- Table of Contents
- What is a Blog
- Blogs vs Websites
- Reasons Why People Blog
- Types of Blogs
- Blogging Platforms
- Free Blogging Platforms
- Self-hosted Blogging Platforms
- Get Inspired by Successful Bloggers
Consider this as your guide to learn everything about blogging, explore its nature, and understand how it can benefit you in more ways.
What is a Blog
Let us start by defining what is a blog. Blog is a shorter term derived from the word weblog. Some people still use the longer form and they mean the same thing.
Basically, blog means a communication tool that is primarily used to scrutinize a particular topic. To explain the thoughts further, the written text can be accompanied with photos, videos, or audio files.
It can be in a form of a journal that is frequently updated. The authors use it to express thoughts, voice out opinions, or simply as a venue to share about things they are passionate about. It is like a personal website, just a smaller form of it as it focuses more about the posted updates rather than have a full-fledged website that has many components.
Blogs vs Websites
Blogs and websites have their differences and a few similarities.
Typically, a blog shows posts in a reverse chronological order. This allows updates to show up first. Websites, on the other hand, set a homepage where there are already fixed content and pages that will show up regardless of its posting date.
A blog page also includes on the posts the dates it was published and the author. The topics are also classified according to categories so finding a post related to certain topics is easy. You may also use tags or keywords to search for posts within the blog.
A website typically don’t specify the dates their content was posted and do not cite an author especially when they speak as a company instead of an individual. They also tend to have a “Help” page or a “FAQs” page where concerns are answered rather than pointing them to other resources.
But basically, the main difference is the size or how small a blog is compared to a website. This is primarily because a blog has a specific area of concern. It discusses topics that are of importance to the blogger. Websites, in contrast, are typically larger in context as it delivers not only about products and services but also other pertinent information like company profile, contacts page, infomercials, and a lot more. Lastly, a blog can only be a part of the whole website.
Reasons Why People Blog
Why would a person want to expose himself to the internet by blogging? Who are fearless enough to blog and get public with their opinions? Bloggers are people who are like you and me.
By nature, humans have that longing to be heard. Through the internet, blogs became that platform to be heard not only by a few people but by multitude of internet users. A global audience can be reached with nothing but a blog. This opportunity is what makes blogging so fascinating.
People from all over seem to find all sorts of reason to blog. There are those who want to share their expertise over something like those blogs that post make up tutorials, cooking lessons, teach academic subjects, etc. Some likes to have an online chronicle of their lives where they post recent trips and other activities. There are even peculiar blogs that are intended to discuss strange topics like fetishes, taboos, Goth, and the likes.
Whatever the topic is, it all comes down to one reason why people create blog. A blog is an effective medium to communicate with others. It gives a person a way to voice out his feelings when he can’t do the same in real life.
Types of Blogs
A personal blog covers a wide range of topics. This broad category allows a blogger to explore topics that interest him. It can be about politics, relationships, travel, academics, and health, among a lot of other topics.
The common tone for personal blogs is that they are usually about a certain area of interest that is close to the heart of the author. This is because the best blogs are those that are made with passion. The author is focused on the topic because it affects him on a personal level. This is why you can find stories of successful bloggers who used blogging to share personal experiences like a health struggle, a heart break, and inspirational success stories in life.
There are really no limitations as to what a personal blog can cover. It all depends on the blogger to speak and share what is in his mind.
Business blogs are used by professionals who are usually corporate individuals that would like to share expertise in their fields. They create a WordPress blog to communicate with people who are interested with what they offer. Even large companies are making blogs a part of their websites because it is one way to engage with customers on a seemingly personal level.
There are also what we call as professional blogs. These blogs are made for the sole purpose of earning money. There are blogging platforms that let a blogger to monetize his blog by using links, banner advertisements, product promotions and reviews, and other similar monetization activities.
Teachers are now using technology to make learning a lot more interactive. They make the students respond on blogs and use it as a medium to discuss lessons and other school- related stuff.
Raising awareness for a certain cause is one of the best uses of blog websites. Some nonprofit organizations use blogs as a transparent medium to raise money for their charitable efforts. This is great because everyone has an access to all information about a foundation and they get to learn more about the cause and maybe get interested to join or donate afterwards.
