Whether you are just willing to start a blog or want to improve your existing ones, the state of blogging is always shifting with each and every passing year. There will always be new trends, platforms, monetizing methods, and ways to reach your audience that didn’t exist the previous year.
As we are starting the second month of 2017, it is a good time to take a look at some of those changes -and what still works-. Whether you are an existing blogger, or just planning to start one, you might find something new, as well as re-learning the golden rules of blogging to ensure -or maintain- your success.
Without further ado, let us first take a look and some changes in the technology department.
Review of 2016
Before we begin discussing the new trends in 2017, let’s review how 2016 goes in terms of change.
1. Mobile is King
This trend has been around over the last half decade or so, with iPhones and Android phones becoming more and more popular. But 2016 saw the dramatic change of Google’s indexing, which now emphasizes mobile first.
This trend will continue in 2017 and beyond. More and more people are using smartphones and tablets in favor of the old desktop PCs and laptops. http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/ Mobile is king, and responsive website is everything.
2.More platforms to blog
Although staple platforms like bloggers, WordPress, and Tumblr are still reigning, there are more choices of platforms to run your blog on.
Medium, for example, has been really popular throughout 2016 with its unique approach.
This trend will continue in 2017 and beyond. More and more people are using smartphones and tablets in favor of the old desktop PCs and laptops. Mobile is king, and responsive website is everything.
3. Graphics to engage longer posts
Gone are the days when texts are the sole spotlight of a blog. Images, icons, infographics, photos, and other design elements are getting more and more popular. The world of blogging finally adapts the old saying: a picture speaks a thousand words. Should we include fewer texts then?
On the contrary, studies have shown that the average length of a single blog has gone up from 800 to 900 words in 2016. Longer post, more graphic, no time to slack!
What then, can we expect in 2017? Let’s first address the elephant in the room:
Is Blogging Still Viable in 2017
This is the big question asked in seemingly every start of the year: Is blogging finally dead?
To answer this question, let’s consult our good friend Google Trends. We tried two search queries, ‘blogging’ and ‘starting a blog’ with the chart showing the search volume since 2012. Here is the result:
As you can see, the interest for blogging has indeed decreased around 40% since the golden era of 2010-2012. However, it remained relatively stable over the past several years.
In fact, there’s a sudden increase nearing the 2017 new year (as shown in the picture above). Actually, the spike was always there every late-December early-January each year, showing that a lot of people are interested in starting a blog during holiday seasons.
Rather, we felt that the term ‘blogging’ is continuously evolving. A lot of bloggers don’t call themselves ‘bloggers’ anymore, going with the term ‘influencers’ or even “YouTubers’. However, in essence, the concept remains the same.
There is also one other thing you might need to consider:
New Platforms of Blogging
Besides the concept of ‘blogging’ and ‘blogger’ itself, the platforms used for blogging has also changed. Most prominently in the recent years is the rise of Medium. Again, let’s take a look at the Google Trend result:
As you can see, the interest for Medium is steadily increasing during the past few years. Medium is now a strong contender not only for people to blog, but there’s a lot of organic searches from readers. In short: if you are confident about your content and in need to kickstart your traffic, Medium will be a good place.
Another alternative blogging platform is obviously Tumblr, which has been really popular in the past few years we can hardly consider it as an alternative anymore. In fact, Tumblr might just be the most popular ‘blogging’ activity, as shown by another Google Trend result here:
For serious bloggers and influencers, however, these types of platforms are a hassle, mainly because it’s hard to directly monetize from a Tumblr or Medium page. However, things might change in 2017, as Medium has been planning since early-2016 to reward writers with monetization approaches.
New Trends in 2017
What are some of other changes you might expect in 2017? If you are starting a blog, here are a few:
- Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
Ever since late-2016, you might notice the thunderbolt-shaped circle when you searched in Google. That is an Accelerated Mobile Page, allowing you to load articles and webpages almost instantly on your smartphone or tablet. Integrating your blogs for AMP can instantly increase your article exposure since basically, you will be on the first page all the time.
