Introduction to Blogging – A Detailed Guide
If you are not living under the rocks, there is a good chance that you often come across terms like “blog”, “blogging” or “blogger”. A lot of confusion and ambiguity lies in the meanings of these words that are perceived by various people.
Here, is an exhaustive guide to blogging that will help you understand what is blogging, its evolution throughout the years, its need and objectives.
A special mention of how you can also generate money out of blogging is made ahead. The distinction between words like “blog”, “website” and “webpage” is explained to give a clear and broad picture of what is blogging.
What is blogging?
To answer what is blogging, we first need to understand the components that define what is blogging.
A blog is an online journal or diary, which can be set up for strictly personal use with access to only the owner or a well-defined group of people. A blog can also be made public, so that anyone from any corner of the world, having an internet connection and relevant interests can reach the blog with the help of search engine results, social media links, website information, e-mails or e-newsletters.
You can easily start a blog within a few minutes with the help of platforms like WordPress, Medium, Blogger, Wix, Tumblr. The content of a blog is generally in the form of text, images, audio, videos, and animated GIFs.
An individual piece of content on a particular topic is called a blog post. A blog is composed of numerous blog posts arranged in such a manner that the most recent posts appear first on the home page of our blog with the other write-ups arranged in chronological order. You can read a blog post by simply clicking on the headline of an article present on the home page after which you get directed to the webpage displaying the content of the post.
A blog is composed of many web pages depending on how many posts have been created. If a blog hosts around 50 articles, it is supposed to have 50 web pages. A webpage displaying the content of a post essentially is composed of a bold-lettered headline with the name of the author, date of publication and category of the write-up in the header section. In the footer section of the webpage, links to share the article on various social media platforms is provided.
A comment section is also present below where the readers and the author can engage in constructive conversation regarding the subject of the write-up. A list of other recent articles also appears on the bottom section of the webpage. Generally, a summary of the educational and personal background of the author is present at the end of the write-up.
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So, what is blogging?
Blogging, therefore, is an act of putting out content on a regular basis on an online platform called a blog which is essentially an account and documentation of personal views, opinions, ideas, experiences. A person who manages and owns the blog is called a blogger.
The choice of subjects on which content has to be published depends entirely on the blogger. A blogger not only strategizes the type of content that has to be put out, he/she also works towards increasing the outreach of his/her blog by various promotional tactics.
These tactics essentially consist of sharing the links of the blog posts on his/her social media handles or paid collaboration with other bloggers to attract more readers to his/her blog.
A blogger is also responsible for crafting his/her content in an optimized manner in alignment with the requirements of the Googlebot such that the link to the blog acquires higher ranks in search engine results.
A successful blogger generally puts out content that is more or less narrowed down to a domain on which the author has gained expertise through formal education or self-teaching channels or even personal experiences.
Successful bloggers of a particular subject essentially are seen as experts who have built their credibility in the industry by putting out valuable and resourceful content for the target audience.
If you want to start a blog, the first step is to outline the objective you want to achieve. It is entirely up to you to decide the subject on which the content has to be published. You can start documenting your experiences by blogging about it frequently. Your blog can be a travel diary, an account of your fitness journey, documentation of university life or a step by step guide on making mouth-watering dishes.
You can blog about anything, provided it does not hurt the sentiments of a group of people or community. The subject of your content should be of the kind that you are comfortable enough to share with a group of people or the whole online community.
More and more brands are migrating towards e-commerce in the present times. The success of a brand is heavily dependent on the kind of online presence it has built. It is quite safe to consider that the stronger is the online presence of a brand, the more popular it is in the consumer space and the more is its popularity, the more revenue it generates.
Blogging is a part of the search engine optimization toolkit that almost every brand is embracing to gain higher ranks in search engine results to further attract more traffic to their websites and reach their business goals. Blogging is, therefore, the most relevant tool, in the present times, to grow a business of any nature and scale.
Blogging lies at the heart of content marketing, which is the only type of marketing that seems to work. Content marketing is believed to be more effective than the traditional forms of marketing that have a history of manipulating the consumers into buying various products and services.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is a more transparent, trustworthy form of marketing where the targeted consumers are empowered with knowledge about the products and services they wish to buy.
This, in turn, helps the consumers to make a well-educated purchase. Not only a feeling of trust and familiarity is established between the consumer and the brand, but also a fair environment is set up for selling, purchasing and competition in the market.
After giving a detailed account of what is blogging, I will now clarify the inherent difference between a blog and a website. Many people get confused between the two words and often use it synonymously. Following are the difference between a website and a blog.
- A blog is a component of a website. Generally, the main website of an organization or individual hosts links to the blog section of its online presence. You will generally find the directing hyperlink to the blog on the top right corner a website. An organization or individual who has a professional website can build a strong online presence with the help of an effective blogging strategy.
