5 Predictions for Blogging in 2024 – Preparing for the Year

Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on January 16, 2024.

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The start of a new year is always a time to look forward, and when it comes to blogging in 2024, there are a lot of things to be aware of.

So in this one, we thought we'd pull out our crystal ball and look at some of the biggest things that are likely to come this year, predict what will happen, and share a bit about what we are doing to prepare!

The Cookiepocalypse

2024 has been hailed as the Cookiepocalypse as Google is set to remove 3rd party tracking by the second half of the year. Their first test will impact 1% of users and begins January 4th, and based on those results, it will be full steam ahead to full removal. (They are joining others like Apple and Firefox who have already removed these.)

Cookies make a large part of the internet go 'round- particularly display advertising. These work more or less because data from cookies can be shared behind the scenes. You visit Site A, it drops a cookie, and other sites and services (3rd parties, like ad networks), can then use the cookie to display a relevant ad based on Site A's business, topic, etc.

Naturally, when it all goes away for a first-party, privacy-driven world, some are predicting a big shakeup to follow. How will ad revenues adjust? The general consensus will be a decrease in earnings. Will affiliate referrals be impacted? Those often run on first-party data (utilized on the same site) and should not be impacted, but some products could potentially use 3rd party tracking all the same. Truthfully, we don't really know the scale of this one, but we're all going to find out very soon.

What are we doing to prepare? Preparing for the Cookiepocalypse is tricky, if only because we don't know what will happen just yet. We can make predictions, as we are here, but the truth is no one knows how things will unfold just yet.

First, we're running Mediavine's Grow on all of our sites. The ad network is moving towards a first-party data solution where readers can opt-in to share their data for targeted ads. This is then tracked across all member sites when a user is “logged in” on Grow, so there is power in numbers with authenticated users here that could tip the scales to higher ad revenue for those who are on the ad network.

  • Although Grow is Mediavine-specific, we expect all ad networks to coalesce around whatever idea works best once cookies go away. This is just one of the only publicly available tools we know of right now to try and get ahead of it.

Second, we're being even more focused on defining our niches. Many of the non-cookie alternatives to advertising often involve identifying relevant topics users are interested in and then serving ads to match. We would not be surprised if the shift ultimately moves to “show ads that fit the site” over “show ads that fit the user,” so having a clearly defined niche could be a benefit here.

Third, traffic gains offset RPM drops. How can you offset a 10%, 30%, or 50% drop in RPM on your site? Increase your traffic by 11%, 43%, or 100%, respectively. We're in a “growth at all costs” mindset as a hedge here, even if that is easier said than done.

Fourth, we are holding onto the hope that money in digital advertising will not leave the space simply by cookies going away. As long as advertisers pour billions of dollars into display advertising, the death of cookies will simply shuffle the money around accordingly. This likely will mean that some sites win and some lose based on the change, but the money will likely still exist in the space.

Finally, we're diversifying our income streams to reduce our reliance on display ads outright. But this one is going to be quite important this year so we're giving that its own topic later on in this article.

The Search Generative Experience Question

If the cookiepocalypse isn't enough, Google is going full-steam ahead with its new product, the Search Generative Experience (SGE).

This one is an AI-driven set of results based on individual queries. The intent is more or less to use the power of machine learning to deliver tailored results to each user upon request as opposed to a bit more of a static list of results that the current search provides.

One of the biggest concerns with SGE is that these results can often give away all of the content in-feed, thus keeping users on Google and not on our sites. But another issue is that this will rewrite the SEO game completely. How will we rank? How volatile will impressions be if results are generated on a user-by-user basis? Will we continue to get clicks?

We are hopeful, but cautious.

What are we doing to prepare? Honestly, not much- but we're keeping an eye on things. We're always at the mercy of Google's whims (as is the case whenever you're playing in someone else's sandbox), and we're just jumping through whatever hoops they throw at us as they come.

But there are a few things to think about here ahead of the shift.

First, whether we agree with it or not, Google always wants to show the best content for the best query. A lot of discussion has been around E-E-A-T in recent years to show off your expertise, and being “the expert” in your niche is only ever going to get more and more important. Working to build and show off your knowledge to be #1 and not #100 rings truer and truer with each passing update.

Second, make sure your site is passing all public evaluations that Google has out there be it PSI scores, Core Web Vitals, and other errors that may be shown on Search Console. If Google is saying they want a Site to be X, Y, Z and they are telling you your site isn't hitting it, you may want to pay attention.

Third, write content that isn't easily summarized. If your content can be returned to a user in a sentence or two via an AI summary, it is likely that these will simply get served in-feed and reduce a user's need to click to your site. This was true even before SGE became a thing, but seems important enough to highlight one more time.