- Google’s Algorithm (Penguin 4.0)
For those who have been active in the online marketing business, the term SEO and how it’s constantly changing should be familiar. The Penguin 4.0 is Google’s newest algorithm to determine search engine ranking, with mobile-first indexing approach as its key change.
What will this mean for bloggers and influencers? While in 2016 responsive websites has been really important for SEO purposes, it will be even more important in 2017. Also, the Penguin 4.0 is designed to fight spam better. So, no more spun articles and forced banners.
We’ll discuss further below, how SEO will be really important as you start a blog.
- Voice Search
With the rise of smart home voice assistants, as well as the near-perfection of Siri, Google Now and Cortana as the staple voice assistants for your computer, smartphone, and tablet, voice search is now more popular than ever.
Voice search now accounts for almost 20% of total mobile search activities, which is definitely significant. Voice queries might as well be the main traffic source of the future. As you start a blog, or strengthening old ones, it’s better to start researching on how to optimize voice search.
How Can You Do Better In 2017
In the end, after all, blogging is a creative process from beginning to end. The creative strategies will vary from blogger to blogger, and we can almost say only imagination is the limit. However, if you are thinking to start a blog, here are a few pointers for you to do better in 2017:
1.Think Outside The Box
In 2017, a blog is demanded to be a lot more than just content. There are a few approaches you might want to consider, some content-only blog has evolved into a multi-platform website offering video contents, courses, membership products, and community. This can be achieved with sophisticated themes, add-ons, and plug-ins, especially for open-sourced platform like WordPress or Ghost.
The other approach is to use other platforms to boost your main site, such as using Tumblr to direct traffic to your main blog, or using Medium to introduce your content. Instagram, and to some extent, Snapchat, can be used to gain traffic effectively and should be utilized.
In short, think of your blog not solely as a content provider but as an integrated entertainment for your readers. Start a blog to engage.
2.Start a Blog with SEO in Mind
With the massive changes to Google’s algorithm, which we have discussed above, knowing your blogging SEO will be more vital than ever before.
In the past, as long as you have good and engaging content, you can be successful even without any dedicated strategies. However, with the introduction of mobile-first indexing, AMP, as well as Facebook Instant Article, a proper mobile-friendly SEO will be really important.
In our opinion, AMP will be really important in the near future, and we might publish a dedicated article for AMP strategies real soon.
3. Long is The New Way to Go
Think about it, with the advent of YouTube as the main pillar of information and entertainment especially for younger users, if you are looking for a short information or tutorial, a video format is a better platform.
Unless you are planning to jump into vlogging (which is perfectly viable, by the way), longer articles rich in facts and helpful information will be the key.
Here are a few examples:
- This article about the relationship between technology and humanity nowadays is certainly one of the best read last year.
- The Wire Cutter is one of the best affiliate marketing blogs today, providing you a comprehensive 4,000-8,000 words long guides about anything electronics.
- This article on LinkedIn with an overview of Sidney’s evolution garnered more than a million view. Linkedin is also a good platform to introduce yourself with this kind of content.
4.Speed Will Be King
Count how many times you’ve bounced over a website due to slow loading time.
As expected, our patience is running even shorter than ever before, and the loading speed of your blog will be even more significant for user engagement. Besides, it is widely speculated that Google will use speed as one of their deciding factor for page ranks, in conjunction with their AMP projects.
How to optimize for speed as you start a blog? Careful utilization of images and videos and careful server configuration are just some of the ideas.
Ready to start a blog in 2017? It might seem overwhelming in the first place, but actually, the time is never better to start a blog. Platforms like Medium or Tumblr can be your stepping stone for blogging success, as long as you have good, consistent content in mind.
For us, the secret weapon is to deliver as many useful and helpful contents as possible, and the traffic will come.