What Is Blogging and How Does It Work?
Throughout the past decade, blogs have evolved into one of the most profitable online marketing strategies. From being a way for people to share their stories to now becoming a very successful way to market, blogs have grown into a lucrative online business marketing strategy businesses worldwide. What is blogging and how does it work?
Essentially, a blog is just a website in which it’s text content is updated regularly. A blog can take many different forms. It can be informative, personal, topic based… there really aren’t any limitations. If you have a website, in which the text content is periodically updated or added to, you have a blog.
However, that is an extreme oversimplification of what blogging is and how it works. If you really want to know all the ins and outs, you need to read this article. Because… Content Marketing… Okay, here we go.
What Is a Blog, And How Does It Differ from A Regular Website?
The purpose of this article is to explain what a blog is, the types of blogs, and what you need to know about starting your own.
Over the past few years, blogs have evolved from a way for internet users to share stories around the globe to one of the most profitable online marketing strategies (often called content marketing) for companies all over the world.
What Is a Blog?
There is always new content posted on a blog, a website, or part of a site that contains regular updates. A website log is called a weblog because it provides information about the site.
The content of a blog usually appears as blog posts on individual web pages. An example of this is the article you’re reading now.
The posts can be displayed in a variety of different ways. This includes by reverse chronological order, topic, featured, on the Blog’s homepage, in a category, or from the newest to the oldest.
What Is a Blog Used For?
Some people use blogs to share their experiences and interests online. A website called Robot Wisdom was operated by Jorn Barger, who authored the original weblog (or Web Log) term.
Although the type of content on a blog is more diverse today, its function remains the same. Even though many bloggers keep blogs for their enjoyment, some blog for educational purposes and others for building their professional reputations. There are many reasons people and businesses blog.
Jane Friedman, for example, blogs about the business of writing. This Blog helps aspiring authors find book deals, but it also positions her as an authority in the industry.
Many organizations and businesses also use blogs for marketing purposes. Their content is usually centered around industry-related updates that may interest their readers. The Blog is typically run by a team of writers rather than just one person.
Blog vs. No Blog
A blog is a very different website from what you would typically find online.
Typical websites without blogs usually only have a few pages that provide information about people, groups, subjects, services or a company. Whereas blogs update content periodically. Usually with news, industry topics, current trends, or stories.
Additionally, successful blogs add new blog posts every few days to their blog section for their readers or audience. Blogs usually experience more frequent updates than traditional company websites.
In addition, blog posts often have a comment section where readers can communicate with the author. A typical web page does not normally include this element, as it does not encourage audience engagement.
The Benefits Of Having a Blog
Two words… Content Marketing. The biggest benefit of having a blog is content marketing. This is where you attempt to get targeted traffic to your blog post, then advertise or sell something to that audience. Do you sell equipment to restaurants? Write a blog post about how to deep clean your restaurant. This might get you traffic from people specifically in the restaurant industry. Those are potential customers.
In a smaller context, starting a blog is primarily beneficial for connecting with like-minded individuals. Then again, you can gain other advantages from developing your blogging skills.
You can build an audience with a blog with the right strategy, which could open up various opportunities for monetization.
Bloggers are also responsible for writing most of the online content you see today. The right Blog could showcase your skills and knowledge to potential employers or clients. Furthermore, blogging can help you establish an online presence and brand yourself. It can really give you credibility in your industry.
Many businesses have a blog as a promotional tool to increase their web presence and online visibility. Much like social media, a blog is a great way to increase your online presence and visibility.
According to reports, websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages in search engines. Thus, they are much more likely to rank on the first pages of SERPs and gain organic website traffic. The more URLs you have in the search engines, the more URLs you have that could pull up as a search result.
Taking this into account, it’s not hard to see why blog posts rank first among different types of content. Yes… blog content is still king. Even over social media. Having more people view your Blog increases your chances of gaining new customers.
Having a blog increases the backlinks to your website. Again, the more URLs you have on your website, the more URLs there are for people to link to. Some studies show that the difference in backlinks is higher than 97% for websites that have a blog section compared to websites that do not. Notably, inbound links are essential for increasing a website’s authority, branding, and rank.
Furthermore, blogging and SEO can be a cost-effective marketing strategy. Utilizing blogs for content marketing does not cost as much as other types of advertising such as pay-per-click (PPC), display advertising, or social media ads.
