It’s not a new thing to often hear starters ask that same question, “What is a blog?”.
Just like me, probably you too, when I started, I wanted to know a lot of things about this new career path. As such, this was one of the questions I asked, but on search engines.
That’s a good idea to often want to know about something before taking any step. Whether you’re searching for information to start your own blog or just for the knowledge of it, you will get all you need to know about a blog and blogging.
Blogs and the art of blogging have almost become household names among internet users. We access different kinds of contents and information on the internet, most of which are published on blogs owned by individuals or industries.
As the numbers of blogs keep increasing, most persons have become curious – they want to know what blogging is, why people blog, what makes up a blog and many other things.
For instance, some people appear to be confused with the terms blog and website, and as such seek more information on them.
If you are in any doubt of what a blog is or have other related questions about a blog and blogging, then in this post I will provide in details what a blog is and what it is not.
What is a blog?
I will like to start with an analogy of one of your secret books – a diary and apply this to the digital concept we now utilise and are used to these days.
A diary is used to store information, though in general, about our activities with dates and keynotes we often refer to sometimes in life. Sometimes, we use diagrams, tables, sketches and rough charts to represent our information.
As you keep writing into this diary, several pages get used up, especially for daily writers. Assuming you are in December of a particular year but intend to access information in July, you would open these pages to the specific date.
As years run by, some of us tend to keep several booklets of these diaries and refer to a previous year – now an archive of information we have written down over the months and years.
From this physical perspective, you can see that the diary contains information about our lives, activities, opinions, arguments, findings, and many other things sometimes structured to allow us to access the key information easily when needed.
A blog is a digital diary on the world wide web containing information – usually in textual format – published as posts in reverse hierarchy on a given set of topics as preferred by the author(s) or business entity.
What is Blogging?
Blogging is the totality of activities, strategies and approaches used on blogs to share information or manage discussions. Summarily, blogging encompasses:
From the above, it’s obvious that blogging is an art that aims at improving the nature of content accessed by visitors and the ease with which these contents are accessed.
Likewise, it dives into how search engines value the contents on a blog and the techniques utilised by the author to monetise the blog.
According to HubSpot,
“Blogging is the act of creating short-form content”.
However, blogging is not just about creating contents. It extends to how these contents represent ideas and thoughts, the ability of readers to understand these contents, presentation approach of the contents, and the overall goal.
So, blogging is a science [I chose that because of the sequential steps involved] that embodies several factors aimed at creating and publishing quality contents. Quality here covers;
- Timeliness, and
Who are Bloggers?
Now I want to believe that you are gradually getting answers to the question, what is a blog or what is blogging?
Keep reading and you will get the necessary information about blogging.
So, let’s see who bloggers are.
But wait! Don’t you think the answer to this question is obvious now and I feel that you’re already providing the answer relying on what a blog is and the meaning of blogging?
But indulge me to answer the question.
Now, the answer…
Every blog has an individual or individuals who carry out these tasks:
These tasks are a representation of some of the things bloggers do to keep a blog updated, relevant and usable by internet users. But that does not imply that all bloggers do carry out these tasks.
In fact, there are bloggers who are concerned with content development alone. Some others focus on SEO and optimisation of the posts.
However, most of us carry out the above tasks in addition to several others to develop our blog(s).
So, a blogger is someone who undertakes a task of any kind relative to sharing information via contents on a personal or business blog.
Bloggers publish contents on their blogs regularly and keep others updated.
Also, they devise strategies to ensure that contents published on their blogs reach a larger audience on the internet via optimisation avenues.
What is a blog? – A dive into the memory lane
Blogs have developed over time and transited into what we now have. From static weblogs to microblogs, the trend has been quite interesting to look into.
Research by Statista revealed that the growth rate of blogs in a 5-year span from 2016 – 2011 stood at 79.3% as each year recorded geometric growth in the number of blogs created and published on the world wide web.
