What I’ve Learned After 10 Years of Blogging and Digital Marketing

This year marks my 10-year anniversary of becoming a blogger. In 2014, I bought my first domain name and started playing around with publishing content, marketing it online, and discovering how to earn an income. I made lots of mistakes along the way but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

The industry has changed dramatically over the last decade. I watched as clickbait rose from the newsfeeds of Facebook, as SEO became a way to get traffic to blogs, and finally as Pinterest and Reddit took over from the ashes of Google’s destructive algorithm updates.

Here are some insights from everything I’ve learned over the last 10 years.

Traffic Sources Have a Lifespan of 2-3 Years

Generally speaking, most good traffic sources have a lifespan. This could be as little as 2-3 years or as long as 5-10 years in the case of Google. At some point, your site will get hit by an algorithm update on its primary traffic channel.

Facebook allowed “clickbait sites” to proliferate from 2012 until around 2015. Pinterest let bloggers get quick and easy traffic to their sites from 2015 to around 2018. Then in 2019, doing SEO to gain website visitors from Google was the best way to get traffic until the ball dropped with the HCU of 2023.

Each method has a golden era lifespan of 2-3 years before the platform shuts it down or makes it profusely more difficult to get traffic as easily as before. This could mean they switch to a “pay-to-play” model as in the case of Facebook, or it could mean they simply turn off the water faucet and deindex your site as Google sometimes does.

Platforms do this for a few reasons:

1. Too many people abuse the free traffic source and spam proliferates.

2. Simple user retention. The platform decides it prefers to keep users on its own platform for longer instead of sending visitors away.

Scale up what works FAST

Because of this fact, if you find a good source of traffic, you need to scale it up fast and milk it for all its worth before it dries up.

This was my biggest mistake these last few years. I didn’t hire VAs quickly and scale up content production while my Google traffic was good.

Platforms will always put themselves FIRST

There’s lots of chatter online about which platform bloggers should invest their time and energy in now that Google traffic is all but finished.

Some people swear by Facebook’s unparalleled ad targeting, others are dishing out fresh Pinterest pins daily, and some are blasting email newsletters.

Whatever platform you choose, you need to know that these platforms will always put themselves first. They can shut your site’s presence down if they feel like it.

You must remember that these platforms generally prioritize session duration – meaning, their goal is to keep users on their website or app for as long as possible so they can show more ads.

Think about it: isn’t your goal kind of the same? Longer visits = more ads = more money.

Pinterest is also prone to dramatic algorithm shifts just like Google.

I’ve had multiple successful Pinterest accounts suffer overnight drops in impressions for no apparent reason. That’s just the name of the game when you’re relying on a platform you don’t own for traffic.

Email newsletters seem like the best way to go “all-in” on building an audience, but even then, you’re still at the mercy of your lists’ email clients (including Gmail).

You Must Adapt to Survive

Lastly, technology changes fast. If you can’t adapt, you’ll die in the online marketing world.

Don’t get comfortable. Traffic can be pulled at any moment.

Learn to adapt to the changing landscape of online business and you’ll be just fine.

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