Is Blogging Still Worth it? 11 Reasons Why Bloggers Are Quitting

Is Blogging Still Worth It?

For a long time, blogging has been a great way for people to make money from their hobbies and passions. Many people have changed their lives and those of others through blogging.

But blogging has changed, especially after 2020.

The last couple of years has been particularly hard for bloggers and many bloggers have quit blogging altogether. There is a lot of pessimism going around in the blogging world and many think that blogging is finally dead as a way of making money online.

This is quite a shame because blogging has many advantages that make it a reliable and simple way to make an income on the side. This is especially true for someone new to making money online.

Given the numerous huge challenges that bloggers have had to navigate, it is only fair to ask:

Is blogging truly dead or is it still worth it in today’s environment?

Despite the challenges that bloggers are currently facing, I would say that blogging is still worth it if you are willing to change and adapt to the new realities. You have to accept that you may have to change your approach to blogging so that you can survive and even thrive.

In this article, I will go through 11 of the major challenges that have led to many bloggers abandoning the blogging game. I will also go into detail on how you can navigate many of the challenges to come out on top.

The purpose of this article is not to discourage you from blogging but to prepare you for some of the tough realities of blogging. However, as you will see, many of the challenges are also great opportunities if you know what to look for.

Before we start, if you are interested in starting a blog that will help you compete in the current environment, check out my complete guide on starting a blog.

With that said, let’s dive in.

1. Frequent Google Algorithm Updates

It is hard to find a blogger who has not been impacted by Google algorithm changes recently (either positively or negatively). In 2023, for example, there were 9 Google algorithm updates including the infamous Helpful Content Update. That’s almost an algorithm update a month. [1]

We have seen bloggers lose 30-80% of their traffic and income in these updates. Moving from making 8k a month to less than 1k a month can be devastating to any blogger.

While these updates can affect any site, here are some types of sites that have been heavily impacted by these updates.

  • Pure affiliate sites. These are sites that are created solely to promote affiliate products.
  • Sites with low topical authority. These are sites that have no particular focus and write about everything.
  • Niche sites with thin content. These are small sites that have low-quality content and low authority.
  • Black hat SEO sites. These are sites that use black hat SEO practices (like buying links) to rank.
  • Pure AI sites. These are sites that use AI to create 100% of the content.

The main thing to remember about these updates is that Google is trying to perfect its algorithm so that it displays the best content to its users.

But during this period of testing, expect to keep seeing changes in how Google ranks websites and your site may be impacted at one time or another. Eventually, good helpful content will win.

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2. SERP Domination by Big Brands

Known brands and high-authority sites dominate many of the top-ten positions in search engine rankings (SERPs). For example, Forbes started as a financial site but now ranks for all kinds of unrelated keywords such as best blenders and best air fryers.

This trend was noticed as early as 2016 when Glen Allsopp demonstrated how 16 companies dominated Google’s search results, especially for competitive and lucrative keywords such as ‘best antivirus’. [2]

Big brands may not necessarily have the best content for the keywords they are ranking for, but they leverage their reputation and high domain authority. In essence, Google is playing it safe at the expense of ranking the best content.

If you are an ordinary blogger, you will find it difficult to compete against these big brands if you target the following types of keywords:

  • YMYL keywords. These are keywords that have a huge impact on your money or your life. For example, health, finance, and law. YMYL keywords also tend to be quite lucrative and evergreen. Good luck trying to rank for keywords like best credit card or best insurance.
  • Lucrative keywords. These are niches that are non-YMYL but still offer good affiliate commissions. That is why you see big brands going for keywords like best blenders because they have a high buyer intent.
  • High-traffic keywords. Big brands also target high-traffic keywords. For example, if you search for a high-volume keyword like “How to screenshot on a Mac” you will find known brands like Forbes or Business Insider ranking

Many bloggers get discouraged when they realize that they are unable to compete for these lucrative keywords. However, you can still make good money with blogging by targeting less competitive keywords

Before you write your content, use a keyword tool to check the keyword difficulty which will show you how competitive a search term is (I use KW Finder). With a bit of imagination, you should be able to monetize even keywords that seem less lucrative.

