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What is Blogging and How Can You Benefit from It?

No doubt you have heard the terms “blog” and “blogging,” but may not really understand what it is or how it can benefit you as a webmaster. If you don’t currently have a blog, you need to get educated on what it is how it can help you gain more traffic, engage with your customers, and earn a little side income from affiliate networks, if you choose to. A blog is very versatile and offers you some great perks. Read on to find out more.

What is a blog?

The word “blog” is short for weblog.  When people first started blogging, it was as an online journal or personal page that people wrote their ideas, dreams, and aspirations. They weren’t really popular in this stage of the game because there was nothing to it. But then someone got the idea to blog about their vacation trips, a cooking class they took, a favorite family recipe, and how to make money.  Blogging had begun as a way to share information with others and it could be monetized to earn passive income.  Blog content could be written text, images, infographics, charts, photocopies, animated GIFs, and more. 

Blogging became a popular method of sharing content and some people even found ways to turn it into a full-time job. Depending on the topic of your blog and what related products could be shown on it, there is a lot of potential for affiliate income. 

Many people are confused about what a blog is, and how it differs from a website. Businesses sometimes will have a website for selling their products or service, and their blog is where they share information, tell a story, or provide helpful information. In contrast to a website, a blog has two main characteristics that set it apart from a website. The first thing is that a blog is frequently updated so the content is fresh and relevant (good for SEO) and the second thing is that you can engage your audience and find out what their interests are and what is important to them through comments, feedback, and etc.

The Difference Between Blogs and Websites

A website and a blog are spaces on the web, or in other words, online real estate. A blog is usually a single webpage where content is displayed in chronological order from the oldest to the newest. A website may have several pages with lots of content, images, and graphics. However, the information on a website doesn’t change very often. 

The confusion is often surrounding the use of the word blog. Blog could mean the physical blog page or the act of writing a post for your blog. The words website and blog are often used interchangeably and that may be where some of the confusion starts. When the blog is used by a business, it is often a part of the webmaster’s site. That is where they write content for their audience and to share on social media. It is meant for interacting with your readers. A blog can be called a website, but a website can’t be called a blog. They are similar, but two different things.

The content displayed on a blog is different from the content on a website. That is what helps you recognize it as a blog. Many business owners will have a website and a blog to maximize their marketing efforts. Their website may have content with images of office furniture or appliances for sale, where their blog would have content outlining why you should use a certain type of printer ink, or what office chair is better for people with back problems. 

Characteristics of a Blog

  • Blogs are dynamic
  • Content is meant to be engaging
  • The newest content is displayed on top
  • Blogs are designed to encourage communication
  • The template is always the same (header, body, sidebar, and footer)

Why is Blogging so Popular? 

One of the reasons that blogging is so popular is due to the social nature of people. People love to share things and if we see something that grabs our attention, or solves a problem we’ve been having, the next step is to hit that “share” button and tell others all about it. Plus, many people who aren’t very social due to insecurity or shyness, can be totally anonymous online and express their deepest thoughts and feelings about a movie they saw or product they used recently. It is an alternative form of communication between parties where people can socialize and get to know each other without revealing personal details if they don’t want to. 

Certain topics have also become very popular lately, and blogs on those subjects get a lot of traffic. If you have always wanted to sail around the world you would probably enjoy reading a sailing blog, or a travel blog related to cruises. Many people are interested in travel, learning languages, camping or survival training, and backyard gardening. So this makes a lot of sense for people who start a blog as a hobby, but what about business owners who decide to blog?

Why Blogging Should Be Important to You

Blogging is a way to market to your target audience. A blog can help you reach a wider audience, connect with people on a deeper level, and spotlight your products or services and how they can solve a problem your audience is having. There is a lot of marketing potential here and you can also use it to make money. Your posts will be searchable and drive lots of traffic to your website, as well as establish you as an authority in your field. That equates to long-term, recurring web traffic. 

The Benefits of Blogging for Businesses

Having a business blog is one way to gain more exposure for your business. It is a digital marketing tool just like social media marketing, email marketing, direct mail marketing, and more. It can help you gain more customers, earn revenue, and engage with readers. It’s a lead generation machine that runs on autopilot. 

  • It helps drive traffic to your website (SEO)
  • Converts that traffic into leads.
  • Establish authority and credibility
  • It brings in long-term results
  • Use to test out new ideas and get feedback from customers
  • Helps you make extra money from affiliate programs 

The following are popular blogging sites that can be used for personal or business blogging. 

WordPress.Org

WordPress is the simplest, easiest way to create your own blog. It uses the same template as a website so you can add plug-ins and an e-commerce store or shopping cart.

One of the biggest benefits of WordPress is that it’s free, open-source software. It is easy to use and all you have to pay is just for hosting.  So no additional fees or charges to use the software.

It also offers a lot of customization – there are over 50,000 free WordPress plugins and themes to use. You can make it look any way you like and add plugins like Yoast to check keyword usage and woo-commerce, Akismet Anti-Spam, and  Jetpack by WordPress. 

Blogger

Blogger is the second most well-known blogging platform. While it is hosted on the Blogger platform, you can redirect it to your own domain and there are free customization tools you can use to create themes and rearrange the elements on the page like pillars and columns. You can also add links to your website and social media pages, as well as add an RSS feed. 

Wix

Wix is a new platform that allows you to create a blog or website. Follow the simple prompts and fill-in-the-blank forms to create your own template and custom theme. The Wix website builder makes it possible for anyone to create a website and manage their business, even for first-timers. Capture leads, build customer relationships and accept credit card payments. The best part about this is that it is free to use. 

Wix has an excellent drag-and-drop site builder to create multiple blogs or small websites. It has its own web hosting and there are 100s of free templates available to customize your blog the way you want it. You can add even more functionality by including apps from the APP Market for images, graphs, and so on. 

Squarespace

Squarespace helps you create a blog that is uniquely yours and customize it the way you like. It was designed to make building a blog easy for those not familiar with website building and coding. Anyone can create a professional looking site within minutes. 

 It gives you all the best blogging tools right at your fingertips. You can easily incorporate SEO tools, email marketing, and e-commerce functionality.  You can also set up a shopping cart and add PayPal integration to it. 

Blogging is much more than just an online journal, it is a way to stay in touch with friends and family, a way to earn a little passive income for stay-at-home moms, and a way to generate leads for affiliate marketing or your own business. It has a lot of potential and should be included in your digital marketing strategy.