I’m assuming you’re here because you’ve heard the hype over blogging and want to get in on the fun! There are a lot of different meanings and definitions of a blog, as well as what others view it as.
I want to give you the low down on what a blog is, the purpose of starting a blog, and some basics about the blogging world. This will help you understand how and why blogs run and how they can be an amazing work-from-home career for many.
What exactly is a blog?
The true definition of a blog is a regularly updated site that is usually run by one person or a team of people. The content on a blog is written in an informal and conversational style and contains mostly helpful and inspirational writing.
Blogging has evolved a lot over the last couple of decades. It was once just a hobby for people to create a sort-of online journal to write their thoughts down.
Now blogs can also be very helpful and are the main source that a user would go to for information. The amount of eyes that a blogger can get on her site is in the millions because of the far reach of the internet.
What’s the difference between a blog and a website?
All blogs are websites, but not all websites are blogs.
As mentioned earlier, a blog is constantly being updated with new information as the writer puts out new content or blog posts. However, a website typically stays the same with static pages that don’t regularly change.
A website is typically created by a business to sell a product or service or promote their company by giving more information about it. Websites can have blogs on them, but it may not be the primary goal of the website.
Some websites use blog posts as a way to get traffic to their site by offering free advice, tips, and information about a topic that their potential customer would be interested in. The goal is then to get them to stay and purchase their product or service.
A blog’s goal is simply to inform, persuade, educate, or entertain readers purely for the sake of getting information out there to the public. However, some bloggers do end up selling products or services so the end-goal may still be to have a sales pitch within their site.
The Technical Side
A blog is a website so it has to live online. Therefore, you need a company to host your blog, register a domain name and choose a blogging platform.
What is a domain?
A domain is the URL for your website. For example, https://www.justsimplyblog.com is my domain name.
This will most likely be the name of your website too, however it can differ if you’d like it to.
The domain is how someone will easily get to your site.
What is web hosting?
A host is essentially a server where a bunch of websites are stored.
Your blog will live on a server that is owned by a hosting company. You need to buy that space on the host’s server so they can keep your website safe and give it access to the internet world.
Yes, this is the part that you have to shell out a little bit of money for, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s such a tiny investment. You can start a business with less than $70 and grow it exponentially!
There are free web hosts out there, but if you want a blog that MAKES MONEY, you NEED to pay for your hosting.
Free hosts give you:
- Unwanted ads
- Slower site speed and bandwidth
- Limited features
- Don’t own your domain name
- Poor customer support
Paid hosts give you:
- Fast website
- Faster speed
- Reaches a larger audience
- Better customer support
- Unlimited features and customizations
- No unsolicited ads
Think of this as creating a business. You need to invest a little bit to be successful.
What is a blogging platform?
A blogging platform is a software or service that you use to publish your content online.
It allows you to create posts and manage everything you create like posts and pages on your site.
There are several blogging platforms out there. Some are completely free and some you will need to pay for.
Some of the most common blogging platforms are:
- WordPress.com (free version)
- WordPress.org (the paid version, but usually included with your web hosting)
But one thing you need to know is that:
You will not make money from a free blog. Just like with web hosting, if you want to include the features of profitable blogs, you need the paid versions of these blogging platforms.
The reasons for this is that:
- On the free platforms, you will not own your blog or content
- You will have limited options to customize your website design
- You will have limited support
- You will have restrictions to put paid ads on your website to make money.
- They can put their own distracting ads on your site that you don’t get paid for
- Your blog won’t look as professional
- You may not get approval for affiliate marketing programs
The paid blogging platforms (like WordPress.org) can be a bit complex because there are a ton of features for you to customize your own site.
Drag-and-drop website builders like Wix, are much easier to start with and you’ll be able to create a gorgeous blog with just a few clicks. But you won’t be able to transform your blog into a growing business as easily as with WordPress.
If you want to make money from your blog, your website will need to be self-hosted on a web server and platform that allows you the freedom to customize and monetize it.
Do yourself a favor and choose the best platform now because switching later on when you need it can be a nightmare.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is what enables you to write, create, edit, design, and publish anything you wish to put on your site.
It’s free with your paid web hosting through Blue Host and it’s what I use to create ALL my content on this site and Just Simply Mom.
A fair warning though.
WordPress is complex.
It’s nothing that you can’t learn, but it’s only complicated because there are a ton of features.
This is great once you understand how to fully customize your blog and website because it really is limitless. It will enable you to create the blog of your dreams and make money doing it!
However, when you’re getting started, it can be a lot to take in.
Have no fear though, plenty of those features you won’t even need to use in the beginning, if ever. So you’ll have time to get acquainted with it all.