3. Getting Overwhelmed by Technical SEO

Google has become quite strict in the kind of sites that they rank. Your site has to be fast, secure, and easy to use. Many new bloggers are often not prepared for the amount of technical stuff they need to do to achieve this.

Here are a couple of technical SEO issues that you should expect to deal with on your blog to increase your chances of ranking on search engines like Google.

  • Core web vitals. Google gives your site a core web vitals score that measures your site’s speed, interactivity, and visual stability.
  • Site security. You have to ensure that your visitors don’t encounter malware or hacking attempts on your site. You need to have an SSL certificate and take proper security measures (see Essential WordPress Plugins for a New Blog).
  • Mobile friendliness. Your blog needs to be accessible to all devices including desktop, mobile, and tablets.
  • Indexing friendliness. Make it easy for Google to crawl your site by having a sitemap and interlinking your posts. Otherwise, you may have trouble getting indexed.

Most of the technical SEO issues can be solved by having a good web hosting company and a good responsive WordPress theme. Many new bloggers end up with terrible web hosting companies that cripple their blogs before they even start.

To give your blog the best start, I would recommend going with a web hosting company like ChemiCloud. They are one of the best web hosts going by customer reviews on sites like Trustpilot and HostAdvice (For more see my guide on starting a blog on ChemiCloud).

4. The Rise of AI Content Writers

The rapid advancement of Generative AI and Large Language Models (LLMs) has led to the development of very good AI writers. Everyone can now create content at scale using tools like ChatGPT or Writesonic.

While AI writers have a lot of advantages, they have also introduced some challenges in the blogging industry. For example:

  • There is less demand for bloggers. Why would someone hire you to write a blog post when they can do so for a fraction of the cost using AI? Bloggers have to accept lower pay and produce higher quality content than AI.
  • It is harder to stand out. Given that AI writes pretty good posts in seconds, you have to be a pretty good writer to compete. And even then, you have to spend more time on your blog posts to inject creativity and uniqueness.
  • It is getting harder to get ranked. With AI churning huge volumes of content, it is getting harder to get ranked or even indexed on search engines like Google. Your content has to bring something unique to the table for it to stand a chance.

To survive in the era of AI, you have to leverage the power of these AI writers and tools. However, you need to learn how to use these tools properly. For example, if you use AI content, you can find it difficult to rank unless you are also adding your own unique perspectives.

This means using AI as an assistant (for topic ideas, outlines, and first drafts) rather than a writer. We are likely to see search engines crack down on pure AI content sooner or later.

5. Challenges With the Affiliate Model of Monetization

Affiliate marketing is one of the better ways to monetize a blog. If done well, it can be a reliable source of income. And income from affiliate marketing tends to be quite high if you promote the right companies.

In the old days, you could make a good income even with a small niche site. However, this way of making income has come under increasing pressure for several reasons.

  • Competition from big brands. These days, you have big brands like Forbes or the New York Times targeting long-tail affiliate keywords that niche websites used to rank for.
  • Commission cuts. Amazon, one of the biggest affiliate networks has been drastically cutting commissions. For example, in 2020, Amazon cut commissions from 8% to 3% in many niches. [3]
  • Difficulty in ranking. Google algorithm updates targeting review sites such as the February 2023 Product Reviews Update have made it difficult for purely affiliate websites to rank because they lack domain authority.

To survive, you have to create an authority site. This means that you have to create helpful informational content as well as affiliate articles so that you build topical authority. You also have to move beyond Amazon to target other high-paying affiliate programs.

6. Challenges With the Display Ad Model of Monetization

Display ads have been an easy way for bloggers to make income. You just need to sign up to an ad network like AdSense, Ezoic, or Mediavine and you start making income provided you have traffic.