According to Wikipedia, blogs started around the late 1990s and majorly existed as self-existent online platforms in the form of forums, newsgroups among others.
One cannot hold firm to this timeline as history often present conflicting ideas on when a particular topic of such recognition started.
This is because there is often the probability that someone – not recognised or published – somewhere might have started the same thing.
HubSpot presented that Justin Hall was one of the individuals that started blogging when he created a site called links.net in January 1994, though it was essentially made of static HTML [Hypertext Mark-Up Language] pages.
It wasn’t until the early 2000s that the template for the modern blogs started evolving. During this period, blogs started as online diaries where people kept accounts of their personal lives and referred to themselves as diarist, journalers or journalists.
The recent rise of blogging became relevant when platforms such as TypePad, WordPress, Blogger and Medium were developed to offer blogging opportunities to those without web or programming skills.
With this, several people took to creating and publishing contents on the internet using either the free or paid services offered by the platforms.
Gradually, blogs transformed into different categories defined by purpose, usage, nature of content and target audience.
Now, there are millions of blogs on the internet
Now, the future of blogs and blogging can only be better than the previous timelines. Though it’s becoming more competitive, digital marketing, SEO, content development, and user experience are improving blogging and the overall experience of users.
Just like every other field, there are terms that one can relate to when answering the question, what is a blog? I will briefly describe some of the terms mostly used.
A permalink or a permanent link is the URL of a resource published on a website or blog. Just as the name implies, it’s intended to provide a unique address to posts, pages, media and other resources on a permanent basis.
No two permalinks are unique on the web, even if it’s on the blog or website.
This is an example of a permalink:
It contains the URL of the website or blog and slugs such as what-is-a-blog
Search Engine Optimisation is a term that relates to all the strategies used by bloggers and digital marketers to optimise posts and products, and rank high on SERPs (Search Engines Result Pages).
It covers keyword research, how contents are created, linking strategy, speed, domain authority, among other factors.
Recently, SEO has become a serious topic among bloggers and digital marketers. As a fact, no serious blogger takes SEO lightly as it is now a major factor in determining the success or failure of a blog.
Often, as you blog on some topics or study other bloggers, you will come across tips and guides emphasising the importance and role of search engine optimisation.
This is content, usually in textual format, but incorporating images and or videos published on a blog. Equally known as articles, posts are created to express ideas, provide insights and guidelines, present an opinion, and share information.
On blogs, posts are usually the major contents you find and are published regularly to provide visitors with relevant information on diverse topics. Aside from humans (visitors to the blog), web crawlers used by search engines love blogs with regular updates.
A post can equally be made of a video but must be transcribed textual to enhance accessibility.
Sometimes, visitors to a blog would want to be updated on the latest posts without the need to visit the blog. They’d prefer that updates be sent directly to their emails from where they can click the link(s) provided to read the full post(s).
To receive this update, they must submit their emails on the opt-in or subscription form available on the blog. By so doing, they become subscribers to the email updates and notifications of the blog.
Generally, subscribers are users of a particular blog, website or product who provide communication details for the purpose of receiving updates on the latest posts, promos, coupons, information, events, etc.
Think of an archive as historical storage of your monuments or possessions over the years intended for reference purpose. Usually, on personal libraries, one can arrange books read according to the subjects to improve indexing and access.
Digitally, an archive on a blog is a set of related posts, and or resource saved in hierarchical order.
On most blogs, archives are grouped by the year, then the months in which the related posts were published.
A few other blogs – mostly those with frequent updates usually daily – have the arrangement of their archives extended to the days of publication.
So, with archives, one can easily refer to the year a blog started publishing posts, the total number of posts on the blog and posts published in the particular month of a given.
Aside from communities and forums, sometimes, visitors want to interact with the posts on your blog. Some had loved to express their thoughts on some or most of the points discussed, make recommendations, argue on a notion and just appreciate your efforts in putting the pieces together.
They do this by entering texts into the comment form usually after the contents of a post.