- A blog is updated frequently. Search engines love fresh, high quality and regularly updated content. Businesses generally use blogging as a part of their search engine optimization toolkit to eventually acquire higher ranks in search engine results. On the other hand, the content of a website is static throughout. For example, website content on the history of an organization, content on its objectives, contact information does not change.
- Blogs facilitate reader engagement but websites generally don’t. A comment section is present at the bottom of a blog post page where readers and the author can get involved in a constructive exchange of ideas, information, opinions, stats, and feedback. This allows the author to get a better picture of the needs, desires of the readers and further use this information to craft more relevant content in the future which aligns with the requirements of the target audience.
We have now covered an introduction to what is blogging, the different blogs and websites. To further dive to understand what is blogging, we will have a brief discussion on the various components that effectively answer the question “what is blogging?”.
Evolution of blogging
To get an inside out knowledge of what is blogging, it is crucial to trace its origin. Blogging developed as a natural extension to the popularity and widespread use of the internet across the world. Human beings are naturally social animals. They thrive to share information, ideas, and opinions in their social circle.
Blogging in its primitive stage started serving its purpose of sharing information with a small or big group of people depending on the privacy choice of its blogger in the late 90s. Initially, blogging was used as an online journal for personal use like documenting their life experiences. With the sudden boom of the world wide web, blogging became a very popular tool to grow businesses and even expand other types of small scale, purely online business. As of now, blogging has become an essential component of effective content marketing of brands and for common people, it has become one of the most effective ways to earn good money online.
What kind of people are bloggers?
One of the most important aspects of what is blogging is to understand the kind of people who are bloggers. People who blog on a regular basis are from different walks of life having different goals. There is no limitation or criteria required to become a blogger. All you need to have is an internet connection, knowledge of various online tools and ideas to write about.
Most of the bloggers out there start a blog to document their life experiences, interest and hobbies. There are still other bloggers who use blogging as a medium to create awareness regarding sensitive issues with the world.
They essentially write on social, economic and political issues. They express their views on controversial topics and generally have a huge readership. There are also content writers hired by various business organizations to create content for their blogs to increase their consumer engagement.
Why is blogging so popular?
Another component of understanding what is blogging is in knowing the real reason behind the wild popularity of blogs. Blogging is now at the heart of search engine optimization toolkit for building a strong online presence of an individual or organization. Here, I enlist a few reasons behind the popularity of blogging.
- Search engines favour fresh and high-quality content
When a user searches for information about a topic or subject on the google search engine, he/she types phrases or words that typically fall under the umbrella of keywords and key phrases that almost every user uses to educate themselves about events, phenomena, people, etc. As the user clicks enter, the google bot gets into action. The google bot directed by its algorithm crawls through the webpages having relevant information.
Search engines favour those webpages which have a good keyword density of the words and phrases that users generally use to know about the subject. It also has a high preference for freshly updated, high quality, grammatically correct and uses relevant content. Search engines also favour well-structured write-ups which are essentially integrated into headings, subheading and bullet points with appropriate inclusions of relevant hyperlinks.
For a business to grow, it needs to have a strong online presence. Every business has its own website. Static content of a website plays no role in letting the page gain higher ranks on search engine result page. However, the blog is the regularly updated section of a website, where fresh and high-quality content is put out on a daily basis, attracts the google bot. This way, google bot favours the blog and assigns it higher ranks in search engine results.
As a result, more and more relevant people visit the blog. More traffic increases the popularity of a brand and eventually generate higher revenue. Blogging is, therefore, one of the most effective marketing tools in the present times, which if used effectively can immensely help to increase the outreach of business by promoting heavy consumer engagement.
Blogging is not the only beneficiary for businesses. It is also an effective way for individuals with different interests and passion to earn money and gain wild popularity. People who are writers, singers, dancers, chefs, scientists, motivational speakers, psychologists, engineers can build their credibility in their professions by putting out fresh, high quality and valuable content for their target readers.
They are also supposed to move beyond content creation to attract more traffic to their websites. A provision for regularly updated paid premium content in the form of tutorials, step by step guide, personal guidance add feathers to the value the blogger is trying to provide to his/her readers. Further, collaborations with other relevant and popular people is also a great way to attract the attention of the readers and convince them to take desired actions that equally favour them and the blogger.
- An easy means to keep customers up-to-date with the developments
Blogging is an effective and cheap way to keep updating the target audience with recent developments; like recent discount offers, free giveaways, new product or service launches, professional mergers, and even recruitment news. A lot of blog content includes pieces of news regarding new developments in the field of the subject on which blogs run.
For example, a tech blog has special posts of new gadget launches or a well-written account of the latest technology. Likewise, a fashion blog also has content on the recent dressing trends of the glamour world. If your blog provides opportunities for the readers to get regularly updated with the developments, they will visit the blog more often and a feeling of reliability will be established. This will further push the readers to take the desired action in the near future.
- A great way to build trust and reputation with the potential customers
A blog that is regularly updated with high quality, relevant, valuable, reliable content attracts the attention of prospective customers. Blogging provides an opportunity for a constructive exchange of information, views, and feedback between the blogger and the readers, further deepening the feeling of trust and reliability among the potential clients.
