“What is a blog and how does it work?” This same question I asked myself way back in 2003 when I first heard it.
This post is your beginner-friendly guide to understanding what a blog is, how it works, and how it might just be the thing you didn’t know you needed.
From its crazy history to the nitty-gritty of setting up your own blog, you’re about to be blown away by what this simple buzzword could mean FOR you.
To make things super easy for you, I’ve added a table of contents. So, if there’s a specific part you’re curious about, you can jump right to it.
Ready to uncover the magic of blogging? Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
History of Blogging: A Trip Down Memory Lane
Imagine a time when the internet was still in its infancy, a vast digital frontier waiting to be explored.
Do you remember it?
It was dial-up connections, horrible looking graphics, and that unmistakable sound of a modem connecting (AOL anyone 😂).
Behind the scenes a revolution was brewing, one that would change the way we share and consume information FOREVER!
The Pioneer: Justin Hall
In the midst of this digital wild west, in 1994, a young adventurer named Justin Hall embarked on a unique journey. He created Links.net, which he fondly referred to as his personal homepage.
Now, you might wonder, “Why a homepage?”
Well, back in those days, the concept of websites as we know them was just beginning. Justin’s “homepage” was his digital diary, a space where he chronicled his experiences, adventures in coding, and musings on life.
Curious about what digital diaries looked like back in the day?
Take a nostalgic trip and check out Justin’s original site here.
The Birth of a Term: Weblog
Fast forward to 1997, and the digital landscape was buzzing with activity.
This was just two years before I started in SEO. 😉
Enter Jorn Barger, another internet enthusiast. As he navigated this vast expanse, he documented his journey, or as he put it, he was “logging the web.”
And just like that, the term “weblog” was born.
From Weblog to Blog: How We Moved Forward
Humans, being the efficient beings we are, have a knack for shortening terms.
In 1999, “weblog” seemed too long, so a guy named Peter Merholz, who was a programmer shortened it to “blog.
Little did he know that this term would become an integral part of our lexicon.
FUN FACT: If you’re wondering about the significance of this term, in 2004, the esteemed Merriam-Webster dictionary crowned “blog” as their word of the year. Talk about official recognition!
[Suggested Image: A dictionary page highlighting the word “blog” with its definition.]
What’s the Difference Between a Website and a Blog? A Simple Explanation
I’m sure you’ve heard the line, “All blogs can be a website but not all websites are blogs.” Without a Blog a website is nothing more than a beautiful brochure showcasing who you are, what you do , and how people can get a hold of you. Your Blogs on your website are an extension of you, your knowledge, your experience, and your personality.
Depending on what type of website you’re building will determine if you need a blog section or not.
Let’s dive a little deeper into both of them so you can determine which is best for your needs:
Static Content: Static basically means that once you create a static page you normally don’t change that much on it. Think of your ‘Home page’, ‘About’ page, ‘Contact’ page, ‘Services’ page if you’re local or coaching packages you offer.
Purpose: Think brochure. If you just want your website to be a place where potential customers can learn more about you and contact you, then a simple website is perfect.
Interaction: Usually, websites are more formal and have limited interaction with visitors. There might be a contact form or a booking system, but not much daily engagement.
Update Frequency: Websites might get updated when there’s a new product, service, or major news, but not as frequently as blogs.
Dynamic Content: You’re always adding a new blog to your site so it will always be in chronological order. Blog posts will allow you to attach an author, date, and category to each post you publish. You’re basically keeping your content fresh and your readers coming back for more.
Purpose: Blogs are more about sharing stories, news, or information on specific topics. They can be personal, like someone’s journal, or more topic-focused, like cooking recipes or tech news.
Interaction: Blogs often encourage reader interaction. There’s usually a comment section where readers can share their thoughts, ask questions, or engage with the blogger. With your webpages you don’t have a comment section.
Update Frequency: Blogs are updated regularly, be it daily, weekly, or monthly. New content keeps readers coming back for more of what you have to offer.
