After spending three years blogging about three main topics: Colorado things to do, Colorado crafters and my spice cookbook, I’m not sure how I feel about SEO and ranking my blog on the first page of a Google search. More than that I’m wondering: Is blogging worth the trouble?
My best rankings are due to the SEO of other companies that sell my books and have little to do with my blog. As for the SEO ranking of the “Colorado crafters” topic all I can say is that in spite of the time and effort to follow WordPress (blog platform) rules, I figure there is only one reason that my blog ranks relatively high on Google. That reason is because of the uniqueness of the word “crafter” and the specificity of “Colorado.” Using both words frequently in my blog writing brings it to the top. I’m chagrined that my content and the time it takes to put an article together have little to do with overall ranking.
My blood pressure rises every time I try to follow SEO suggestions. It becomes a game to see how I can use the title, which is often the keyword, in intelligent sentences. If you are a writer, it can be more than your integrity permits. Because I’m blogging about things to do in Colorado, after I’ve actually done them, I find myself using the past tense. This is a no-no because it is considered passive voice. My sentences are too long (more than 20 words). I don’t use subheadings on each new paragraph. The list goes on.
I recently listened to a Moz.com blog video about things that don’t affect Google ranking. Among those was the longevity of your blog. If your content is 2 years old and focuses on a few key items, it is likely to rank as high as a blog that is 15 years old and babbles aimlessly about many topics once or twice a year. The time a viewer spends on your site, aka bounce rate, also has little to do with ranking. Subheadings within a blog post are meaningless to Google, according to Moz. There are many reasons to focus more on what you want to say and less about what anyone else says about SEO ranking. https://moz.com/blog/10-things-do-not-affect-rankings
Recent messages from WordPress warn me about updating my PHP. I’ve had to call my hosting company twice to explain all that that entails. The second time it made better sense to me. The bottom line is it will cost money. When wanting help from WordPress, the response is a lot of nonsensical verbiage. Do they really think small business owners/bloggers are also programmers and designers? It would be nice to find an answer to a WordPress problem that did not involve so many undefined terms that do little more than make the average person feel below average in intelligence.
So is it worth blogging? For me blogging is writing, which is what I do. I’ve spent too much time trying to follow the rules, and I recommend that you just write good content. The frustration comes because you are constantly battling two personas. One is the creative you, the one who is excited about your product, information, etc. The other is the person who has to worry about money and how to best market yourself. Will the effort pay off?
For me, I don’t think blogging will pay. Having grown up selling everything from advertising to printing, I have had much more success with a simple qualifying phone call to a potential client. The direct contact allows me to see if the person has any interest in my product. I like the straightforward approach and I can handle “no” for an answer.
Blogging like telemarketing is a numbers game. However, too much credence is given to hits and likes. Who cares if thousands “like” me, if no one will buy my product? I am reminded of a starving photographer, who got thousands of hits on his blog. He admits that he got tired of always saying positive upbeat things, while he spent his life sleeping in his car. He began to be more honest in his not-so-perfect life experiences and to convey that in his blog. The results: lots more followers and a bit more success.
Google alerts make me aware of qualified prospects. With a little online research, a phone call can be a more pointed approach. You can pre-qualify the customer to see if there is interest in what you are trying to sell. If I really want to make money from my “products,” I have to remember that a simple phone call or email to a potential client is much more productive than blogging. I also have to remember that there is a reason they refer to writers, painters, crafters and creative types as starving artists.