Have you been thinking about what it’s actually like to write as a blogger? Do you want to venture into this arena, but don’t know how to best enter into it?
Luckily the ConvertKit team put together an informative report on exactly who is publishing content, why they start a blog, what the most popular blog topics are, how bloggers get their start, and much more.
In this detailed report you’ll learn more about this growing industry and whether or not you should start your own blog. I’ll provide a brief overview of the points made throughout with links to resources to check out. To download a free copy of “State of the Blogging Industry 2017” go here.
1 – Are you a blogger?
Not everyone should start a blog. First of all, it can be time consuming. Secondly, your business may not even require the need to have one. But for those who want to build more credibility and even earn an income then this is still a good use of your talents and resources. So who exactly earns a living from blogging? Here are a few top profiles from the report:
- 86% are not considered professional bloggers
- 62% are women
- 52% of bloggers have children
- 40% of all bloggers are age 35 and younger
- 59% of bloggers are married
- 60-65% live in the United States from a less diverse population
- A majority of bloggers have a bachelor’s degree
- Household income ranges anywhere from under $25,000 a year to over $150,000 a year
2 – Why start a blog?
It takes a regular commitment to publish content whether it be several times a week, once a week, or even once a month. There’s a lot of steps and building involved in the process, and so blogging may not fit into everyone’s schedules. Here’s the top answers as to why people decided to start a blog:
- The largest number are self employed
- The second largest number started a blog to express their creativity
- The third are those who want to build a presence online for their brand
- The fourth are those who want to teach others
- Fifth are those who want to earn money from a blog
The funnel narrows down further with the lowest motivating factors including a job loss, getting out of debt, and to become famous online.
3 – What do people write about the most?
There are many topics that are too broad or competitive for publishers. The key to success is to be narrowly focused and write about something that you’re passionate about. This is turn targets a specific audience, especially in the area of personal growth. Entrepreneurship and business fall just underneath that niche with parenting and fashion coming in more toward the bottom of the scale.
If you are a homemaker or love arts and crafts this is still a top performer, along with blogs about faith and management techniques.
4 – Which platforms and content management systems are used?
The big question of the day when starting any blog is what type of platform works best, which can either be shared hosting or dedicated. 76 percent of respondents prefer WordPress for both their website and blog with 82 percent of those bloggers using a dedicated installation. There are a few smaller shared hosting blogging platforms that people use, which are probably more for creatives and blogs already established on these places. The general rule of thumb to follow is to stick with WordPress with a dedicated domain name.
5 – How often should you publish?
Over the last few years the frequency of publishing has changed with the emergence of new technologies and changing algorithms. It used to be important to have at least three pieces of fresh content each week, but now the new normal is once a week. In fact, this is what 38 percent of all respondents chose in the study. If you want to continue to build visibility and attract subscribers then you will want to make a commitment and choose a day that your readers can expect.
6 – What is the average number of words per article?
There are two camps in the blogging world — one supports longform content while the other prefers shorter posts broken up into bite sized pieces. If you are building a career in business or freelance writing then longform may be the right choice in order to create an attractive portfolio. Other types of bloggers, however; may be more interested in attracting readership with a mix of content. The study reveals that the average post length today is between 500 and 1,000 words.
7 – Where should the opt-in form go?
It seems that many readers prefer to not have a form pop up in their face when visiting a website, and this could be why 64 percent of bloggers place the opt-in form at the end of a blog post. This is one of the most important elements of your blog and surprisingly a small percentage of bloggers don’t include one. Blog comments also go along with attracting subscribers, and most of the respondents in the study said they allow readers to leave a comment at the end of their posts.
8 – How do you grow your audience?
Two of the most common sources of website traffic are social media and organic search, which thankfully is enhanced with the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress so that you don’t have to be an SEO expert to attract visitors. Email marketing plays another important role in nurturing your audience along with writing guest posts, advertising, and repurposing your content.
Here are the top social networks that bloggers use to attract readers:
- Facebook – This is a top network that bloggers use. You can promote your posts through your Page, groups, Facebook Live, and through your own personal account.
- Twitter – Quick tweets, retweets, interactions, and live tweet chats all make this a top second choice.
- Pinterest and Instagram – These both came in at a close third according to the study. These networks are useful in grabbing a reader’s attention through eye-catching graphics and bold headlines.
- Google Plus and LinkedIn – Respondents rely less on these platforms, but they are still popular for interacting in groups or collections and for networking.
- Snapchat – This network has been on a slow and steady decline over the last year after Facebook and Instagram were updated to include stories. But there are still quite a few bloggers and brands who still use this app to attract subscribers to their blogs.
9 – Do bloggers make money?
About half of the respondents rely on their blogs for part-time income and most of this comes from digital products, services, and physical products. This can include eBooks, courses, audio programs, ect. Professional bloggers reported profits of $185,975 while not-yet professionals earned an average of $9,497. A new blogger should expect to spend at least $1,000 in the first year in order to turn a profit.
10 – What are the biggest obstacles to overcome?
Most of the bloggers reported that a lack of time was their largest struggle. The second one was growing an audience and their converting subscribers into paying customers. ConvertKit recommends these top bloggers to help you become more successful:
Hopefully you gained more insights on the current state of blogging and the difference between pro and becoming a pro. According to the study 15 percent of pro bloggers make a substantial living over the average household income in the United States. The rest of us represent a growing trend and are currently working toward monetizing our futures. ConvertKit’s “avatar” for the average blogger is a woman who is “25-45, white, married, college educated, and in the upper middle class.” With that said expect to see this trend evolve into a wider spectrum as blogging becomes more popular as a side hustle or business building enterprise.