So, when you visit a blog and after reading a post decide to drop a message using the comment form at the end of the posts, you’re actually posting a comment about that posts on that blog.
Comments are great at helping us understand our audience better. For instance,
- You can discover what topics to create contents about from the concerns on their comments.
- Comments can help you redefine your content strategy to improve user experience and boost the performance of your blog.
- visitors can easily receive insights and a better understanding of some issues you have discussed on the post via replies from you or other contributors.
It’s a nice way of improving interaction with your audience too.
Share is a feature that allows users to share part of the contents or all the post on social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and many others.
Based on your choice, you can set up a sharing feature displaying favourite social media platforms that visitors can easily interact with. It usually comes in different forms – icons, buttons, texts or just small images displaying the logos of these social media platforms.
There are plugins or separate systems you can integrate into your blog to allow the sharing of contents. ShareThis provides rich, flexible and excellent tools for designing, placing and implementing shares on your blog.
Some can be placed horizontally at the end of a post, at the top or vertically as sticky icons. The position, design, and features depend on your choices and goals.
When you visit a blog as a reader, you can only view posts that have been published or made available on the blog. Not all the posts you see on that blog are the exact number. There are some of these posts that an author is working on.
These posts are called drafts.
A draft is an unpublished post but contains contents either awaiting review or yet to be fully developed by the author.
Drafts cannot be accessed by visitors except some specific users such as authors, editors, designers and other users as determined by the owner.
Just as you would have been thinking or just stated within you, to publish means to make a post, page or content available to visitors on the internet.
Publishing comes in after the content has been developed, reviewed and other basic things have been carried out.
By clicking the publish button of the editor, you make the post to become part of those you have already on the frontend of your blog.
“Note that not all published posts are actually available to all users.”
Some blogs with premium membership or contents require users to subscribe to a particular level of membership renewable every year or month depending on the subscription strategy.
For blogs owners, this is a way of making recurring income from their blogs.
Content is a piece of information published on a page or post to provide a guide, tips, solve a problem or improve one’s knowledge on a particular subject matter.
Contents can come in the form texts, infographics (images with a pictorial representation of ideas), videos, and or audio.
Most times, blog contents feature a mix of these content types. However, textual contents are the most used on blogs.
Note that to improve accessibility, retain visitors’ interest and increase loyalty (repeated visits to your blog), not just one content type should be implemented on your blog.
For instance, it’s often boring to access blog posts with long textual contents without dynamism. Such content types scare visitors.
So, textual contents should be dynamic and supplemented by relevant images, animations and or videos.
Similarities between a Blog and Website
Some persons become confused with these two terms, and as a result, both terms are sometimes misused or interchanged.
So, what is a blog, and what is a website?
Here, I will take you through the similarities between a blog and a website, while in the next section you will see the underlying difference between both terms.
Now, the similarities…
1. It’s a website
Every blog is a website, but not all websites are blogs.
That is the basic truth. Blogs are actually websites hosted and run on the world wide web. All websites are made up of a homepage, interlinked pages, URLs, media contents, files and many other resources.
This is same with blogs which are majorly composed of pages, links to resources, media contents and different kinds of files.
To run a blog or website, a domain name must be acquired – whether a custom or free domain. Then files are hosted on a server from where internet users can access the contents and resources of the blog or website.
There are free hosting services such as Blogger, WordPress, Wix, among others.
2. provides information
One major reason why individuals and organisation set up websites or blogs is to provide information.
To help people or internet users understand the services they offer or their skills and prowess, contents are created. Such information provided can come in the different content formats.
So, when people visit websites or blogs, they are basically seeking information on topics or issues related to the blog or website.
For instance, the homepage of a website will often provide you with lots of information on the products and services offered, links to relevant pages such as the About page, Vision and Mission statements, events, activities, resources and technical support.
Blogs, on the other hand, will show blocks of posts on several topics that visitors can read to gain more knowledge or solve a problem.