To learn more about setting up your domain and website, check out Setting Up Web Hosting and WordPress for Your Blog.
Things you should know about Blogs:
There is some confusion about blogs because of the vast amount of people who own them. Every blogger uses their own system and processes to create, manage, promote, and monetize their blog.
Here are some more details about blogging that many people don’t know.
1. Bloggers work for free
Bloggers are not directly paid just to write on their blog. In fact, they actually have to pay to own the website and domain without a guarentee that they will be able to make that money back.
There are ways for a blog to generate income. However, if a blogger doesn’t choose to monetize their site, then they are essentially working for free.
You can’t imagine the amount of work that goes into blogging until you start, but that’s the reason that most bloggers need to figure out ways to make their blog profitable.
Therefore, when you are bothered by ads interrupting the posts that you’re trying to read or annoyed about getting sales pitch emails, just remember how much work the author is putting in just to give you information that you get to access for free.
2. It’s hard work
There is a ton of time, effort, and even money put into making a blog successful. There are so many more components of blogging as a career or hobby than just typing away at your keyboard.
In regards to writing, you’ll need to research, edit, revise, publish, and update your posts. Technically, you need to have a basic knowledge of website design, graphic design, and HTML.
To market your blog, you want to have an understanding of various social media platforms, search engine optimization, and email marketing. That is just to name a few of the components that go into blogging!
Although the finished product may not seem very complex, the behind-the-scenes work is a lot to learn.
3. Blogs can sell a product
Blogs are not always solely based on written information. Not only can they have plenty of images and video, but they can also sell products or services.
Within the content, bloggers can promote their products in order to create an income from all the work that gets put in.
Bloggers typically sell digital products that can be purchased and downloaded instantly. They can also sell services like coaching or consultative work.
These types of products are simpler to sell than having a physical product, however, you can also place a shop on your site to sell physical products too.
4. Bloggers must disclose sales affiliations
There are many legal processes to be aware of as a blog owner.
If you do choose to make money with your blog through ads or affiliate networks, you must disclose to your reader than you will be earning a commission through them.
If a blogger includes a link for a product that they would get a commission on if a purchase is made, they must state that prior to the affiliate link.
You also need a disclosure page to give the user a full description of the ad network’s policies and how their information can be used.
5. Readers don’t just accidentally stumble upon your blog
Just because you create a website and add content to it, does not mean that someone is going to find it.
When you’re among the millions of websites that exist on the world wide web, you have to bring uniqueness and creativity to your site, as well as a strong use of search engine optimization and social media in order to get viewers.
This is often where the biggest struggle comes in and why 90% of bloggers quit.
It is hard to work to get your blog to show up at the top of a Google search or to get your Instagram followers to click the link in your bio.
However, the more you learn about the tips and tricks to optimizing your site for these searches, the easier it will become.
6. You must be aware of plagiarism and copyright infringement
There are millions of blogs out there and probably thousands on any given topic. Although typically, the content on a blogger’s website is not copyrighted, you can not steal from anyone else’s site.
There is a lot of overlap in the blogging world so it’s best to ensure that you are not taking someone else’s content.
Images, photos, and graphics are owned by the blogger and can not be used elsewhere.
The same goes for written work. You can not copy and paste another writer’s work onto your blog and call it yours. However, you CAN write about the same topic.
For example, my motherhood blog has plenty of topics that other bloggers have already written about thousands of times. One of my most highly trafficked posts is about what to pack in your hospital bag.
I’m not the first mom to tell other moms that they should bring a robe, phone charger, slippers, and a breastfeeding pillow to the hospital with them. However, that’s why making your posts unique and stand out is so crucial.
7. Instagram influencers are not all bloggers
A lot of Instagram influencers call themselves bloggers because they offer content to their readers. However, if they don’t have a website where they deliver helpful or inspirational writing, they are not a blogger.
The term blogger still refers to someone who has a blog on a website other than social media posts.
8. Anyone can start a blog, but not everyone will be successful at it
Although blogging has been life-changing for me and I highly recommend giving it a shot, it is not for everyone.
Although anyone can purchase a domain, create a website, and write about anything they want, that doesn’t ensure that they will be successful.
Individual success may vary depending on the goal of your blog. Whether you hope to make money, spread awareness, help others, or showcase your favorite hobby, success may have a different meaning to each blogger.
Blogging is all about the time and effort you put into it. The dedicated, hard-working people who have big dreams are the ones who will make it. The ones who lack motivation and the need to succeed may end up in that 90% that fail.
. . . . .
With extremely low start-up costs, blogging is an amazing way to kickstart a new career or side hustle. There’s not much to lose, so why not get started?
Sign up for my free 7-Day Blogging Bootcamp Email Course to learn how to begin!