Fourth, we're diversifying our traffic streams to reduce our reliance on Google. Wait, didn't we say diversification is going to be important? Yep, we'll touch on that more in a bit. But, again, the best way to pad your site from the whims of Google is to generate traffic from outside of Google.

Finally, although we're not convinced that SGE won't inevitably head to the Google graveyard, if it does become the new defacto search engine, experts will figure out how to optimize around it. So perhaps we will be talking less about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in 2025 but rather Search Generative Experience Optimization (SGEO) instead.

AI Creating Solutions to Problems

AI

Google isn't alone in creating AI products, and it seems like a mad dash for companies to embrace AI tools for better or for worse.

Although as it stands right now the vast majority of uses seem to be in the “for worse” category, we are optimistic that AI will result in the creation of many novel products that we as bloggers can benefit from- and we fully intend to test them out as they come.

What are we doing to prepare? We aren't programmers, so this one is also a wait-and-see approach to see what people who are smarter than us can come up with.

Last year, it felt like AI was in its infancy. Many of the best ideas we saw were simply about using chatboxes as a way to stay organized, find solutions to problems a bit faster, and generally improve efficiency. The bulk of what we used AI for was simply whenever we got stuck, asking a service like ChatGPT “how can I do this?” and see if it worked.

This year, we're expecting better applications of AI to come out both in the blogging space and outside it (of course).

One product that piqued our interest for our travel blogs that came out in late 2023 was Stay22's optimized redirect, where proprietary software (we're assuming AI) can detect what destination any given page is about and automatically redirect hotel booking links to the corresponding landing page (e.g. a Booking.com homepage link in a post about Paris automagically redirecting to the Paris landing page on Booking).

We don't know what AI products are coming our way in the future, but we can see a ton of possible applications in the realm of smart detection. So if any programmer wants to create a product that will auto-recommend affiliate products based on the topics of our post, and do it well, fast, and accurately with AI, we're listening intently.

  • Are you looking to increase your travel affiliate revenue with Stay22? Our friends at the network are offering new subscribers a 5% bonus in base commission after signing up via our link! Additional terms and conditions may apply. This offer is only available for new members to Stay22.

Diversification is Not an Option, it is a Must

Our quest to diversify our blogging businesses has been many years in the making, but it feels like this year is when things will finally come to a head.

As mentioned many times above, the biggest risk to blogging this year is a lack of diversification. The phrases of “having all of your eggs in one basket” and “playing in someone else's sandbox” will only ring truer and truer as time goes on.

If your business has a single point of failure, as many blogs often do, it is time to do something about that, and fast.

What are we doing to prepare?  Diversify all the things. Build that email list. Work on generating traffic on new social networks. Create products, services, and other sponsorships that could be relevant to your business. Launch another site or three with a different niche, different audience target, and monetization goal. We could go on.

Even if your idea may not be the next thing to hit record traffic or income, every little bit helps, and the power in numbers of a million small things working together can help ride the wave better over being all in on a big one.

Thankfully, there is also some light at the end of the dark tunnel. Mediavine is said to be working on a new ad product to allow sites with less than 50k sessions to join (TBD 2024). We expect more AI-backed affiliate tools to come out throughout the year, too (see above).

We thoroughly believe that when one door closes in blogging, three more open, and this year it feels like we all need to be running through every door we can.

And if some of the above changes end up having little to no impact on our sites at the end of the year, those who successfully diversified their traffic and revenue likely won't complain about it in retrospect, either.

Some Blogs May Fail, But Blogging Isn't Dead

Hammer to Computer

We're going to end this one on a bit of a low note with the full expectation that this year is going to be rough for bloggers. So much so that we expect many to throw in the towel entirely and others to declare that blogging is dead (even if it isn't).

We've seen a lot of this in the past year already with major Google updates, reduced ad revenue, and the like all making it harder to be competitive in blogging.

It is likely only going to get worse.

If your business hinges on just one traffic source, just one income stream, or one other single point of failure we're not even considering here, 2024 could be a rough one indeed.

What are we doing to prepare? We have to admit, the answer to this one is simply to revert you back to all of the recommendations we made in the above sections.

Diverse blogging businesses with multiple traffic and revenue streams will always weather the storm better than others. The market will likely shift (and shift hard) this year, and many bloggers will likely throw in the towel if they are hit too hard when having all of their eggs in one basket.

Those who can weather the storm the best likely will make it through to the other side when new products, solutions, and tutorials come out to help navigate whatever the “new normal” is in the future.

Is this the case with every year? Absolutely. But it feels especially concerning this time around. So when all else fails, simply work towards surviving for another day, and we'll cross all the other bridges when we get there.

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