All things considered, professional blogging seems like a pretty decent gig. You make your own hours, your business expenses are very colorful, and above all, you don’t have to have a “real job.”
If you’re lucky, you even have a large audience thanks to your social media presence and your stellar Google search results positioning in a variety of search terms related to your niche, which guarantees you high traffic and the high ad revenues that go with it. Yes, all is well in the kingdom of an elite professional blogger…at least, until Google’s algorithm changes. That particular development can shake things up quite a bit.
As the needs of the computer user advance, Google continues to respond with upgrades to its’ world-leading search engine. Current and future additions to Google place much more importance on elements such as social media presence and external backlinks to establish a site’s relevance and resultant placement within the search results, and if a future Google algorithm decides it doesn’t like your page due to a combination of factors such as text similarity, lack of links or meta tag completeness, it could represent a crippling blow to the profitability of your blog. After all, if Google claims it can’t see your blog, it effectively becomes a secret that only your existing readers know.
A single tweak to the way Google delivers its results could effectively kill your blog as a source of revenue.
Due to the relatively new industry of commercial blogging, there have been few widespread solutions to the reality of potential Google-related blog mortality. One of the largest obstacles to establishing a form of insurance for blogs is the difficulty of determining a concrete value for most blogs. While Perez Hilton’s musings can be assessed somewhat accurately due to the high-profile nature of the blog and its advertisers, your spice gardening blog does not have quite the same platform and is more difficult to appraise for insurance purposes.
Also, a fluctuation in your visiting numbers could have an extreme impact on the worth of your blog, and insurers are leery of taking on highly variable assets. The bottom line is that most blogs are not an objectively appraisable asset, and an established value is essential to determining the price and level of coverage an insurance policy would provide. Concordantly, a tremendous untapped market exists for the insurance of monetized blogs, as a large-scale blog can be valued at millions of dollars.
Yet, in spite of the fact that a blog is every bit the asset a small business can be in practice, the limited legal protections afforded specifically to professional bloggers suggests that most theorize that it is a mere hobby for bored housewives. Some especially creative bloggers have the means to incorporate their blog—a business venture—as an LLC and obtain a type of insurance known as business income protection coverage.
A business income protection policy guarantees the income of a business if normal business operations are interrupted, and can provide coverage for lost income up to the value of the policy. The insurer would look at traffic analytics and advertising numbers when determining your income from the blog and issue it to you until your status is restored or up to the time limit indicated in the policy. Policies range from $25,000 to $1 million in value.
However, this type of policy is intended for entrepreneurs with much more capital invested in the business than the average blogger, and can be prohibitively expensive. To make the picture even bleaker, insurers vary on their definition of a qualifying event, and as your heavily demoted blog is still technically operational in the event of an algorithm assassination, you may not even qualify for a payout. When seeking insurance for your blog, be sure to confirm what types of interruptions and damages are covered under the policy.
A way to potentially defray the impact of a rankings disaster is to maintain multiple monetized blogs to diversify your income. Regularly back up your posts in case you need to one day resurrect them to a new blog. Guest posting on other blogs helps to build your profile and more quickly recover from a relegation to the back pages of Google. Many bloggers who blog for a living keep a reserve fund in case their blog is incapacitated. Nevertheless, the few options available in this scenario serve to illustrate just how devastating losing your rightful place in search results could be.
The earning potential of a blog is inextricably linked to its standing on Google. In the future, as blogging continues to develop as a mainstream source of income, insurers will have no choice but to recognize their potential as businesses and offer the same financial protections available in other industries. As it stands, the life of a blog mainly rests in the hands of its readers. This means that as of today, the best insurance for a blog is relevance.