If you’re wondering what is a blog and how it works, you’re in the right place. In this blog post, I’m going to cover some blogging basics and frequently asked questions people have about blogging.
By the end of this blog post, you’ll hopefully have figured out what is a blog and whether you want to launch a blog of your own.
What is a blog?
According to the blog definition of Merrian-Webster, a blog is:
A website that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs provided by the writer.
What’s the difference between a blog and a website
A blog is a type of website that is updated regularly with new content. While websites are usually static pages, blogs are updated often, are more personal, and foster a sense of community.
Blogs are typically informal and written in a conversational style. Some blogs act as a personal diary or journal of the owner. But other blogs (like this one) are meant to educate readers on a specific topic.
A blog consists of blog posts, each with a comments section. This makes blogs and forums similar in that they encourage their visitors to ask questions and participate.
What’s the difference between blog posts and blog pages
WordPress, the most popular blogging platform, lets bloggers create two types of content: blog posts and blog pages.
Blog posts are the newly published articles that appear in reverse chronological order on the homepage.
On the other hand, blog pages are static pages such as an about page or a contact page.
History of blogs
The first blog was built back in 1994 when Justin Hall, then a student at Swarthmore College, created what is recognized as one of the first blogs (source).
Back then, blogs were almost exclusively akin to online journals, where the website’s creator would log their daily activities on the web.
The word blog itself comes from the combination of “web” and “log,” as in a log of entries on the web.
Yet, these websites were never called blogs at the time because the name itself didn’t exist. It wasn’t until December 1997 that Jorn Barger coined the term weblog, and April/May 1999 when it was shortened to blog.
In 2004, blogging took off. “Blog” was even the Merriam-Webster word of the year in 2004 (source). By then, WordPress had launched their free blogging platform (source), allowing anybody with a website to add a blog.
Many blogs focus on one main topic, while some write about a variety of subjects. Here are some popular types of blogs.
News blogs examples
News websites like CNN are actually blogs by definition. A news blog can focus on all news or industry-specific news.
- HuffPost – Originally started by Arianna Huffington, HuffPost updates multiple times per day with politics, entertainment, and general news stories.
- BuzzFeed – Updates frequently with news and entertainment articles.
- Mashable – This fun news site writes on culture, entertainment, tech, science, and more.
Lifestyle blog examples
Lifestyle blogs can tackle topics like home decor, fashion, food, and travel all under one roof.
- Simply Liv – Olivia blogs about fashion, motherhood, self-care, and minimalism on her lifestyle blog.
- Go Fit Jo – Jo writes about beauty, style, health and wellness, and travel.
- Cup of Jo – Joanna Goddard’s popular lifestyle blog tackles style, design, food, travel, relationships, and motherhood.
Niche blog examples
A niche blog is a website that focuses on one main topic. For example, my blog, Do Six Figures, is a marketing blog focusing on blogging.
- Mr. Money Mustache – This personal finance aims to help their audience achieve financial independence.
- Lili’s Travel Plans – Lili runs a travel blog where she chronicles her adventures.
- Olivia Bessert – Olivia uses her blog to drive people to her fashion photography courses.
Personal blog examples
Some treat their blog as their personal journal, sharing their day-to-day life with the world.
Personal blogs are not as popular as they once were. While bloggers were the original influencers of the internet, today’s influencers are found on Instagram and YouTube.
- Denver Darling – This popular lifestyle and fashion blog is run by Abby Miller.
- The Blog Abroad – Glo is a world traveler who shares her travels with the world.
- Yourot – Victoria Prooday is an occupational therapist who uses her blog to get clients.
Why start a blog?
What are the reasons people start a blog?
Most of the time, people start blogs to make money. But there are other reasons to start a blog. For example, a blog can be for:
- Expressing your creativity
- Journaling your life
- Sharing your passion
- Teaching and helping others
- Selling your own products
- Selling other people’s products
What are the benefits of blogging?
Aside from an outlet to express yourself, blogging comes with many unexpected benefits.
- Blogging can make you a better writer
- You can challenge yourself
- Can keep you accountable (for example, a blog detailing your weight loss journey)
- Partner with brands with content collaborations
- Earn passive income with ad revenue
- Recommend products and earn a commission
How much does it cost to start a blog?
Unlike a brick-and-mortar business, blogging is a relatively inexpensive business to start.
While you can start a blog for free on a free blog platform, if you want to make money blogging, it helps to own your blog. That means you need domain and hosting, which go for less than $5 per month.
There are a ton of other blogging expenses, such as costs for email marketing and promotion, but they’re not necessary to start blogging.
How to start a blog
Starting a blog now is much different than starting a blog back in 1994. Nowadays, free blogging software is available to make running a blog a breeze.
Let me run through the steps of starting a blog.
Get a domain, hosting, and WordPress
You can do all of this with my preferred hosting company, HostGator.
Design your blog
A typical blog structure has a blog header (which has your blog logo and menu), a content section for your blog posts, a sidebar, and a footer.
Create content for your blog
A blog without content just isn’t a blog at all. You’ll want to write engaging content in a conversational style. It’s important that you form relationships with your audience. That’s how you grow a blog following.
For help writing your blog posts, use the free Grammarly browser extension.
Monetize your blog
Bloggers make money in a variety of ways. Here are 4 popular ways to make money with a blog.
- Ads – Using an ad network, bloggers can place ads on their blogs and earn money on every visit.
- Affiliate marketing – Earn a commission recommending products to your audience.
- Selling your own products – Bloggers can monetize their audience by selling digital products or services.
- Sponsored posts – This is when you get paid by a brand to mention their product on your blog and social media.
Wrapping it up
Hopefully, this article has helped you find out what is a blog and how blogging works.
Until next time,