Furthermore, research shows that prioritizing blog posts boosts the chance of achieving a positive ROI by 13 times.
Types of Blogs with Examples
Following our discussion of blogs’ benefits, let’s explore the five most common types of blogs. There is also the possibility of dividing a blog into more than one category.
1. Personal Blog
It is not the audience but the blogger who is the focus of these types of blogging sites. Your own life, interests, or hobbies are usually the topic focus and often resembles journal entries.
A personal blog focuses on several topics since it is created on an individual basis. As long as the subject is within the blogger’s interest range, the writer may cover various topics. The authority won’t be a specific topic, but instead a person in this case.
Online journals are another example, such as Neil Gaiman’s website. The author writes about his recent projects and personal updates in this Blog.
2. Niche Blog
Bloggers who write niche blogs usually focus on a very specific topic. You can, for example, create a blog dedicated to books if you are an avid reader. Or to niche down further, adventure books. Even further… adventure books for children.
Bloggers choose the niche usually based on the competition level and their interests.
In the blogging community, there is quite a bit of interest in the following categories:
- Blogs about traveling. This category consists of bloggers who write about their travels, offer tips to fellow travelers, and write destination guides.
- Blogs about fashion. In this niche, people blog about the latest fashion trends, styling tips, and buying guides for clothing and accessories.
- Blogs about health and wellness. Listicles of exercises, recipes with nutrients, and tips on taking care of your mental health are among the types of articles within this niche.
- Blogs about food. This blogger might review kitchen equipment, publish recipes, or write restaurant guides. Food bloggers often focus on recipe instructions that require ten ingredients or less.
- Blogs about personal finance. Money management is the focus of this niche, from budgeting tips to investing ideas.
- Blogs about lifestyle. Bloggers in this niche often mix several topics related to their interests, such as fashion, travel, and beauty. One very popular lifestyle topic right now is Motherhood.
3. Company or Business Blog
Blogs of this type are found on company websites that have a blog section.
Publicizing content related to a target market’s interests or concerns is necessary to attract new potential customers (again… Content Marketing).
In addition to updating users about company news organizational changes, some businesses use blogs to communicate with customers.
Typically, topics include hiring, team management, company culture, project planning, and industry news.
4. Affiliate Blog
An affiliate marketing blog is a blog that promotes third parties’ products and services on the Internet. Although an affiliate blog can also be another type of blog as well, it’s important to mention.
A blogger typically directs users to the online store of a business via their blog post. As a result of someone clicking on a link and making a purchase, the blog owner will receive a commission.
On affiliate blogs, you casually find product reviews, buying advice, or “best-of” lists.
As an example, an affiliate blog might focus on a niche reviewing outdoor travel equipment. That’s literally all they do. Then they will feature Amazon products with affiliate links for readers to go make a purchase.
5. Reverse Blog
An owner of the Blog does not write the content of a reverse blog because multiple guest writers contribute to it. It is the owner’s primary job to moderate and edit all incoming submissions, not to write articles themselves.
Many freelance writers use this type of Blog since it helps them build their network and increase their exposure. Depending on the Blog, they may also be paid for each article they write.
How Blogging Works
As a general rule of thumb, a great blogging site will feature the following elements:
High quality blog posts
Blogs are visited by people seeking useful or entertaining information. This is why an excellent blog will provide useful information and inspires readers to act.
One niche may differ from another when it comes to blog posts. The best posts are, however, tailored toward your target audience, typically by:
- Answering some of the most commonly asked questions about the topic.
- An easy-to-follow guide for readers.
- Effortless to understand the language and format used.
- Articles are original and have information presented in a way not available elsewhere.
- Establishing trust within your industry and with your readers.
In addition to these characteristics the most successful blogs also have:
There is more to the content than surface-level information. Dig deep into the topic. Keep it relevant though. Quality over quantity. Be thorough and use statistics where you can. Solid evidence to support your content is always a great idea.
To organize ideas and ensure a natural flow of information, a good blog post uses headings and subheadings. Additionally, for longer content, it may include a table of contents to make navigation easier.
Easily readable text content
Content can be scanned and digested without difficulty because of the formatting. To accomplish this, it is best to use short paragraphs, active sentences, and ordered or unordered lists.
