What is blogging about? – 10 frequently asked questions
1. What is a blog?
A blog is an online web log (or weblog) which over time became shortened to ‘blog’. It is an online journal or diary that people write in order to tell others about their life or hobbies. Many businesses and individuals use blogs to engage people with their website. Blogs tend to be up-to-date or relevant, contemporary pieces about a particular topic that is more like reading a newspaper article than an encyclopaedia. That is not to say that they are not factual but they tend to be more about a person’s opinion or commentary on things rather than a definitive source of facts.
Some definitions or related words are:
Blog (noun) – A diary or journal which is published on the internet. E.g. I wrote my blog last night.
To blog (verb) – The act of writing a blog. E.g. I have spent the day blogging today.
Blogger (noun) – A blogger is a person who writes a blog. E.g. My friend is a blogger and writes about her interest in gymnastics.
2. How did blogging start?
Blogging was born out of the emergence of personal computers in the 1980s and the expansion of the internet when Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist invented the World Wide Web in 1990. It can also be linked to a desire for people to share stories and their experiences. As more people began to access the internet, they realised that there was a way to write about their lives and store the journals online. It was then realised that these online journals could be read by other people and more and more individuals began writing about things they love (or hate) and blogging was born. It has since become a multi-billion pound industry with companies and industries using blogs to inform their customers and attract users to their websites.
3. What qualifications do I need to be a blogger?
There are no qualifications that you need to be a blogger. Anyone can start a blog and lots of people do. You can write blogs in any language although this may limit your audience to the language you write in, but there may still be millions of people who can access and benefit from your words. You don’t need to have been to university, you don’t need to have a writing qualification but you do need to be able to communicate in your chosen subject because blogging is all about communication.
If you want to write as an authority on a particular subject then you may need to research your topic in order give people more information or facts about a topic that they might not already know. Many bloggers write about a niche subject which is just a specific topic related to a particular niche market. For example this is a niche site about starting an online business in affiliate marketing and blogging, but there are many millions of niche sites out there which cater for specific things as diverse as beard oils for men, diets for women over 50 or snack trays in the shape of an American football helmet!
4. How do you become a blogger?
Just start. You can write a blog by using any number of blogging websites that are available. See the links below about suitable websites. There are no special requirements so don’t let that hold you back. Bloggers are everyone from teenagers to octogenarians and they write blogs on every subject under the sun. If you have a hobby, have life experiences to share or just want to write an online diary, then blogging is for you.
5. What can I blog about?
You can blog about anything you want to. You can write about your day, your life, the things that interest you most. Many people write about their hobbies and interests because these are things that they have experience in. There are really no limits as to what you write about but the best advice someone gave me was to start writing about the things I know and love, that way, putting pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard as it really is nowadays) is not a chore. Some people blog about fashion, many people blog about pets, I blog about creating an online business, improving your writing skills and how to use the law of attraction to create the life you want. One thing to definitely avoid is plagiarism and duplicating content, after all, it’s really stealing other people’s work and I’m sure that everyone has unique and exciting ideas of their own really as we all have an individual perspective that is of value.
6. Who will read my blog?
Anyone who is interested in your topic can read your blog but the real answer will depend on how people find your blog in the first place. The internet is a big, big place and getting people to your site can be more difficult than writing the blog so it really depends on why you are writing a blog and what you hope to achieve with it. If you just want to write a diary and let your friends and family know the website address, then that is as easy as telling them face to face, sending them a letter or an email. Many people do this successfully on sites like Google+ and Facebook every day – they talk about where they’ve been, what they’ve had for dinner and the kind of mood they are in! But if you want to write more specifically about a topic, then it’s better to create your own niche site and work from there.
Getting people to a website is much more than just creating a site, crossing your fingers and hoping for the best! Nowadays, with so many websites and traffic on the internet, directing people to your site has become big business with search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo all vying for a piece of the action. Whether your website is listed on the first page of a Google search will depend on many things, including the keywords you use, the search term used by the viewer, how well your site is set up and indeed how well your site is trusted by the search engines to deliver interesting and relevant content. The key is to understand what bloggers know as search engine optimization or SEO for short. Some websites such as Wealthy Affiliate will give you training to understand these things and drive traffic (i.e. people) to your site.
7. Do I need a website and how much does is cost?
In a word: YES! You obviously don’t need a website to write a journal or a diary; you can easily do that using a book or just writing it down on a piece of paper. However if you want an internet audience, then you’ll need to find an outlet for your blog which usually means writing an online version and making it public.
You can start a website for free. Some of the most common free blog sites are listed below. Click on their names for more information or to visit their websites:
You can also set your thoughts down on places like a Facebook or Google+ page but these tend to be limited to your friends or associates unless you make your posts available to everyone which might affect your privacy.
The choice of website or provider is really up to you, The ones listed above are aimed at beginners with no experience of writing HTML or computer programming as they have templates and themes that you can tap into. In most cases, you can have a website up and running within minutes. Some of the sites offer more training than others. The Wealthy Affiliate site for example that I used to create this website, offers free training to get you up and running and a community of other like-minded people who can answer your questions within minutes as they are all bloggers too. Other sites may have similar courses or training and many of them offer free sites but you can upgrade if you want additional features or additional training. Prices usually start from a few pounds or dollars a month but it really is up to you where you go and what you pay.
8. How long should a blog be?
A blog can be as short or as long as you want it to be. Many people blog daily through sites like Twitter or Facebook and use short sentences to express themselves to the world. Some send images through Instagram or Lifewire. Most blogging sites will advise to write content that ranges from 800 to 2000 words to engage the reader and give them quality information. But it really does depend on what you are writing about and what you have to say. There are no rules, but many search engines prefer to rank articles higher when then offer unique and good quality content.
9. Can I make money as a blogger?
The answer to this is yes, if you know how to go about it. There are many ways to monetise your site from getting paid advertisers, sponsorship, affiliate marketing and more. But each of these will take time and effort if you want to create an online income. There are bloggers out there who have become financially free and those who earn a few extra pennies a month, and everything in between. If you are serious about earning an online income, then search engine optimisation is crucial as well as gaining knowledge about affiliates, sponsors and advertisers. One of the reasons I chose to write my blog with Wealthy Affiliate that under the premium membership there, it offers training and advice and an online community ready to help with all the money things. And yes, I do make money from my blogs. How much I make really depends on the time and effort I put in. It is definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme but I find it a highly enjoyable and rewarding way of working.
10. How can I find out more?
If you are serious about starting blogging for personal or business use, then there is a wealth of information on the internet which you can tap into.
If you are interested in blogging to make money or as an online income, then I definitely recommend Wealthy Affiliate as a way forward so read my article on them here for more information about what I learned and how I set up this site.
All the best with your online journey. Why not leave me a comment and let me know how you are doing and what you’re going to blog about – I promise to visit and read your work!