If you spend any time on the internet, you have probably visited thousands of websites and blogs.
But now that you are ready to start one of your own, you might be asking yourself, what is a blog?
There are endless themes and layouts to a website, and a blog is no longer the old-school online diary that it used to be.
From personal blogs to affiliate blogs, blogging is an industry that makes people a ton of money.
So if you are curious about what a blog is, how to start one, and how they make money, keep reading to learn everything!
What Is a Blog?
You could spend a lifetime diving down the rabbit hole that is learning how to monetize your blog.
Before you worry about the advanced elements of blogging, let’s explore some basics.
Definition of a Blog
Blogging is a relatively new phenomenon.
The term “blog” dates back to 1999.
It served as a way to differentiate blog content from other websites.
The term comes from “weblog” or “web-log”.
This defines a blog as a website that regularly updates itself with fresh content.
What Is a Blog Post?
To make a blog post is simply to write content on your blog as a separate blog article.
Most blog hosting platforms like WordPress seek to differentiate blog content from other pages on your website.
These hosting platforms do this by separating them into different categories.
For example, pages vs posts.
So a page on your blog would be more stable content that is the cornerstone to the specific topic of your blog.
And blog posts are the fresh content that comes out regularly as part of your feed of articles.
What Is the Purpose of a Blog?
The detailed answer to this question depends on your specific goals and blogging category.
But in general, a blog produces content on your website that will encourage people to visit it.
Consistently putting out fresh content keeps search engines happy with your website.
For businesses, the purpose of a blog is to connect with their current customers and gain new ones who have relevant problems.
Who Are Bloggers?
The term “bloggers” can refer to a few different types of people, but it generally refers to anyone who writes for a blog.
A blogger could be someone who owns and controls a website/blog, or it could be someone who regularly puts out content for another website.
What Is Blogging?
Considering its history—coming from the name web-logs—gives you an idea of what blogging is and how it is different from other web content.
Blogging refers to content that one updates regularly, usually by making new blog posts on a fixed schedule.
Blogging exists in direct contrast to the static content of a website.
The About and the post pages of a blog are usually a scrolling list of every blog post in order.
Blogs also evolved with RSS technology that allows readers to receive updates from all their blogs in one place.
Why Are Ao Many People Blogging Today?
In the old days, blogging was primarily an online diary.
It was a great way to have fun and connect with people while utilizing the emerging technology of the internet.
But today, blogging is so popular because it is profitable.
Whether through affiliate marketing or ads, blogs with a ton of traffic can make a ton of money.
Differentiating a Blog From Others
To more deeply understand what a blog is, it is helpful to differentiate it from websites and Wikis.
There is overlap, but understanding the differences is beneficial.
What Is the Difference Between a Website and a Blog?
This question points to the most common confusion amongst new bloggers, but the answer is straightforward.
A blog is a website that the bloggers regularly update with new content.
Blogs also tend to follow a specific format/layout of chronological posts dating backward in time.
What Is the Difference Between a Wiki and a Blog?
Usually, one person or company owns a blog, and one or more bloggers contribute content via articles/blog posts to fill up the website.
A wiki, however, is all about collaboration.
A wiki is updated remotely via a large group of people, and the editing is usually a collaboration as well.
What Are 5 Common Types of Blogs?
Now that you have a basic idea of what defines a blog website, let’s further explore blog writing by separating it into the 5 common types of blogs.
You can think of a business blog as a type of marketing strategy.
You can think of a business blog as a type of marketing strategy.
Business blogs aim to create meaningful content that solves readers’ problems.
But for the sake of their bottom dollar, they also seek to increase visibility and gain new customers.
Blog posts in this category tend to their products or services by answering questions in their niche.
You can think of a personal blog as a type of online journal or online diary.
Blog content in this category tends to have a more casual writing tone, and there need not be a specific topic for each article.
Blogging in this personal style is similar to the popular video version of this called a vlog.
It’s a popular way to let people into the intimate details of your life.
Skilled bloggers with interesting lives might find a journal blog to be meaningful and profitable.
News blogs tend to focus on current events and localized areas.
Up-to-date and relevant content is especially important for a news blog.
The style tends to be more informal and personable.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular methods of monetizing blog content.
Promoting another company’s products or services via special links is the goal.
Affiliate blogs receive a commission for these links.