While both websites and blogs live on the internet, they serve different purposes. A website is more like a static billboard or brochure about a business, while a blog is a place for fresh content and discussions.
If you are looking to market your website then you HAVE to have your own Blog. Blogs are the #1 way to Rank your website on Google so that your ideal client can find you organically.
Definition of Blog, Blogging, and Blogger: Unraveling the Trio
Blog: Your Digital Magazine
Think of a blog as an online magazine. Just like you’d pick a magazine that talks about stuff you like, a blog covers topics you’re interested in. It has articles or stories, which can be about personal experiences, tips, reviews, or anything the writer wants to share.
The cool thing about a blog is that it’s always getting new stuff added. So, readers can keep coming back to learn more or just enjoy a good read.
Blogging: The Art of Digital Storytelling
Now, think of the process of crafting an article for that magazine.
The research, the writing, the editing, and finally, the publishing.
Blogging is that process.
It’s the act of creating content for a blog. But it’s not just about writing.
Blogging involves understanding the audience, researching relevant topics, ensuring SEO best practices for better traffic, and engaging with readers through comments and feedback.
Blogging is both an art and a science.
It’s an art because it involves creativity and expression. It’s a science because of the strategies involved in reaching a wider audience, optimizing search engines, and ensuring consistent updates to keep the community engaged.
Blogger: The Maestro Behind the Curtain
Every magazine has an editor or a team behind it, curating and crafting content.
In the world of blogs, this individual is the blogger.
A blogger is the voice, the personality, and the brain behind a blog. They’re responsible for the content, the design, the brand, and most importantly, the connection with the readers.
Bloggers come from all walks of life.
Some are experts in a particular industry, sharing their knowledge and insights.
Others are enthusiasts, exploring their passions and hobbies.
And then there are those who see blogging as a business, leveraging various monetization strategies, from affiliate marketing to selling products or services.
Which one are you? The expert, enthusiast, business owner, affiliate marketer?
The Multifaceted Purposes of a Blog: Why Do People Blog?
Whether you’re blogging for pleasure or business, to make money or leave a legacy, the reasons why people choose to blog is all over the place.
Being in this industry since 1999 I can tell you that the vast majority of bloggers who blog on a regular basis do so for three reasons: to make money, rank their websites, or to leave a legacy.
Here are some other reasons why people choose to blog:
1. Sharing Personal Stories and Experiences
For many, a blog is a digital diary, a space to chronicle life’s adventures, misadventures, joys, and sorrows.
It’s a platform to share personal milestones, travel tales, or the simple everyday moments that make life special. Through their blogs, individuals open a window into their world, allowing readers a glimpse of their journey.
2. Educating and Informing
Blogs can be treasure troves of knowledge.
From detailed tutorials on DIY crafts to in-depth articles on complex scientific concepts, bloggers use their platform to educate. They break down intricate topics into digestible chunks, making information accessible to all.
3. Building a Community
Blogging isn’t just about broadcasting; it’s about building connections.
Bloggers foster communities where like-minded individuals can discuss, debate, and support one another. Through comments, feedback, and shared stories, a blog becomes a thriving digital neighborhood.
4. Promoting a Business or Product
For businesses, blogs are powerful marketing tools.
They offer a platform to showcase products, share company news, or provide industry insights. Through valuable content, businesses can position themselves as industry leaders, build brand authority, and foster customer loyalty.
5. Advocacy and Raising Awareness
Many bloggers are driven by a cause. B
e it environmental conservation, mental health awareness, or social justice, blogs have become platforms for advocacy. Through compelling narratives and factual information, bloggers rally their readers, driving change and making an impact.
6. Monetization and Earning
Yes, passion drives many bloggers, but let’s not forget the financial aspect.
With the right strategies, blogging can be lucrative. Through advertisements, sponsored content, affiliate marketing, and selling products or services, many bloggers have turned their passion projects into profitable ventures.
