Article by Jerry Low
Geek dad, SEO data junkie, investor, and founder of Web Hosting Secret Revealed. Jerry has been building Internet assets and making money online since 2004. He loves mindless doodling and trying new food.
Starting a new blog is as simple as having an idea and running with it.
However, running a successful blog requires a lot more than an idea. Bloggers should consider the newest trends in both the blogsphere and social media world before getting started.
While we can never predict the future accurately, I will take my shot to predict some of the important things to look into before starting a blog today.
Online publishing is getting easier and easier. And, because online publishing is so easy, I expect to see more new blogs from various types of niches
Take WordPress for example – According to ManageWPBlog, as of February 2014, we have six new posts on WordPress.com every second. That’s over 518,000 new posts everyday and it’s just WordPress.com alone. The blogging system is so simple – that you can build a free site on WordPress.com with a few clicks or you can download and install it on your own domain in just couple of minutes.
If you’ve had a website for a few years, then you know how fickle search engine rankings can be. It seems like Google is constantly coming up with a new algorithm. Just when you think you have it figured out, something changes and you have to start from scratch or your traffic tanks and you can’t figure out why. Every year, SEO has gotten harder and Google has gotten smarter about how people manipulate search engine rankings. Unfortunately, I predict that in 2015 SEO will become harder than ever as Google continues to tweak how sites are ranked.
Medium.com is new blogging platform that’s growing fast, though, and may one day give WP a run for its money. It is a simple blogging platform with a focus on simple writing and easy reading.
In late 2013, Medium.com had around 500,000 unique visitors and by late 2014, they had more than 7.6 million for December 2014. That’s more than a 10X growth in a short 12 months. I expect this new type of social media platform to grow even more this year. You need no programming knowledge to get up and running with Medium.
With the help of freemium tools like Buzz Sumo, Kiss Metrics, Content Gems, Share Grab, and (not to forget) Google Analytics getting more powerful than ever, more bloggers will focus their marketing campaign on data. Expect to see more logical groupings of products and content. Site owners will start to focus more on the data they provide to the consumer as they realize this impacts their website traffic and their conversion rates.
Bing will likely take up more market shares in search, but I am guessing most of the shares will come at the expense of Yahoo rather than Google. (Note that though Yahoo! Search is powered by Bing, they are technically two different entities.)
In 2014 Google’s shares of the search engine-sphere rose to about 67.6%. Bing and Yahoo came in far behind with around 18% of the share each with smaller search engine companies making up the difference. However, there is likely a limit to how much Bing can grow. Expect to see growth, but probably not as much as website owners, many of who are fed up with Google’s constant algorithm changes, might like.
Domains are getting cheaper in 2015.
If Google goes into this game like the other areas it has gone after, it will take a big portion of the market share and GoDaddy as well as other domain registrars may find they’ve lost a big portion of business. At this time, the cost of domains is fairly even, including discounts and ICANN fees, but I really expect to see existing registrars to drop prices or offer specials to go after more of market share.
I could be completely wrong (as price has always gone up) with this prediction, but… let’s see.
(Uhhhhmm wait, hasn’t FB done that already?)
Facebook is a social media platform that marketers have started to shy away from. However, Facebook is not dying just yet. Despite people stating they no longer get onto Facebook these days, we have seen countless proof in various studies that FB is leading its competitors in various fields. In a report by research firm Forrester, the Facebook App stands out as a clear winner in the mobile race. I regard Mark Zuckerberg as one of the smartest people on earth and I will definitely hold on to my FB stocks.
And, as most people expected – mobile will continue its rapid growth in 2015. According to Smart Insights, mobile devices continue to grow at a steady rate, as shown in the chart on their website. Mobile device usage has seen a steady increase since 2007 and shows no sights of slowing.
What does all these mean to bloggers? There are three main strategies you can follow to ensure your blog is as successful as possible.
Before you can really reach your readers on a personal level, you have to figure out who your readers are. Who is your target audience?
The competition is getting steeper than ever, average web users are getting smarter and smarter. Readers don’t want a short piece of content thrown at them that doesn’t fully answer their questions. The content mill is no longer a good business model and hasn’t been for a while.
Your blog content needs to be very niche-focused. If you want to cover a topic well, choose a topic and speak to the market interests in that niche. This will allow you to solve everyday problems your readers have. They will come to see you as an authoritative source on this topic.
New might not be exactly the right term. In fact, I don’t believe there’s such thing as “new” or “old” SEO.
But that’s how most people call it nowadays, so…
In short, SEO has grown far beyond backlinks these days and Google is no longer playing the one-man game like 2010 anymore (though I still see some sites ranking very well with private networks).
The new SEO involves a wide number of elements. You’ll need to focus on proper site design, content freshness, site speed, and dozens of other factors that dictate the user’s experience and site branding. You’ll also want to use the user personas mentioned above to funnel your visitors into a customized experience.
You may have a love affair with Twitter and there is a place for Tweets in your social media campaigns, but Facebook is here to stay, and Medium.com is going to get bigger in 2015. If these two are not in your growth plan 2015, you better get started right now.
For starters, you should start syndicating some of your best content at Medium and interact with other users on Medium more regularly. Most of us are still new to how Medium.com works (myself included) so right now we have to depend on our own tests and experience to leverage Medium.com into our marketing strategy.
Facebook, I’ve said plenty about them already, but I want to drive home the point about not neglecting your FB presence. I am not going to beat the dead horse in this post again, but if you’d like to read a great article about advertising on FB, there is one on the WordStream blog and one on BufferApp Blog that you’ll find helpful.
When it comes to blogging in 2015, some things won’t change.
For example, for many years I’ve gotten the same beginner questions in my inbox and I predict those will continue.
People also want to know about money.