You got something to say?
You could be a blogger.
In the dim and distant, and when I say “dim and distant”, I am talking about the days before we became immersed in the Information Age. The almost universal access to the internet we now enjoy has given us almost universal access to vast amounts of information.
The relationship with all that information has touched every part of our lives and it’s changing our relationships with our peers.
Where do you think all of that information on the internet comes from? Whenever you ask a question, google heads off and finds you an answer. Most of those answers come from bloggers … just think about it. Someone, somewhere, has gone to the trouble of providing an answer and then sharing it.
Hopefully, your answer has been provided by someone who knows about the subject matter … and that’s where the power of the search engine becomes important. An answer to any question is useless unless it is provided by someone who knows what they are doing. I am not going to let a plumber lecture me on open-heart surgery. Google acts as a filter, allowing the good stuff through and letting the rest sink quietly to the bottom.
The internet is global, it is connected and it is shared. There are information providers, information consumers and information connectors. A blogger is an information provider.
If you know stuff, you can be a blogger.
7-things you should know about internet data
These bits of information have come from NodeGraph, a Swedish data company. They show what was happening between 2017 and now. I am using the numbers as an illustration. It’s the order of magnitude that’s important … they are all likely to be a little bit bigger now!
- June 2017 – 51.7% of the world’s population is online.
- There are 4.9 billion mobile users – 66% of total global market penetration.
- 3.3 million updates are posted to Facebook every minute.
- 450 thousand Tweets … every minute!
- Around 70,000 photos uploaded to Instagram, yes … every minute.
- YouTube videos – 500 hours uploaded … per minute.
- … and 3.8 million Google searches performed every minute.
Something that I think is quite interesting … a fun fact if you like.
According to the guys at NodeGraph (they make a prediction for 2020) 1.7 megabytes of data will be created for every person on the planet … every second!
Bloggers for Google
So, the Information Consumers around the world are performing 3.8 million google searches every minute. They are asking questions, and they are relying on google to help them.
Google works because you, and I, trust the responses.
A lot of questions will need a lot of answers, so where do the answers come from?
The answer to your question has to come from somewhere.
I have included five categories in my take on the Global Blogging Ecosystem. There may be more but I think five is enough to show where you, the blogger, sits.
The categories are obvious, so I am not going to spend much time explaining them.
You have information and guidance provided by the State and then you have Corporate information, which is a bit like state information but with a commercial flavour. There are stores and other opportunities to spend money … and then you have social media where the gossip happens.
None of these is particularly good at answering questions … unless the questions are about personal taxation, the opening times for waste recycling centres or where you might go to buy a new fridge.
The internet is a massive resource, and wherever you might be and whatever you might be interested in, Google is your friend. I’m not forgetting that Bing is also a pretty good mate, and then there’s everybody’s darling, DuckDuckGo.
The internet might be a massive resource, but that’s only because there are bloggers, people like you and me, feeding it. Google and Bing and DuckDuckGo can only find answers to your questions if the answers to your questions have been published online, by someone like you … and me.
People have been creating and sharing ideas forever. Have a look at the “Brief History of Blog” elsewhere on this site, which shows that we humans were creating and sharing all manner of ideas long before we invented the modern term for it.
A blogger is someone who adds value to the internet and, by association, adds value to the sum of human knowledge. But … there is more than one kind of blogger.
The Hobby Blogger
You have a job.
You used to have a job and now you’re retired.
Maybe you are still at school.
Whatever your situation, you might just want to have a go at blogging because you like writing.
You wouldn’t be alone.
There is going to be lots of stuff that you know that others might be interested in learning about. The internet can let you share your wisdom online with a global audience, and develop your writing skills at the same time.
If you are a hobby blogger, you probably have no immediate interest in monetising your blog site. I make the point in “How to Blog #1 … the basics” that blogging is all about creating and sharing.
You can always have a go at that monetisation thing later.
If your writing is for yourself, what you have is a diary.
The name “weblog” sounds like a reference to some sort of journal, and it was. The first blogs were little more than diaries, written and stored online and made accessible to the outside world.
Blogs have evolved with the changing needs of bloggers. This has meant the distinction between blogs and websites has become blurred, but that isn’t particularly important.
