What Is a Blog and Why It Is Essential for You
Blogs. They seem to be everywhere. And with over 152 million blogs on the internet, you’ve likely encountered one or two blogs in your day. But you might still be wondering what exactly is a blog? Is it different than a website? Why do they seem to be everywhere? How do I start my own blog?
In short, many individuals and businesses create a blog to share their ideas and expertise online as well as boost their online presence. This article is here to answer all of your most pressing blogging questions, helping you understand how blogs succeed and why they’re so popular, plus to help you learn how you can utilize them!
What is a blog?
The word blog is a combined version of the words “web” and “log”. At their inception, blogs were essentially an online diary where people could keep a log about their daily lives, on the web. They have since morphed into an essential place for information and updates and have become a forum for not only individuals, but also businesses. In fact, some people even make money blogging and become professional, full-time bloggers.
Blogs are regularly updated websites that provide essential insights into a certain topic. These topics can be anything from food to professional marketing. Blogs are comprised of individual posts on more specific subjects within the blog’s field of expertise. These posts often serve as a platform for discussions, as many blogs have active comments sections. You can think of a blog almost as a newspaper that adds a new article every once in a while and continually maintains the older articles.
So, what’s the difference between a website and a blog?
As you now know, a blog often deals with a given topic and is updated with regular posts mostly in the form of articles. Websites, however are often broken down into inner explanatory pages, each with varying purposes. This can be anything from an FAQ page to a welcoming homepage design. These pages are only updated every once in a while, making a website more static than a blog.
It’s interesting to note that oftentimes websites have internal blogs, while other websites are entirely blogs without any additional pages. Confusing, right? Let’s get to the bottom of this. When blogs are a section of a larger website, the website usually provides the bulk of the information, and simply uses a blog feature to keep users updated and engaged. As an example, think of an online store that also offers a blog about their various products and how to use them.
However, when blogs makeup the entire website, there’s usually no product to sell or other information to provide, rather the blog content itself is the essence. Either way, whether you’ve seen stand alone blogs or blogs as website sections, you’ve probably encountered blog examples all over the internet!
Why has the popularity of blogs surged?
As more than ¾ of all websites online are either a blog or contain a blog, popular might be an understatement. But why? What’s so special about blogs? Well, blogs have become so popular for many reasons. One of those reasons is that much like social media platforms, blogs allow people to share their thoughts and experiences with others. Given the active comment sections, they enable people to interact with one another and build relationships based on shared interests that aren’t limited by geographic location. Essentially, blogs have become a social platform.
Another reason why blogging has become so popular is that many people have started monetizing their blogs. Bloggers tend to make money off of advertisements in a couple of different forms. One of the most common forms of advertisements is affiliate marketing. Since bloggers often discuss a given topic and have a lot of experience in their field, they are reliable sources for those topics.
For example, if you are a travel blogger and write about your experiences and what you did in various destinations, it’s likely that your readers might follow your advice. Because you are providing information about travel attractions and promoting them to your readers, those travel attractions might be willing to pay you to increase the quantity of their visitors. Bloggers also often make money off of more traditional ads on their blogs and ultimately by even selling their blogs to larger blog platforms.
On a more technical note, blogs have surged simply because it has become so easy for individuals to create and update their own blogs. With many website building platforms, people without any coding skills, can now create and update their blogs regularly. Because blogs can be about any topic of choice, anyone can choose to create their own, making blogging super accessible.
How are blogs beneficial to businesses?
The most basic reason why businesses have turned to blogging is that they provide a simple way to keep customers or clients up-to-date. Since blogs are updated regularly, they enable businesses to share company changes, inform users about deals and provide the best tips possible for using their product.
Another reason why businesses utilize blogs is that blogs allow them to provide a wider breadth of content, thereby helping them attract a larger audience of readers. This tactic of creating content to draw your audience to your brand forms the basis of an important marketing methodology called inbound marketing.
