What Is Blogging?

Definition and Examples of Blogging

Man edits photos on his laptop for his blog
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Burak Karademir / Getty Images

 

Blogging refers to writing, photography, and other media that's self-published online. Blogging started as an opportunity for individuals to write diary-style entries, but it has since been incorporated into websites for many businesses. The hallmarks of blogging include frequent updates, informal language, and opportunities for readers to engage and start a conversation.

Here's an overview of what a blog is, why it's popular, and tips for starting your own blog.

What Is Blogging?

The word blog is actually a shortened form of its original name, "weblog." These weblogs allowed early internet users to "log" the details of their day in diary-style entries. Blogs often allow readers to comment, so as they became more common, communities sprung up around popular blogs.

The content of blogs varies significantly. For example, travel blogs may feature many pictures with few written passages, while political blogs may weigh in with wordy takes on the news of the day. The popularity of YouTube and similar sites also gave rise to video blogging, or "vlogging."

Like most internet-based innovations, many entrepreneurs saw marketing potential in having a blog, and the adoption of blogging among the business community helped further increase the popularity of the medium. Not only can a blog be used for marketing a business, but it can also become a home business in and of itself.

How Blogging Works

Blogging is as simple as obtaining a website and publishing original content on it. Tech-savvy bloggers can buy a domain name and build the website themselves. Those with less HTML knowledge can create an account with sites like WordPress that simplify the web design and publishing process.

Blogs are usually simple websites. Older pieces may be archived in separate sections of the site, and there may be a separate page with contact info or a bio, but the blog itself is usually just a single page that can be scrolled through—similar to the news feed on social media sites like Facebook. As with a Facebook news feed, a blog displays the newest content at the top of the page.

All of the posts on a blog are usually created by a single author. However, when a company or organization maintains a blog, it may pay for blog content—either by hiring a team of writers or buying content to post.

Another unique feature of blogging is interlinking. This occurs when a blogger links to another person's blog within their own blog post. For example, if a music teacher maintains a blog, and they write a blog post about how to form a chord, they might link to a musician's blog to show an example of the chords in action. A political blogger may link to another politics blog and then discuss how they agree or disagree with a post on that blog. Interlinking, along with the comment section, fosters the sense of community that makes blogs unique.

Blogging vs. Traditional Websites

Blogging vs. Websites
Blogs Websites
Updated frequently Largely evergreen content
Allows for reader engagement One-way communication

Some people are confused over what constitutes a blog over a website. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that many businesses use both, usually by adding a blog section to the company website. However, there are two features of a blog that set it apart from a traditional website.

First, blogs are updated frequently. Whether it's a mommy blog in which a woman shares adventures in parenting, a food blog sharing new recipes, or a business providing updates to its services, blogs have new content added several times a week. Websites might occasionally have new information, but for the most part, they offer static information that rarely changes.

Secondly, blogs allow for reader engagement. Blogs and social media accounts often go hand-in-hand because they serve a similar purpose of connecting an audience with each other and the content creator. Some websites may incorporate features that allow for conversation, but generally speaking, a blog allows for more conversation and interaction than a traditional website does.

Pros and Cons of Blogging

Pros
  • Good for SEO

  • Maintains communication with customers

  • Builds rapport with customers

  • Generate alternate income

Cons
  • Time-consuming

  • Constantly requires fresh ideas

  • Payoff is delayed

  • Blogging in and of itself won't generate income

Reasons why blogging is popular
The Balance / Ashley DeLeon

Pros Explained

  • Good for SEO: Search engines love new content, and as a result, blogging is a great search engine optimization (SEO) tool. A defining feature of blogs is the frequency with which they're updated, and that fresh content helps improve a website's SEO performance.
  • Maintains communication with customers: Blog posts can keep your customers and clients up-to-date on what's going on, let them know about new deals, and provide tips. The more frequently you post useful content, the more often a customer visits your blog, and the more likely they are to spend money.
  • Builds rapport with customers: Not only does a blog allow you to show off what you know—building your expertise and credibility—but people can also post comments and interact with you. That allows customers to get to know you, and hopefully, develop relationships that turn into purchases.
  • Generate alternate income: Successful blogs can make money themselves. Along with your product or service, blogs can generate income from alternate sources such as advertising and affiliate products.

Blogging is flexible and portable, making it a great option for people who want to be a lifestyle entrepreneur.

Cons Explained

  • Time-consuming: The success of blogging comes from having people return, and they only return when there's new stuff to read. That means bloggers need to generate content at least several times a week to be effective at engaging readers and increasing SEO.
  • Constantly requires fresh ideas: Posting several times per week won't be beneficial if the ideas aren't fresh and engaging. It can be draining to constantly conceptualize and execute fresh content. The good news is that you don't have to do it all yourself. You can have guest writers or hire freelancers. Another option is to curate content from others. You can buy private label right (PLR) content and modify it for your blog.
  • Payoff is delayed: One of the biggest frustrations with blogging is that it's time-consuming with little payoff in the beginning. It takes time to build up a readership and momentum.
  • Blogging in and of itself won't generate income: At one time, posting an article was enough to generate traffic and income. Today, a successful blog needs email marketing, additional perks such as content upgrades, and an engaged social network, such as a Facebook group.

Requirements for a Blog

The good news is that starting a blog or adding a blog to your existing site is relativity easy and affordable. All you have to do is follow these four steps.

Set Up the Blog

There are free blog options such as WordPress and Blogger, but to retain control and a professional image, consider investing in a domain name and a hosting service. You can install WordPress or another content management system on your host if you don't want to create the whole site from scratch.

Add Content

Once your blog is up and running, you need to keep it active with new content to grow your business. Develop a set schedule for writing and posting blog articles. Create a content calendar so you always know what you're going to post.

Market

Like all other business ideas, your success comes from marketing and getting your message in front of your target market. Great ways to reach your market are through social media apps, email lists, and by reaching out to other bloggers, podcasters, and media outlets for publicity. Repurpose your blog content to promote your business across platforms, such as by using quotes on your Twitter or Instagram profiles, or by creating a video of your article to share on YouTube.

Add Income Streams

While your blog can complement an existing business, it's also a great way to add additional income streams to your home business. You can promote other companies' products and services in affiliate marketing. You can advertise or feed ad networks, such as AdSense, on to your blog. If you have a service business you're promoting with your blog, you can create your own information products to complement it. Or, if you have your own product, you can offer a service.

Key Takeaways

  • Blogging is a shortened version of "weblog," which began as a diary-like outlet for early internet users.
  • Modern blogging is an expansive medium that incorporates written words, photography, videos, and all kinds of subject matters.
  • Businesses can use blogs to drive customers to their website, increase SEO performance, or generate alternate streams of income.
  • Blogs are different than traditional websites because they're frequently updated, and they make it easier for the audience to engage with each other and the content creator.