With over 600 million blogs on the internet, you’ve likely encountered one or two blogs—you’re even on one right now. But you may still wonder what exactly is a blog? How does it differ from a website? Why does every business seem to have one? You may even ask yourself, how can I start my own blog?
In short, many individuals and businesses create a blog to share their ideas and expertise as well as boost their online presence. This article will answer your most pressing blogging questions and help you understand how and why blogs succeed, plus show how you can utilize them.
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What is a blog?
Definition of a blog
Blogs are a type of regularly updated websites that provide insight into a certain topic. The word blog is a combined version of the words “web” and “log.” At their inception, blogs were simply an online diary where people could keep a log about their daily lives on the web. They have since morphed into an essential forum for individuals and businesses alike to share information and updates. In fact, many people even make money blogging as professional full-time bloggers.
As the publishing world has evolved, and more of it has moved online, blogs have come to occupy a central position in this digital content world. Blogs are a source of knowledge, opinion and concrete advice. While not yet posed to replace journalism as an art form, people increasingly look to trusted blogs to find answers to their questions, or to learn how to do something.
Blogs are always evolving both in terms of how they're created and what they are used for. They can be a vehicle for creativity and for marketing. They're also increasingly created and read on mobile apps, as mobile blogging also comes into its own.
What does a blog look like?
A blog consists of a series of articles or posts. While the appearance of your blog can vary depending on the platform and design choices made by you as the blogger, here are some common elements you may find in a typical blog and include in your own, keeping in mind the importance of user experience design and web design:
The top section of a blog often contains your blog's title or logo, along with a navigation menu that helps visitors explore different sections or categories of your blog. You might decide to categorize blogs from the same topic together, for repeat readers who are looking specifically from posts from that area of interest.
This is where the content of your blog posts is displayed. Each post usually includes a title, author name, date of publication, and the main content of the post, which can include text, images, videos, or other multimedia.
A blog may have a sidebar on one or both sides of the main content area. The sidebar often contains additional information or features such as a search bar, recent posts, popular posts, categories, tags, social media links, an about section, and advertisements. You can this part of your blog to help establish your blogs navigation, and site hierarchy to users and search engines.
Many blogs allow readers to leave comments on their posts. The comments section typically appears below the main content of each post and may include the ability for readers to reply to comments or upvote them. Before enabling comments on your blog, make sure you have the time and resources to manage comments effectively. You'll need to monitor them for spammy messages which should be deleted, or for messages from genuine readers who you'll need to connect with.
Blog designs can vary greatly depending on the theme, customization options, and personal preferences that you chose. These elements provide a general overview of what a blog looks like, but blogs may have unique layouts or additional features based on your chosen platform and your design choices.
Types of blogs
Different types of blogs cover varying topics, from food and fashion to marketing. Blogs are composed of individual posts on more specific subjects within the blog’s field of expertise. To get started with blogs on social media, check out microblogging. 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 articles and continually maintains the archive.
Whether you’ve seen stand-alone blogs or blogs as website sections, you’ve probably encountered blog examples all over the internet. Some of the most popular types of blogs in the blogosphere include:
Parenting blogs, Mom Blogs
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Website vs 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 mean anything from an FAQ page to a welcoming homepage design. These pages are occasionally updated, making a website more static than a blog. Oftentimes websites have internal blogs, while other websites are entirely blogs without any additional pages.
When blogs are a section of a larger website, the website provides the bulk of the information and uses a blog feature to keep users updated and engaged. For example, think of an online store that also offers a blog about their various products and how to use them.
Blogs that make up the entire website usually rely on the content itself rather than sell a product or market a service.
Importance of blogs
Whether it’s personal or professional, a blog provides endless opportunities for a website’s traffic growth. Not to mention, the popularity of blogs hasn't diminished. In fact, the opposite is true: As Neal Shaffer, founder of the digital marketing consultancy PDCA Social says, blogging isn’t dead, “blogs are useful for a lot more than just sharing your thoughts. In fact, 60% of consumers will buy something after they’ve read a blog post on the topic.”
Blogging is still important today, for establishing your web present, and for the following reasons:
Relationship and community building
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. They're an impactful form of information exchange. Essentially, blogs have become a social platform unto themselves and a central part of online community building.
For this reason blogs are also a key part of brand management. Your content creation efforts, published via a blog can be used to represent your brand, its values and your products.
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 types of advertisements is affiliate marketing. Since bloggers often discuss a given topic and experience in their field, they are reliable sources for those topics.
For example, if you've started a travel blog and write about your experiences and what you did in various destinations, your readers might follow your advice. Because you provide information about travel attractions and promote them to your readers, those travel attractions might be willing to pay you to increase their visitor count. Bloggers could also make money on digital ads through an advertising network (such as Google Adsense) or sell their blogs to larger media entities.