During the politics season, political parties and leaders are able to easily connect with their supporters and reach other people through their political blogs. It is where they show their agendas and post candidate profiles.
Media blogs come in different forms like a vlog or video blog where you can share stories through videos. Other bloggers have linkblogs where they curate content as a way to help others learn about a topic from a number of resources. Artists use photoblogs to showcase their portfolios.
Aside from monetizing a blog, one way to earn through blogging is by becoming a freelance blogger. You get to earn from providing blogging services like writing content for other blogs. Content is the most important part of a blog thus there is a great opportunity for those who would like to earn by writing.
A blog is the easiest way to share content within an organization. There is an option to keep the blog private so that only those who are within the circle gets an access to the photos and other files shared on the blog.
This is one of the most common types of blog. These are blogs that offer some kind of help in the form of reviews and tips. They can be as simple as DIY topics or as complex as gadget reviews. More recently, netizens are labeling these tips as “hacks”. For example, “make up hacks”, “cooking hacks”, and “baby hacks”. These are really just tips how to make it easier to apply make- up, cook something easier and faster, and how to baby proof the house. You can find plenty of these hacks that are shared on social media and are discussed further on blogs.
You see, there are many kinds of blogs and there are even those that do not fall into any of these categories. As you enter the blogging world, see to it that you find which type of blog you’d like. Knowing the kind of blog you will have will serve as your guide on what content to create.
By now you have a general idea about blogs. You should be able to create a plan about which kind of blog to create and the type of blogger that you would like to be.
Now, are you excited to create your own WordPress blog?
Are you ready to Start a Blog?
This question should be the first to be answered upon making plans to start blogging.
Make it your guide to identify reasons why you are going to build a blog of your own. Do you have a need to accomplish something? There should be a purpose as to why you are starting such project. It is not a simple task and it will demand a lot of time, require effort, and you have no choice but to do everything you can to keep it going.
Are you starting a blog… To to earn income? To promote your business? To give people information on something you are expert about? To have an outlet for all your creative ideas? If you find yourself answering “YES” to these questions, then that is more than enough reason to blog.
Take a moment to answer these short quizzes that can identify how ready you are as a future blogger. They will give you an assessment as to what kind of blogger you will be and if you are on your way towards a successful blogging journey.
Since you are now sure about building a blog, your next question will be, “How to build a blog?” Before we dive in through, first let’s learn how blog runs and how it works.
Even though it is a micro site, a blog needs a sort of a medium to have it published on the internet. A blog platform does just that. It is a software that lets you upload content into your blog. Its service include content management so you can control what gets published on the blog.
Because it is your first time to explore blogging, you can start using a blogging platform that has a simple user interface. Find one that lets you set up in minutes and something that does not need you to be equipped with any coding knowledge. Even if you do not have the money to pay for such service, you can have a blogging platform that is free and meets the simplicity that you need.
Free Blogging Platforms
There are plenty of blogging platforms that are free. This means that anyone can start a blog without having to pay for anything. Basic steps to use a free blogging platform are to create an account, choose a domain, and complete the details necessary to set up a blog site.
Now, because you are using a free service, you need to consider that one of its downsides is that your files are being stored or hosted by the blog platform’s servers. You get limited control of your own blog and content.
To give you more idea about free blogging platforms, here are its pros and cons.
Free blog pros:
- You do not pay for anything to set up a blog.
- There are free platforms that are easy to set up like WordPress and Blogger.
- Free programs even lets a newbie set up a blog and maintain it even without knowing anything about coding or building a website.
Free blog cons:
- You will get a very long domain or site name as the platform’s domain is going to be attached to yours. An example is www.yourdomain.wordpress.com this is a disadvantage if you want an easy to remember site and build your own brand.
- Free blogs sometimes do not have that professional look that the audience likes.
- You have limitations on what you can do with your blog. An example is the use of plugins and themes for easy blog management. Free blogs oftentimes do not allow the use of additional plugins so you get stuck with what the free account is offering. There are people who complain about the customization limitations because they can’t fully take control on the design of the blog.
