A blog is a user-friendly content management software, where people can share their thoughts and ideas with the world.
But what is a blog, really?
How does a blog work and why do you need one?
In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about blogs, from how they’re created to how to you too can earn a passive income from them.
We’ll also dispel a few of the myths that often surround blogging, so you can decide if it’s the right fit for you.
So read on to find out what a blog is, how it works and why it matters!
Let’s get started!
What is a Blog?
A blog, short for “WeBlog,” is a regularly updated web page used for a personal blog or business blog, where the information is displayed in reverse chronological order (most recent posts appearing first).
You’re reading a blog right now! A blog is written content, generally instructional or informative in nature, found on websites.
Back when a blog was first started, people used this type of website as an online journal to share their thoughts and views on various topics.
What Does the Word “Blog” Stand For?
The word “Blog” is a combination of the words “web” and “log.” The term “weblog” was first used by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997.
The shortened form “blog” is credited to Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase web log in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in 1999.
Web + Log = Blog
How Many Blogs Are On the Internet?
At the time of this writing, there are over 600 million blogs and 1.9 billion websites worldwide, and counting!
Almost 2 billion blog posts are published every year, with over six million being published each day.
What is The Purpose of a Blog?
While there are several reasons you might have to start a personal blog, there are quite a few motivating factors for business blogging.
The general purpose of a blog is:
- Expressing an opinion
- Help companies rank on search engines to gain more traffic
- Share instructional content and become an expert in your field
- Selling products and services online
- Attract visitors to a site and turn them into leads
- Create an online community and engage with a target audience
- Promoting a business
- Promoting a brand
- Personal journals or lifestyle blogs could be considered hobby blogs
The purpose of blogging, in terms of a business or any other activity that could earn you money, is to increase your website’s ranking in Google SERPs, making your site more visible.
Without consumers, businesses would not survive. Consumers generate revenue for companies by making purchases of their products and services.
As a new business, blogging can help introduce the company and its products and services to potential customers.
If you don’t blog, your website will be invisible to potential customers. Blogging makes you searchable and competitive by giving you a voice online.
The point of a blog is twofold:
- To introduce you to the right target audience
- Increase traffic to your site while also helping with qualified leads
Considering that Google is constantly on the search for updated material, publishing and updating frequently with high-quality content will increase the chances that people in your target demographic will discover your website.
A blog is a great lead-generation tool because it can convert website traffic into high-quality leads.
By adding a great call to action (CTA) to your content, you will be able to take advantage of this powerful tool.
Maintaining your blog is an excellent way to establish yourself as an expert in your field and develop a strong brand identity.
By writing engaging and informative blog posts based on your niche expertise, you’ll prove to your target audience that they can trust you.
By frequently blogging, you’ll not only make your brand look more credible (especially important for young or unknown businesses), but you’ll also establish a stronger online presence and authority in your industry.
What is a Blog Post?
A blog post is a web page on your site that focuses on one particular topic in detail.
For example, let’s say you have a retail store, and you decide that you want to start a blog for outdoor gear. Your first blog post might be called “The Best and Most Affordable Hiking Shoes This Side of the Mississippi River“.
This blog post connects to your blog’s general topic (outdoor gear), but it also goes into detail about a smaller subtopic (hiking shoes).
If you want your company’s site to appear on the first page of Google (who doesn’t want that?) for specific keywords, then writing blog posts is a great way to make that happen.
For example, if you wrote a blog post about the best hiking shoes, people searching for that term would be more likely to see your post, click on the link, and visit your site.
A blog article about hiking shoes can introduce your potential customers to your other products, as they’re able to click on your website’s “Products” page at any time.
A blog post will link to the main blog on your site. For example, you are currently on “https://theblogpilot.com/blog/what-is-a-blog,” which is the URL that’s located in the address bar of your computer/phone browser. From here, you have access to the entire blog.
The Layout of the Blog (Structure)
Although the look of blogs has changed a lot, most still have some basic features and structures.
Image Source Courtesy of FirstSiteGuide.com
Here are some typical features that you might find on a blog:
- The header, which usually contains the menu or navigation bar
- The main content area on a website features the latest blog posts so that visitors can easily see what’s new
- Usually has a sidebar to emphasize social media profiles, links to your favorite content, or a call-to-action button
The structure of the average blog is essential for helping visitors navigate your site. Each item listed above plays an integral role.
What is the Difference Between a Blog and a Website?
Some people still don’t understand the difference between a blog and a website, and if you’re new to blogging, it’s perfectly understandable.
Nowadays, it’s harder than ever to tell the difference between a website and a blog without looking at the source code itself. A lot of businesses are now incorporating blogs into their websites, muddying the waters even further.
