Everyday we hear the words blog or blogging or blogger, but what do they really mean? Everyday we see different material online that gives people’s different personal views. This includes political views, or even comments on someone else’s views on a specific topic. In this article we will dive into what a blog is, how to create a blog, and even how to generate income from them.
What Is a Blog?
If you have ever written in a diary to document your day, your life, or a situation that you are or were in, then you have blogged. To be an official blogger, all you need to do is transfer those stories from your journal to an online website. Simply put, a blogger is basically the author of a blog. Someone who controls their blog and shares their thoughts and opinions on specific topics to an online audience. To make your blog or your personal diary appealing, you may want to incorporate pictures, videos and other interactive graphics to keep your readers engaged. Your goal is to create a blog that will keep your users coming back for more.
So what is a blog? A blog is simply a different genre of a website, and its material is commonly known as blog post or entries. Now the question is, do you want your blogs to be made public or private? The great thing about blogging is the owner can set the privacy level as they choose. Simply put, a blog can be set for both public or private settings.
If set for public use, anyone will be able to access your blog through emails, social media outlets, keyword research via the many search engines such as Google, Quora, Bing, and Yahoo. Another popular way to get your blogs in front of the eyes of many is through sites set up primarily for blogging and sharing your personal diary to the world such as blogger.com, Tumblr, Squarespace, or WordPress.
History of Blogging
Imagine a world at the brink of computers as we know them or a time before the World Wide Web. The way we communicated then was much different than the way we do now. Internet in its early stages consisted of many different networks. Some of these networks included scientific networks, academic networks, government networks, and research networks.
These networks brought together different communities of people to store and share content publicly and privately on these different networks via computers at the time. “Newsgroups” became a popular term during this time as people discussed and shared information and between the years of 1994 and 1995 was when the earliest blogs began to appear.
People not only shared events about their personal lives and thoughts, but also about everything from traveling, career interest, and societal issues among many other topics. Some of the pioneers of blogging included Justin Hall who was known for his web-based diary “Justin’s Links From the Underworld”. Others included Carolyn Burke, Jerry Pournelle, and Claudio Pinhanez to name a few.
It took until about 1996 or 1997 until the media began to document this form of expressive writing, and of course, once the media took hold, opinions began to surface. In December of 1997, the term “weblog” was born thanks to Jorn Barger. The term weblog then meant “logging the web” or in simpler terms, it referred to putting a diary of personal web-based content on the many networks available to be shared.
Weblog, also jokingly called “we blog” at the time by some is simply a format where entries are laid out in reverse chronological order. This means that the most current or newer post or links will be at the top of the bloggers landing page. These entries will normally be updated with new and popular content and with new topics frequently. In 1999, the term was shortened to be simply known as “blog” by Peter Merholz, also one of the first blogging pioneers.
Blog vs. Website
Confusion is expected when it comes to knowing the difference between a blog and a website. This is because most people believe that each is interchangeable, but that is not the case. There are many differences between blogs and websites so let’s break down the facts.
- Engagement: Blogs are more interactive than your basic website. Meaning, for the most part, blogs encourages discussions between its audience. To make this possible, comment sections are added for online dialogue.
- Updates: Blogs will normally update more frequently than websites. These updates will happen weekly, daily, or even hourly depending on the blogger. Websites, on the other hand, will update its content less frequently. Pages are usually added as needed.
- Interchangeability: In simple terms, a blog can incorporate itself as part of a website, but not every website can act as a blog. For example, a company may incorporate a blog section within its website to keep its customer updated daily on a particular matter or to help educate them on a subject more frequently than the normal section of the website would.
Blog Post vs. Pages
Many beginners get confused when trying to differentiate between blogs and pages which are both parts of a website. WordPress is one of the most common platforms that gives access to both forms.
- Order: As discussed earlier, blog post is laid out in reverse chronological order, displaying the newer post first. Pages, on the other hand, are more about the layout of the website. For example, the about me page, contact page, the home page, and the main pages that break down the website’s purpose such as a products page or a page describing the services being provided.
- Static vs. Dynamic: Blog post is dynamic, meaning the content changes and is updated frequently. Pages, on the other hand, are static or constant and are only updated as needed. The content on a page may be the same for months or even years whereas the content on a blog post may change daily or even hourly.
Starting a Blog
Starting a blog is simple for the most part. The first thing that you will want to do to create a blog is determine what type of blogger you want to be. People choose to blog for many reasons. Some choose to become a blogger because of the great social outlet that it provides. To be able to connect with and communicate with people around the world and simply express thoughts, opinions, and emotions is enough for many people.
Some people choose to create a blog because they want to have their diary online for record-keeping as well as for others to see verse having their thoughts and stories be locked in a traditional diary. However; many are now doing it for the financial possibility that it could provide which we will talk about next. Whatever your reason is to become a blogger, the opportunity is yours for the taking.
If you just want to create a blog for social purposes only, there are many routes you can go with little to no money to invest. There are many free options available to start blogging immediately such as WordPress, Tumblr, Wix, and Blogger to name a few.
