It took me a long time to come to the same conclusions as you. Like, nearly a decade.
Blogging is a relatively new industry and it changes so quickly. I bought a Pinterest course in 2017 and it worked so well – my traffic was amazing. Until it didn’t.
But what they don’t tell you is that the quality of that traffic is low.
Most of it is other bloggers filling up their tailwind queue. They won’t click your affiliate links or ads, and they won’t read the content you poured your heart and soul into. It’s little more than a vanity metric.
When I learned how to create content that was designed to be found in search, it changed the game.
My blog traffic grew exponentially month on month (who knew so many people were confused by the aerial roots on Monstera), and it was sustainable. I didn’t need to spend hours on Pinterest. The catch? Four months in the beginning with no hits, save the odd bot.
A note on Pinterest – if they plan on being Google’s competitor, they have a long way to go, but if they achieve that, creating a pin is all you’ll need to do to get traffic. Great content should do the rest.
I’ve written a load of articles about this very subject here on medium before starting my own site about it. It’ll take an age to rank (the whole blogging about blogging niche is a wee bit saturated) but I’ve learn how to handle the six month sandbox stage now. Only took me the best part of a decade.
The only affiliate links will be my hosting and theme (which is free but has a pro option I’m transparent about not using). If anyone’s looking for a good theme, generatepress is simple, clean, and super speedy. I won’t be selling courses. My Pinterest strategy doesn’t use a scheduler, except for the free one provided by tailwind.
You don’t need tailwind. You don’t need to pay for keyword research tools. All you need is to be able to use google to for tiny gaps in the search results that you can fill.
Blogging is still a great way to make money, if you:
a) have patience and
b) can provide more value than your competitors.