Plenty of people who have heard the term “blogging” fail to understand what a “blog” is or how creating or reading one can impact or improve their lives. Whether you have absolutely no idea what these terms mean or you know the basics but want to learn more, this guide provides you with a thorough breakdown of the topic.
The following sections also provide details about popular blogging sites and how to use one or more blogs to generate funds for personal and business goals.
So exactly what is a blog?
A blog is an online diary or journal located on a website. The content of a blog typically includes text, pictures, videos, animated GIFs and even scans from old physical offline diaries or journals and other hard copy documents. Since a blog can exist merely for personal use, sharing information with an exclusive group or to engage the public, a blog owner can set their blog for private or public access.
When a blog is made publicly accessible, anyone can typically find the blog through links available on the blog owner’s individual or business website, their social media profiles, emails and e-newsletters and online keyword search engines. Many blog owners also set up blogs on websites devoted to the creation, storage and sharing of blogs, such as Blogger, LiveJournal, Tumblr and WordPress.
Blog content can appear as posts on one continuous streaming page or posts on individual pages reachable through one or more pages set up in a list-style format as post title links, excerpts and related tags. All posts or links to posts are typically displayed to readers in reverse chronological order with the most recent content appearing first.
Have a look at some great blog examples here.
History Of The Blog
Blogs started out as a natural extension of the increased use of computers and the creation of the earliest forms of the Internet as government military, scientific and academic networks. Before the World Wide Web, communities of people interacted on these networks. Individuals created content for themselves or others and stored that content on computers that were connected to the networks. Before blogs became popular, these communities often communicated and shared frequently-updated content through community message boards. The term “newsgroups” became coined to describe many of these discussion and information-sharing areas.
The earliest true blogs started appearing around 1994 or 1995 as open access diaries where individuals shared updates about their lives, such as personal thoughts and facts about events related to their families, academic studies, career, travels and other topics. Early online diary writers include Claudio Pinhanez, Justin Hall and Carolyn Burke. The media and public really started noticing the content and documenting its formation around approximately 1996 and 1997.
The exact date and year of the first use of the term “blog” is still debated by scholars. Most believe that it happened in 1999 as the natural truncation of a particular description of this type of content, “web log” or “weblog,” into the shortened form. Some debate exists on pronunciation. Obviously, the term describes a diary or log located and accessible on the World Wide Web. As time passed, some people thought that “weblog” should be pronounced “we blog” to refer to individuals performing the action of blogging.
Blogs vs Websites – What is the difference?
The primary difference between a blog and a website is that a blog is a specific type of content displayed on web pages on a website. Confusion often occurs because individuals and representatives of businesses often use the two terms interchangeably. For example, someone might say that they visited a company’s blog when in fact the blog was merely one part of the company’s website. Confusion also occurs because platforms that are devoted entirely to blogging create the impression that a person’s or company’s blog on one of these platforms is also their primary website.
To help sort it all out, keep the following in mind: In most cases, non-blogging websites are updated with new content less frequently then associated blog pages and blog-devoted websites. Blogs typically receive weekly, daily or even less than hourly updates. Non-blog websites, such as individual personal interest and biography or business sites, typically only update their news and blog content at that frequency and then add new pages or update some content as needed. Blogs also promote discussion. They have comment sections designed to create online conversations about blog content and blog owners in a similar fashion as comment sections provided to readers by news media platforms and other publishers under online articles.
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Blog posts Vs Pages – What is the difference?
Simply put, the blog content that you pull up in your browser appears on a web page. The term “page” describes the document and the location. It is important to note that the term “blog” is also frequently used to describe a collection of web pages that specifically share blog content, especially on blog-focused websites. This usage is similar to how people describe a collection of pages in a diary, journal or log collectively as the object. As previously mentioned, blog content is updated frequently. Many websites have non-blog pages that contain content that rarely changes, such as a company’s history page or contact page. Some web pages have not been updated beyond a few tiny refreshed and new content changes in years.
