So, What is a Blog?
There are so many articles and posts and courses on blogging and how to start a blog. But what is a blog really?
If you’re confused about this as I was, how it works, and if this is something YOU would want to do – I might just have the right answer for you!
This simple guide is going to explain everything you need to know what blog, blogs, blogging and how they differ from websites.
2014, I was in the same place that you are in right now. A friend of mine had convinced me to start a blog so that I can have a place to organize my writings.
But I honestly did not know what a blog was.
I also didn’t know the difference between a blog and a website.
It was all new and kind of confusing to me.
I really didn’t identify with the term “bloggers” or “writers” for the first year or more. I just thought that I had some random blog I was sparingly writing on.
Despite my confusion, I was eager to learn more about blogging because I had spent time reading about how other people were using to make a few extra cash and how effective it was to grow a business.
Fast forward to today, I have built and deleted 4 blogs in different niches that made me a few $$$. This right here is my newest blog (roughly 3 months old at the time of writing this post) and I’m already making a steady $$$ from it.
It’s a crazy but very true story.
I’ve decided to begin writing about and teaching blogging to answer questions I get from readers just like you and provide you the right foundations to get started and make a steady income from your blog.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is a blog?
Definition of a Blog:
A blog (short for “weblog”) is an online journal or informational website displaying information in the reverse chronological order, with latest posts appearing first. It is a platform where a writer or even a group of writers share their views on an individual subject.
I think that’s incredibly formal and or boring..
Instead, Let’s illustrate with an example: This is a blog.
What you are reading right now is an article (post) on a blog.
The blog itself is what holds the content (what you’re reading) and in my case, and my blog is a part of my entire website.
This is also why I refer to my website as a blog.
What is a blog used for?
That’s completely up to you!
Blogs can be used for any or all of the following purposes:
- Personal journal
- Creative expression
- Teaching and coaching others
- Selling products
- Promoting brands
- Blogging for business
Your blog can be whatever you want it to be.
In my case, I use my blog to teach others as well as to sell products to make a full-time income online.
If you are blogging for business (since this is the popular route everyone takes), you know that an established brand or business you rely on consumers to keep buying your products and services. So, as a new business, you can rely on blogging to help you get to these consumers and grab their attention. Without blogging, your website would remain invisible, whereas running a blog makes you searchable and competitive.
So, the main purpose of a blog is to connect you to the relevant audience. Another one is to gain visibility for your business or personal brand.
The more frequent and better quality (a more formal blogging term for helpful/valuable) your blog posts are, the higher the chances for your website to get discovered and visited by your target audience. Which means, a blog is an effective lead generation tool. Add a great call to action (CTA), and it will convert your website traffic into high-quality leads.
A blog also allows you to showcase your authority and build a brand.
Blogging makes your business looks more credible, which is especially important if your brand is still young and fairly unknown. It ensures presence and authority at the same time.
Blog appearance has changed over time, and nowadays blog design includes different items and is specifically designed to the author/bloggers thirst.
But, most blogs include some standard features and structure.
Here are common features that a typical blog will include:
- Header with the menu or navigation bar, logo and search bar
- The main content area with highlighted or latest blog posts
- Sidebar with social profiles, favourite content, or call-to-action
The example above is the basic structure of most blogs you’ll find around the web. Each item has its own importance and helps visitors to navigate through your blog.
But your blog can look completely different from that. You must keep one thing in mind though: usability. It has be functional and easy to use by your reader.
Blogs and Websites
I have gotten lots of questions from people in the tone of: “what is the difference between a blog and a website?”
And I get why this is a bit challenging or confusing for some of you. Many companies are integrating blogs into their sites to perform the same function.
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So, What differentiates a blog from a website?
- Simply put,
- blogs are updated frequently,
- blogs are written in a friendly, relatable and less formal tone,
- blogs encourage reader engagement (readers are allowed to comment or engage with the post as they deem fit),
- blogs allow readers to interact directly with the blog author
Most websites, on the other hand, are static. Websites (except e-comm) are rarely updated. Static websites do not have regularly published posts that readers can engage with.
A Few Examples:
The following are three types of websites and how they function with blogs:
- The website is a blog.
- The website has a blog.
- And the website is just a website.
Let’s dive into a little more detail on each one and explain what the differences are.
The website is a blog
The best example of a blog I can give is the website you are on right now, wholeheartedlygrace.com. Pretty much my entire website is a blog. I just offer services on it.
It is primarily a blog because it’s centered around updated content on the website.
- Here are some other names you could classify my blogs as:
- Website (because even if it is a blog, it’s is still technically a website)
- Authority/Niche Website (Because the content is centred around 2 specific topics, this is also acceptable. You might not have ever heard of this term, but it’s common in internet marketing.)
While these are much bigger websites publishing lots of content and may refer to themselves as a website or publisher, they are still technically a blog since blogging is their primary content.
In these cases, both terms are acceptable.
The website has a blog
I think this is where so many people get confused. Because more companies are now adding blogs to their websites to enable them to engage with their customers.
In this example, the website has a blog it updates regularly, but the primary content is not articles. This is the case for most websites, as a blog is a good way to drive traffic and potential customers to your website or get people to learn about your brand.