Let’s say you sell flowers, and typically your site mainly consists of the various bouquets you offer. Logically, anyone looking to buy flowers will be able to find what they need on your site. But, if you come up with relevant blog content ideas with posts about say, “How to Care for Your Flowers” then even people who aren’t explicitly looking to buy flowers might reach your site. Now people who usually buy their flowers elsewhere, can gain something from your website and get acquainted with your brand. By driving more traffic to their site, businesses essentially self-advertise, allowing more people to remember their site the next time they are looking to buy flowers.
An additional essential benefit of bringing more traffic to your site is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the practice of improving a website’s position on search engine results, thus helping it get found more easily. When search engines like Google notice that more people are visiting a given site, they are likely to consider their content more relevant. In turn, search engines might increase exposure of that website by allowing it to appear closer to the top of the results page. And, of course, the closer to the top of the results a site gets, the more likely it is that people will click on it.
Another SEO benefit of blogging is that search engines tend to look for fresh and timely content. While many websites have relatively static content, a blog that gets updated regularly, provides the perfect forum for content changes. While SEO can feel a bit intimidating, here are some tips specifically for SEO for bloggers that can help ease the process.
Why is it essential for you to start a blog?
Blogs are essential for a lot of different people and provide a platform for varying needs. As a professional, a blog is an excellent way to establish your expertise in a given field. When you include practical information and guides that are updated regularly, you prove that no one knows your industry better than you do. When you present yourself as an authority in your line of work, you’ll be able to grow your name and become a true leader in your field. Blogging as an expert can also open the door for potential monetization and the ability to turn your blog into a career.
For individuals, on the other hand, blogs can be a perfect way to share updates with friends and family. For example, if you're traveling somewhere exotic and want to share photos and info about your trip with a number of different people, you can direct them all to a centralized blog. Really a blog can be the solution for any experience that you can think of that you might want to share with an audience.
So, how can you start your blog?
Now that you’ve learned all about blog essentials, you may be wondering, what now? Well, lucky for you, starting a blog is actually super simple. In order to get started, head to a website builder of your choice, and create an account. Then choose your favorite blog template and easily customize it to fit your style and needs. Next, you can start adding your authentic content and creating blog posts. Then you simply hit publish and go live online! Now, you can sit back, relax and admire your own hard work.
If you already have a Wix site, you can seamlessly integrate a blog using the Wix Blog App. Either way, you’ll have the freedom you need to create a blog that totally represents you.
What should you include in your blog?
Once you’ve created your blog, it’s time to start thinking about what kind of content you want to include and how you should write your blog posts. When figuring out the type of content you’ll be writing about, you should remember to think about who your target audience is and what they would like to learn about.
It’s also essential to remember that blog posts should be relatively easy to read and understand, but should nonetheless provide a complete summary of the topic at hand. Check out this article for a more complete explanation of how to write blog posts.
Another important step in writing a blog, is figuring out how to write a catchy blog title. The title is the first thing that readers will see before they even reach your blog. Your title will appear on Google, and by those few words alone you will be judged by all potential readers. So one could say the title is critical. Start by considering what people would search for to get to your blog or your specific blog post.
By getting into the mind of readers, you can truly understand how to optimize your blog and your content writing giving your blog the potential to become a content powerhouse.
How can you make your blog succeed?
You’re off to a great start! You’ve created your blog, added some enticing content and now want to know, what’s next? How can I take my blog up a notch? Well, there are a bunch of elements that you can add to your blog to make sure it’s more palatable to readers and to ensure that Google notices you. Those elements range from quick supplements such as adding quality visuals to your blog posts, to doing intensive keyword research for SEO purposes. To get a full sense of how to boost your blog, check out these essential blogging tools that all bloggers should know and use.
Another vital step in creating a successful blog is promoting yourself. While this may seem obvious, marketing yourself properly and on the right channels can be one of the most difficult aspects of succeeding as a blogger. Some of the most accessible places to promote your blog are social media platforms, but there is a whole world of advertising potential out there. A good place to start is with these 25 highly recommended tips for how to promote your blog. Next thing you know your blog might become a viral sensation.
By Amanda Weiner
Content Optimization and SEM Expert