Shocking Truth About Blogging In 2014: Evolve or Go Extinct!

Blogging has changed in 2014!

Have you noticed what is going around the blogosphere lately?

I don’t know about you but I believe that the blogosphere is undergoing a transformational change! It is clear from all indications that blogging is evolving; and this is happening right before our eyes. Very soon only those bloggers who are able to recognize this and then make a conscious effort to change with the times will be alive to enjoy the gains!

Already fossilized remains of blogs whose owners tried to ignore this fact dot the blogging landscape. I did mention some time ago how I visited some blogs and to my surprise I discovered that many of them have been abandoned. While some have their domains packed because they have not been renewed others have not been updated for months!

Since observing this trend, I have written various blog posts calling on bloggers to take special note and do something about it quickly. But the question is who is listening?

Where are all the Bloggers?

A few days ago, I read a blog post by Emmanuel Kabenlah Cudjoe of www.Kabenlah.com. In the post titled: Where are all the Bloggers? Emmanuel voiced his concern about what he observed around the blogosphere lately.

Hear him:

“…the blogging world seems to see a general decline in activity. Most blogs aren’t updating anymore and the trend seems to cut across the board. Haven’t you notice that? Or maybe it appears I am the only stranger in Bethlehem?

Hahaha! Somewhere 2013, I ventured into blogging and the rate and enthusiasm one realized in the blogosphere was really high. The same time last year saw lots of new faces in the blogosphere with great insights being shared on every blog but this year is different and I don’t understand why.

Reputable blogs are hardly updating and new bloggers are rarely found these days. I have a tradition of visiting lot of blogs within a day but it appears they aren’t writing and the question which pops up now is, why aren’t they updating?”

Now, you can imagine my reaction when I read that post. Of course, why Emmanuel may have just noticed this, I actually knew that we will soon get this time. I knew that this was bound to happen!

If you had read my post: Hey, Blogger Please Quit! You will observe that that post was done with a passionate desire for bloggers to really reconsider their ways and start seeing their blogs from an entrepreneurial point of view instead of just a blog.

If you have not read it please do so right now because it is indeed a classic!

Blogging Is At A Cross Road!

Frankly, I think what Emmanuel observed in his post is far deeper than what most of the comments tried to make of it. Why most of them see it as not a problem, but rather a result of many bloggers still trying to get their sails ready for the year, we mustn’t rule out the issue of discouragement for lack of real returns for their efforts.

This is why I think Akaahan Terungwa offered some real insights in his comment. Here’s his comment:

“Blogging isn’t easy, I must be frank. Monetization too is a hell lot more difficult these days as all the traditional channels simply pay peanuts! The persons who are updating very frequently are either those who have found a way around the monetization bottleneck or are damn passionate (and can never run out of ideas). This is a motivation game, you’ll have to accept.”

To me this actually comment hit the problem right on the head!

There is no need playing the ostrich. There is a problem and except, as a blogger you are ready to confront it head-on, you would only be doing your blogging career a disservice.

It is time to wake up to reality!

What Is The Way Out?

How can you avoid ending up among these unpleasant blogging stats that are becoming the order of the day around the blogosphere?

Instead of trying to give more tips and insights here I will simply ask that you read the following posts as I have written severally on these issues:

And for a quick guide on how to make money blogging read:

Conclusion

I know this is a topic that many will want to debate. Most of the arguments I have heard over the years have always been that blogging is not just about the money. As much as I agree with this, I also want to say that of all the bloggers I have come across not up to 1% are really blogging because they just want to have some fun.

If you are among this 1%, great! Enjoy yourself. But, let me say I’m speaking to those who desire to make money with their blogs. And if you are in this group, I ask you to pulse and consider your ways again!

Feel free to let us know what you think in the comment section below. Whether you agree with this or not, share with us your take.

What Do You Think Of A Bloggers’ Hall Of Shame?

Branded as the new media, blogging has taken roots quickly and at a pace unimaginable. It is reported that every minute, hundreds of blogs are started all over the world. One thing that is very noticeable also is that like most things on the net, there are really no regulations anywhere for bloggers to adhere to.

However, over the years some un-written standards have come to be accepted by all and sundry. But unfortunately, the blogosphere is filled with all manner of practices that most times puts question mark on what these bloggers are really doing.

