This post was updated in Nov. 2022
You probably read a blog today and didn’t even realize it—and you’re not alone.
Blogs had their heyday a decade ago, with blog to book deals being ubiquitous, and some blogs were even turned into films! These days, many people would say they don’t read blogs and would shy away from the suggestion that they even consider writing one.
And yet, here are some quick facts about the state of blogging:
- 77% of internet users read blogs (source)
- the average company that maintains a blog has 55% more visitors than those that do not (source)
- websites with 50+ blog posts generate 77% more traffic than those that have none or just a few posts (source)
And the numbers continue in this same vein. This is for several reasons, the most important being that blogging, when done correctly, helps improve websites’ search engine optimization, their position in Google.
The real truth about blogging in 2022 is that a well-strategized blog can be a shortcut to expanding your reach and generating more high quality leads.
This must mean that you should start posting and the leads will just flow in, right? Think again!
Blog content today is sneaky. It often doesn’t look like what we expect blog content to look like.
Think about your favorite recipe website. It probably looks like a magazine, not a linear, text-heavy wall of information. It likely has beautiful photography, well-structured headlines, and interactive elements such as video. And yet, those are still blogs.
Blogs are simply dynamic, regularly updated, chronological content on a website.
A single blog can contain hundreds or thousands of posts, which massively increase the page count on a website. (Websites with 300 or more pages get over 200% more traffic than the average website, making another compelling case for blogging.)
For blogs to work best for you and build an evergreen marketing funnel, plan your content strategically.
The blog content that’s most frequently read and engaged with is the following:
- How-tos (step by step—this can get scooped up by google in a specific way, if the schema—a technical way of structuring your content—is correct)
- Definitive/complete/ultimate guides (dig into a topic in a substantive way, basically everything someone needs to know)
- The “State of” survey-style posts (like this one)
- FAQ content (think a very narrow topic with questions and answers—this can preview in google in a specific way as well)
- 5 Things posts (think “5 things you should know before X”)
- This or that style content (help people choose the right path)
Data says that long-form blog content performs very, very well.
The most popular content in the Google search engine results pages is that which is 2,000 words or more. However, we also know that most websites do not have content this long—which means there’s a gap in what searchers want and what they’re finding. This spells opportunities for ambitious companies that wish to leverage blogging to expand their marketing efforts.
We also understand that if you build pillars of topical content that solves your audience’s problem, structure it correctly, and keep it current, people will visitor even small websites. We also know that blogs (you don’t have to call it that) are the easiest way to do so.
People engage and interact with blog content differently than they used to.
When I was first blogging, you could easily grow a community around your blog. I’d write a new post and it would be immediately swarmed with comments. Much of this was thanks to Google Reader (RIP) which so many people logged into each day to catch up with their favorite websites.
I got to know my readers via their comments and I read their blogs. (I’m still friends with many of these folks I met back in 2007-09!) It was very easy to understand what content was engaging—not just clicked. Now it’s much harder.
Do readers still comment on blogs?
I get a couple a month and that blows me away, to be honest. Usually questions or thank yous because someone’s problem was solved. Most of my clients, understandably, don’t even have comments on their blogs because it’s not necessary and low quality comments can hurt your SEO. (This is a topic in and of itself.)
People instead engage with blog type content by sharing or saving it, which makes it harder to understand what’s resonated and what hasn’t. I like to insert newsletter signups into my posts as a metric because I’ll see certain posts generate signups over time, whereas others never do. Many of these posts also have a fair number folks discover them via social media, so that’s also good feedback.
Key Takeaway: Do people still read blogs?
Yes! People most certainly do read blogs!
The long answer: The way people discover and consume blogs is complex, and it should be viewed as part of a well-developed strategic marketing plan.
Is this a lot of work? Sure! Is it the kind of blogging that people still read? Yep! Do you need to to have a strategy for what you want people to do after they find your blog? Indeed! But that’s the reality if you want to include a blog as part of your marketing strategy.