Use relevant images
Visual learners will be able to better understand the information if the author uses pictures or video content. Information-graphics (Infographics) are absolutely incredible for improving the quality of your blog post. Infographics are also a highly effective type of “linkable content” that tends to get shared more. More sharing means more traffic and more backlinks.
The title is inviting
Potential readers are compelled to check out the content. Despite that, it conveys what the article is about without being long-winded.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Additionally, SEO best practices are often taken into account when writing high-quality blog content. While the reader isn’t directly benefited from this, search engines can determine how relevant an article is to the reader’s interests. The appropriate audience will be reached that way.
In a search engine-optimized blog post, keywords commonly entered into search engines will appear. Additionally, search engines prefer longer content of at least a thousand words.
There are many things to consider when you start a blog. These are some extra things you should consider regarding user actions and engagement.
- Calls to action inside the blog post
- Showcase other pages and articles on your website
- Users can leave a comment
- Social media profiles should be show with the blog post
- Have a newsletter sign up form to help build an email list
Connect with and retain your audience
Readers who find a valuable article will be more likely to appreciate the author, share the article with friends, and keep up with upcoming content.
Having said that, there are other techniques that normally prompt audiences for such responses, such as:
- Consistently posting. Whether it’s once per week or every day, be consistent in your posting.
- A comment section has been added to the article. Most blogs feature a comment section at the bottom of each article. A blog owner often replies to a comment left by a reader to continue the discussion or show appreciation.
- Social sharing is encouraged. Social media buttons can be added to the page of a blog post, or there can be a button allowing users to tweet specific quotes from the article.
- Recommend relevant content from the Blog. In addition, anchor texts are used to encourage users to check out other articles through links.
Good User Experience
A good blog still can’t be complete without a good user experience (or UX). Visitors may be unable to explore your content easily, let alone become loyal readers, if your web design and navigation aren’t good.
Importantly, the time it takes to load your website is also a huge determining factor of user experience. If your website is slow, consider optimizing and getting a new web host. Some studies suggest that if a web page takes more than 3 seconds to load, you will lose over 50% of visitors before the page finishes loading. You don’t want to lose half of your visitors before they even reach your website? Do you?
How Much Money Do Bloggers Make?
Some people Blog for no financial reward at all, while others aim to make extra money as a side business. Some bloggers do it as a regular full time job. Some barely blog anymore and make millions. It really just depends.
An individual blogger’s earnings vary widely. Jeremy from “Living the Dream” is a travel blogger that reportedly makes more than $4,300 USD per month as a passive income.
In contrast, Adam Enfroy reports making approximately $80,000 USD per month from his Blog, making him an extremely successful blogger.
An important factor that affects a blogger’s income is their methods of monetization. In general, higher salaries result from having more sources of income. Multiple sources of income is often key.
Having ads on your blog usually pays less than affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing often pays less than selling your own products. Again, it really just depends on you, your industry, your competition, and how search engines feel about your website.
There are many different methods for monetizing. The following are just a few common ways blog owners make money:
- Display ads. Ads can be placed directly on your blog or through advertising networks, such as Google Ads.
- This is affiliate marketing. Show links on your blog to products and services of others. There are many affiliate opportunities such as Amazon Associates or Skimlinks.
- Sponsored / Featured content. A partnership will be established with a brand that is relevant to the blog target audience. Then, a blog post will be written to discuss the product or service.
- Digital products and services. Content creators sometimes sell physical products such as t-shirts and mugs to their fans. eBooks, online courses, and other digital goods are also common.
- Donations via PayPal or Patreon. Many Bloggers, such as Captain Awkward, use this type of monetization to keep their websites alive and to keep creating content for a living.
The amount of traffic to a blog also affects its income. It is generally easier for bloggers with thousands of page views to collaborate with brands and to generate income from their audience.
To generate a stable income from a blog, it is important to focus on building an audience. Therefore, you should almost always focus on building an audience before you monetize.
What You Need to Start a Blog
There are so many things that must be done when getting started with blogging. Now let’s discuss, briefly, a few things you will need to get started.
It’s essential to choose the platform on which you will build your blog website before you begin. As you probably already know, WordPress is the most popular option in the world. WordPress is a type of content management system. Consequently, bloggers who want to create their own Blog often choose this free and open-source option.
Of course, if you want your Blog to be accessible via the Internet, you need to purchase web hosting. When new to blogging, most people don’t understand the importance of choosing the right web hosting provider. Most importantly, you should choose a web host that is fast, has good customer support, and offers free SSL/TLS certificates (https encryption) as part of their hosting.