Without any doubt, everyone that visits a website or blog seeks information.
And so, both websites and blogs are developed to provide specific information to users as relative to the services or products offered by them or the niche the blog is developed around.
3. They contain pages
Though blogs are mostly made of contents published on pages, they equally contain a few pages. Some bloggers such as Ankit publish some of their contents on pages, though linking such contents to a dynamic home page can be challenging.
Websites equally have several pages on which contents are published.
How does a blog differ from a website?
Now, let’s see the key differences that exist between a blog and a website…
1. Dynamic home page
Distinguishing a blog from a website comes with the nature and behaviour of the home page – the main or first page of a blog or website. For example, the home page of this blog will be accessed when you enter www.bloggervibes.com
Most websites have been known to present static home pages, some of which can stay for several years before any update on the design, content and appearance can be done.
Unlike websites, the home page of a blog is designed to be dynamic. As regular contents are published, the contents of the home page tend to change. Some blogs with frequent daily updates can appear entirely different each time you visit the home page.
This is because the home pages of blogs are dynamic.
Every blog has a collection of old posts that one can reference. This collection is often presented hierarchically starting with the latest at the top.
Most blogs have their archives arranged by year, then months.
There are a few other blogs whose archives extend to days. This archiving format is common with News Blog and blogs with regular daily updates.
On the other, websites do not have archives as they are majorly made up of pages, not posts. I have used this to strictly refer to websites with no blog integration.
In such websites, pages are mostly used to present information. Thus, there is no need for archives.
4. Comment section
Bloggers use diverse ways to interact with those that visit their blogs. One such way is the commenting system.
Sometimes, published posts attract the readers’ attention and opinions. So, readers are provided with this system to make comments about the contents in the post.
The comments can be a thumb-up expression, a call to omission, recommendation, a backlash or contribution and support to what you have published.
Usually, the comment section is positioned at the end of a blog post.
Web pages don’t have a comment section and as such, visitors either read contents on the pages or turn to contact forms to express their concerns, make a request, or recommendation on contents, products, and or services.
4. Posts and Pages
Updates on blogs are most published as posts.
Conversely, websites without blogs are made up of pages alone. These pages might not be presented in standard blog posts formats as they are mostly aimed at promotion, sales, conversions, among others.
So, you may have several landing pages, the static home page, pages for services, and many others.
5. Nature of contents
There are different content types depending on the target audience and goal. Contents on blogs mostly contain lots of texts compared to videos, images, infographics, and audio.
This is relevant in SEO as search engines determine the relevance of a particular post to search queries.
Contents on websites can be standalone commercial videos advertising the products and services, or images accompanied by a few texts on entry or landing pages to increase lead conversion.
Again, the length of textual contents on blogs are usually high. There are blog posts with 10000, 5000, 3000, 2000 and 1000 words. There are have been a debate on the best content length for SEO and user engagement.
These debates are a clear understanding of the feature of blogs that distinguish them websites. Websites don’t necessarily take content length into consideration.
Most contents on web pages are usually short but you can see contents of up to 3000 words also.
Basic Structure of a Blog
Though there are several structures adopted and implemented on blogs these, generally the structure of a blog takes a basic form.
Blogs take this form…
Common features or element that be found in the footer section include secondary links, labels or categories, tags, contact forms, an about excerpt, follow icons for social media, and copyright information.
Classification of Blogs
I want to believe that step-by-step you’re getting answers to the question, what is a blog or what is blogging? To further improve your understanding this topic, I want discuss the types or classes of blogs.
Since blogs evolved, there have been different types, kinds and classes of blogs, each with unique features or implementation strategy.
Though they all adopt a basic strategy of a frequent update, the content strategy, nature of content and focus differ.
So below, I will discuss some of the categories into which modern blogs have been grouped.
1. Personal Blog
Personal blogs are sometimes referred to as lifestyle blogs. You can read the guide on how to start a lifestyle blog here.
