Blogging is the latest big thing to be doing these days. Everybody and their auntie are doing it. Some are blogging as a hobby; others are earning their salary with it. We all know that blogging is a thing – but do we all know what a blog is?
Even bloggers sometimes struggle to answer the most simple questions about what it is that we do. While the subject of blogging can get very in-depth and convoluted, it doesn’t need to be complicated for it to be done well.
Before we leap into the big world of blogging, let’s make sure we’ve got the definitions down.
What is a Blog?
According to the fancy Merriam-Webster dictionary, a blog is “a website that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs provided by the writer.”
In simple terms – a blog is an online collection of info on a particular subject, gathered on one website. The subject can be pretty much anything at all. It may be as general as a person’s thoughts and feelings, or something more professional, such as advice on a particular topic or industry.
The word “blog” is short for “weblog” – a place where stuff is logged on the web. This content is available on the internet for all to see. This is fantastic if you want to get readers noticing your posts. If you’re ranting about your daily activities and ranting about your parents/teachers/boss, though. Remember, whatever you say is out there online to be goggled at.
Of course, for a blog that intends to garner interest, get readers, and be shared, being in the public eye is perfect. Unless your website is truly an online diary for your innermost feelings, the intention is to get eyes on your content and start making connections!
What is Blogging?
The verb version of the word “blog” means to add new content to your weblog.
Don’t be fooled though – blogging is not simply throwing a few words on a virtual page every now and then and hitting publish. It’s an ever-evolving creative process, that requires time, effort and consistency.
Blogs can be populated by a single person, or by multiple writers – this just depends on the type of blog, how often new posts are published, and how quickly things change within the industry. Personal blogs are usually run by one person, and business blogs can often have a whole host of writers contributing.
Blogging The Right Way
There are ways to do it right, and there are ways to do it wrong.
Blogging well involves a good few working parts.
- Correct formatting
- SEO (search engine optimization, which means making sure Google can find your posts)
- Visuals (stock photos, your own photography, infographics and so on)
- Sharing your content on social media to build up a following
It also means churning out consistent, valuable content. Your blog posts appear in chronological order, so you need to be adding to it constantly so that readers can see that you have up-to-date knowledge.
You will also need to decide if you prefer long-form content or short-form content, as this will affect not only the time you spend writing but how Google ranks your posts.
If you’re spending any significant amount of time writing blog posts, sourcing stock photos, and uploading content to a website – you’re blogging.
What is the Purpose of Blogging?
Blogging may sound like something that only teenagers and lazy adults do, but trust me, it takes dedication and time.
While every blogger has their own specific goals, blogging generally serves one of three purposes – informing, educating, or entertaining.
Sometimes it’s fairly easy to tell which one is prominent – a news site, for example, is more about informing than anything else. A site that provides courses falls under “education.” And a website filled with videos of cats getting a fright at cucumbers would obviously be for entertainment purposes.
Sometimes websites can fulfill more than one of these purposes. A great many information blogs use humor to get their messages across, which adds entertainment value. Some might at first glance appear to be entertainment through and through, but they bring about an educational message.
Of course, for those who make their living blogging, one of their purposes would be to earn money. The purpose they serve largely depends on the goals and intentions of the owner.
What Types of Blogs Are There?
Blogs are many and varied. If there’s a subject that can be talked about, it can be (and probably already has been) blogged about.
They do typically fall into one of two types – personal or business.
Personal doesn’t necessarily mean that you share all your innermost aches and pains and post pictures of your smoothie bowl every morning; it simply means that you are not a company. You write under your own name and represent yourself and your opinions and ideas.
Sure, this can be a sort of online diary containing your daily thoughts if that’s what you want to write about. Each blog post could be based on an anecdote from your life. But the website of a fitness model, author, or just general influencer can also be considered a personal blog.
You really don’t have to share your personal details with your readers. BUT part of what makes these different from company or business blogs is the personal touch.
Your readers feel almost as though you are talking directly to them. They feel like they are getting a taste of the real person behind the words: your opinions, your ideas, your views, your humor.
A personal blog can really be on any topic. Whatever you’re passionate about, whatever your job, you can create one and start connecting with readers.
Of course, personal blogs are often used to earn money and to promote products and services. They are just written and promoted from the point of view of a single person (or couple, or family), and not a company.
