Three years is an eternity by the standards of modern progress. Three years ago, you may have succumbed to the idea that traditional marketing and even paid online advertising have given way to blogging and effective content strategies. With a blog set up, you made regular posts and did everything you could to climb up the search rankings.
However, it turns out that basic blogging is not enough. If you want your business blog to keep you on top for the next three years at the very least, you will have to adjust to five major trends that will shape the near future of the web.
1. Remember That Your Blog Will Not Stand Alone
There are many bloggers that built large followings in the years before mass-scale mobile penetration and social media dominance. StevePavlina.com is a good example – notice the Spartan layout, lack of anything that even looks like it can be monetized, and pure focus on textual, long-form content. While it was possible to get an established online presence like this in the late 2000s (the bubble of the “blogosphere”) there is simply too much noise in the system nowadays for you to stand out by adopting this approach.
Rather, you will have to think of your blog as a hub that connects to other high traffic sources. Here is an example arrangement:
- You maintain a Facebook page, with well-curated organic reach (do not even think about going the paid-route with Facebook).
- You maintain a Twitter feed with quality as high as your Facebook page.
- You maintain a product web page that includes a blog from which you project expertise.
- You maintain a YouTube channel.
Your typical blog post may contain expert advice on how to use your product or perform a task relevant to your product.
Let us use the example of outdoor survival when your product happens to be a handheld water purifier. Your blog can give detailed advice on how to track to a source of water in the wild, as well as link to an accompanying set of videos on your YouTube channel for visual instruction (bonus if the techniques that you display are uncommon, strange, or impressive to novices). You can then share the videos on FaceBook and the blog on Twitter. Notice how this creates a multidirectional flow of visitors and the opportunity to grow traffic through social shares.
The upshot of this is that your blog will no longer be able to stand alone. Rather than only focusing on the analytics of your main page, you will need to monitor an entire ecosystem. It is then wise to start looking into solutions such as Nuvi that give you detailed visualization, monitoring, and reporting of your social media properties.
2. You Will Have to Focus on Quality and Quantity
Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithm updates have been creeping towards their final forms over the past few years, upsetting the schemes of countless cheaters. Penguin has helped to do away with “black hat” link-building practices and Panda has penalized low-value, poorly-researched content. These updates had significant enough effects when first launched that they instantly dropped the rank of many content-farms.
However, they have operated in intervals lasting months or years and have been ancillary to Google’s main search mechanics. Not anymore. Starting in late 2016, Penguin will affect every re-crawl and re-index of a page, making it a continuous process. Similarly, Panda is now integrated into the core search algorithm.
This means that there is no longer any margin of safety for content that does not signal high quality to the search process. Blogs have been trending towards long-form, authoritative content and in the near future this will be mandatory rather than just an ideal.
Make sure that you can write as a subject-matter expert on your given business topic and provide enough information-packed paragraphs for 1200-3000 words per post. If you need assistance with research or writing, consider reaching out to a high-quality freelance hub such as WorkMarket.
3. You Will Not Just Be Blogging for the Web Anymore
If you have ever wondered when we will reach the point where mobile web access exceeds desktop web access, it turns out that we are already well past this point. Mobile overtook desktop in mid-2014 and has continued to shoot higher with a much steeper trend line. This may have presaged Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), first integrated into Google search in February 2016. AMP displays the mobile version of content from a search performed on a mobile device even when the equivalent app or web page exists.
You will have to adjust to mobile devices and tablets increasingly becoming the platforms from which people consume your blogs. You will have to make the appropriate investments in responsive, mobile-first design and writing layouts that favor smaller screens and vertical aspect ratios.
4. Real Link Building Will Become More Important
Given the drastic real-time nature of Penguin, there are many that speculate that the art of link building will become resigned to the internet’s past.
More likely, shady link building will go extinct. Given that the web is, by its very nature, a hyperlinked architecture, there will always be a place for optimal quantities of high-value backlinks that drive traffic to your site.
Going forward, you will achieve this through honest networking with other online influencers. You must strive to attract guest bloggers with an established web presence, be willing to reciprocate the favor, and build a brand so distinct and visible that those with a large following voluntarily share your content.
5. Your Voice Will Become Everything
With the hole cut out of the bottom of the usual traffic-building bag of tricks, the only thing left is authenticity.
You will have to make a conscious effort to develop your unique voice. It is essential because you must create a compelling reason for an increasingly distracted base of potential followers to listen to you.
Developing a unique voice takes time and practice, but if you are passionate enough about any domain to start a business then you already have the mental wiring to succeed.
One practical exercise for developing a strong voice is a regular three-minute free writing warmup. For this duration, keep your fingers in motion and the words flowing – no hesitation, no backspacing, no editing. Eventually, your unimpeded and raw voice will emerge.
A sign that you have developed a strong voice is when you are able to create content similar to bloggers Mark Manson and Tim Urban, both of whom tackle large and often controversial questions with novel answers. Both authors also have the courage to present authoritative graphs and data. Note that you can also build legitimacy and connection with your audience through data-oriented headlines, which is why we decided to include “the next 3 years” in this article’s headline.
Like all aspects of improvement, creating a strong, authentic voice will take time, introspection, and measurement. You can make the process easier by using a platform like Salesfusion that allows you to track in detail how your audience responds to your content.