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Popularity Of Blogs & Blogging
A lot of people wonder why blogs and blogging have become so popular. Blogs provide a social outlet. Many people, by nature, are social animals. They actively seek out other people offline or online for interaction and sharing of knowledge and perspectives. Even many people who are anti-social in face-to-face, offline settings enjoy interacting online through social networks using their true identities or anonymous personas. Since a blog is a social tool, creating or reading blogs provides them with a better alternative method for interacting with others that did not previously exist.
Additionally, social and anti-social people use blogs to build new friendships and other types of relationships and gain a better understanding of the lives of people who they might not likely interact with on a daily basis. For example, blogs offer them opportunities to interact with people who are from others cultures and/or live in other geographic regions, people who work in different career fields and people who have taken up previously geographically-limited and rare types of hobbies. In these cases, blogs offer content that people could only find in the past through offline newspapers, magazines, television programs, films, documentaries and special festivities sponsored by communities, businesses art organizations, local, state and federal government administrations and academic institutions.
What kind of people blog?
Almost no limitations exist in regards to the types of people who create blogs. Blog creators, also known as “bloggers,” come from all walks of life and backgrounds from around the world. As long as a person has access to online tools that help them to create web page content, they can make a blog and promote it to attract readers. The most common bloggers include individuals who want to simply share personal information about themselves and/or their interests and hobbies with the world.
Some people use this web content tool to bring greater awareness to topics they feel are critically important to the betterment of others like topics related to political news, charitable organizations, safety issues, pet care and health conditions. Businesses typically use blogs to improve the lives of their customers in general, teach customers how to safely use products/services and bring attention to their expertise in a particular industry or their products/services.
Why do people bother blogging?
People blog for a wide range of reasons beyond those already mentioned. Many people simply dislike traditional offline diary writing and need an outlet for their thoughts and feelings beyond that format, face-to-face interactions, phone calls or online chat. Some people love that they can share their innermost thoughts and information with someone else half way around the world. Sometimes this outlet is desired because they have no offline friends or support system and use blogging to help them deal with stressful life events like acute and chronic health conditions or grief after the death of loved ones.
Since many other forms of content on various websites do not require frequent updates, a lot of people, especially business owners, use their blogs as part of their search engine optimization toolkit to maintain or improve their search engine result ranking and drive more traffic to their websites. Search engine algorithms rank fresh, valuable content higher than older content and when a website receives more traffic that site owner has a higher chance of increasing their revenue.
How Do Bloggers Make Money From Their Blogs?
Beyond improving website traffic by updating content regularly, individuals and businesses make money off of their blogs by building trust with members of their target market. They offer content that their target audience finds interesting and useful and that also establishes them as knowledgeable experts. Consumers often buy new products and services from individuals and businesses who they trust.
They are also more likely to be repeat, loyal customers to anyone who engages them and provides them with “free” valuable content. Consumers who trust an individual or business and start to rely upon a specific website for information are then more likely to recognize a brand, buy products or services and even provide word of mouth referrals about their positive experiences to members of their social networks.
Those referrals then often lead to new customers and future sales. Of course, by maintaining contact with members of their target market through their blogs, individuals and business owners who sell products and services are able to bring attention to new products and services and spread news about upcoming sales and deals to people who might not otherwise hear about these details through traditional advertising methods.
Some blog owners earn money every time someone merely clicks static or dynamic ads or other embedded links on their blog pages that go to affiliate partner websites or earn a commission when someone buys a product or service on a partner website after using their link.
Lastly, many blog owners make money by selling their blogs. Blog sales typically happen after a niche topic blog website starts receiving incredibly high traffic and becomes attractive to an investor as a potential high volume money-making tool. Some people buy a blog just so that they can merge it with their existing blog or shut down the purchased blog site entirely because the competition was driving traffic away from their own blog and/or other websites.
As you can see, a blog provides an individual or business the means to share all kinds of information and reap all sorts of rewards from their efforts. Blogs can be therapeutic alone or do double duty by both serving as a social outlet and money generator. If you do not currently have a blog, review some of the popular blogging sites listed in this guide or check out the blogs of your favourite celebrities, businesses or hobby associations to give you ideas about what a successful blog looks like and the elements that go into it. If you do have an online diary but you have not promoted or monetized it in the ways outlined in this guide, review these methods and give real consideration to the idea of turning your blog into a secondary income stream.