- Not only do you have limitations on the look and feel of the blog, a free blogging platform also limits the amount of bandwidth that you can use to post content on your blog. this means you can’t post a lot of pictures, videos, audios, and other files including articles that you wish to publish.
- If you are planning to monetize the blog, be aware that some free accounts have limits for adverts. It will be a challenge to make money from the blog if you do not have a lot of monetizing options.
Free blogging platforms that are mostly used by newbies
It is the world’s most popular free blogging service that also offers a premium account. It has a wide range of customization options and has one of the easiest UIs. A lot of professionals use this platform for tons of different types of blog. How to get started with WordPress.com.
Google has Blogger to counter WordPress. It is also free and is popular to a lot of people. There are millions of Blogger blogs out there and most of the users are happy about the customization options they get from their free accounts. How to get started with Blogger.
This is a new free blogging platform that is getting popular by the minute. It offers a minimalistic UI that lets users focus the blog on the content and over the quality of published posts. How to get started with Medium.
Weebly is a fairly long-standing blogging platform that is popular among those who would like to have an online business. Its features target website curation, ecommerce sites, and other internet marketing sites. How to get started blogging with Weebly.
For people who wants to keep it short and simple, Tumblr offers a free way to do just that. It is sometimes referred to as a micro-blogging site because you can do short blogs or share photos in minutes. It is so easy to set up given that it has very limited options especially on the design. But this is really not a problem if aesthetics is the least of your priorities. How to get started with Tumblr.
A free blogging platform is nice only if you want to have a venue you’re your thoughts or if you have no plans of monetizing the blog. It is an inexpensive way to express your opinions and have fun in chronicling your life. But if you are looking forward to supplement your income through blogging, a paid blogging platform is highly suggested for tons of reasons.
Self-hosted Blogging Platforms
A paid blog is called a self- hosted blog. It is a blog that uses your own server to store files. You have the choice to host your own blog or pay for hosting site providers or third parties to maximize your self-hosted blog benefits.
Self-hosted blog pros:
- You can have fun with the full control you get for your blog. Manipulate the design and layout, use unlimited SEO efforts, gain more from adverts, and use as much plugins as you like.
- Create a unique brand using customized themes.
- You can make code changes by accessing backend files.
- A third-party host does not cost a lot. You may think of it as paying for extra features like better security for only a few dollars.
Self-hosted blog cons:
- You need to make a small investment to pay for the initial setup.
- New bloggers may find it intimidating and too complicated.
Self-hosted blogs can use blogging software like WordPress.org. It is an extremely popular self-hosting platform that is commended by most successful bloggers.
(Note: WordPress.org is different from WordPress.com which is a free blog hosting platform. Don’t be confused between the two and check out our guide for its differences – WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org.)
WordPress.org is classified as an open source software platform. This means you can build your website from scratch. Since it is a self-hosted solution, you have to sign up for an account from a WordPress hosting provider.
Hosting services can be sought from highly recommended best blog hosting sites like iPage, Bluehost, Siteground, and HostGator. Think of these companies as providers of digital storage. They will help you make the blog run without minding bandwidth limits.
What are the Benefits of Blogging Using WordPress.org?
- It has a user-friendly interface that gives the user full control to the site including customization options.
- Improve your blog by adding extra features. Create forums. Build an online shop, and even offer blog membership for updates.
- You may choose from among thousands of both free and premium themes to create a unique and attractive blog site.
- It comes with Search engine friendly options for SEO purposes.
We have a step by step guide on how to start a blog available to get you started.
Remember: The decision to use which platform for a blog is only secondary to the type of blog you are going to build. It is important that you also think about the future of your blog. Is your choice flexible enough should you decided to take blogging further? Will it be able to handle the changes that you want if you like to monetize the blog? Rather than considering only the price, reflect on the possibilities of the blog.
Get Inspired with Successful Bloggers
These bloggers were able to establish a name in the blogosphere. Follow them online to be inspired and learn a thing or two from stories about their blogging successes so you too can start blogging for profit.
Note: These bloggers are successful today but they too were just like you when they started. They began small, made baby steps in blogging but ultimately made it big in the industry. Also, a lot of companies that are considered to be a success also started with a small blog. Think of them as inspirations and have their success as your own goal for your blog.