7. Enhancing Writing and Creative Skills
For budding writers and creatives, a blog is a canvas.
It’s a space to hone writing skills, experiment with storytelling techniques, and develop a unique voice. Over time, consistent blogging can lead to improved writing prowess and even open doors to publishing opportunities.
8. Networking and Professional Growth
Blogging can be a ticket to broader horizons.
By sharing expertise and insights in a particular field, bloggers can network with industry peers, attend conferences, and even get speaking engagements. It’s a platform that can propel professional growth and opportunities.
Blogging is like a big online journal where people write for many reasons. Some want to share their feelings, some want to teach, and others want to support a cause or make money.
No matter the type of blog, in today’s world, these blog pages are where people go to read stories, learn new things, and connect with others.
Exploring the Types of Blogs: Finding Your Unique Voice
Blogging is all about sharing what you love or know best.
Think of it like having a favorite coffee shop where you meet friends to chat about your latest hobby, book, or adventure.
In the online world, instead of coffee shops, we have blogs.
And just like everyone has their own favorite subjects to chat about, there are blogs out there for just about everything.
Whether it’s someone sharing their secret grandma’s recipes, tips on gardening, or tales from their travels, there’s a blog for it.
Let’s dive in and check out the different kinds of blogs you might stumble upon.
1. Personal Blogs
The heart and soul of the blogging world, personal blogs are digital diaries. They’re intimate spaces where bloggers share their life stories, experiences, and musings. From tales of backpacking adventures to reflections on parenthood, these blogs are deeply personal and resonate with authenticity.
You can check out my personal blog here to get a feel for what it can look like and things you can blog about.
2. Business Blogs
These are the powerhouses of the corporate world.
This post that you are reading right now about “What is a Blog and How Does it Work?” this is a blog post on my business site.
Business blogs aim to promote products, share company news, or provide industry insights.
They’re tools for branding, customer engagement, and establishing authority in a specific field.
3. How-To and Tutorial Blogs
Imagine a skilled artisan at the bazaar, demonstrating their craft.
How-to and tutorial blogs are similar, offering step-by-step guides on everything from knitting a scarf to assembling a computer.
They’re treasure troves of knowledge, making complex tasks accessible to all.
4. Review Blogs
Ever sought advice from a friend before buying a product?
Review blogs are the digital equivalent.
Bloggers review products, services, or experiences, offering their insights and recommendations. From the latest gadgets to books and movies, these blogs help readers make informed choices.
5. Travel Blogs
Follow travelers as they explore new places and share their stories.
Travel blogs give you a peek into their trips, with handy tips, place recommendations, and interesting tales from their journeys.
6. Food Blogs
Delve into the culinary world, from mouth-watering recipes to restaurant reviews.
Food bloggers share their passion for cooking, offering cooking tips, tutorials, and a feast for the eyes with tantalizing photographs.
7. Fashion and Lifestyle Blogs
Step into the glamorous world of fashion and lifestyle.
These blogs are a blend of personal style, beauty tips, home decor, and more. They’re the go-to places for the latest trends and style inspiration.
8. Health and Fitness Blogs
Embark on a journey to holistic well-being.
Health and fitness bloggers share workout routines, nutrition tips, and mental health advice. They inspire readers to lead healthier, more balanced lives.
9. Parenting and Family Blogs
Navigate the joys and challenges of parenthood with these blogs.
From parenting hacks to heartwarming stories of family life, these blogs offer a supportive community for parents at every stage.
10. Niche Blogs
The beauty of blogging lies in its diversity.
There are blogs dedicated to specific niches, be it gardening, photography, vintage cars, or even bird-watching.
In a nutshell…
If there’s a passion, there’s likely a blog for it!
Benefits of Blogging: Why It’s Worth It
Share Your Story: Blogging lets you talk about your experiences, hobbies, or anything you’re passionate about. It’s like having a chat with friends, but online.