From my experience on the Web Income Journal and what I have seen on most blogs, I’m tempted to ask if it will be a good thing to start a Bloggers’ Hall Of Shame to high light some of the bad practices that many bloggers involve themselves in.

I actually got this idea when I came across an article a few days ago on MSN.com, “2012 Customer Service Hall of Shame” that is targeted at major players in industries like banking, credit cards, cable, airlines, insurance etc.

Conducted by MSN in conjunction with pollster IBOPE Zogby International, the MSN Money’s annual survey of customer service is aimed at bringing to the open the negative attitude of these companies in respect to customer service. What really interested me is that from all indication, it does appear that the MSN customer hall of shame is working wonders as the 2012 report shows that customers are more satisfied than the previous year.

This is what has given me the idea that if a similar thing is started focused on bloggers bad practices, we might just see some improvement in the blogosphere in the days to come!

And so, I’m throwing this open to all today in our community timeout for the week. The question is, if a Bloggers’ Hall Of Shame is started what unwholesome practice of bloggers would you want to be used as a yardstick for judging the winners in that hall?

Would you consider things like comment spamming using automated tools or auto-generated content pulled in from RSS feeds? Would you go for lean content scrapped from other blogs and that adds no value to the blogosphere? What would you go for? And do you think this will help create more awareness for bloggers to stop these things?

Share with us what you think should be used in judging those who should appear in the bloggers hall of shame. Post your comments below.

Note: This is part of our weekly community time out. If you want us to discuss any issue on this page, simply send it with this form. Read more about the community timeout on the webincomejournal.com here.

Google’s Content Farmer/Panda Algorithm Change: What You Can Do To Stay Afloat!

The recent Google algorithm change christened Content Farmer or Panda update is one topic that took the internet by a resounding bang! The ripples traveled far and wide and the whole of the blogosphere was agog with the news.

This algorithm change is definitely one of the biggest targeted at about 12% of g seoogle’s search queries. And so far Google appears to be happy with result reporting great success with the update. In fact, the most affected websites reported a drop of about 30 – 40% or more in traffic!

Unfortunately,  many “reputable” websites and blogs also recieved a hard knock which has prompted questions like, what really are Google’s criteria for these changes? As the rage about this algorithm change continues many have continued to offer some explanations. For a picture of the top casualties of this algorithm change and some possible reasons why these sites were affected you may want to read
this post by Sistrix.

But Why Write Again About The Google Content Farmer Update?

A few days ago I wrote a post on this recent Google algorithm change. Most of you responded to that post to the effect that change or no change, you don’t really care.  Of course, in the post I sought to know what you will be doing to stay ahead of the game following this algorithm change but since none really cared I thought leaving it that way. However, a comment by Dennis made me change my mind and therefore this post.

First in a comment to the post,
“Google Algorithm Change: Are You Bracing Up For The Impact?”
Dennis said,

“I never worried, nor do I ever plan to worry about Google changes.

Do things right, don’t get too clever or sneaky, and you’ll never have to worry either. 😉

Besides, as with anything, why worry? If yer gonna get hit, yer gonna get hit. lol”

In reply to that, I said:

“That’s exactly what it should be. There are actually some fundamentals that once implemented you don’t have to worry about what Google is doing or will do tomorrow.

Unfortunately, in trying to punish the content farms, Google has hammered many this time without looking back. This is the more reason why everyone needs to be on the lookout so you don’t get hit!”

But then, Dennis came back with this:

“This is part of my point, be on the lookout for what? What exactly can you do about it?”

Now, after considering that question, I decided instead of just replying him in the comments, and seeing that the comment will definitely be too long, I decided to make this post and offer some tips that can be of help.

Please note that I take seo to be very serious topic because it can be really great source of free traffic when handled well! So since the update I’ve been studying the situation and trying to put a finger on what content publishers like me can really do to ensure that we’re not over taken the recent event.

Please Read This Very Carefully!

Before continuing I just want to add this note. As I’ve mentioned, since this Google content farmer update internet marketers have been at a loss about the criteria used by Google. This is not surprising because that has always been Google’s “modus operandi” – secrecy that leaves everyone dazed!