Website vs Blog
Let’s start with a website. A website usually has static web pages, which are usually designed by a programmer and are in a language that usually requires the webmaster or someone who is familiar with the programming language to update it.
A blog on the other hand is a user-friendly, CMS (content management system) platform that can be updated by anyone with login access, including my 78-year-old mother who has zero programming language.
A blog is usually fairly easy to identify by its blog post.
Blog posts will usually include a publishing date, author reference, categories, comments, and tags along with an ‘About the Author’ bio. Static web pages will not have any of these elements.
The content on a static site will be the same each time someone visits the website, whereas a blog’s owner can schedule how often they publish new blog content, meaning there could be something different every day, week, or month.
For a big company blog, there could be 30 or even hundreds of people, each one with a different login, that will have access to it, but on different levels. Let me explain!
Blogs were designed to allow many people to be able to contribute to its success but are limited by different levels of access.
For a WordPress blog, which is the platform for TheBlogPilot.com and 455 million other successful blogs throughout the world use, there’s an administrator, which speaks for itself, along with an author, editor, contributor, subscriber, etc.
Each one will have a different level of access to the WordPress blogging platform.
Example: A contributor will have his own login access but may be limited to working on a single blog post, then once he’s done, click on a link for approval before it’s allowed to be published.
The blog post would have to wait for approval from a higher level before it’s set for publishing.
It’s up to the administrator to give the proper access to whoever is allowed access, so people don’t go wild and start making changes to the site.
I’ll use the example of the world-famous, WordPress software. The creators of the WordPress, blogging software designed it to be super user-friendly.
All a WordPress user has to do is log into the dashboard, click on a link to go to a new page, and write a blog post. With this software, you can add links, images, videos, etc., then save it as a draft to work on later, or write a blog article and publish it right then and there for the world to see.
Sites like WordPress that are updated frequently perform better than those that aren’t.
For example, a news blog sharing today’s breaking news will see much more engagement from users than websites that are rarely ever updated.
Not only do blogs provide reader engagement, but they also provide readers with a space to voice overall concerns and thoughts.
And, because of how easy blogs are to work with, blog owners typically update their sites regularly, which Google loves.
On the other side of the coin, static websites are rarely ever updated due to the headache of needing a programmer to make the changes.
What is Blogging?
In the early 2000s, blogging began to take on different forms as several political blogs were born.
According to Dictionary.com, blogging is a website containing a writer or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., often having images and links to other websites.
However, it doesn’t tell you that blogging can be fun and provide mental stimulation. Blogging can be a creative outlet on a personal level or run your blog as a money-making successful business.
Writing is all about expressing your unique thoughts and ideas in your own blog in your own individual style. It can be whatever you want it to be; it can be fun, exciting, mind-numbing, emotional, or relaxed. It’s all up to you!
Why is Blogging So Popular?
For starters, blogs give you the opportunity to discuss any topics you’re passionate about and share your thoughts with the world, all done in a surprisingly easy way.
Niche and personal bloggers quickly saw the potential in writing blog posts for their followers. They could connect with more like-minded individuals who were interested in specific topics.
And not only that, but through a blog, visitors can comment and interact with you or your brand. This creates a network of loyal followers around you or your product or service.
For businesses, blogging not only positively impacts customer satisfaction but also helps to keep them informed and up-to-date. The more people that visit your blog, the greater brand exposure and trust you earn.
A Few More Reasons Why Blogging is So Popular
1. Creating and maintaining your own blog is now easier than ever. With just a couple of clicks, your blog will be up and running.
An additional advantage blogs have is that they are free of charge or at the most a very small investment of less than $100!
More individuals are using blogs to earn money instead of spending butt loads of cash on a website designer.
In the past, you would have had to pay a website developer every time you wanted to publish an article or make any changes to your website.
2. Secondly, it’s now clear that blogging today can be monetized for making money in quite a few different ways.
If you have an Internet-based business selling goods and services, you can monetize your site with blog content written for your target market, which can offer products & services at a discount through your blog post.
You can also offer your viewers a coupon or discount if they offer up their email address, which you’ll have for keeping in touch with your customers for future offers and blog post updates which will bring them back to your site for more.
Not only will it bring in some extra money, but it’s also an excellent way to generate high-quality leads for your company.
If you’re dedicated and driven, a blog can potentially earn you millions, though most people would be more than happy to just land a couple of gigs on the side.
3. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to work from home, which in turn has caused the online education industry to grow like crazy. Your blog can be a powerful tool to create change in the world.
In addition to offering information, you can use your blog to offer online courses, coaching, memberships, sell other people’s affiliate products, and even create an online store selling physical products.
With your blogging platform, you have the ability to reach many people and make a real difference.
What is a Blogger?