The first thing you want to do is set up your blog. You can do this via the free platforms just mentioned. There are many layouts available to choose from to create the perfect format for your blog post. If you are promoting goods or services or blogging to generate income, you may want to go towards more of a business route. This may require investing a little money into obtaining a domain (ex: newblogger.com) and hosting to create a more professional and polished look. This option will give your users the ability to find you and your services easily and is very affordable at less than about $20/year.
Now that you have set up your free blog account or your website, the next step is to add content. Whether it be weekly or daily, you want to make sure that you add new topics and update frequently to keep your users engaged. You have the power to create a blog that will captivate your visitors daily.
The goal is to continue to educate your customers or your audience. Scheduling how you put out your content is important, so you want to make sure that you stay active in creating new content and new articles. Writing is essential if you want to become a successful blogger so setting aside time to write and post will be a necessity.
Good job! Now that you have your content, the next step is to get your blog circulating. Even if you are only doing it for social reasons you still want people to see your content right? So, let’s get to advertising your brand! As a blogger whether you are doing it to generate income or not, you are writing online for a purpose, so use the many social media outlets and free platforms to your advantage to get your name out there.
An email list is also another avenue to reach a larger audience as well as networking. Do not hesitate to reach out to other bloggers for guidance or advice. Ask them what they did to create a blog that took them to the next level.
How to Make Money Blogging
Blogging is a great way to get your thoughts, opinions, emotions, and services in front of a wide audience. Blogging can also generate substantial income if you play your cards right. Once you have your blog post up and running, now it’s time to get paid and the way to do this is by not only promoting yourself but also promoting other companies.
Becoming an affiliate is a great way to earn income while blogging. Simply put, depending on your services, you can sign up as an affiliate for let’s say Amazon. Once you’re approved for the affiliate program, any products that are bought through your blog post or website, you would earn a percentage of that product.
Adsense is another way to earn money as a blogger. To better understand this, advertisers pay to promote their products and services through ads. Your website sort of acts as a host for these ads and Google acts as the mediator as far as getting you paid. Once approved, Google will pay you based on the clicks and other impressions on those ads that are posted on your website. With that said, it is important to create a blog and add enough content for Google to recognize you and approve you for Adsense.
Lastly, to earn income from your blogs you can promote your own products and services. If you write, for example, you can promote yourself and your services for customers that may need articles written for a blog post that they do not want to write themselves. If you travel, maybe you can become an affiliate with an airline or give your own advice on the best places to visit with relevant Adsense ads on your site that will encourage your visitors to click while you get paid!
Downside of Blogging
With anything there is a downside and blogging is no different. Blogging has become very popular as a way to market products and businesses. Blogging has also become very popular due to that fact that it can be a means of income, but before you go in headfirst there are some factors to be successful as a blogger.
Creating time is not an option if you want to be a successful blogger. The primary reason why people read blogs is for the new material and new subject matter. For this reason, you want to make sure that you are able to devote time in your schedule to add at least two to three articles weekly to your blog post.
This will keep your readers and subscribers interested and keep them coming back as we have discussed. Google’s algorithm also looks for a post to be updated frequently, so to effectively make SEO work for you, this has to be a must-do. For people who can’t set aside the time needed for this style of writing, blogging may not be the right fit.
You will not be able to add new content if you do not have anything to write about. Creativity definitely comes in hand when trying to make your blog appealing. For some though, this may be challenging, but there are ways around this barrier.
One option is to let someone else do the hard work for you in the form of freelance writers. These godsend writers can be found on platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork for example, and for an affordable price, your articles can be written and delivered to you in a timely fashion for you to post to your blog.
Other options to keep the ideas coming in order to create a blog that is worthy is to use different interactive tools to keep your users engaged. This could include videos, info-graphics or even other writers to visit your blog in the form of guest writers. With that said, networking can only work to your advantage in this field.
Extra Work w/ Little PayOff
The perfect world of blogging would mean, write a few articles a week, gain a huge following, and get paid. Well, this isn’t a perfect world so the odds are… this is not going to happen that easily. The primary rule is to write and post frequently, but sometimes this may not be enough and this could be frustrating.
In some cases, you may need to go a few extra miles to get the outcome you want. This may require you to market yourself more whether that be through email marketing or using your social media outlets for example such as Facebook. Ads are a great and inexpensive way to gain followers and potential clients to your blog.
This leads to one of the last downsides of blogging. You may need to invest money before you start to make money. The payoff of blogging does not happen overnight and in the beginning, you will not make much income. The upside is, if you are willing to do the work and have a little patience, the payoff, in the end, will be worth it.
To determine whether a blog is better for you or a website, that will depend on your end goal. To make this decision you must first know your user and their needs. Is the information they need to be needed on a daily, weekly, monthly, or a yearly or more basis?
In today’s world information is king and instant and constant information is at even more of a demand. Blogging has taken the world by storm because of this. To be a successful blogger it will demand time, patience, dedication and sometimes a little investment which could pay off in the long run so blog on!