However, even as I offer these tips as a way out of this situation I want to let you know that what I’m putting here is not anything guaranteed! Some who were hit by the change are still arguing that they are not content farmers and therefore should not have been hit by theupdate. But you should know that even Google has come out to say they are not just out against content farmers. On the official blog post announcing the changes, the good people at Google said:

“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on…”

A look at that statement shows the end user is now the defining factor for the success of any site on the Google ranking algorithm. So there are definitely other criteria used which must have been the reason why most sites that can be classified as content farmers actually gained from the update while others considered by their owners as decent fall under the hammer!

Google’s search-quality guru, Amit Singhal gave an interview where he mentioned some very important points I think anyone who is interested in the subject should consider reading.
Click here
to read the interview.

Finding Your Way Around The New Algorithm Changes

Ok, having given you my disclaimer above I want to offer the following as helpful tips in staying ahead of the game. I believe Google is working to improve their search results so that they can offer the end user a better experience.  With this in mind if you’ll do these things you definitely will be getting some favor from Google!

1. Beware Of Whom You Exchange Links With

I want to start with this considering the fact that this algorithm update, though Google says it is not targeted at content farms, has content as the main thrust. We all agree that content is what drives the internet.  But this new change throws up the question of what should be considered as “good” content. In the recent past many blogs and websites, capitalizing on the fact that the search engines considers content as a critical element in SEO, have been using different methods in producing content. Automated blogs scrapping content from other sites using robotic software easily gained popularity among bloggers.

Most of these bloggers and webmasters looking for different ways of promoting these automated sites used different ways to build links to their automated sites – some legitimate others overly dubious. On different occasions I’ve received emails from bloggers seeking link exchanges with the Web Income Journal. But I simply refused refused those requests after visiting such blogs and reading through a couple of posts. I’ve also refused to approve some trackbacks and comments because the sites those links point to does not meet with the standards I expected.

The point here is that you must understand that link juice as interpreted by Google in ranking sites is about a site’s trust. With these new changes if a site’s inbound links are classed as a content farm, their trust factor is lost and the sites they are linking to suffers also. So watch your link exchanges. Don’t give your thrust to a site Google is seeing as a content farm if not, you’ll be classed in the same category – remember, birds of the same feather flock together!

2. Affiliate Review Sites/Blogs

If you’ve been following the Web Income Journal, you’ll understand that I’m into niche marketing. Now, if you’re familiar with what most niche marketers do you’ll understand that they build mini sites/blogs that simply use some software or manually copy a product’s description, price, images and other details and call them product review sites. Hundreds of sites built this way contain the same content with not much difference between them. These all fall into the category of what Google is seeing as content farms.

I must say that even before Google came up with this new algorithm change I’ve taken a different approach in creating my niche blogs. I use both product reviews and unique informative articles. Instead of simply importing product details from sites like Amazon.com, the reviews are done in my own words. I think this is what Google is looking forward to. If you’re  an affiliate marketer who do product reviews therefore, you should begin to look into the type of reviews you’re doing. Instead of copying the products sales page, the better way right now is to read through the product description and customer reviews, if any, and then write your own review.

Even Google has some advice on this in their webmasters guidelines. You can read it
here.

3. Be Careful With Your Monetization!

I think another area that will help you stay within the comfort zone of these new Google algorithm changes is to be careful with monetizing your content.  If you take a look at Google’s reason for the update you’ll discover that this stands high, to “reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users.” What many bloggers and webmasters don’t know is that too many ads reduces the sites user experience. In fact too many ads come across as spammy to Google. I think this is why most blogs and content sites with decent content were affected by this content farmer update.

If you’re familiar with the era of building content sites and monetizing them with Google Adsense then you’ll understand what I’m talking about here. In fact, having too many ads on a site is a red flag telling Google the site is a “built for adsense site!”

The bottom-line therefore is, as much as you want to monetize your site/blog, be careful that you don’t cluster your site pages with too many adsense or other ads. I’ll advise that instead of putting 3-4 adsense ads on your page use inlink ads like the ones which I use on this blog.

4. Watch Your Blog Design

This is another area that many, judging from Google reasons for the update, agree played an important role in the recent Google content farmer update. It appears Google is really using different criteria to judge what user-experience is. So, if your blog is using a generic template with minimal or no customization, then consider doing some sprucing up right away. Unfortunately, many bloggers, especially those using wordpress, simply download some free wordpress themes and use “as is.” This only tells Google a whole lot of things. I think it’s time for redesigning work! Do something about your blog/site to make it more pleasing to the users. If you have doubts on doing it yourself you can always get help at minimal cost to you.