A blogger is a type of writer who regularly contributes to an online journal or website, whether it’s a personal blog or a business blog, they both work in a similar fashion.
For example, a news blogger, similar to a newspaper columnist, might provide weekly commentary on current events.
A personal blogger keeps a website that may include online diary entries, photographs, and links to other sites.
Their posts can be about anything under the sun, from arts and crafts to home design, carpentry, recipes, to finance.
Seeing bloggers over the Internet showing their fame and fortune, many people are realizing how popular blogging has gotten and have made the educated decision to jump on board, start a blog of their own, and turn it into a career or side hustle.
Definition of a Blogger
A blogger is the mastermind of Opinion behind a blog.
He or she creates content to share his or her expertise and understanding of various topics with an intended group of readers.
How Do Bloggers Earn Money with Their Blog?
Bloggers can earn money in a variety of ways, some of which will generate MORE income and other methods that will do so much QUICKER.
It’s true that bloggers can make boatloads of money, but something I need to make clear is that making an income as a blogger takes time, it’s not a get-rich-quick method for making an income on the web.
Here are a few of the ways you can make money with your blog:
- The easiest for beginner bloggers is to sell other people’s products as an affiliate through ad networks
- Selling your own digital products or courses (you keep all the profit, but can be time-consuming to create)
- Recommending physical products within your articles (like for Amazon)
- Selling your own products or services
- Selling ad space on your blog like Google Adsense (need a large amount of traffic to make any money)
- Selling memberships through your blog for exclusive content or advice
- Use your blog to market your products or services for your business
Before you can make any money from your blog, you need to improve both your rankings on search engines and your influence in your niche. That will take a lot of time and great content.
Make Money with Email Marketing & Your Blog
Another great way many bloggers make good money with their blogs is by putting a few of the above methods to use through email marketing.
With email marketing, you’re capturing email addresses from your visitors by offering digital products such as eBooks, how-to guides, cheat sheets, or online courses in exchange for their contact information.
Once you have visitors on your email list, you can start earning money by marketing your products to them through your mailing list.
Of course, you cannot just push, push, push your products continuously through your mailing list because all you’ll do is annoy your readers, and they will hit the unsubscribe link or put you in their spam box in the blink of an eye, which would not be good for you.
There is an art form to nurturing your email list, gaining your reader’s trust and loyalty before you can push your products on them.
Here are a couple of articles to help you with Email Marketing.
What Should I Typical Blog Be About?
Depending on what you hope to achieve with your blog, the topics you write about will vary.
If your goal is to make money with your blog, you’ll need to treat it like an actual business.
Keep in mind that your blog can be about anything you want. You can write on any topic you’re passionate about, such as:
- Products you love to use and want to share with your readers
- Your favorite recipes
- Updates about your company or product
- An outlet to improve your writing
- A way to connect with like-minded people
- A journal to share with your family, the possibilities are endless
You can write about literally anything and see how your readers respond.
What Makes a Blog Successful?
Keeping your readers engaged and interested is key to a successful blog.
The more you can connect with them on a personal level, the more powerful your blog will be – and potentially, the more money you can make!
You don’t need a big blog or a large audience to have a successful blog. Instead, focus on creating content that engages your current readers.
Big or small, any blog has the potential to make money through the selling of products and services, that’s if they can manage to create a connection with their readers.
How to Blog (10 Steps to a Successful Blog)
1. Choose Your Niche Market (Your Target Audience)
This one is crucial to your success. You must know who it is you are trying to attract to your site when you first start on your blogging journey.
This is known as your niche market or target audience. Who do you want to appeal to with your content?
Consider who you want to have read your blog posts before getting started. What topics will you cover, and why?
2. Research & Keep a Running List of Blog Post Ideas for Your Target Audience
Once you create a blog, it’s essential that you maintain high-quality content on a consistent basis.
If you’re able to produce high-quality content that is both interesting and helpful to your readers, this will give you a boost to your SEO.
Competitor analysis is a great way to start brainstorming content. Look for gaps in their coverage that you can fill.
In order to write about something interesting to users, you should use search engines to verify that people are searching for it online.
Tools like Ubersuggest, SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner, and Answer The Public can help with this research by showing you how often the topic is being searched and what questions people have about it.
Keeping a running list of blog post ideas will help ensure you never find yourself at a loss for what to post.
3. Choosing a Content Management System (CMS) for Your Blog
Like anything else, you have many choices for a content management system for creating your blog, but they’re not all created equal.
If your goal is to earn a passive or full-time income, then in my opinion, and millions of other bloggers earning money with their blogs, WordPress, along with standard blog hosting service, is the only way to go.
If you’re just wanting to have an online journal type of site where you have no concern about making any income from it, then virtually any blogging platform will work.
