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The Blogger Genius Podcast with Jillian Leslie


Apr 3, 2024

Today I want to talk about how to look up from your own blog with fresh eyes to see the changing landscape and new trends. And then I want to share the best ways to pivot I recommend you start implementing now to grow your blog income.

The Changing World of Blogging

Is Blogging Dead?

The first question I get asked is “Is blogging dead?” And I’m going to say no, it’s not dead but the blogging world is changing.

Drop in Google Traffic

As you know I talk to professional bloggers all the time, in all different niches, and recently I talked to four who all lost between 70-90% of their site traffic during these March Google updates. 

Now we all know that when Google pushes out updates we shouldn’t change anything for about a month to see where the dust settles, but I don’t think any of these bloggers have seen such big swings before. So to be honest they were all a bit shell-shocked. 

Show Notes:

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Google's Influence and SEO

Shifts in Search Results

So the first trend I expect to see is a decrease in overall traffic from Google for publishers or bloggers who are creating valuable content using best practices. Will we all be losing 70-90% of our traffic, my gut says no. In my experience, when Google makes changes they typically don’t reverse course.

For example, when we launched Catch My Party, a lot of our users were Etsy sellers so we used their API and imported their products to our site, each product got a separate page. We did this for ease. We weren’t monetizing it. Google wasn’t seeing these pages as duplicate content so if people were searching for these products they could end up on our site. We were making really good affiliate income, the Etsy sellers were happy because of all the exposure they were getting, it was growing our traffic, and then one day it all went away. Google de-indexed those pages and that traffic and income were gone.

My point is that Google changes usually move in one direction. And what is Google facing right now? Existential threats. Remember, all they care about is people coming to Google in need information and end up finding it and having a good experience.

Recently though, the overall feel is the search experience has been deteriorating so Google has been making changes. Showing more results from Reddit and Quora. This is because they want answers from “real people.” Google has found that sites have been gaming SEO to make money with affiliate marketing, for example, and Google has been cracking down. 

The Introduction of AI in Search

Plus how is google going to implement AI in search. They are calling this the Google Search Generative Experience or SGE. Google is working on what this is going to look like, but one thing Google has said is their SGE will quickly provide users with the answers they need and not necessarily direct users to other sites or content. 

If their AI, Gemini, can give you better results on their GSE page than sending you off to a site they don’t control, you better believe they will do that. In fact, I think it’s already happening in the travel space.

Plus for successful bloggers monetizing with display ads, as 3rd party cookies get phased out,  advertisers not being able to track visitors, there will probably be downward pressure on ad revenue.

Adapting to New Realities

I was on a call with a food blogger this past week and I started painting this new picture for her and she couldn’t believe what I was saying. She’s an old school blogger. She doesn’t really use AI in her and feels like her readers could definitely tell the difference. 

When I told her it’s all about her prompts and she could prompt her AI to sound like her, she got really upset. I told her she should start getting serious about learning how to use ChatGPT, she was shocked.

When I told her that some people will be using AI for recipes and not going to blogs she didn’t believe me. She said, “Who’s going to get their recipe from a machine?” That's not high-quality content. Then over the next two days I heard of two people who get their recipes from ChatGPT and think it’s so easy.

Do I believe everyone will be getting their recipes from AI, no. But it will become more common.

I don’t mean to be painting a bleak picture for bloggers and they should not abandon creating great blog content. I just mean to point out that change is a foot and the more willing you are to embrace it, the more success you’ll have.

What this really means is opening the aperture of how we see our business, our target audience, and our opportunities to serve them.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the goal of cranking out blog posts, and getting them to rank in Google so you can make a full-time income from ad networks MediaVine or Raptive will shrink in the long run. 

So I have 3 recommendations:

1. Diversify Your Traffic Sources

Start investing in Pinterest again if you had given up on it in the past. It might take a couple of months to see ROI on it, but Pinterest static pins still drive traffic. I’ve heard of people going back to Facebook and using it to drive page views. I think this is especially true and platforms like Facebook are deprioritizing news. If you can build engagement with what you post on Facebook, you can drive traffic. I’ve even heard that people are starting to see traffic coming from other search engines like Bing. Bing is growing in search.

So Google should not be your only play.

And another place to invest in is growing your email list. Besides your blog, your email list is one of your most valuable assets. Because you own your email list. And all these people have said yes, to you showing up in their inbox. Think of that as them inviting you into their living room, so use it wisely. Give them value and let them get to know you.

Focus in Email Marketing

And remember, email marketing is the best and easiest way to sell.

This also includes showing up on social media. Even if these platforms don’t drive a lot of traffic, right now, it’s about getting know. For you.

Which leads to my next recommendation. 

2.) Start Building Relationships With Your Audience

Don’t think of them as nameless, faceless, “traffic.” These are real people. Like you are a real person. And this is where your competitive advantage moving forward comes into play.

With AI, even great content is becoming a commodity. I can get a recipe or DIY from AI now. But YOU are not a commodity. You are a problem solver. 