You may not readily agree with the fact that your blog/site design is something that should be considered in this Google algorithm update but if you understand that Google is looking to improving the end users experience then this will be evident enough. Your blog design will give your blog visitors the reason to either stay longer or click away without any hope of coming back. Remember, Google has different tools monitoring the behavior of your blog traffic or what do you think is Google analytics doing for you!

5. Work to Encourage More Interaction on Your Blog

There’s another thing that Google maybe looking at and that is, the factor of user interaction. If you’ve visited any blog that is nothing but a content farm, regurgitating other people’s content, you’ll notice that hardly there are comments on such blogs. Such sites/blogs also always have high bounce rates as the time spent by visitors is very low. So this is a pointer to Google that the site/blog is not offering much to the users. You should therefore work on your blog to create more interaction on the site.  You may do this by encouraging more comments, retweets, track-backs, facebook likes and any other you can think of. These activities are a vote that your content is valuable and not farmed content.

Indeed the ripples of the Google content farmer update are still spreading. Those who were affected by the change will definitely be working on restoring their rankings. The competition will soon be rife again. But for now you can push your blog/site to more advantage if you will use some or all of these suggestions. Whether Google will be coming up with more changes very soon no one knows right now. But whatever it may be simply know that Google is aiming for more user experience and so work to put your blog/site on that level and you will never be afraid of what Google will do next.

So what do you think of these tips? Do you think these can be of any help to you? Is there any other you want to add to the list? Share with us in your comments below.

Finally Uncovered: The Hidden Traits Of Millionaire Bloggers!

When it comes to blogging there are so many names that comes to mind but when we mention folks making millions blogging, the list suddenly shrieks! Frankly, one would not be incorrect if he says you could count them on your fingers! 🙂

But, is it not our dream to live the internet lifestyle? Are you not blogging to make money and achieve your desire for financial freedom?

What will you say about probloggers like David Risley, Darren Rowse, Rob Benwell and Yaro Starak? Are these not some of the names that comes to mind when you talk about those successful bloggers making money blogging online? Are they not the very ones in the news and on every bloggers list as successful bloggers?

Definitely most, if not all, of these successful bloggers, or those we have come to know as probloggers, have gone past the following:

•  Building a list

•  Creating a product

•  Creating their own website, or

•  Generating a deluge of traffic to their websites.

Most of these blogging millionaires have successfully turned their blogs into businesses that generate millions every year. Their blogs are not just the Made For Adsense (MFA) blogs we see every where, though some of them have adsense as a form of monetization for their blogs.

But do you know that though, these qualities are true about these probloggers and that they are visible to everybody in the blogosphere, that there are however some traits that are not so noticeable by everybody?

The truth is, it’s those hidden traits that have made these millionaire bloggers to be very successful where other bloggers have failed.

UNVEILLING THE HIDDEN TRAITS OF MILLIONAIRE BLOGGERS!

#1 Hidden Traits: Millionaire Bloggers Are Always Learning

Most of these successful bloggers are permanent learners, you will see them attending webinars, conferences, conventions, most times not as speakers but attendees. They always want to learn new things that will give them new ideas to how things are to be done with a new perspective, as well as new insights into how things can be done
better.

#2 Hidden Traits: Millionaire Bloggers Always Ask Questions

These people do not claim to know it all. Most of these successful bloggers know they can’t know it all and they do not pretend about it. That is why they surround themselves with other successful
bloggers. To some of us, it looks like a gang-up against those aspiring to become millionaires like them. It seems they only want to focus on themselves in order to oppress those that are not yet living the internet lifestyle.

#3 Hidden Traits: Millionaire Bloggers Desire More Success.

These successful bloggers are always looking for new challenges, they are always on the look out for more successful bloggers that think like them, who they can partner with. I have met so many bloggers who intend to be millionaires but are running alone. They keep on writing blog posts after another blog post. But that is not the way of these millionaire bloggers. They interact with others so as to learn more. They always want to know what their fellow problogger millionaire has achieved that they are yet to achieve. They are serious about building a community around themselves.

I have decided to lay out these hidden traits of millionaire bloggers as to help all of us move towards our dream, which is, making millions from our online business. So if you’re blogging to make money online, study these traits and apply them to your online business. You may just be the next problogger every one will be talking about!

Now over to you. Do you have some or all of these traits? Do you think I have left out some? Let me know in your comments below.