The more a potential customer trusts the content the blogger is putting out, the higher will be the chances of them taking the desired actions, usually a purchase.
- Flexibility and Portability
A blogger is usually presented with opportunities of working during hours that seem convenient to them. Another important aspect of blogging is the prospect of work from the comfort of any corner of the world, be it your home, office, coffee shop or beach. The flexibility and portability that blogging offers is the reason why blogging has become so popular ever since its birth.
How to become an effective blogger?
To further dive into understanding what is blogging, you need to know the key aspects which happen to be a deciding factor in concluding if the content strategy for a blog is effective enough to help the blogger reach his/her objectives.
- Maintain an editorial calendar
It is very important to maintain a schedule of the content that needs to be published. This schedule should essentially include the type of article, its research material, sources, word limit, keyword targets and of course and the deadline within which the write-up has to be published. To increase the reach of a blog, one of the most important points is to make sure that frequent publication of the blog posts keeps happening. A well-strategized content plan for blogs is necessary to achieve the objectives and goals of the blogger. Consistency in putting out quality content is important equally important to attract good traffic.
- Understanding the target audience
Understanding the needs, desires, fears, and insecurities of the target audience are important for any type of effective content writing. People will not invest time out of their busy schedules to read an article if it does not address their problems efficiently. They will not invest their time, money and attention to your content if they do not get good value out of it. As a blogger, you won’t ever be able to craft content for the readers if you do not make an effort to understand them. To actually know your readers, it is highly recommended to go through the feedbacks of the customers of your competitor who also crafts content similar to yours. You can also directly get in touch with your prospective customers and get to know their views. Sharing links of the Google feedback on your social media handles is yet another way to understand the behavioural patterns of the readers.
- Including graphic content
A plain white screen of text generally either intimidates the readers or makes their reading session unfruitful. It is important to choose appropriate themes, fonts, images, videos, and GIFs and include them in the blog post to keep the readers engaged. Integration of quality content with relevant graphics improves the readability of the write-ups and appears appealing to the eyes of the readers and prospective clients. It provides a hint into the type of dedication the owner has to his/her work. It further creates a feeling of reliability and provides space for positive consumer expectations.
- Include links to other relevant content
Google bot favours blogs which includes links to other web pages which publishes related content. The reason lies in the objective of Google which aims to promote mutual sharing of valuable information and make them ready for consumption by the users. Also, including relevant links also convey the message that you respect your fellow bloggers for the effort they have put into crafting valuable content.
No piece of content writing can deliver its objective if it is not revised a number of times after completing the rough draft. Going through the write-up over and over again, pointing out the grammatical errors, the omission of repetitive words, etc is very crucial to improve the readability of the article. Sharing the work with experienced acquaintances is also very important. Further taking into account the edits suggested by people plays a significant role in catering to the needs of the readers. A final revision of the blog post by getting into the shoes of the prospective readers gives valuable insights to further improve the quality of the content.
- Social media promotions
Sharing the links of the blog post to your social media handle plays a huge role in driving relevant traffic to the webpage. Sharing the link is not just enough. You need to present the link in a manner that catches the attention of the people who scroll through their newsfeed or look through the stories.
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How to make money out of blogging?
The last and the most important aspect of this exhaustive account on what is blogging; how can you make money out of blogging?
To generate revenue and convert content to sales, more traffic has to be driven to the blog. The first step to keep in mind if you want to make money out of blogging is to craft content that google Bots will love. Applying effective search engine optimization techniques to the write-up helps the blog rank higher in search engine results, which in turn will attract large traffic and allow money-making to become a cakewalk for you.
- Placement of advertisements
You can place ads on your site with the help of Google AdSense. You don’t have to be in direct touch with the advertisers here. Google, instead of senses your content and places relevant ad banners on your blogging page. Another way is to sell private ads where you get in touch with the advertiser but this only happens when you have a good amount of traffic on the webpage.
- Selling products
You can also earn money if you sell products like e-books, online courses, apps, plugins, page designs, original images, videos, and music. Study your audience before you start developing these products. An insight into the needs and desires of your readers will help you in making products that add value to their values. This, in turn, will help you generate a good amount of money.
- Premium memberships
You can develop exclusive content and products for a specific lot of your audience who can only have access to it if they pay for special membership. You should make sure that this content is more valuable than the one that is available for free.
- Tool for content marketing
You can market your products and services by developing content related to your business and attracting potential readers and converting them to consumers by winning their trust and establishing a feeling of familiarity by empowering them to make a well-rounded and educated purchase.
There are many platforms like WordPress, Medium, Wix, Tumblr, Blogger, Quora that will help you set up your blog in a matter of a few minutes. They have paid and unpaid plans. But for beginners, opting for free plans is generally suggested. They can further opt for the paid plans as they more fully understand what is blogging.