The Feminine WordPress Theme Creator, Bluchic, is a good example. You can see on the top menu that they have a link to their blog:
The website has a blog with regularly updated posts and it’s an important part of their business, but the blog section is not the primary content or purpose of the website.
The primary purpose is helping new and pro bloggers build beautiful blogs with their WordPress themes and graphics templates. They sell themes.
- In this case, the people at Bluchic would likely refer to their site as…
- A website
- A shop
- A business
They would not refer to what they do as “blogging” or being “bloggers” even though they have do have a blog on their website.
Another example is HostGator, which is the hosting company I host my blog and some of my clients blogs with.
They too have a blog, but the primary purpose of their website is to offer hosting services that enables intending bloggers and companies establish their online presence.!
Remember, the primary purpose of the website is going to usually reflect what the creator calls the website. It is all about what the purpose of the website is.
The website is just a website
In this case, the website exists without a blog as a stand alone site.
An example would be Canva.com.
This is a website with no blog that I use to create and edit images for my blog and client’s Pinterest account.
- More examples include websites generally for:
- Websites owned by banks and most institutions and brand
- Platforms like Youtube and Facebook
Any of the above websites could add a blog to their website, but right now they just have a website.
Alright, I hope that cleared some stuff up.
Next, I want to go over some other important questions you probably still have if you are interested in learning about the topic: what is a blog and more about the basics of blogging.
What is Blogging?
Blogging is the set of skills that one needs to successfully run and manage a blog.
- To be a successful blogger, you need to have one or all of the following skills:
- Content writing (blog writing) in your chosen niche
- Content marketing (through Social Media Marketing and or E-mail Marketing) to get the word out for your blog posts
- Web or Graphics design
- and more.
Now, you don’t need to have all of these skills as you can easily save time by outsourcing some of your blogging tasks. But you need to have a fair knowledge of them to enable you to handle the basics.
Blogging is taking your thoughts, opinions or research and your unique writing style and mashing them together in the form of written expression.
Blog writing can be introspective, fun, exciting, mind-numbing, emotional, relaxed, or whatever you decide for it to be.
It can also be a personal development tool
Who is a Blogger?
In recent times, bloggers have become famous for various reasons. As an alternative career or job to many, more people are choosing to join the ranks. So who is a blogger?
A blogger is an individual who shares parts of their lives, interest, knowledge of a particular topic with you. Bloggers are mobile and don’t need to be in one place. They live the laptop life!
Bloggers use the internet to reach a wider (global) audience than they would normally have.
What Should I Blog About?
The kind of blog you create and what to blog about is going to depend on your own goals for your blog.
Contrary to popular belief, blogs are not just an online diary about your thoughts. If you want to make a business out of it or earn money from it, you need to run it like a business from the first day.
You can create a blog in any niche you want. Here are some kind of blog niches:
- Lifestyle/personal blogs
- News blogs
- Entertainment, Celebrity, gossip blogs
- Food/recipe blogs
- Health and wellness blogs
- Personal growth blogs
- Personal finance blogs
- Entrepreneur or business blogs
- Faith blogs etc.
You can blog about whatever you want to in your chosen niche, including…
- Company updates
- A product you liked
- A workout you used or recommend to your friends
- Educate your audience with industry tips
- Something you are learning
- Or use it as…
A creative outlet to hone your writing skills
A way to meet others and connect
Basically, anything you can think of. Be creative!
Here’s the rub though…
Not all niches and articles are created equal and there are certain blog niches and post ideas that do better than others.
What Makes a Good Blog?
It’s the experience you create for your readers. This can be the functionality and usability of your blog. Google is big on user experience — how easy it is for visitors to use and navigate your blog helps you rank well on Google and makes your readers want to come back.
It is also about the connection you create with your readers.
The closer you can connect with and bond with those visiting your blog, the more powerful the blog will be and likely money you will make.
A good blog is not necessarily a big blog with a large audience, more so it’s how many members of that audience truly connect with the writer/content.
Some small blogs make TONS of cash because of the deep connection with their audience, while some huge blogs make nothing because they don’t know how to connect with readers.
So, focus on creating a good and easy user experience for your readers and building connections with them.
How Do Bloggers Make Money?
First of all, Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme. So if you are looking for a quick way to get rich, blogging may not be for you. Because blogging takes time and lots of efforts to do it right, to begin seeing the result you desire.
You might need to take a job or not quit your job so that you won’t be under pressure to make it fast thus falling prey for every “make 9 figures from your new blog in less than a month” offerings you see (and girl, you’ll see lots of them).
There are 5 major ways bloggers earn income from their blogs. They include:
- Putting ads on your blog (Google AdSense)
- Recommending or Selling other people’s products (called affiliate marketing)
- Selling your own digital products and services (higher return but more time investment)
- Sponsored Posts (getting paid to publish an article about another brand, company or product on your blog)
- Selling online courses and memberships (higher return, but require more time)
How Do I Get Started?
You can get one started in 30 minutes or less!
Follow this series of posts to learn the basics and how to get your blog started.
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