Not to mention that you are leaving a digital legacy for your family, for your grandchildren, and maybe even your great-grandchildren.
Connect with Others: You can meet people who share your interests. It’s a great way to make new friends or even network for jobs or projects.
Learn New Skills: Setting up and running a blog can teach you a lot. You’ll pick up some tech skills, learn how to write better, and even get a hang of online marketing.
By the way, if you’re really looking to learn new skills and earn money while your learning, you’ll definitely want to check out this Digital Marketing Course that offers an amazing community of like-minded people.
Make Some Money: Once your blog gets popular, you can earn from it.
This could be through ads, sponsored posts, or selling products and services.
Enjoy Life: By becoming a full-time blogger you’ll be able to enjoy life, pay off debt, and start having fun again.
Boost Your Business: If you have a business, a blog can help you reach more customers. It’s a way to show them what you offer and why they should choose you.
Express Yourself: Blogging is a creative outlet. It’s a space where you can share your thoughts, ideas, and get feedback from readers.
Stay Updated: When you blog about a topic, you stay updated about it. This helps you learn more and be in the know.
Build Confidence: Sharing your thoughts and getting positive feedback can boost your confidence. It feels good to know people value what you say.
Blogging has many perks. Whether you’re doing it just for fun, to make some extra cash, or to promote your business, there’s a lot to gain from it.
And the best part? Anyone can start a blog!
How Do Bloggers Make Money? A Beginner’s Guide
Ever wondered how that favorite blog you read manages to churn out content regularly?
Or how some bloggers seem to make a living just by sharing their thoughts online?
Well, blogging isn’t just about sharing; for many, it’s also about earning.
Let’s break down the simple ways bloggers make money:
Ads: Just like commercials on TV, blogs can display ads. I know you’ve been to plenty of sites where you’re trying to read the article and all these are all over the place.
Well, when readers click on these ads or simply view them, that blogger just earned some money. This is often done through programs like Google AdSense.
Sponsored Posts: Sometimes, companies pay bloggers to write about their products or services. It’s like an advertisement but in the form of a blog post.
Affiliate Marketing: Bloggers recommend products and provide a special link to buy them. If someone buys through that link, the blogger gets a commission. It’s like getting a thank-you tip for a recommendation.
Selling Products: Some bloggers create their own products, like eBooks, courses, or merchandise. They sell these directly to their readers.
Offering Services: A blogger might be good at something, like writing, designing, or consulting. They can offer these services to their readers.
Learn High Income Skills that Fortune 500 Companies pay a hefty fee for.
Donations: If readers love what a blogger is doing, they might donate money to support them.
This is common for bloggers who provide free advice or entertainment.
Subscription Models: Some blogs offer special content for readers who pay a monthly fee. It’s like a magazine subscription, but online.
Let’s pause for a moment so I can be transparent with you…
You can make a lot of money blogging but it takes time, patience, fortitude, and that never quit mind set.
It is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme or business model. You are building an online business, a brand, and that takes time.
But with dedication, passion, the right tools, and the right person to help guide you through, you will create another source of income that could ultimately replace your income.
If bloggers all over the world can do it, so can YOU!
How to Start a Blog: A Quick Beginner’s Guide
Starting a blog might seem like a daunting task, but with the right steps, it’s easier than you think!
Whether you decide to share your personal stories, write about your hobbies, or even start a business blog, here are the steps you’ll need to take to get started:
Decide Your Blog’s Focus:
Before anything else, think about what you want to write. Make a list of all the ideas you have running through that head of yours.
Your blog’s focus will guide your blog posts and help you connect with like-minded readers. For example, you might choose to blog about travel, cooking, or personal finance.
Choose a Blogging Platform:
There are many platforms out there, but WordPress is one of the top choices for many bloggers. It’s user-friendly and offers a lot of customized options.
Plus, it’s the perfect platform for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Pick a Domain Name & Hosting Provider:
This is your blog’s address on the internet. It should be memorable and related to your blog’s focus.