A personal blog is a digital online diary that contains information and updates about one’s personal life. You can decide to set up a blog to talk about the things you do, your family background, the bulk of experience you have, how you view the world and the people you come across.
GatesNotes is a good example of a personal blog. In this blog, Bills Gate discusses the books he has read, tech ideas, his views on politics, the environment and people.
This type of blog is very easy to manage. The information you need to create posts is all around you since you talk about your life and environment.
Some other personal blogs discuss the life of an icon or someone who has been of great impact on certain fields of life.
They are a great way of blogging on one’s area of interest. A lifestyle or personal blog can focus on topics such as:
- Books read
- Reviews of movies watched
- One’s fashion interests
- Political views
- Skills such as photography, catering, etc.
- Events and many other of such topics that the auto is familiar with and has interest in.
Don’t create standalone business blogs. Ensure that your business website houses the business blog that is related to it to improve publicity among other benefits.
4. Niche blog
Most blogs cover a wide range of topics making it difficult for the owner to display mastery on a particular topic.
Though there are a few blogs with general topics that are performing excellently, the recent rise in topical blogs calls for streamlining blogs to related issues.
Niche blogs are the opposite of general focus blogs.
A niche blog is a blog that specialises in a specific or particular topic or line of discussion.
Unlike general-purpose blogs, owners of niche blogs always create their contents around a major topic, while developing related topics.
Focusing on a particular topic allows bloggers to improve their brand and gain authority faster compared to blogs built on general topics.
Similarly, it gives one an edge in SEO as search engines find it easy to understand what the blog is about because of the related contents.
For instance, instead of developing a blog on finance, it’s better to go with a personal finance niche. Same with children’s wears rather than a general fashion blog.
Common examples of niche blog’s topics include any of those listed in the categories below:
Other categories include fishery, agriculture, politics, science, technology, health, psychology, computer science, products, web design, application development and many others.
Benefits of Blogging
Blogging is beneficial. That is why most of us have taken to it. Had blogging not been beneficial, the number of blogs would have decimated. Instead, they’re ever increasing.
From personal to business, the benefits are enormous.
Aside from financial benefits, blogging accounts for several other benefits which include the following:
- It helps to build trust and maintain loyalty
- It improves the brand of a business and helps bloggers to gain authority
- It’s a good marketing tool
- Improves communication
- It aids synergy which is a strong tool for development and performance in the digital world.
For a broad view of the benefits of blogging to both individuals, click the button below.
How does Blogging create income (Money)?
One of the top benefits of blogging is how people make money blogging.
Via blogging, you can make a living or supplement your income using diverse monetising methods, and this has proven to be useful to everyone.
Mind you, not everyone who blogs actually earns from it.
Most people have failed to grow their blogs to the point where they earn income from it because of a number of factors.
Such factors can include poor content, ineffective strategy, inappropriate or lack of SEO implementation, choice of the wrong niche, wrong marketing approach, among others.
I have seen quite a number of blogs being abandoned because the owners failed to meet the goals and as such ran at a loss.
There are several monetising strategies, but you must get things right to actually make money from your blog.
Some of the top ways of making money from a blog include
Read my extensive guide on how to make money from your blog below
What are the available Blogging Platforms?
Blogs are hosted on several platforms depending on your choice. For beginners who want to try things out, it’s advisable to get started on a free platform.
However, a custom WordPress hosted platform is considered appropriate for serious blogging.
Well, I’m crucifying those who host their blogs on other platforms. We all have preferences based on the features we cherish.
Some of the blogging platforms are given below…
WordPress is a popular platform for hosting both websites and blogs and offers cool features to get started.
There are lots of resources such as widgets, themes and plugins to choose from, some of which are free.
You can start a free or premium blog on wordpress.com, but wordpress.org offers much control and flexibility.
Blogger or BlogSpot is a free blog hosting platform managed by Google.
Blogger offers good features that beginners to utilise to learn the nitty-gritty of blogging and integrates a rich content editor with features for embedding videos and images.
You can choose a free template or simply purchase and upload one. If you are vast in coding, you can equally develop a template of your own, add gadgets to improve the appearance and performance of your blog.
Adding a custom domain name to your blog is quite cheap and unlike wordpress.com, you don’t pay for hosting.
However, Blogger offers limited control over the hosting of files. For instance, you cannot directly upload images, videos, PDF files, apps, or other file types to your hosting folder.
This is because you have no access to the hosting panel of your blog, perhaps for security reasons.
Wix is a drag and drop website building platform. Its drag and drop feature makes it quite easy to set up a fully functional blog within a short time but requires payment for most resourceful features and applications.
Wix was originally built for designing and publishing websites. Recently, a blog management application was added to it, meaning that you can use Wix to host a fully functional blog and a website at the same time.
The bad side is that Wix is a new web platform having lesser followership compared to Google and WordPress.
In addition, it is capital intensive and all purchases are done within.
Medium is a free blogging platform with a mix of writers. From starters to experts, there are several people creating and publishing contents on Medium.
Medium began in 2012 as since gathered a large audience, thanks to its flexibility.
It offers social media features, and content editing interface that allows writers to format their contents to taste.
As a community, Medium controls the audience on the platform and recommends trending posts to readers. Similarly, readers can define the type of contents they should be served by selecting their areas of interests.
With Medium, the need to focus on the design is taken off your neck allowing you focus on creating good content.
However, monetising your efforts is quite difficult with Medium.
This a microblogging platform that provides a balance between twitter content format and conventional long content blogs.
It compensates the need for regular blogging by allowing authors to post short contents or media.
Bloggers can follow other people’s blog – just as with BlogSpot – reblog contents and network with ease.
Content types include texts, videos, animated images, and audio.
It is best suited for bloggers wanting to make up for inadequate needed for publishing quality contents on conventional blogs.
This is because you can easily create and publish short contents.
Weebly is equally a drag and drop web builder that began, formally, June 2006. With its features, you don’t have to worry about being a professional or an expert web designer to get one running.
The various design tools allow you to drag and drop texts, pictures, buttons, forms and many others to specific positions on the pages.
With Weebly, you can create quality blogs with digital marketing features good enough to help you achieve your blogging goals and monetising the blog isn’t a concern at all.
Joomla is a Content Management System just like WordPress and, therefore, allows standalone installation on other hosting platforms.
You can use joomla.com to host a fully functional blog or download the application for use on other platforms. Using joomla.com to host your blog is capital intensive.
But you can purchase hosting space from a hosting company and use Joomla to manage your blog easily.
There are other blogging platforms such as LiveJournal, Ghost, SquareSpace, Jekyll, etc.
Who can Start a blog?
There are several myths about blogging, one of such myths is that blogging is difficult so not just anyone can venture into it.
The truth is that blogging is neither difficult nor easy. You can find it difficult or completely easy. What you experience is dependent on you!
Another sect believes that only good writers can start a blog because you really need to develop quality contents.
As true as developing quality content is, blogging is not left to good writers alone.
Content writing is a skill a blogger needs to grow a blog, but not everyone started a pro writer.
Most of us started without special writing skills but got to learn and improve the way we communicate via our contents by learning from others and carrying out research.
You’ve done well reading this awesome post to this point.
I must congratulate you for this feat. Yes, it is a feat! You just read over 5000 words.
Also, I want to accept the fact that the answer to the question, what is a blog or what is blogging have been provided.
Now you have enough information about the meaning of a blog and blogging. It’s up to you to decide your next line of action.
You can start a free blog today or a custom WordPress blog. For the latter, read our comprehensive guide on how to start a blog here.
Whether you intend to blog for fun or for serious financial benefits, getting a good knowledge of the meaning of a blog is very relevant.
And that’s exactly what I have provided in this post.
Digest the views, tips, and guides and ride on to your blogging freedom!