But, if you are wanting to earn an extra side income at the minimum, then there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
- Is it easy to set up?
- Is the user interface simple to work with?
- Is it easy to customize?
- Will I have full control over your business & site?
- Will it allow third-party applications?
- Is it easy to monetize for making money?
- Will I have plenty of choices for themes (the look and feel of your site)?
- Is the blogging platform optimized for SEO right out of the box?
If you don’t have a website yet, make sure the CMS you choose has blogging options available.
If you already have a site, see if it’s possible to add a blog to it. If not, look for a CMS that can integrate with your site or start afresh with an entirely new one.
4. Create a Digital Marketing Strategy
Before you create a blog, it is essential to have a marketing strategy in place.
This plan should answer vital questions such as:
- Who is it that you’re targeting (your target audience)?
- What types of content will you produce for your readers?
- How often will you publish articles?
- How will you promote your published articles?
Your blog won’t be successful unless you have a clear mission, vision, and set goals.
Once you have those figured out, create a content calendar to keep your upcoming articles organized and on track.
Having a content calendar will help you keep track of future posts, if you have writers, make sure they’re completing their articles on time and provide ideas for content down the road.
5. Create a Structure for Your Articles
The structure of your blog post is just as important as the content itself.
- Are you breaking up your blog post with subheads to make it simpler to understand?
- Are you using bullet points and images, so the blog post is easy to skim?
These elements will help keep your reader engaged.
Also, ensure that your blog uses calls-to-action (CTAs) to tell the reader what you want them to do next. In doing so, you can begin making money and generating leads from your blog content.
6. Become an Expert in Marketing
The point of having a blog is to share your ideas with the world, but in order for people to actually read what you’ve written, you need to promote your content.
Therefore, if you don’t market your blog post, it’s doubtful that anybody will read it.
You can market your content on various channels in order to reach not only current customers but also prospective leads.
Some examples of these channels are social media platforms, bookmarking sites, search engine rankings, email newsletters, etc.
7. Learn All You Can About SEO
By optimizing your blog for search engines, you can drive organic traffic to your site and increase your chances of success.
Learn how to do keyword research and build an SEO strategy to help you achieve your blogging goals.
8. Create a Variety of Blog Post Types to Keep Readers Engaged
The blog posts you write should be interesting and engaging for all your viewers. Although you are not catering to everybody, you need to have some variety for your ideal readers to keep them interested.
You’ll need to break the monotony of your articles by using a variety of types, such as how-to’s, listicles, or opinion pieces. This will keep your followers engaged and prevent them from getting bored with your content.
9. Update and Repurpose Old Content.
Coming up with new blog topics can be tedious, but you don’t have to start from scratch each time.
Updating old blog posts helps keep them accurate and informative. You can also use other types of posts, like a YouTube video or podcast, and turn it into a blog post or, visa-versa, turn an article into a video or podcast.
10. Understand Your Audience by Running a Competitive Analysis
If you want to get an understanding of who your potential viewers are, look to see what your competitors are doing.
Conducting a competitive analysis will help you learn more about what strategies your competitors are using to make their site successful.
Use this method to stay ahead of content trends in your industry, fill any gaps you may have in your blog’s current topics, and come up with new ideas for posts.
By conducting a competitive analysis, you can not only improve your blog strategy but also learn from your competition, giving you a boost for working smarter.
So, Mr Blog Pilot – How Do I Get Started?
Having a blog comes with endless opportunities and advantages for you and your potential business.
Check out my comprehensive, step-by-step guide for beginners on How to Start a Successful Blog and Make Money.
Or, if you’re the entrepreneurial type of person and you just want to jump in feet first to grab your own corner of cyberspace, and you have 15 minutes to spare, you can start your blog right here, right now!
If you just started your first blog, but haven’t yet posted an article yet and could use some help, be sure to read, How to Write Your First Blog Post – Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide.
Conclusion: Recap – What is a Blog?
As you’ve learned, a blog is a regularly updated website or web page written in an informal or conversational style where people can share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with the world.
You’ve discovered that blogging is a great way to build relationships with potential customers and if you choose, grow your business to new heights.
Blogs can be about literally anything, from cooking to fashion to news and politics. There are millions of successful blogs on the internet, with new ones being created every minute of every day.
They are maintained by individuals, with their blog entries being displayed in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent posts appearing first.
If you don’t already have a blog, I strongly encourage you to start one today. As you know, if you have no desire to make any money from your blog, it’s completely free to start.
If you want to earn some extra cash with your blog, you’ll need to invest roughly $60 or less to get started. By the way, to be clear, that $60 bucks is the investment for the whole year using the above link (for a domain name and WordPress web hosting service). Not too shabby!
If you have questions about blogging, let me know in the comments section below. I’d love to answer them for you!