For instance, if you’re starting a cooking blog, you might choose ‘DeliciousDishesByDana.com’.
For hosting, think of this as renting space on the internet for your blog. There are many providers out there, but choose one that’s reliable and has good reviews from other users.
The one I recommend for beginners is Bluehost.
For those that are growing their blog I recommend Cloudways.
Install Your Blogging Platform & Theme:
If you choose WordPress, many hosting providers offer a one-click installation. It’s straightforward and gets your blog up and running quickly.
The theme determines how your blog looks. WordPress offers numerous free and paid templates. Pick one that resonates with your style and offers good customization options.
Customize Your Blog:
Now, play around with the format, colors, and layouts.
Add media like images or videos to make your blog visually appealing. Remember, the more personalized it is, the more it’ll stand out!
Write Your First Post:
Just to get it out of your system, you’ll want to decide on what your first piece of blog content you’re going to write about and then start writing.
Share with the world who you are, and tell them what they can expect to read on your blog and how it will benefit them.
This is ultimately what will lead to your success. Blogging requires commitment. Try to post regularly, whether it’s once a week or once a month. Consistency keeps your readers coming back for more.
Self-hosted vs. Hosted Blog: Which is Better?
In the world of blogging, one of the first decisions you’ll face is whether to go with a self-hosted or a hosted blog.
It’s a bit like deciding whether to rent a home or buy one.
Both options have their merits, and the best choice depends on your goals, technical know-how, and where you see your blog in the future.
Let’s break it down in order to help you make an informed decision:
Control: With a self-hosted blog, you have full control over your site. You can customize it to your heart’s content, ensuring it aligns perfectly with your target audience.
Monetization: If sales and monetization are your goals, a self-hosted blog offers more flexibility.
You can choose how to monetize, without restrictions on the platform.
Analytics: A self-hosted blog allows you to integrate advanced analytics tools.
This means you can track your audience on a deeper basis, understanding their behavior and preferences.
Content Management System (CMS): You have the freedom to choose your CMS, like WordPress, which offers a vast array of plugins and themes.
Cost: While it offers more freedom, there’s a cost involved. You’ll need to pay for hosting, domain, and any premium themes or plugins.
Ease of Use: Hosted platforms, like Blogger or WordPress.com, handle the technical work for you. They’re user-friendly, making them great for beginners.
Set-Up: Getting started is straightforward. You can have your blog up and running in no time, without diving deep into technical details.
Limitations: While they’re easy to set up, hosted sites come with limitations.
Customization is limited, and there might be restrictions on monetization.
Built-in Audience: Some platforms have a built-in audience, which can help you gain initial traction.
Cost: Most hosted platforms offer free plans, but they come with limitations. Premium plans are available for added features.
Choosing between a self-hosted and a hosted blog boils down to your goals and technical comfort level.
If you want full control and are planning to monetize aggressively, a self-hosted blog might be the way to go.
However, if you’re just starting out and want a hassle-free experience, a hosted blog could be your best bet.
Remember, the most important thing is to start.
As you grow and learn more about blogging, you can always redesign your site and make it an ever better experience for your audience and your goals.
Why Every Business Should Have a Website/Blog
Your Blog…Your Website…it’s YOURS!
The only way it goes away is if you don’t pay for the domain name and hosting.
Social sites like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and so many others, can shut down your account.
I’ve seen it done to so many people who have built up a following. For no reason, their account was shut down and all that content, all those videos, all those images were GONE!
In the blink of an eye, there was nothing they could do about it.
For this very reason, I always urge my clients to build up their content using their blogs.
Use Social Media sites to point people back to your website via a link to your blog posts.
This way, you will not lose all that hard work!
What blog will you start this year? Let me know in the comments below and share a link for others to see it.
Will it be for business, sharing your lifestyle, or maybe even your traveling experiences?
Whatever blog you start, just know there is a whole world out there waiting to hear all about it.
Until the next post…