Many blogs link to Amazon products for this reason.
The key to successful affiliate blogging is knowing your client and understanding the needs of your target audience.
Niche blogs are all about aiming at a particular segment of the market.
It is a specialized area—one for which the blogger should have detailed knowledge—that you target your content towards.
Niche blogs can target specific geographies, industries, or interests.
The key to a niche blog is finding something that is popular but not flooded with competition.
Which Topic Is Best for Blogging?
You should aim for a blogging niche that you are knowledgeable in and have a passion for.
You want to choose something that will be fun and easy to write about.
Niches can get specific, but let’s go over some of the common niches and why they are popular.
Food will never get old, and it is a general enough niche that you will never run out of content.
You can write meaningful content while also earning passive income.
Everything from recipe blogging to health and lifestyle blogging is on the table!
The world has never been this complex, and people rely on Google searches and blog posts to get financial advice.
Like food, people will not be getting over their financial concerns anytime soon.
If you have valuable advice, you can blog in this niche and make money while doing it.
Speaking of blogging, many people read blogs to learn about blogging—you are doing that right now!
Blogging, affiliate marketing, and podcasting are all ways to earn passive income.
While you work for the initial post, you rake in money for as long as anyone clicks on your page.
How Do Blogs Make Money?
Let’s explore some of the most common ways blogs make money.
Many blogs combine two or more of these strategies to squeeze the most profits.
If your blog gets traffic, then those advertisers will pay you to get their ads in front of your readers’ eyes.
A content paywall entices readers to pay for premium material, thus selling memberships.
Memberships can include other perks like early access and community building.
Promoting Product Reviews
Product reviews are a type of affiliate marketing.
You review one or more products for a reader who is researching something they want to buy.
If they click a link in your article to buy something, you will get a commission.
Selling Physical Goods
If you have a business that sells physical goods, writing blog posts in your niche helps increase the reach of your online store.
You educate people and gently push them towards the products you sell.
Selling Digital Goods
Whether you sell photographs, art, music, or software, blogging is a great way to draw in new customers and make them aware of who you are and what you sell.
Selling services is another way that you can use a blog to educate readers while also directing them to your service.
One popular example is writing about SEO—people can learn from your blog while you convince them to use your SEO service.
Is Running a Blog Profitable?
As you just read, there are multiple avenues for making money from a blog.
The most successful blogs are extremely profitable, but that is not the case for everyone.
Like most business ventures, the majority of people fail because they are not consistent enough.
The key to making a blog profitable is consistent posting!
How Much Can You Make Through a Blog?
A blog can make up to 7 figures when they are at the top of a popular niche, but that is not the most common scenario.
If you plan to devote consistent time to a blog, you can expect to make a few hundred dollars a month at first.
Eventually, you can make thousands per month.
Examples of Successful Blogs
To understand what makes a blog successful, let’s look at a few high-performance blogs.
Nerd Wallet is an affiliate site that is worth over $500 million.
It dominates the popular niche of personal finance.
They are fantastic at writing content that solves people’s problems.
Fatherly is a great example of a blog that found the perfect niche.
Before this blog, most parenting blogs targeted moms.
This blog targets fathers and makes millions while doing it.
Apartment Therapy is all about home decor and design.
They get millions of visits per month and over $20 million in revenue.
Maxwell Ryan, the founder, is an interior designer who gives top-notch advice.
The blog’s success is largely attributed to him.
The Process of Starting a Blog
As you are starting to realize, the world of blogging is more complicated than it looks.
There are so many ways to build a successful blogging website and profit from it.
But the hardest part of any project is the very beginning—getting your blog started.
So let’s go over some of the basic elements of starting a blog, including price, process, and hosting options.
Can Anybody Start a Blog?
The short answer is that yes, just about anybody can start a blog.
As long as you own or have access to the internet, you can blog.
Starting a blog requires web hosting.
The price of this service depends on the features you want on your website and how much blog traffic you will get.
Most web hosting services charge more when you have more visitors because of bandwidth.
This is the flow of data via uploads and downloads.
If you’re interested in starting a travel blog, lifestyle blog, or food blog, basic blogging platforms will let you post for free.
How Much Does Starting a Blog Cost?
Like many projects, starting a blog can have a range of costs depending on the features you desire.
Many blogging services have tiered pricing systems, many of which have a base option that gives you the basic features for free.
