researched the changing habits of American Facebook users. From: Pew Research CenterIn contrast, people seem to trust bloggers more because their identity can be verified more easily. As Darren Rowse explains in Building Trust With Your Blog:When you create regular content that changes the lives of those who read it, over time people will come to know you, like you, and trust you.What we know is that blogs are evolving all the time. So what changes should bloggers be aware of in 2019?What's the New Focus of Blogging in 2019?The focus in 2019 is on quality content. As I've shown above, readers these days expect in-depth, useful content. However, a more detailed analysis shows that, within that focus, there are two important trends bloggers need to be aware of.Trend no. 1: Captivate readers with your writing styleBecause there is so much information on the Net and the attention span of readers has shortened, bloggers need to learn the skill of writing for an online audience. Otherwise, they run into problems. Many blogs languish because bloggers don't know how to captivate their readers by using special techniques to glue readers to the page. The problem is that most writers learn to write at school or later in life but they never get any training on how to write for online readers. When you learn the skill of writing for the Net, your blog gets traction and you can gather a huge audience of loyal fans. Trend no. 2: Weave the magic of storiesThe new focus in blogging is on storytelling as a way of content creation. In an interesting article about content creation, the author says: Now, content creation is not about words on the page but about how those words are used to create a story. This “story” is more than just a narrative. It’s the overall voice of a brand through copy, imagery, photography, videography, and emotion. Of course, story telling is a special skill that you need to acquire. Izea, an agency for influencers describes one of the blog trends in 2019 as follows: The concept of “story” has spread across social media, from Snapchat to Instagram and from Facebook to YouTube. Looking at 2019, it’ll be interesting to see how bloggers use story to build out and develop their posts. ConclusionWhat we can be sure about is that blogging is here to stay. However, the craft of blogging has changed. Our challenge as writers is to adapt to the times and develop new skills suited to the changing online environment. You need to focus on in-depth content, use a writing style that suits online readers, and work on your ability to weave stories into blog posts.What is the next evolution of blogging?Nobody know, really. Some say that having articles written by AI (Artificial Intelligence) is the next step.According to an article on Hubspot, an experiment of feeding seven Harry Potter books into a computer with artificial intelligence, they ended up with hilarious lines, such as: “He saw Harry and immediately began to eat Hermione’s family” or “‘Not so handsome now’, thought Harry as he dipped Hermione in hot sauce.” I experimented with the bot writer Ai-Writer.com. You can type in keywords and then read what the bot comes up with. When I selected the phrase, How to write blog posts, I got sentences like, "The contours are very useful and probably your life story number 1 when you master how to write a good blog." Well, I don't think we'll be using writing bots for creating blog posts any time soon! But a key question remains, is 2019 still a good time to start a blog? Check out below what seasoned blogger, Darren Rowse, says. Should You Start a Blog in 2019?"I would argue that now is the best time to start a blog. While blogs have changed over the years, they are still the best way to provide a home base for all your content on whatever topic or niche you’re into, serving whichever audience or community you choose."Darren Rowse, Problogger.com But How to Start?Whether you are keen to start a blog or are thinking of revitalizing a stalled website, what should you do first up? Creating a blog may feel like a huge challenge and many would-be bloggers feel like giving up before they even take the first few steps. Like Emma P., a writer who recently asked me the following question:"I'd like to start a blog and I've got lots of ideas of what I'd like to write about but setting up a blog and all the technical stuff just seems too difficult. What should I do?"My advice is: start writing. If you are motivated to create a blog or revitalize your old blog, it's important to use your inner momentum. If you have ideas of what to write about, sit down and start writing. You can publish the articles you write on a public platform, like Medium.com. That’s like parking them in a public space. Later on, once your blog is ready, you can copy them and paste them into the website you’ve created. However, a critical skill you need to learn is how to write for an online audience. Get that wrong, and your blog is deceased before it's born.There is a sense of freedom when you start publishing articles on a huge platform, like Medium. You can experiment with your topic and don’t need to worry about whether people are reading your posts or not. As one blogger said:Write like nobody’s readingLater, once you’ve set up your blog, you can decide which of your articles to use or how to tweak them to fit your new blog. In this way, you can use the motivation you feel for creating a blog, without having to contend with the technical challenges of setting up a website. You can then start creating a blog at your leisure, knowing that you already have some material to print.What are your thoughts? Let's have a conversation in the comments.