Blogging has completely stirred up the situation on the internet. It has been something that people were getting used to during the 1990s, but as of 2000s, the online world completely changed due to the influence of blogging.
As more and more blogs started to emerge, so did the number of blogging tools. The approaches also began to evolve. We can trace the origin of blogging back to the online diaries published on the internet during the 1990s via dial-up internet. Over time, the topics of blogs started to expand. Personal blogs as a form of online diaries still exist, but many different types of blogs are now part of the blogosphere.
The number of blogs on the internet has been growing rapidly, as increasingly more people were gaining access to the internet and being able to create and manage their own blogs. Once creating a blog was an endeavor for which you would need to hire a professional, and you would also need training on how to manage and upload content. Nowadays, you can seamlessly create a blog within a few minutes without any technical skill whatsoever.
What Is Blogging?
What once began as a platform for sharing personal thoughts in online form has now grown into one of the essential and the most effective tools marketers use for online promotion. The way blogging has evolved over the past decade has blown everyone’s mind. During the last couple of years we have been witnessing thousands of blogs around the globe, both businesses, and personal, turning into very profitable activities. It’s safe to say, that blogging has become “big business”.
History of blogging
Today’s blogging started with something called weblog. The term was created by Jorn Barger in 1997, and it was used to describe a personal weblog, an online journal or a diary. It was primarily used by journalists and writers as a way to express themselves. To understand this need to sre one’s thoughts this way, you have to realize that this was the time without forums and social networks, the time before Twitter and Facebook.
The term was shortened to blog by Peter Merholz in 1999, and this term is now used both as a noun (to describe an online platform that is used for blogging) and as a verb (to write or to have a blog).
Having a blog in that period meant that you had the technical know-how to create and set up that blog. Optimization of that blog was not something people gave much thought, because search engine algorithms were just getting started to index the web, and had yet to learn how to interpret online content.
The late 1990s were also the period when blogging started to take off. By 2004 blogging had become completely mainstream. This was largely fueled by the introduction of the well-known content management system called WordPress in 2003. WordPress is a free platform that makes blogging available to everyone. Even to people, who don’t have many technical skills. More and more people were starting a blog, and increasingly more were reading those blogs. This trend grew so rapidly over the next few years that we now have a new blog coming up each second.
What has affected this rapid expansion is the following:
· Creating a blog is now much simpler and cheaper than it used to be
· The number of people using the internet is continuously rising, so the online audience is increasing
· Blogging has been recognized as a desirable profession in the 21st century
· Plenty of opportunities for monetization of blogging
· A possibility to expand networking opportunities
· Blogging has become a supporting activity for both online and offline businesses
What is a blog?
A blog is a website or a web page that is regularly updated with new content. Content is displayed as blog articles or posts, which are usually shown in reverse chronological order, so the newest are visible first.
When blogging was still new in the online community, blogs were usually run by individuals or a small group. Apart from blogs run by individuals, today we also have joint blogging projects which gather multiple authors. Companies have recognized the importance of blogging as well, so many of them have been implementing blogging as a part of their website. Often companies either have employed a full-time blogger or a team of bloggers that are in charge of content creation and blog promotion.
Most blogs allow visitors to leave their comments and to share blog posts on social media. This is what mainly differentiates blog posts from static website pages. It is also one of the reasons
why blogging is considered a type of social networking platform. It enables connection with the author and his or her audience. Blog posts provide that social aspect, which is also why they are such an important asset in engaging online visitors.
The blogosphere is the term coined to include all blogs and the way these blogs are interconnected. As blogging started to be adopted by the masses and the number of bloggers has gradually been increasing, bloggers began to see themselves as a part of a large community, which is how the term blogosphere was introduced in 2002. It is used to imply that all blogs are connected and comprise a community. This understanding of blogging being part of the blogosphere is another reason why blogging is considered a type of social network.
Unlike website owners, which are usually focused on the interaction between owner and visitors, and only during the last couple of year have been thinking in terms of social media, blogging has had a social aspect from the beginning. Bloggers interact with each other, they share each other’s content, they comment, they even have blogrolls (the list of blogs they read and recommend). In general, blogging is more focused on the individual level and on these individuals becoming members of the blogosphere.
Blog vs. website
It is essential to differentiate between a blog and a website as this is something most people find difficult to do. Perhaps the most confusing part is the fact, that both are used for publishing content. However, how this content is presented and the purpose it serves is what makes a distinction between the two.
The first step of creating a blog includes choosing a blogging platform. A blogging platform is a software you use to create a blog and publish content. It is a type of content management system (CMS). Multiple blogging platforms are available online which offer a set of blogging tools and services providing everything you need to set up and run a blog. A platform can be free or paid.
Over 15 million websites on the internet use WordPress, which is almost 30% of all websites worldwide, making WordPress the most popular CMS platform. There are over 76 million wordpress.com blogs.
The principal two reasons for such a huge WordPress popularity is that this is a user-friendly and search engine friendly platform. This means that you do not need much experience in coding or web design to create a WordPress blog. Also, the platform supports a lot of plugins and extensions to optimize the blog even more and add features that are not a part of the core platform. As a result, search engines find it easy to index such a website and present them to their users as a response to a search query.
If you are interested in exploring WordPress as a platform, you will have two options to choose from: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The platform is the same in both cases, but these represent two different solutions for bloggers.
With this option, you will be hosting your own website or a blog. By visiting WordPress.org, you download the free software which needs to be installed on your web server. After this, you will be able to set up and customize your blog.
This solution is a good choice if you want to have more control over your blog and flexibility when it comes to blog design and optimization. However, this comes with an added cost of blog hosting. You will also need technical know-how to install this blogging platform on the server. Even though this is not too complicated, it still can be a bit too much for someone who has no experience with it.