Easy to create
On a technical note, blogs have surged because it has become easy for individuals to create and update their own blogs regularly using a code-less website building platform. And because blogs are about any topic of choice, anyone can choose to create their own. Still not convinced? Let our blogging for beginners guide show you how.
Blogging for business, why it matters
Here are three ways blogging for business can help you promote your business:
Keep customers up-to-date
Most businesses have turned to blogging as an effective form of digital distribution to effectively 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.
Inbound marketing opportunities
Blogs also allow businesses to provide a wider breadth of content, thereby helping them attract a larger audience of readers. This tactic is called inbound marketing, and is the act of creating content to draw your audience to your brand.
Let’s say you sell flowers and your site offers various bouquets. Logically, anyone looking to buy flowers can find what they need on your site. But, if you come up with relevant blog content ideas with posts like, “How to Care for Your Flowers” then people who aren’t explicitly looking to buy flowers, but searching for similar keywords, could reach your site. You drive traffic to your site as a result.
A blog can be an important of wider marketing strategies and more specific content marketing efforts. Blog posts can be repurposed and shared on social media platforms too as part of your social media marketing work.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of improving a website’s position on search engine results, thus improving its visibility. When search engines like Google notice that more people visit a given site, they may consider their content more relevant. In turn, search engines might increase exposure of that website, 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 people will click on it.
Additionally, search engines often look for fresh and timely content. While many websites have relatively static content, a regularly-updated blog provides the perfect forum for content changes. While SEO can feel a bit intimidating, these SEO for bloggers tips can help ease the process.
Why start a professional blog?
A blog is an excellent way to establish your professional expertise in a given field. When you include practical information and regularly updated guides, you present yourself as an authority in your line of work and a leader in your field.
Blogging as an expert can also open the door for potential monetization and turning your blog into a career.
Why start a personal blog?
Blogs allow individuals 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 to a centralized blog.
How to start a blog?
Now that you’ve learned all about blog essentials, you’re ready to start a blog. First, head to a website builder and create an account in order to make a website. Then, choose your favorite customizable blog template to fit the style and needs of your blog design. Finally, you add your authentic content, create blog posts and hit publish.
What to include in a blog
Once you’ve created your blog, it’s time to think about your blog posts. When figuring out your content type, think about your target audience. Be sure to produce evergreen copy and regularly update your blog content.
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 complete explanation of how to write a blog post and read through our best blog post templates for inspiration.
Writing a blog starts with knowing how to write a catchy blog title. The title is the first thing that readers see before they even reach your blog. Your title will appear on Google, and most potential readers will judge you by those few words alone. Consider what keywords people would search for to get to your blog or blog post. If you need guidance, a title generator can point you in the right direction.
By getting into your readers’ minds, you can optimize your blog and your writing to become a content powerhouse.
How to make your blog succeed?
After launching your blog, you can add elements to your blog to please both readers and Google. 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.
You'll also want to understand more about your blog analytics - how it's performing in terms of how much traffic it generates and where that traffic is coming from.
How to promote your blog
You also need to know how to promote your blog to make it successful. There are many ways to promote your blog, but some of the most effective methods include:
Social media: Sharing your blog posts on social media is a great way to reach a wider audience and drive traffic to your blog. Be sure to use relevant hashtags and tag other users to increase your reach.
Email marketing: If you have a list of subscribers, you can send them email newsletters with links to your latest blog posts. This is a great way to stay in touch with your audience and keep them coming back to your blog for more.
Guest blogging: Guest blogging is a great way to get your name out there and reach a new audience. When you guest post on another blog, you write an article for their site and include a link back to your own blog.
SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your blog so that it ranks higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This means that when people search for relevant keywords, your blog is more likely to show up in the results.
Paid advertising: Paid advertising can be a great way to reach a larger audience and drive traffic to your blog quickly. However, it's important to note that paid advertising can be expensive, so you'll need to set a budget and track your results to make sure it's worth the investment.
While social media is an accessible blog promotion channel for most, look at these highly recommended tips for how to promote your blog. Here’s to becoming the next viral sensation.
What is a blog? FAQ
What is a blog post?
A blog post is an article or entry that is published on a blog. A blog, short for "weblog," is a platform or website where individuals or businesses can share their thoughts, ideas, opinions or information.
What is a blog post used for?
It depends on the goal of the blog, and the person or business running it. Blogs can be used to share information and opinions. They can also be used for marketing purposes, to showcase products or company developments. Blogs can also be used as part of an SEO strategy to generate traffic from search. Blogs are great for building authority in. a specific or broad range of topics.
Many things. It can be used to share information and opinions to an online community. It can be used as part of a marketing strategy, as a part of content marketing efforts and it can be used for paid advertising too. Blog posts can educate and inform about a topic, process or product. They can also compare different topics and products too.