Technology blogs continue to be one of the hardest hit, as the blog platform itself continues to wane as social media becomes the more definitive way to spread information and connect with an audience. No longer do the majority of audiences want to read a 3000-8000 word blog post, they want a video or live feed telling them in real time or in a quick video summary what would have taken them 15 minutes to read. One of the bigger sites HiTech Legion is one such technology blog that actually started the same year as Dragonblogger.com. I had followed them and they were a peer site, and now they have announced they are shutting down completely as they were unable to successfully transition to social media and gain a foothold there like their blog did back in the day. This makes me thankful that I diversified Dragon Blogger into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and most importantly YouTube early on. Back in 2012 I started ramping up video production and content and we produce more content in the past 2 years than in the 6 previous years to that. The Dragon Blogger YouTube Channel now gets 3x as many video views per month than the DragonBlogger.com blog gets in pageviews per month. I get more adsense revenue from the YouTube videos than I do from the website, but I have no plans on shutting down the blog at this time. Even with it’s hosting fees there is something written product reviews give you that you can’t do with a video and this builds the time to show effective benchmarks, comparisons allow people to consume that content at the pace they want to read it, rather than the pace of the video.
Blogging is tough, and the hosting fees of running a WordPress blog with all the SEO optimization, Dynamic peformance and things you have to do to make sure you rank are becoming tougher and tougher. Sites can’t just have content, they have to load quickly, render right on phone browsers, desktop browsers and tablets and they must have minimal interruptions to the reader. I don’t use popup advertisements or popunder advertisements because I can’t stand the inconvenience, with adblocker plugins my site revenue is 33% of what it was in 2012 and just slightly covers my web hosting fees and other expenses like giveaways, promotion, marketing…etc.
The other thing is sponsored opportunities are diminishing for all the smaller blogs compared to 2009 – 2014 as well, with less sponsored opps dropping on the doorstep despite the site getting more recognized. Part of this is sponsors are going directly to sites without intermediaries and the other part is that blogs themselves are losing traction as influences, with influencers now being looked at at Social Media properties and surprisingly an Amazon Top Reviewer in the top 100 ranks can gain many products to review for free, and when it costs nothing but time to build a profile of Amazon reviews without the overhead of hosting fees.
I continue to consider to build more niche microsites, I think affiliate sales with Amazon, CJ, ShareASale are still going to be the best long term options for monetizing without having to inject scripted auto-ads on websites, but it takes time and energy to build out sites, optimize them and put that together. In the meantime, I considered possibly using a WordPress.com blog with custom domain name, and working around needing plugins and avoiding the hosting fees, as well as other options like Tumblr and such. Blogging isn’t what it once was, and actually in retrospect 8 years later I wish I hadn’t chosen the name dragonblogger as I have had a hard time with some partnerships with brands that specifically didn’t like the “blogger” in the site name or domain name, something with tech or something else but blogger. I still think though that this is just personal choice, and dragonblogger name and brand for me is strong after 8 years. I think it is all about site traffic and growth, after all reaching 2 million plus views on our YouTube channel and being able to sometimes affiliate sell over $10,000 worth of Amazon product per month from my affiliate tags is not nothing, it just takes time and a good team. I am fortunate to have some people who help write and create content for dragonblogger and do it because they love to do it, and they do such a good job. This site is a labor of love as I have said and is for the enthusiasts who really enjoy sharing their opinion of a product, game, service or software and learning how something works, what works, what didn’t live up to expectations and is still fun and exciting to do.
8 years later and the one thing I wish is I had more time and more energy, inspiration to churn out 4-5 high quality articles per day on dragonblogger.com instead of 1-2. We have leaned very heavily toward doing mostly product review posts and I would like to go back to including more editorials and future thinking posts, posts that generate engagement, ask questions, offer help or how to solve an issue and more. These of course take the most time to write, but I still enjoy writing, creating videos, reviewing products and sharing my opinions with the world and I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon.