Do any of the following sound familiar:
You have a new business. You’re struggling to attract clients. You spend too much time looking for prospects and not enough time helping customers.
Or you have an established business. You’re ready to expand your online presence. You’ve come across terms like “content marketing” but you’re not sure how it applies to you.
Maybe you’re a writer. You have a message to share with the world. You’ve heard that starting a blog can lead to online fame and passive income.
You’re now wondering whether blogging is right for you.
If any of these sounds like you, then you’re in the right place. In this article we’re going to answer the question… what is a blog and do you really need one?
So What is a Blog Anyway?
Let’s start with some definitions. Just for fun, here’s a Harvard definition dating back to 2003:
“A weblog is a hierarchy of text, images, media objects and data, arranged chronologically, that can be viewed in an HTML browser.”
Okay, I admit it. This definition is a little outdated. The word “weblog” died out with the boy bands of the 90s.
But in case you’re curious, here’s a quick history lesson. The term “weblog” is credited to Jorn Barger. In 1997, he launched a website called Robot Wisdom. Barger used the word “weblog” to describe the process of logging the web.
Over time “weblog” morphed into the more familiar term “blog.”
Here’s a newer definition, courtesy of Google. A blog is:
“a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”
A blog is nothing more than a website or part of a website. The key distinction is that a blog is updated on a consistent basis. These updates are called blog posts.
Posts are like website pages but with some special features. The easiest way to explain this is with an example.
Right now you’re reading a blog post. There’s an author name at the top (that’s me!) At the bottom, you’ll see an area for comments. Lastly you’ll notice some handy share buttons.
Not all blogs have share buttons but they’re a good idea. We talk more about promoting your blog below. Go ahead and give the share buttons a try. Click the Facebook or Twitter button to share this post with your friends. I’ll be eternally grateful!
In contrast, a page has no author and no comments area. An example on this website is the About page.
Not all blogs are set up the same. But hopefully you get the idea. A blog is a place to share regular updates about your business, life, or cause.
Why You Need a Blog Now
Okay. Now we have the definition of “what is a blog?” out of the way, you may be wondering why start blogging.
According to Worldometers, over 1.7 million blog posts are published each day.
That’s a lot of information. It’s hard to believe there are enough people online to consume all that content.
Before you add to the noise, you want to get clear on what kind of blog is right for you. Here’s an overview of the three main types of blog:
#1 Personal blog: This is a blog written by one individual. Blog topics range from how to deal with a serious health issue to discussions on local politics. A great example is Zen Habits by Leo Babauta. Leo blogs about finding simplicity and mindfulness. He has been writing online since 2006. His blog now has over one million readers.
#2 Professional blog: A professional blog looks similar to a personal blog. Yet it exists for one reason — to make money online. A professional blogger writes about something people are interested in and uses various monetization strategies. These may include selling display ads, creating digital products, and promoting other people’s products as an affiliate. Pat Flynn is one of the most successful professional bloggers. In 2016, he reported monthly income of more than $170,000.
#3 Business blog: Business blogs exist to establish credibility and attract new prospects. A business blogger discusses topics relating to his or her industry. By providing helpful content that leads back to your products or services, you can convert online browsers into customers. Leadpages does this especially well on their blog.
What is Blogging and How Do You Get Started?
If you’re still reading, then you’re probably thinking about starting a blog.
You’re eager to get going. You want to share your message with the world and start attracting new business.
Then the doubt creeps in.
How much is this going to cost you? Do you need to learn new technical skills? How much time is this going to take?
At the end of the day, you want to know this…
… what is blogging and can you make it work for you?
If all this is new to you, take a deep breath and relax. Blogging doesn’t have to be expensive. Nor is it difficult.
At Scribblrs, we have you covered. Let’s talk about how to start a blog.
You have two options: free or paid.
At first sight the idea of “free” may be appealing. But before you jump in, think more deeply about why you want to blog. In this article we explain that free blogs are bad for businesses.
If you’re starting a personal blog, then by all means go ahead and create a free blog. WordPress.com, Blogger, and Blogspot are all popular options. You can also publish your articles on a platform like Tumblr or Medium. These are websites that allow you to post your content and connect with an established community of bloggers.
However, if you want to start a professional or business blog then you need a paid site.
Paid doesn’t have to be expensive. In our article, How to Start a Blog (and Even Make Money Blogging), we walk you through the steps to create your blog.
Once you have your blog set up, you’re ready to start blogging. This is the process of writing blog posts and publishing them on your website.
Remember, you want to update your blog on a regular basis. This helps you build up content that can be found via a Google search. Also, by sharing frequent updates you attract a following that looks forward to reading your content. This is important for business and professional blogs. You build trust over time and ultimately convert followers into paying customers.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started writing blog posts:
1. First determine your posting schedule. You may decide to post one long article each week. Or you could publish three shorter articles. It’s up to you. Just make sure you pick a schedule you can stick with.
2. Next open a blank document and brainstorm possible blog topics. Having a list of article ideas will save you time later. When you sit down to write, you won’t waste precious hours deciding what to write about.
3. Start writing. For tips on how to craft a killer blog post, check out our 10-point checklist. If you have no time to write, that’s okay. You can also invite guest bloggers to create articles for you. A guest blogger is someone outside of your organization who writes a post that you publish on your blog.
4. After publishing a blog post, it’s time to promote it. A critical part of blogging is spreading the word. Share your post on social media, email people in your industry, and tell your followers. Once you start attracting traffic and social shares, new visitors will discover your blog on their own.
Ready, Set, Blog
That’s it. We’ve covered what is a blog, why you need one, and some pointers to help you get started.
Now it’s your turn. The sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll realize the benefits. Whether that’s more traffic to your website, more customers for your business, or a new source of income.
Still have questions? Still wondering exactly what is a blog? Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help.