A business or company blog is a little different to a personal one. It can still be just as informative and entertaining, but it is definitely less personal.
These blogs represent companies or industries, even if they are run by a single person. Generally, the purpose of a business blog is to inform their target audience of what’s going on in the company and new trends in the industry.
If you’re in the furniture industry, your posts might contain things such as taking care of furniture, furniture repair, and the best kinds of furniture for your office or living room. Your website is going to cater specifically to people in your area who would be looking at buying in your industry.
Business blogs are also more likely to have more than one writer creating their content. It may have a blog manager, who oversees all of the writers and organizes the user-generated content into a sensible order.
Business blogs can also really be about any topic, but the main point behind them is to promote their own products or services.
If you are a brick-and-mortar business, your target audience would be people in the area who need your particular product or service. If you are an online business, your audience is much wider, but the intention remains the same – to sell.
You may have heard this term before. Blogs are one thing, but how is a vlog different?
Vlogs are simply blogs in video form – video blogs. While a normal blog consists of written posts, some pictures and perhaps a video or two thrown in, vlogs are almost exclusively video content.
Instead of writing, you would sit in front of a camera and talk through whatever topic it is you’re covering. This is very different from your typical blog – speaking instead of writing, and a different way of marketing.
Vlogs do tend to have some form of written info along with the video. This could be a transcript of the clip, or an article to supplement it, but the written content is far less prominent than the video.
Vlogs are less common, as not everyone has the confidence or the equipment to create videos. Vlogging is a very specific type of online content and tends to be used in the travel sector a lot. Don’t worry though – vlogging is certainly not for everyone, and normally written blogs are far more common.
What Can You Blog About?
There is a huge amount of topics that can be written about. It’s like having a conversation (with strangers online, in written form). So anything that you could possibly have a conversation about, you can blog about.
- Personal Journal
- Company (industry)
- Anything else you set your mind to
Of course, within each of these topics, you can narrow it down even further and get very specific. Instead of just cats, you could focus on cats acting like idiots to their humans, which is a rather particular subject.
There are hundreds of topics apart from these that can be written about. All you need to run a successful blog is the know-how and a captive audience. With those, you can make any topic work.
So, Why Blog?
Don’t let the fact that blogging is so popular put you off starting your own. It really is for anyone – there are no prerequisites, no qualifications needed. All you need is a passion for a topic and a commitment to making it work.
There are dozens of good reasons to get blogging though, apart from simply having a platform to share your thoughts and ideas.
Just about any subject can become an earner if you do it right. The key to making money with it, though, is to offer people something they need at a price they can’t refuse.
In the case of a product, a service, or a learning experience, if you can figure out how to present it to your readers in such a way that it creates interest and gets people to take action, then you’re on your way to making money with your content already.
Meet New People
Whatever you write about, there is a group of people out there with the same interests as you. Whether it’s recipes or fitness tips or animals or sewing, there’s a blogging community out there for you to get to know.
Not only is this an opportunity to make new friends, but it is also a fantastic chance to grow your own blog. Making friends in the same niche can lead to guest articles, backlinking and sharing your articles with a different audience.
These communities are a give and take a teaching and learning experience, and a great way to meet like-minded people.
Whatever your topic, and however passionate you are about it, there is always more to learn. Arrogance is the enemy of progress, and blogging will provide you with endless learning opportunities within your own niche, and others.
While your own thoughts are important to share, what you say does need to be based on fact. A successful blogger is seen as an expert in their niche, and this requires you to do your research.
Whatever your subject matter, trends are constantly changing. Technology is always moving forward, new things are being discovered, and new ways to do things are always coming to light.
You can’t afford to get complacent. You need to be at the forefront of info in your chosen field so that you become known as an up-to-date, reliable resource.
Now that you’re up to date with the basic definitions, all that remains is to choose a blogging platform to start with and get going.
Blogging is not nearly as intimidating as it seems when you’re starting out. With resources like this out there for beginners, there is no reason to be nervous.
Whatever your reason for starting a blog, the chance of success is high. All you need is determination, a passion for your topic and consistent effort. Be yourself, share your ideas and your excitement, and get involved in a community in your niche.
As long as you’re consistent and creative, the reward is high. The online world is a space to share, learn and even turn your passion into your job.