Blogging: What is it really anyway?

So you’ve heard of it – the word BLOG, but not quite sure what it is?  Right here you’ll find some answers including terminology, the gambit of definitions used, and beginner tips on how to start a blog.

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What is a Blog?
Blog, weblog, blogging – a few different terms are used when “describing what your transcribing”. A blog is a updated online journal or diary, sometimes streaming live depending on the domain and it’s advancements. It is a format designed specifically for adding entries of your activity that are called posts. You can use a blog for personal journals, business, causes, and basically anything you want to use it for to market yourself or your product(s). It is a place to share your thoughts and passions and it can be viewed publicly, to limited people, or privately. Below are other definitions of a blog:

“…the first journalistic model that actually harnesses rather than merely exploits the true democratic nature of the web. It’s a new medium finally finding a unique voice.” –Andrew Sullivan

“[a] collection of posts…short, informal, sometimes controversial, and sometimes deeply personal…with the freshest information at the top.” –Meg Hourihan

Terminology
As with the English language, many derivatives of the word blog have been created. Remember when I mentioned before the words blog, weblog, blogging? Well, I will give you the easiest terms for each one, including what blogger means:

Blog (noun) – a journal or diary that is on the Internet.

Blogger (noun) – a person who keeps a blog – Bloggers are revolutionizing the way news is shared.

Blog (verb) – to write a blog – I am going to blog before breakfast this morning.

Blogging (verb) – the action of writing a blog – Blogging is my way of sharing my passions with the world.

Tips on starting a blog
At first blogging started when people wrote down their everyday tasks and mundane day-to-day activities.  Somehow it caught on, and although people now write more interesting things, it has been mainstreaming since the early 2000s.  Click here to see when the first blog appeared and who started it.

Since blogs began, advancements have been made and many bloggers are successfully using free websites that have blogging capabilities.  Such websites include WordPress and Blogger.  If you have a site business, it is probably best to get a service upgrade (fees required) on these sites as it is offers more options, such as advertisements, customizable pages, top searches on search engine websites, and more.

1. Ask yourself what you love, care about or wish to share with others. If you’re going to write about something regularly and keep your blog fresh with new information, then you need to write about something that stokes your passion or that reflects your daily experience. Try some of these ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
  • Gaming. Nowadays, most people play games. You can write about games you play and post updates and/or cheats/hints.
  • Politics. Sure, everyone has an opinion about politics, but you may have a unique point of view that needs to be heard.
  • Food. Who doesn’t love good food? Share your recipes, start writing reviews of the local cuisine scene or write about how the food that you ate in China was nothing like the food that Chinese restaurants serve in the United States of America.
  • Movies. Reviews of movies, old and new, are always fun for movie buffs. And if you keep it fresh by adding clips and pull from sources that nobody else is using, you could have a hit blog on your hands.
  • Cars. Are you a car enthusiast? Post pictures of your favorite new models or reports from car shows.
  • Your business. Your blog doesn’t have to be a hobby. A blog can be a fantastic tool for connecting with your customers and for providing them with helpful information.

2. Think about how you want to help people. While you want to know your broad subject area, you need to focus your blog topics more narrowly, so that it has a clear purpose. Here are some ideas for ways that your blog can connect with your intended audience:

  • Teach something. If you’re passionate about a particular subject, and you have a lot of experience in that area, then you can offer your knowledge to both people who are new to the subject and others who are as experienced as you are.
  • Provide the latest news and trends. Write about the latest developments related to your topic. You want to be someone who’s viewed as the ultimate insider so that you can continue to increase your blog’s readership.
  • Make people laugh. Are you the funniest person you know? No matter what your subject area, you can present your experiences and thoughts in a humorous way that will really resonate with people.
  • Inspire others. Have you overcome an obstacle, such as a serious illness or a difficult life experience? Do you want to turn your challenges into something that will inspire others to overcome their problems? If that’s the case, then make your blog inspirational.
  • Know what not to blog about too. Your workplace, your coworkers, your family members, etc. may take a dim view of anything on your blog if it blows open secrets, shares confidential information, makes fun of people you work or live with, or causes other people trouble. Know the limits––check with your workplace what is and is not permissible by way of personal blogging and ask your mates and family before including them in your posts.

3. Spy on your competition. Take a look at other blogs on your topic to see what other people are already doing. Ask yourself what you have to offer that is different from what other people are already doing. Identifying your niche will give your blog an angle that distinguishes it from your competitors.

4. Generate some names for your blog. Try brainstorming a list of names and writing them on a piece of paper, or talk to friends and family to get ideas. You can also try freewriting to see what comes out of your mind as you free associate about your topic.  Sometimes putting one word of interest together with one word that’s a hobby or cherish can be the perfect name, especially if you will be writing about it.  Who cares if it sounds silly, as long as it might be catchy.  For example, one blog is called Fluffy Puff.  It seems a little unusual . . . daring . . . but it’s catchy!  The person liked baking goods that gave that puffy fluffy finish, but also her favorite animal was her dog Fluffy – so it worked out in her favor.

5. Research keywords related to your subject to help people find your blog. Go to a site like http://ubersuggest.org/

  • Enter items that are relevant to your topic into the appropriate search field. You can search by word or phrase, by website or by subject.
    Screen Shot 2013 09 20 at 3.03.34 PM.png
  • The tool will generate words or phrases associated with your topic. Pick the words that have a high number of monthly searches but have low to medium levels of competition. Try to include them in your blog name.
  • Check these keywords from time to time when you’re writing a blog post. If you fit the keywords into your posts in a natural way, then search engines may be more likely to pick up on your blog and show it to people who are conducting searches about your subject.

6. Decide where to create and host your blog. Blogger and WordPress are 2 of the most popular blog creation sites on the Web.

  • WordPress.com (my personal favorite.  Pros: easily in search engines, use tags, and can be creative with the site.  Cons: not easy to navigate)
    Blogger.com (is owned by Google.  Pros: easily accessible by Google account users, friendly user interface.  Cons: Cannot see up-to-date blog status using free mode)
  • Tumblr.com
  • Webs.com

7. Help and prompts.  After choosing which website you want to host your blog at, the site usually gives you some prompts or step-by-step instructions for setting up the blog.  There will be a help page for any questions you may have, but the best way to learn is to navigate the system and if you have a question about what something does, you can either search for it online or ask the help desk of the site. I included below a link that will answer some questions about blog terminologies (trust me, you’ll need to to know them), visit my other blogger from another jogger at http://codex.wordpress.org/Introduction_to_Blogging

Resources:

1. WordPress.org – http://codex.wordpress.org/Introduction_to_Blogging
2. Blogbasics.com – http://blogbasics.com/what-is-a-blog/
3. Wikipedia.org – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_blogging
4. Wikihow.com – http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Blog

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