This is another popular blogging platform. It is hosted by Google and allows creating blogs with blogspot.com used as a part of the domain name. A custom domain can also be registered to remove the blogspot.com from the name and Google allows this for free. To create the blog using this platform, you will need a Google account.
An opportunity to create a blog for free and to easily set up the blog are common reasons for choosing this blogging platform. However, this solution offers fewer options for customization with hardly any blog templates to choose from. Blogger provides some of the following features:
· Adding location to posts through geotagging options
· Country-specific extension in the URL
Blog is hosted on Google servers, which are considered as very reliable (but offers no option to upgrade to self-hosted solution)
· Drag-and-drop templates editing interface
· It supports Google’s AdSense service enabling bloggers to generate revenue from blogging
· It can be easily integrated with Google+ encouraging user engagement
· Mobile application is available for blog management
· Blog description is limited to 500 characters (HTML markup is not supported)
· Individual blog pages are limited to 1MB
· Blogger Product Forum offers online support
In general, this blogging platform is used by beginners and those who consider blogging as a hobby. Numerous limitations and poor customization options are the main reasons why professionals and ambitious bloggers, as well as companies, seek a more flexible and upgradable solution.
Here is another easy-to-use blogging solution which comes with no additional monthly costs. The platform itself is designed as a micro-blogging platform which features short-form blog articles, quotes, images, etc. The opportunity to follow other blogs and get followers gives that social flair, thus increasing the engagement level. In December 2017, Tumblr reports having over 381 million blogs.
There is a list of things to think about before you are ready to start blogging. These include blogging essentials, i.e., everything you will need to set up and create a blog. Having a list like this one is very helpful to keep everything organized from the beginning and planning your blogging strategy with more success.
One of the first things to choose is a blogging platform, after which you will also need the following:
Hosting, also called web hosting, is a service that allows individuals and companies to create and make their websites and blogs accessible to the online users. It is an online storage you will use to store your blog data, starting from CMS installation to all the files and images you want to share on your blog.
Platforms like Medium and LinkedIn do not require hosting because you get one when you create an account. It is one of the features these platforms offer to store your data and make it available to the online users. Having access to your own hosting provides much more control and flexibility, which is why a CMS such as WordPress.org could be your choice when choosing a platform. Of course, this hosting comes with an added cost, which can be paid monthly or annually, depending on the hosting provider, and the plan you choose.
The best way to make a choice is to explore hosting providers, the features they include and the prices they offer for their plans. Some of the popular hosting providers for bloggers include:
· In Motion Hosting
· Site Ground
· Blue Host
· Green Geeks
A domain name is a part of the URL which is used to access the blog. It may or may not match the blog name, but it is generally recommended that it matches the blog name. When you create a blog and host it with the hosting provider of your choice, you will need to provide the domain name of your blog.
The complete URL starts with www. and it is followed by the domain name. It ends with a domain extension, which is most commonly .com, but you can choose other extensions such as .org, .blog, .net, etc.
You can use an online tool such as this one to conduct a domain name search and check if the domain name you want is free.
Creating a Blogging Strategy
One of the most important prerequisites for successful blogging is planning. If you approach blogging with a detailed strategy, this will help you guide your actions and activities when creating, managing, and promoting your blog. With blogging strategy, you design a plan of where you are and where you want blogging to take you. Regardless if you do blogging as a hobby, or you want to discover ways how to make blogging into a full-time job, creating a blogging strategy will help you with reaching your goals and figuring out the right actions that will help you get there.
Integrating Blogging into a Business Strategy
If you already have an online business or a website, this is a chapter that will show you how and why you should implement blogging into your business strategy.
What is business blogging?
Business blogging is a strategy used in online marketing where the goal is to use blogging to improve your online business. In this case, a blog becomes an online marketing tool for a company that uses it to support its business growth.
As a marketing tactic, business blogging brings many benefits to online businesses. The first, and the most prominent one, is generating traffic. Various studies have confirmed that companies that blog regularly generate more traffic and more visibility. Every time you publish a new blog post, you create more material for search engines to index, and you increase chances of these pages being shown in the search results. You also create an extra material to share on social media, in a newsletter, etc. Each new content material represents more value to your audience, and it helps you increase your online influence
The Benefits of Blogging
People often wonder if blogging is a necessary part of online business. Does it really make such a difference for a business to have or not to have a blog?
The main reason why blogging is highly recommended is the fact that it brings so many benefits for both individuals and companies. Also, numerous statistics and industry reports keep confirming the fact that companies that blog see a lot of benefits from this activity, regardless if they generate leads, increase traffic, or boost sales.
Why is blogging so popular?
With 91.8 million new posts published each month on WordPress alone, there is no doubt that blogging has become mainstream. It is an ideal outlet for everyone to have their voice heard. Apart from many benefits blogging can bring, there
Blogging gives you an opportunity to reach online users. It is an amazing asset for search engine optimization. With blogging you create content, and search engines love new content. This directly increases the reach of your blog and expands the influence of your brand on the internet.
With so many possibilities blogging provides, it is no wonder so many people blog. Starting from growing your traffic and reach, to building an entire career and becoming an influencer, blogging offers so many exciting possibilities. Exploring these possibilities is based on your goals and the vision of how you want to grow your blog and which directions are perfect for your development as a blogger (or blog owner)
.Ease of use
Apart from an idea and the internet connection, you do not need anything else to start blogging today. The online blogging platforms and tools are incredibly user-friendly, enabling everyone to take up blogging as a hobby or start their new career. Additionally, you will find lots of online tutorials, guides, and courses to explore possibilities of blogging further.
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