What is a Blog?

What exactly is a blog?
What is a blog? How to blog? And what is a simple explanation of blogging? Well, if you are a newbie to blogging or just want to find out about this new modern craze and to understand it without any jargon, you’ve come to the right place . . .
When I first built this website, I didn’t have a clear idea about what a ‘blog’ was. To make it even worse, when I typed into Google for information on this subject, all I found were technical articles with no layman-orientated clear and simple explanation of what it was.
Well, be confused no more, as I will attempt to explain, jargon free, exactly what a blog is . . .

A blog is simply a place to put up ‘posts’ which are basically articles. The posts can be viewed in order, usually in chronological order, so you can scroll down a list on a blog site to select a post that looks interesting. Blogs are different from ‘pages’ which are pages on a website. Pages are stand alone articles with pictures. In reality pages aren’t that much different from blogs really, the only difference is that a blog  is usually a short article presented in an order, usually centred around a particular subject or even a general blog. There are no hard and fast rules, so if you want to write a really long blog, you can.

In fact, as you are probably aware, the article you are viewing now is a ‘blog post’. You will find a link above this post called ‘general blog’ and if you click on it, up comes all the blog posts I’ve posted to this general blog in chronological order.

A whole website can be centred around blog posts. My main website has app review blogs and this blog area has posts about basically . . . anything interesting.

There are free blogging website accounts you can open to blog – Blogger.com is a popular one. These are great if you enjoy writing articles/blogs. However, if you want to build a website around blogs, WordPress is an excellent choice and it’s open source and free. WordPress was originally built for bloggers but it has evolved. Now you can have a mixture of pages (normal website pages) and blogs. You can even use WordPress to build a website purely with pages and no blogs if you want. WordPress is now a powerful all round website builder as well as being excellent blogging software.

This website uses WordPress and an add-on I purchased called ‘Genesis Framework’. The Genesis Framework adds even more functionality and SEO (search engine optimisation – so that people can search and find your pages/posts easier) functions.

Can’t be bothered to build a website? Well, it doesn’t cost the Earth to pay a WordPress professional to build you one. Just ask around for a recommended website designer that does a good job. You can learn online from WordPress’s site or by searching on YouTube for tutorials. There is a wealth of tutorial material on the Internet which just takes commitment and patience to learn.

How do you drive more traffic to your blog/website? By providing fresh original content regularly. Or you can blog (write an article) on someone else’s blog with a link back to your blog to increase your Google rankings, as incoming links from other sites, especially high ranking sites also increases your rank with Google.

Forget about link farms and other black hat (cheating ways) to increase traffic. It takes less time to write a short interesting article a lot of the usual shortcuts you come across from so called SEO pros. Google’s programmers are smart, they will recognise sites that cheat and will lower their trust in the site and the website’s rank.

Keywords in your post can boost your blog/page post views. You can use the Google Keyword tool for this. Some people cram as many keywords as possible into their posts and it ends up being a kind of mechanical experience to read and doesn’t flow. I normally only put 2 or 3 keywords that fit in nicely and then just write the post naturally.

So what kind of posts are good posts to put up that people will view? Well, there is no certain answer, but I usually focus on posts that have interesting information or posts which can help people complete a task or project.

If you decide to ‘blog’, my advice is to pick a topic that interests you as you will need to put fresh content up – preferably at least once a week, or even better, daily if you want your site to grow. Forget about rehashing old articles or buying bulk article packs, Google can recognise if the content is original or not. In fact, sites that copy and paste material from other websites are actually damaging their website without knowing it. What many people don’t know is that it takes 1 to 2 years to build a website up so that it has a decent amount of ‘traffic’ (visitors to your website). And about that time to get fully recognised by Google as a serious site. Many people give up and take down the website before this as they give up – they don’t give it time to grow. After all, an established website with 2000+ posts is going to bring in a lot more traffic than a smaller less established site with 50+ posts.

You can monetize your site in time with ads such as Adsense ads. Many people plaster these ads all over their site making it look ugly. If you look up to the right hand corner of this page you’ll see that I only have one Adsense ad which I’ve tried to blend in with the site by specifying colours that match my site.

Well, I hope this helps someone who was like me not long ago, scratching around for a simple explanation of ‘blogging’. I’m not saying my site or my advice is the best in the world, but I’ve used this site and the limited experience I’ve had with blogging just to give you some examples to expand upon in your own style, and to clear up any confusion. If you pick a topic that’s interesting for you and can help others, or offer them some interesting information that they are searching for, you can’t go wrong.

Best of all, if you approach it with the right mind-set – blogging is fun!

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