I’ve been blogging and managing blogs for a decade and even today I still get asked, what is a blog? A web log, or “blog” for short is a part of a website where content is published in order of date and organized by category. The concept of “blogging” has evolved over time from simply living your life and sharing your story through publishing written content into a very powerful and effective form of content marketing.
In short, a “blog” is really just a part of a website. Some websites main content is a blog, other websites like e-commerce stores use a blog as a way to get free search traffic. Regardless, a blog is simply a part of a website.
Example of a Blog
A blog is a part of a website that has 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 or email list subscribers.
A 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, Google helps you get traffic.
That is why professionals and businesses blog – to get attention and then funnel that attention into some sort of specific offer be it a product as an affiliate, email list or advertising exposure.
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 confusion. Again though, a blog is just a part of a website. A website can have various features like a store, online courses, specific dedicated tutorials and of course a blog.
Some websites however are strictly content oriented websites and it’s those websites that are usually referred to as blogs since it’s the main feature of the website. It’s sort of like if you have an online store but that store that store also has a blog. What do you call your website then to other people?
A store? A blog? A website? Your first inclination would be to refer to is as your online store and then your website. Why? Because the store aspect it’s the main feature of your website.
People who have “blogs” do the same. The primary feature of a personal finance blog is in fact the blog posts since that make up the majority of the activity for the website.
What is a Blog Post and What is a Web Page?
A page is short for 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 a web page organized by a category and date typically. If the content you’re creating can not be organized into any category (like your about page) it should instead be published as a page.
In practice you should use pages for things like your about page, contact page and legal pages. Content that can not be categorized into any hierarchy like a blog post can. Conversely, any content where you’re going after specific key words and phrases and can be categorized, use blog posts.
How Do Blogs Make Money?
Blogs can become one of the most profitable areas on a website and can make money in a few different ways. Let’s cover the most popular ways to make money with a blog:
Affiliate marketing is promoting products and services through your blog and then getting a commission on the sale of the product. 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 not easy. It’s hard to create great videos and great blog posts that rank. Most don’t know how to structure a blog post properly or are too lazy and create short articles than never get traffic. Your goal is to create helpful free content then mix in offers as appropriate.
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 a lot better in terms of ad revenue than a dating blog for example.
Advertising has a few advantages. The first is that it is very passive. When you have stable rankings and traffic, advertising income will remain stable as well. 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 it gives you an idea as to potential products and services you could create and promote on your website.
To get started with advertising we suggest getting your blog to 10,000 pageviews at a minimum. Then apply to Google AdSense. Use AdSense for a few months and get a baseline result. Then look at other potential advertising networks.
Sponsored posts are when advertisers reach out to you and hire you to write about their products and services on your website. Sponsored posts, while not entirely passive is a excellent way to make a job replacing income if you’re able to build a popular blog.
Not only do advertisers pay you to write about them, they also 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 make for an excellent revenue stream.
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 then build out a 1-3 month email auto-responder series where you send 2-3 emails a week on autopilot.
This requires a bit of work as you have to write the emails, but once it’s done all that is required is bit of tweaking to get the most out of your subscribers.
These emails should be a mix of pure content but also offers for various products ad an affiliate. Over time you’ll start to get data on how profitable your list is. You’ll eventually be able to know the life time value of a single email subscriber.
Creating Your Own Products
Last is creating your own products. These products could be low priced ebooks, high priced online courses or physical products. When you have a lot of blog posts, you’re able to continually sell your products in your blog posts naturally as it makes sense.
What is a blog used for?
A blog is used by professionals and business like online stores in order to get free search traffic that can be converted to ad clicks, affiliate marketing commissions or email sign ups. A blog is still a very powerful 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 on or have moved to YouTube to vlog, a blog and an email list is still a good way to share casual updates.
How to write a blog post?
Writing a blog post is much different than writing a research paper for university. First, you need to decided what your title is going to be and what keyword you’re trying to rank in Google for. This piece of 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 interesting and compelling title where you include your keyword. Next after than 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 make sure 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 images 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 title of the blog post, this is where your keyword should be found. H2 is a sub heading title tag and H3 is a sub heading of an H2. This type of structure is easy for search engines to understand is also helpful for your end user as it makes your content scannable.
Choose a readable font size
With web design you need to 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 make sure to 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. Pictures should never be used for decoration.
Videos you’ll want to take the same approach. If you also manage a YouTube channel it’s a great combo to leverage your video content in your blog posts.
Inter-link your own 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 own piece of 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 actually searching for
Write what people actually 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 are 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.
David UtkeDavid Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 27k+ YouTube subscribers!
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