What is a Blog? I get asked this question a lot by friends and family away from the blogging world. Over the past few years blogging has become hugely popular, and whilst most people have heard of blogs and bloggers, there are lots of people who simply don’t know what it’s all about.
I am by no means a blogging expert or guru, but just over 2-years ago I read my first blog and shortly after wrote my first blog post. Since then I have learnt a lot! This is just my simple explanation of it all.
So, What is a blog?
A blog in very simple terms is an on-line diary or journal of sorts. Using the diary analogy, the diary itself is the blog website, and entries into the diary are the blog posts.
There are blogs about pretty much everything. Some are like diaries, others are more factual and informative and some are a mix of both. Subjects can be broad like parenting, beauty, food, keep fit to name but a few, or on a more narrow niche subject. There really is a blog out there covering every topic.
So, You’ve decided you want to start blogging
If you do decide that you want to give blogging a go think about what you want to gain from your blog. Whilst you can earn money from blogging, and there are plenty of people who are, it is most definitely not a get rich quick scheme or an easy way to earn money. However, blogging can be very rewarding emotionally and financially. People blog for all sorts of different reasons: for money, to document their lives, as therapy, to help others or just as a hobby and because they enjoy it. It’s useful to have in your head what you want to gain and achieve from your blog at the beginning, so you can prioritise your time accordingly and not let your blog become another stress in your life.
This will also affect your decision whether to set yourself up on one of the free blogging websites, or go self-hosted straight away. If you are blogging just for yourself or as a creative outlet then a free blogging website is fine. At a later stage if things change, you can make a website which will look more serious and it will be able to take much more content than a free platform. I decided to go self-hosted straight away to save the hassle later on. I knew I wanted to work with brands, and earn a small income so it made sense to start right from the get go. As it turns out it was a good decision for me as 3-months later I was approached by my first brand.
So, What are you going to blog about?
The first thing to think about is what is your blog going to be about? What’s your niche? There are literally thousands of blogs, on pretty much every subject going, so what is going to make yours stand out from the crowd.
It can be a narrow niche like a specific sport for instance, or a more general subject. My blog niche is encouraging creativity and imagination in children, within the much broader subject of parenting and family lifestyle.
Once you’ve decided what you want to blog about, you need to think of a name. This can take some research, but it’s worth putting the time in at the beginning to find the perfect name. It needs to be catchy, not too long (for the URL), and not similar to other blogs already out there, and of course the domain needs to be available.
Then you are ready to set up your website with a hosting company or on one of the free blogging platforms.
So, You’re ready to write your first blog post!
It’s undisputed that good content is King in the blogging world, and you should take time to make sure each and every blog post you write is good quality content. By not only writing something that people are interested in reading, but also taking the time to make sure your grammar, spelling and layout are also on point (Not my strong point if I’m honest).
Whilst content is very important, writing blog posts is juts a tiny part of blogging. There is no point in writing something and posting it on-line for no-one to ever see it. The main aim of blogging is once you have good content, to drive traffic to your site to read it. As a blogger you need to understand SEO (search engine optimisation), social media networks, scheduling, creating e-mail lists and spend a lot of time interacting on social media platforms.
Want my advice?
If you are contemplating starting a blog then I would say just go for it! Just don’t go into it with your eyes closed. Read as many blogs as you can before you start to get an idea of what you want to do, and just do it! Blogging can be extremely rewarding, but equally can be hard work. I remember at the start it was a very steep learning curve. 2-years on I’m still learning every day, but still loving every minute.