But this monetization method also has challenges such as being vulnerable to algorithm updates. For example, Jon Dykstra (at Fatstacks) had been doing very well with this model of monetization until his sites were hit by the helpful content update. His income dropped by over 80% from 116k a month to 20k a month. [4]

Other challenges facing sites that monetize primarily from display ads include:

  • Low RPMs. With the post-pandemic economic downturn in most economies, advertising RPMs (revenue per thousand visitors) have been quite low and blogging incomes have taken a hit.
  • Tighter requirements. Some of the premium ad networks are making it harder to get accepted. For example, to get accepted at Mediavine, you now need minimum traffic of 50,000 monthly sessions compared to 25,000 sessions in 2020. [5]
  • Adoption of ad blockers. Many people are using ad blockers compared to previous years. Also, there are privacy concerns regarding advertising cookies and this will continue to impact ad revenues until a solution is found.

To overcome this challenge, you need to target a variety of monetization methods including affiliate marketing and creating your own products. This will ensure that you keep earning money even when advertising RPMs are low.

7. Changes In the Way People Consume Content

There has been a huge shift in the way people consume content online and this has had an impact on blogger’s bottom line. These changes have been driven mainly by increased internet speeds, adoption of smartphones, and information overload.

Here are some of the main changes that we are seeing:

  • Increased consumption of video content. Many people prefer to watch videos (especially short-form videos) instead of reading blog posts. People are spending most of their time on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram and advertisers are following them there.
  • Increased consumption of content on mobile devices. Easy access to smartphones means that the majority of traffic online is now mobile traffic. If you rely on display ads, this means less income because mobile traffic often has lower RPMs compared to desktop traffic.
  • Skimming instead of reading. With so much information online, people don’t have the time to thoroughly read every blog post. For example, 73 % of blog readers skim through the content. On average, 55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on a post. [6] This means you will have lower engagement and conversions.

All this means that you have to create content that is engaging and relevant to your audience. Also, you need to create content in different formats (text, video, images). Finally, you need to be on social media and video platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and YouTube so that you can direct traffic to your blog.

8. Decreasing Clicks to Websites from Google

For some queries, ranking in the top 10 or even number one on Google is no longer enough to bring traffic to your website. This is because Google has over the years introduced features that push organic results further down the page and reduce traffic to websites.

These features often result in high zero-click searches where people don’t click onto any website in the search results. In fact, according to a study conducted by Sparktoro and Similarweb in 2020, 64.8% of Google searches resulted in a zero-click. [7]

Here are some of the main culprits that lead to decreased clicks to websites:

  • Featured snippets. These answer the visitors’ questions right on the results page and the visitor doesn’t need to click on a website. For example, queries on calories, weather, celebrity ages, and many more are often answered adequately by featured snippets.
  • Google ads. These are often featured at the top of the search results page. This is how Google makes money and is unlikely to change.
  • Videos, images and maps. For some queries, Google heavily promotes YouTube videos and images as well as content from other Google properties on the first page.
  • AI Chatbots. Google Bard and Bing Chat are AI-powered chatbots that answer your questions on the results page.

This means that for queries with high zero clicks, you have to work extra hard to get traffic. For example, you have to optimize your answers so that they can be featured as snippets. Also, you need to create YouTube videos and images for queries that feature them.

9. Increased Competition in Blogging

Competition in blogging is nothing new but in the last couple of years (especially since 2020), the number of websites has skyrocketed. For example, in 2021 there were 1.2 billion websites online (with 263 million of them being active). [8]

There are several reasons for this.

  • The pandemic. During the pandemic, people had a lot of free time and many were looking for side hustles. Many of them were settling on blogging. For example, as of 2020, there were about 31.7 million bloggers in the US (or 10% of Americans). [9]
  • AI writers. AI writers make it so easy to create blog posts and this led to the creation of many blogs that were composed of purely AI-generated articles.
  • Online hype. Blogging is one of the top recommended ways of making an income online and with good reason. With everyone recommending blogging, there are bound to be too many people starting blogs.