When you decide on your platform, you will need a domain name. The domain name is the URL that will be entered into a browser to open your new website.
It’s always easier to rank your website if you choose a name that is short and describes the content of your Blog. From the domain alone, visitors can also tell what the website is about. Choosing the right domain name is a very important part of getting your Blog setup up and running.
Next, you need a design for your website. In WordPress, this is called a theme. There are thousands of free WordPress themes to choose from in the official WordPress theme directory.
Find a Good Niche
It isn’t necessary to have a niche, but it is recommended when creating a new blog to make money. For instance, a good niche can establish the scope of the content you produce and make sure that it remains relevant to the audience you are targeting.
It’s much harder to get authority, success, and traffic to a Blog with no niche and multiple topics. Additionally, there will be no common interest between the readers and the blogger.
When it comes to success, much of it comes down to your range of topics and how narrow or broad your niche is. However, you should be very specific, especially if you choose a popular niche. As a result, your Blog will be easier to rank and distinguish from the competition.
Content Writing Skills
It’s good to sharpen your writing skillset before you write a blog post your audience will enjoy. Below are just a few of the qualities of excellent content writers.
Be a good researcher
A researcher is a person who is able to collect reliable information. You will be able to create much more insightful and authoritative blog posts by researching your topics.
It’s also great for gaining insights into what readers may like and be searching for. You can also get a feel for how your content may perform compared to that of your competitors by reading existing content on a subject.
Making your content better than your competitors is a key factor for success. If you want to succeed, find the best content out there on your topic, then make your content better than that.
It is all about communication
Communicating your ideas in a manner that resonates with your target audience will help you establish a connection. You, as well as your audience, should be able to easily follow your thoughts and ideas.
Write your content as it would be presented naturally. Think to yourself, “What would the reader want to know next?” Or, “What would they ask next?” Then write about that.
Making your content easier to understand requires you to master the grammar, spelling, and punctuation of your language. Additionally, it will make the Blog appear more credible.
Tools and Skills for SEO
We’ve already talked about search engine optimization in the past. You won’t be able to reach your target market unless you know how to optimize your website for search engine results pages (SERPs).
Furthermore, you may want to use some tools to help with SEO. Analyze competitors, research keywords, and discover popular content in your niche with these essential SEO tools.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is essential, and comes with a lot of necessary tools. Using Google Search Console, you can find out what a post’s ranking is in Search Engine Results Pages for Google. A website performance audit can also identify performance bottlenecks, which may hinder SEO efforts.
Analytics from Google
Google analytics is awesome. Most bloggers and website owners use it to track website traffic, page events, conversions, demographics, audience behavior, and so much more. Google Ananlytics is free and provides a number of metrics internet marketers really care about.
Use this SEO tool on your website to help optimize your content. Yoast makes it easy to optimize by having you complete a checklist of tasks that are important for SEO. In addition, an XML sitemap can be generated so search engines can more easily locate the pages.
Summary: What is Blogging and How Does it Work?
Let’s get straight to the point and wrap this up. What is blogging and how does it work? Blogging websites are extremely beneficial in so many more ways than just talking to your potential audience. Remember, the big benefit is Content Marketing. That is the #1 primary reason for blogging… AND how it works.
Content Marketing is how blogging works. People search for something. People find your result. You help them or answer their search query with credible information. They see your product, service, or ad in the SAME / RELEVANT topic as what they searched for. That’s how it works.
Let’s summarize a few other key topics about blogging.
Businesses use blogs to reach their potential customers via search engines, while most individuals do so to share information with their followers.
A blog is different from a traditional website. Although, it is in fact a type of website.
There are specific characteristics of successful blogs that you now know about and can use to help make yours successful. Of course, it always helps to have a good online business idea.
You can in fact make a living by blogging. You can actually have an extremely successful and flexible career by blogging. However, you need to get traffic, build your audience, then research, test, and refine your monetization.
To create your first Blog, make sure you select the right platform and develop a fast and intuitive website.
Finally, finding a niche, having decent content writing skills, and becoming familiar with SEO can definitely help you on your journey. But they aren’t required.
So, what is blogging? Fundamentally, it is whatever you make it. It is what you create online with your words.
Thank you so much for reading. If you have any questions or suggestions, please tell me in the comment section below.