Start Focusing on Your Brand

I did a solo episode on how you are now not just a content provider. You are an expert, selling your “vibe.”

A few of the bloggers I spoke to this past week, didn’t like this idea because they’re used to hiding behind their blogs. But I’m going to say, this is the new reality. Get used to putting yourself out there, so people can get to know you.

This is why you want to figure out your personal brand based on your expertise and vibe and start sharing it.

And finally, my last recommendation:

3. Sell Solutions to Problems

This is all about finding new income streams.

We’re moving from an information economy (with AI, information is becoming a commodity) to a people-focused economy.

Of course selling digital products is probably the easiest way to get started. If you want to talk to me about how to do it go to milotree.com and book a free 20-minute Zoo call with me. I’ll help you readjust your thinking as a blogger. I feel like this is what I do a lot of.

And yes, starting with an ebook or guide or other types of digital downloads is a great place to start because they’re easy to create and they provide passive income.

But what we see in our data at MiloTreeCart is the people making the most money are selling memberships, coaching, live 1-hour workshops. And notice something about each one of those products. It’s you showing up live with other people.

Sure, if you want to create online courses go for it, but we're seeing mixed success with that. I feel like people are a little coursed out.

Book a Call with Me to Talk About Digital Products

And at MiloTreeCart, we have all the resources and step-by-step guides to launch these products with ease and without burnout. Just talk to me about it.

There are opportunities out there. You just have to look for them. This is your time to connect with other bloggers in your niche, join Facebook groups, watch what bloggers in other niches are doing. 

In addition to selling digital products, you could also look into selling physical products like if you're a crafter selling products on Etsy. And another thing you can sell are affiliate products. If you don’t want to start creating your own products and services, find affiliate products you can promote that will make you serious money. I’m not talking Amazon affiliate links.  But I recommend you find affiliate products that pay a lot of money. I'm talking about software products that have generous affiliate programs, so think about the tools you use and maybe you could be promoting them to other bloggers.

In fact, we sell military card, as you may know, for a lifetime deal of $349 and we pay our affiliates $100 per sale.

For example. We sell MiloTreeCart for $349 right now, lifetime deal. And we pay our affiliates $100 a sale. 

April MiloTreeCart Affiliate Challenge

And I’m even running a challenge in the month of April awarding an additional $250 bonus and a free hour-long coaching call for people who make 8 sales. You make 8 sales during the month you get over $1,350 in value.

Here's how to join our MiloTreeCart affiliate program

Look for Other Income Opportunities

And there are other opportunities out there. For example, I had my friend Anca from The Butter Table on the show. She’s the food blogger who, like many new bloggers, didn’t want to grow her blog the traditional way and wait two years to get any traction, so she figured out how to create user generated content for brands, how to pitch to them, and she’s making a killing. She’s thinking outside the box. And btw, she’s teaching people how to do this.

And if you say, I don’t have any marketable skills, I”m going to say, go learn a new skill that you can monetize. And if you know how to do anything with AI, you can sell that as a skill. Maybe you can teach other bloggers how to use AI to write blog posts or emails.

How Blogging Is Changing and What to Do Now

Yes, the world of blogging is changing. What’s worked so far, might not work as well in the future.

Lean into your brand and your vibe. Your blog is not your brand. You are.

Diversify your traffic sources and show up on social media even if it doesn’t drive traffic because you want people to know you and you get to know people.
It’s no longer about traffic, it’s about people.

Invest in growing your mailing list. Sending emails is the easy way to create your superfans who trust you and will buy from you.

Diversify your revenue streams and start selling solutions. You don’t need millions of people. You just need a loyal audience who is interested in your blog niche.

Find problems you can solve and charge for the solutions.

It's a good idea to teach yourself new marketable skills that you can monetize.

Find the opportunities (like great affiliate programs like MiloTreeCart) because there will be many new ways people will be making good money on the internet. And this is all good news.

And show up as an empathetic human people can relate to.

If you have any questions, reach out to me. I love hearing from you. If you’re having a rough time, reach out to me. If you want to start selling digital products, definitely reach out to me and we'll get on a free call. Now look, no one knows what the future holds if they say they do, do not trust them.

 But I'm actually really bullish about the future of online business because it might not be about our blogs at a certain point.

I'm not sure in the future people are going to be going to static web pages for information. But if you can show up as a real person with real solutions and willing to put in the hard work, you will win. I hope you found this episode helpful.

And just so you know, there are many nights when I'm lying there wide awake thinking about all of this stuff. So maybe I recorded this episode as much for me as I did for you. If you're liking this show, please subscribe. Please leave a review on iTunes. I would so greatly appreciate it and I will see you here again next week.

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MiloTreeCart, the Best Tool for Non-Techies to Sell Digital Products

I also want to introduce you to the MiloTreeCart, a tool designed for non-techies to sell digital products easily. It comes with features like fill-in-the-blank sales pages, check-out pages, a sales dashboard, upsells, and customer support. MiloTreeCart is currently available for a lifetime deal of $349 or three easy installments of $116.33.