This increased competition is something we have to learn to live with as bloggers. However, the very high levels of competition are likely to decrease over time. For example, many of the people who started blogs during the pandemic quit or scaled down their blogging once the lockdowns ended and they could go back to work.

10. Saturation of Popular Niches

One big impact of the increasing number of blogs is that many popular niches are now getting saturated.

New bloggers often start blogs in niches they have experience in or are passionate about. As a result, blogging niches like food, exercise, travel, parenting, and personal finance tend to get a lot of new bloggers and become too saturated.

Getting into an over-saturated niche can lead to frustration because you will struggle to stand out from other blogs. Ideally, you want to start a blog in a niche that is not too saturated. But how can you tell if a niche is saturated?

Here are some signs of a saturated niche.

  • Redundant content. Such niches have hundreds of good quality content targeting the same keywords. If you write a post targeting such keywords, it is likely to get lost in the crowd.
  • Lack of opportunities for unique perspectives. Most topics are adequately covered by existing blog posts so it becomes difficult to provide new information or offer a unique perspective that will differentiate your content.
  • Low engagement. Because there are so many blogs offering the same information, engagement tends to be low and bounce rates high because readers are spoilt for choice.

With that said, it is still possible to find niches and sub-niches that are not saturated even in niches that seem to be over-saturated. You just have to do more work to find these hidden gems. For example, you can use a keyword tool to identify if a keyword is saturated.

Also, you should make your content so good that it stands out. Alternatively, you can drive traffic to your blog using other platforms (such as YouTube or TikTok) that have less competition for your keyword.

11. The Huge Amount of Work Required

Blogging is often marketed as a low-stress way of making money online and in many cases, this is true (especially if you plan to do blogging part-time as a side hustle).

However, it has become much harder to make it in blogging due to the challenges I have mentioned in this article. If you want to make a full-time income from blogging, you will need to work much harder than in previous years.

Some of the reasons for why blogging is getting harder include:

  • Demand for higher quality content. It is becoming hard to rank poor-quality content, especially for competitive search terms. Creating high-quality content is, however, expensive and time-consuming.
  • You need more content. Gone are the days when you could write 30 articles and make a full-time income. Today, you have to write hundreds of blog posts so that you can adequately cover a niche and build topical authority.
  • You have to be on multiple platforms. Having a blog that relies only on SEO traffic is risky and you need to diversify your traffic sources to include social media and YouTube. This, however, is time-consuming.

Most new bloggers quit when they realize how much work they will need to do. However, if you are not afraid to put in the work, then at some point, you will start to see good results.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, you now have a bird’s eye view of the current blogging landscape. While it is indeed getting more challenging to succeed in blogging, it is not all doom and gloom.

Despite the challenges, several reasons still keep me optimistic about blogging.

Here is a summary of why I think blogging is still worth it:

  • It is hard to beat the advantages of blogging when it comes to making money online (see Why Blogging Is The Best Side-Hustle). This is especially true when it comes to monetizing passions and hobbies that are hard to monetize in any other way.
  • Google is getting better at identifying great content. There are still some teething problems, but eventually, Google will get it right. This means that good, high-quality blogs will rise to the top.
  • You can leverage AI to write better content faster. Using AI as a writing assistant will be a game changer in content creation once we learn how to use it correctly.
  • You can still find many unsaturated niches/sub-niches or niches with poor content if you know what to look for.

So, if you have been thinking of getting into blogging, all is not lost neither is it too late. In fact, you may be at an advantage if you get into blogging with a clear view of what it takes to succeed in the current blogging environment.

If you wish to start a blog, check out my guide on how to start a blog. The article will show you the best way to start your blog so that you give it the best chance to survive in the current blogging environment.

Further Reading

The following articles will also help you in your blogging journey.