You can create new blog posts, connect with social media, and even choose a basic WordPress theme.
For a personal blogger, one of the many free blog-hosting websites is the cheapest way to get started.
After you consistently put out fresh content and build a reader base, you can start investing in the more advanced features that cost money.
These features include:
- A custom domain name
- Customizing a WordPress theme (or buying a more elegant theme)
- Keyword research to enhance SEO
- WordPress plugin.
Overview of How To Start a Blog
Now that you understand the initial cost, review the basic prerequisites for officially launching a blog.
You will want to read the complete guide on how to start a blog, but for now, let’s check out a basic overview of the steps.
Define a Niche
A niche is a unique segment of a market that you can target your blog content towards.
Regardless of what your niche is, you need to build a blog that people have an interest in.
If your website is too general, it will not solve any specific problems for people.
This means you’d get very little traffic.
How do you know if you have a good niche?
The primary consideration is that you need a general topic—or category of them—that people type into Google search.
Additionally, the best topics are less competitive but have sufficient search volume.
Get a Blog Name
Everything needs a name, something that will stick in people’s brains.
You want a blog name that will stand out from the competition while still being searchable.
Literal names are not catchy enough, and overly creative ones aren’t informative.
Balance these two considerations by choosing something catchy that communicates the topic.
Get a Domain and Hosting
While not necessary, it is easiest to buy a domain name and hosting service together.
Especially if you’re just getting started.
Getting them together means your hosting company registers and renews your domain name.
Many hosting services, like Bluehost, offer a free domain name within the first year of hosting.
But there are many hosting platforms out there. Bluehost, SiteGround, and DreamHost, to name a few.
Research the pros and cons of each host before deciding.
Assuming you chose either a shared or dedicated hosting platform for WordPress, the first step is to install WordPress.
After you sign up for your plan, register your domain name.
Then confirm your account information.
That’s all you need to do!
You can import previous WordPress setups when you transfer services from a different host.
After installation, choose an admin name and password as your login credentials.
Install Themes and Plugins
Installing WordPress gives you the basic CMS—content management system—with its basic theme and layout options.
You will also see an example post with content like “Hello World” (the traditional first program for coders).
But your blog needs a personal touch.
Customize its visual appearance and functionality.
Finding a good WordPress theme and installing plugins simplifies this process.
The theme is the visual design, and you should choose something that fits your taste and is customizable—free options are fine for beginners.
After finding a theme, you can add more functionality with plugins.
Like themes, some are free.
Create Blog Content
You can spend endless hours designing the perfect website, but none of that will matter if you do not create blog content that people care about.
Returning to the advice on choosing the right niche, you need to find a niche with a specific theme, but general enough to give you plenty of content ideas.
Even if your goal is to monetize the blog, aim to create fresh content that adds value to your reader.
Readers can smell content primarily aimed at making money, and over time they will not engage with your website.
Promote Your Blog
This advice might sound overly simple, but the best way to promote your blog is to get your reader to do it.
Making content that targets a popular niche, is valuable, and solves problems will mean that people naturally share it.
You can also build a social media presence in your niche to promote your blog.
Again, writing engaging material will encourage people to interact with it and share it.
Frequently Asked Questions
The never-ending stream of information has undoubtedly inundated you.
It’s difficult to get a handle on at first, so let’s review some of the most common questions new bloggers have.
Do you need your own website to start a blog?
Since the cornerstone of a blog is frequent updates and fresh content, you can theoretically blog on another website.
You can also blog on a content management system owned by a company like Tumbler or WordPress.com.
But if the goal is to customize or monetize your blog, you are better off self-hosting it.
What makes a good blog?
The best conceptualization of a good blog is one that produces valuable content.
If your blog adds something to someone’s day or life, it is a good blog.
In the old days of SEO (search engine optimization), blogs could get away with keyword stuffing to game the system.
But with advanced Google search algorithms, a good blog has to rely on content, not just keywords.
As you can see, blogging evolved a lot over its short history, and there are many types, categories, and styles of successful blogs out there.
And these many approaches can confuse people about what a blog is—be sure to leave any specific questions in the comments.
But in summary, a blog is best explained by the history of its name, web-log.
Unlike the static content of a website, you consistently refresh a blog with new content on a set schedule.
Aside from that, your blog can be highly flexible and the perfect creative outlet!