What is a Blog? A Blogging For Beginners Guide

David Utke •  Updated: June 30, 2023 •  Blogging

I’ve been blogging and managing blogs for a decade+, and even today, I still get asked, what is a blog? A weblog, or “blog” for short, is part of a website where content is published in order of date and organized by category.

The concept of “blogging” has evolved from simply living your life and sharing your story through publishing written content into a compelling form of content marketing.

In short, a “blog” is just a part of a website. Some websites’ main content is a blog; others, like e-commerce stores, use a blog to get free search traffic. Regardless, a blog is simply a part of a website.

Why do people still blog?

A blog is part of a website with content published around keywords and phrases that people are searching for with the intent to rank for those phrases in Google organically so you can get free traffic from Google.

That traffic can then be converted into product sales, advertising revenue or email list subscribers.

blog works by creating the best-in-class content for an intended search term. Provide the best search result, better than anything else, and Google (in general) is sophisticated enough to reward the best with high rankings.

You help Google provide highly relevant search results through building topical authority and Google enables you to get traffic.

That is why professionals and businesses blog – to get attention and then funnel that attention into a specific offer, be it a product as an affiliate, email list, or advertising exposure.

Topical authority?

Topical authority means you position yourself as an expert around a specific area. I could write blog posts that go after high traffic terms like, “best credit cards for travel” then “how to start a blog” and finally then “how to invest in gold” but that kind of approach is all over the place.

Instead, you need to think of the main theme of your website, then cover in detail sub-topics related to the overall theme.

Blog or a Website?

It’s still strange to me how the word “blog” gets conflated with the word “website” to imply that they are two different things. The words are used interchangeably, and that’s what causes the confusion. Again, a blog is just a part of a website.

A website can have various features like a store, online courses, dedicated tutorials, and a blog. Some websites, however, are strictly content-oriented, and those websites are usually referred to as blogs since it’s the website’s main feature.

It’s like if you have an online store, but that store also has a blog. What do you call your website to other people when they ask?

A store, blog or website?

Your first inclination would be to refer to it as your online store and then your website because the store aspect it’s the main feature.

People who have “blogs” do the same. The primary feature of a personal finance blog is, in fact, the blog posts since they make up the majority of the activity for the website.

What is a Blog Post, and Page?

A page is short for a web page, and it’s simply any URL you can pull up on a website. Blog posts are, in fact, web pages. However, in practical use for WordPress (as it’s the most popular blogging platform), a blog post is typically a web page organized by a category and date.

Suppose your content can not be categorized into any category (like your About and contact page). In that case, those items should instead be published as a page and not a blog post.

How Do Blogs Make Money?

Blogs can become one of a website’s most profitable areas and make money in a few different ways. Let’s cover the most popular ways to make money with a blog:

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing promotes products and services through your blog and then gets a commission on the product’s sale. It’s one of the simplest (but not easiest) ways to start making money from your blog. All you have to do is become an affiliate for various products, then write keyword-rich blog posts that rank.

It’s simple but challenging.

Creating high-quality videos and great blog posts that rank takes time. Most need to learn how to structure a blog post properly or are too lazy to create short articles that never get traffic.

Your aim needs to be to create helpful free content and then mix in offers as appropriate. For example, my content on the best cameras for YouTube makes money from Amazon Associates (the largest affiliate program in the world).

This blog post took almost 4 days to write and design and is approaching 6000 words. It’s based on my actual experience of being a video creator and part time travel vlogger. Ranking blog posts is also a slow process as Google indexes content methodically and carefully.

Advertising

Advertising is another great way to make money with a blog and can be very profitable, depending on the topic. A personal finance website will do much better in ad revenue than a dating blog, for example.

Advertising has a few advantages. The first is that it is very passive. With stable rankings and traffic, advertising income will also remain stable. The second is that it allows you to monetize all your content, not just blog posts with a specific affiliate offer.

The last advantage is that it gives you an idea of potential products and services you could create and promote on your website.

To get started with advertising:

  1. Get your blog to 10,000 pageviews at a minimum.
  2. Apply to Google AdSense.
  3. Use AdSense for a few months and get a baseline result.
  4. Look at other potential advertising networks.

I typically only run ads on content where there is no specific offer to promote and no clear tie in to my email list. My guide on how to download YouTube videos is a great example. This post is purely informational and exists to help establish topical authority for my YouTube category.

Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts are when advertisers contact you and want to pay you to write about their products and services on your website. Sponsored posts, while not entirely passive, are an excellent way make a job replacing income if you can build a popular blog.

Advertisers pay you to write about them and give you an affiliate link so you can make additional money if anyone clicks through your link to their product.

Sponsored posts require upfront work, but long-term revenue streams are excellent.

Email Marketing

Another excellent way to make money from a blog is to drive free traffic to an email opt-in form. Once subscribed to your list, you should build a 3 month email auto-responder series at a minimum where you send 2-3 emails a week on autopilot.

First begin writing emails manually. Then, the emails that do well become part of your autoresponder. This requires a lot of work as you have to write the emails, but once it’s done, all that is needed from then on is for you to manage your email list from a quality standpoint.

Swim University for example has a year long auto responder that loops. This took tremendous time to make, but now that it’s done, it’s an automated sales person that promotes your products.

These emails should be a mix of pure content and offers for various products, ads, and affiliates. Over time you’ll start to get data on how profitable your list is. You’ll eventually be able to know the lifetime value of a single email subscriber.

Creating Your Products

Last is creating your products. These products could be low-priced ebooks, online courses, or physical products. When you have a lot of blog posts, you can continually sell your products in your blog posts naturally, as it makes sense.

It also makes it easier to get people onto your email list which once built out, is your best marketing tool.

What is a blog used for?

A blog is used by professionals and businesses like online stores to get free search traffic that can be converted to ad clicks, affiliate marketing commissions, or email sign-ups. A blog is still a potent content marketing tool for this reason.

A blog can also be used to share company updates or, if you’re an individual, to share personal updates. Though most casual bloggers have moved over to newsletter platforms, social media or YouTube to vlog.

How to write a blog post?

Writing a blog post is much different than writing a research paper for a university. First, you need to decide what your title will be and what keyword you’re trying to rank in Google for. This content you’re on now is going after the keyword phrase “what is a blog” as it’s a high-traffic search term.

Once you have your keyword, you need to craft an exciting and compelling title where you include your keyword. Next, after that is to make sure you have a good URL structure. Your website should be secure, the blog post should be in a relevant category, and the URL should be short and contain your keyword.

Then when it’s time to write content, keep your paragraphs short, 3-4 sentence max. Break up blog posts using header tags, and ensure you have a font size that’s not too small. Use images for your feature image and only include images that demonstrate something. Never use pictures just because you think they look nice. It slows down your website too much.

Use correct H1, H2 and H3 tags

A blog post must be structured with correct header tags. H1 is the blog post’s title; this is where your keyword should be found. H2 is a subheading title tag, and H3 is a subheading of an H2. This type of structure is easy for search engines to understand and is also helpful for your end user as it makes your content scannable.

Choose a readable font size

With web design, you must pick a font for your header tags and a font for your body content. Choose a readable font, typically a web-safe Google font, and set it at a larger size.

Pictures and video

Pictures should be used for the feature image function and to demonstrate what your content is about. Photos should never be used for decoration.

Videos, you’ll want to take the same approach. If you also manage a YouTube channel, leveraging your video content in your blog posts is a great combo.

Links

Inter-link your content and link to other websites regularly. You can and should go back into older blog posts and link to newer content when it makes sense.

Also, link to other websites if it helps make your content more authoritative and trustworthy. This internal and external linking helps your blog post rank better and provides a better user experience.

Create content on topics people are searching for

Write what people want. You do this through keyword research. While you can create a post on something like “how to make your story shine through being authentically you,” that’s not exactly something people are looking for.

So use tools like Keywords Everywhere, Google’s auto-fill feature, and aHrefs to find topics people are searching for. Then, think about the point of your blog posts. Some will be aimed at making affiliate sales, some will be more for growing your email list, and others will be a good fit for display ads.

Conclusion: What is a Blog?

A blog can be a powerful marketing tool that can grow simple websites and blogs into massive online business. A blog can also remain a small personal outlet to share casual updates with friends and family.

Regard less of what you intent do to, you should now have a good understanding of what a blog is and why people and business blog in the first place.

It's all my fault

Hey I'm David. I'm a blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated UX consultant on Fiverr. My writing, videos and courses have helped tens of thousands of people make their first 1$ online. I write this blog to show you the "how to" for turning knowledge into income so you can live life on your terms.

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