There is more scope now for bloggers writing in a blog than ever before. The diary entry has evolved. The simple online journal entry has evolved into tales of adventure, stories of passion … and anecdotes of cooking and gardening.
Without a doubt, the internet has opened up a whole new world of self-publishing opportunities. Today, almost anyone can write an article, on just about any subject, and then push a button to publish it.
The improvements made to blogging platforms over the years means that it’s never been easier to become a blogger, with half the population of the world as your potential audience.
A blogger can and often will use their blog to express their opinions. There is nothing wrong with this, usually, and a blogger with lots of followers is usually known as an influencer.
I have included the following quote from “The Conversation” as opinions can sometimes have a negative effect.
The problem with “I’m entitled to my opinion” is that, all too often, it’s used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned. It becomes shorthand for “I can say or think whatever I like” – and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And this attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse.The Conversation
The bit I draw your attention to, as a blogger, is the “false equivalence between experts and non-experts”. If Google and Bing and DuckDuckGo wish to retain their reputations for returning top quality results, they need to be fishing out the non-experts, the propagandists and the downright liars! Something to think about.
The Professional Blogger
The professional blogger is a blogger who makes a living from being a blogger.
As a professional blogger, your approach might change, but you are still providing people with answers to their questions. If you are a professional blogger, you are probably going to be more focussed on providing the right answers than the hobby blogger might be, because your income depends on it.
It will come as no surprise that a blogger trying to make a living from blogging will need to engage with visitors. The professional blogger needs to be converting as many visitors as possible into revenue. The blogger must, therefore, provide visitors with:
- Reasons for Visiting.
- Reasons for Staying.
- Reasons for Returning.
- Reasons for Buying.
Bloggers need to be providing their visitors with answers and they need to be the answers the visitors are looking for. If they aren’t, then the blogger is adding little value. The potential and significance of the Response Post in this circumstance cannot be understated. It is one of the main reasons for visiting a site, especially if it is the first visit.
When visitors land, if the subject matter isn’t engaging, they’re off. You, the host blogger need to engage with the visitors quickly, giving them a reason to stay. The longer they stay, the closer they are going to to get to Buying.
If you aren’t able to close a sale at the time, the purpose of the engagement is in providing a reason for returning.
The professional blogger will be conscious of the value of the engagement, but being a professional blogger doesn’t mean stepping away from providing a service and helping people. Any blogger that isn’t delivering a positive overall experience will eventually be picked off by the Google weeder.
Successful blogging and helping must go hand in hand.
The Blogger with a Purpose
There is a vast amount of knowledge and experience spread out across the whole of humanity … and across time.
Humans are the only creatures – that I know of – able to store information and then retrieve it across generations.
Humans write stuff down, store it in libraries and index it so that it can be found when it’s needed.
Humans never need to reinvent the wheel.
Every blogger, whether in the game for financial reward, pleasure or anything else, is adding their know-how, personal experience and insight to the sum of human knowledge. The value of the blogger is the value of the benefit to others, the value of that insight and knowledge … whenever they ask a question.
Google – and the rest – are essentially the global curators of knowledge and know-how. Search engine algorithms are designed to rank the best and sink the rest.
So … whether you are a blogger trying to make a living or you are a blogger with a different gameplan, the relationship between writers and readers is important to everyone.
The blogging ecosystem is supported by pillars of trust.
EAT with Google
Google is big, with an appetite for information … but it also has responsibility.
Bloggers provide answers to questions (among other things) and Google finds those answers. Google has a responsibility to find and deliver answers that show evidence of Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness.
There are those people who will tell you that they have a right to their opinion, and then they will tell you that they have a constitutional and moral right to express that opinion … but blogging is not a mechanism to be used for spreading misinformation.
I still don’t want plumbers advising me on open-heart surgery … and neither does Google!
If a blogger is going to add value, they must E-A-T with Google.
What have we learned?
There is a huge amount of information to be had out there, and a huge demand for that information.
Bloggers provide the vast majority of answers to questions that people ask Google.
Google is constantly looking for the best answers.
Bloggers have a purpose.
A blogger is someone that you can trust.
Whatever you have to say, there is going to be someone out there who wants to listen.