The Internet changes more than the weather, but luckily for us it’s a little easier to predict. Not easy, mind you, but certain predictions here hold more weight than, say, plotting the path of a hurricane. Blogging evolves based on certain evolutionary trends, and it’s these trends that show us where the paths are leading. Today we’ll look at some major changes coming to blogging in 2016, and what you need to know when starting a blog in the coming year and beyond.
The most important thing you can know when starting a blog in 2016, is how the playing field is changing. Staying ahead of the curve is how a no-name blog becomes a superstar. Since you’re considering joining the ranks of those who telecommute and work from home, you’ll have your own set of challenges to deal with on that front.
To make your life easier on the digital world, let’s take a look at some big changes coming to blogging in 2016 and how you can design your blog to prepare for them now.
1. Everything is Going Mobile
People have a lot of tools these days for accessing online content. No longer is the screen always the same size. Your website needs to be mobile-responsive. It must adapt and change immediately and without fail based on how it’s being accessed.
Google is already punishing sites that aren’t friendly to mobile devices, and that rule isn’t going anywhere. Many WordPress themes offer mobile-responsive features, so if yours is not one of them it’s time to fix it now. Otherwise, be sure to check off this feature when designing your blog, and test it if need be to ensure the user experience is on point.
2. Metrics Matter Less, Engagement Matter More!
When bloggers first start out, they are obsessed with a bunch of different metrics, or measurements in certain categories. Any of these look familiar?
- Page Views
- Unique Visits
- Facebook Fans
- Twitter Followers
- Email Subscribers
- Bounce Rates
- Search Engine Rankings
- Conversion Rates
New bloggers in the past would obsess over these numbers and try to get all of them in the green, but as blogging evolves in 2016, it quickly becomes apparent that these numbers are mattering less and less as time goes on.
Do they show you what is and isn’t working? Yes, but they do not show you the most important aspect of all: the user experience. Ultimately, not every single metric applies to your blog’s success. Metrics should be used as indicators of change, not a measurement of how successful your blog is as a whole.
Google’s updates as well as SEO in general all points to showcasing sites that promote the best experience possible. That’s it. The rest is just numbers. Instead of focusing on these numbers, focus on ways to reach your readers and engage them. This could be through social media, it could be through email newsletters, or it could be in your comments section.
Remember that your readers and their experience matters more than a bounce rate or a number on your analytics sheet. This is doubly true in 2016 and beyond.
3. Unique Images and Graphics Are Crucial to Success
Using images to break up text and liven up the visual aspects of a post has always been a great practice in blogging, but it’s time to step up the game. Specifically, we’re looking at unique images and graphics that didn’t come from a stock image site.
Don’t worry though, you won’t need to rush out and sign up for graphic design classes. Instead, take advantage of user-friendly tools to create your own shareable images and infographics. Personally, I use Canva constantly for this. It’s a great little tool for making images that look unique and don’t cost a dime unless you want to invest in premium images.
4. Building an Email List Is More Important Than Ever
While social media is important for marketing, most bloggers aren’t taking advantage of the huge benefits that an email newsletter can offer. When someone gives you their email, they are showing an interest in your brand. This automatically gives you a lead, someone who will more than likely read anything you send them.
Building this list is simple and easy, but it can lead to huge benefits. Blogs are becoming more and more like businesses with products of their own to sell. When it comes time to promote your e-book, online course, or anything in between, the people in your email list will be the first ones to jump at the opportunity to buy something from you.
Try out the Hello Bar, which is a great tool for capturing emails and building your list. It’s a subtle and non-intrusive way of asking as well, which is why it’s one of the best options out there.
5. Create a Presence on Social Media
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn have always been important for promoting your content and driving traffic back to your blog, but in 2016 that importance will grow by a longshot.
For starters, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin on these sites. Depending on your blog topic, your readers may use one or two platforms exclusively. Finding out where they share and read content will help you focus your efforts.
As we move into 2016, social platforms will also offer the ability for people to make purchases via their Twitter accounts. This kind of instant conversion is huge for bloggers. If you already have a strong following, making your case and selling your products via social media will equivocate to huge payouts.
Are You Ready For 2016?
With another year, comes another wave of changes in the world of blogging. How are you going to adapt your site and start your blog on the right foot? Which of these changes surprised you the most, and what predictions do you have? Share your thoughts in the comments below!