“What is a blog? I’ve heard about them, I like writing, and I’ve decided I want one!” Well that’s as good a reason as any. So in this post I’m going to talk about blogging for beginners. I’m going to assume you’ve never written a blog post in your life, and by the end of it you might even have your own website and know how to write a blog post.
First things first, the word ‘blogging’ is derived from the term ‘weblog’. Do you remember when the internet first started and it was full of new and exciting terms like ‘surfing the web’.
“Hey mum, don’t disturb me, I’m off to surf the web!”
It won’t have escaped you either that these terms seem utterly dated now and frankly a bit daft when you hear someone using them.
Using the internet is no longer something you sneak off to do on your desktop computer for an hour or two at a time. It’s something we’re constantly connected to and interact with on a daily basis.
And likewise ‘logging on’ isn’t some laborious task where we sit and wait for a while while out computer churns out excruciating sounds until it finally connects us with the information superhighway (oh look, there’s another term nobody uses any more!)
Nevertheless, some of these terms have stuck around and weblogs, or simply blogs are here to stay. In fact they’ve never been more relevant.
So Really, What is a Blog?
I suppose the original idea behind blogging or ‘logging’ your feelings on the web was a type of modern diary.
Whilst you might have previously entered notes in your journal in the evening with a view to one day writing your memoirs or regaling friends and family with heroic feats you’d accomplished in your youth, now the same can be done online.
People can start up blogs on anything they like. They could be a personal, diary type blog that documents a journey, a hobby or a holiday. They could be a niche blog with entries about a particular area of interest. Or they could be a news or current affairs blog that where the writer gives their take on events that have happened in recent days.
Blogging for beginners can seem more complicated than it actually is. It’s essentially just a serious of written pieces that are published by the web, on a website specifically designed to publish this type of content. That’s it.
So Why Start a Blog?
Well, there could be many reasons. As I mentioned, blog were originally very personal affairs. I know many people who like to keep a travel blog so family and friends back home can keep up to date on what they’ve been up to whilst abroad.
For many people however, a blog is much more than a simple pass time. It’s a genuine way to promote an idea, drive traffic to their website and even make a full time living.
Let’s say you’re a surfing enthusiast. You love nothing more than to get up early in the morning, wax your board and get into the sea to ride a few waves. You love it so much that you want to write about it when you get home.
If this blog, hypothetical as it is, is good enough then it’s going to receive traffic.
Think about it. If the surfer is writing a good quality article every evening, or every time he goes out, about his board, the tides, competitions he’s entered, techniques he was using etc etc then the blog is going to attract traffic.
It will naturally rank through Google of course, and he may well choose to promote it amongst friends and social networks which all in turn drive traffic to the site.
Now if the site really takes off, and I’m talking many hundreds of visitors per day, then there are plenty of people out there who are going to want to advertise on the site. There’s a captive audience there of surfing enthusiasts just waiting to click on a relevant ad.
And voila. The blog is now making a passive income for the writer, and he gets to carry on doing what he loves.
Go on, why else?
Well, that’s a typical way to monetise a blog. But there are many reasons why starting a blog might be useful.
Blogging for beginners is a good way to simply practice writing and learn your craft.
If you enjoy writing and have always had a passion for it but never used it, start up a blog and just get started. You don’t even need to have a particular niche area or expertise. It’s entirely yours, and you can write about anything you like.
The thing with blogging is, if you’re serious about writing as a form of income or even a full time profession, practice makes perfect. So the more articles you can write to familiarise yourself with the process and refine your skills the better.
Also, you can build up a portfolio of work that you can show to prospective employers.
“Dear sir – please read the article dated 3rd May 2017 where I wrote extensively about the intricacies of the Common Agricultural Policy…”
Sounds good to me. It certainly shows willing, and is the perfect opportunity to showcase your talents.
What else is Blogging for?
There’s another reason to blog that is very common nowadays. And that’s the drive traffic.
Whilst blogging was originally intended as a simple, personal journal it is now used by virtually every major website to drive traffic.
Whilst we’re not going to go into the intricacies or search engine optimisation right at this moment, the gist is – the more content there is on a website about a certain subject, the higher it will rank.
So let’s say you’re running a jewellery company, selling watches online. You’re going to want a blog. You’re going to want lots of quality articles about ‘buying watches online’ and ‘how to choose the best watch’.
These are the things people are searching for, and the more you can discuss these things on your blog, the more Google is going reward you in the search results.
How Do I Start a Blog?
It’s really simple. This post is specifically about blogging for beginners, so in simple terms, if you can start an email account, you can start a blog.
There are two main blog hosts on the net at present.
Blogger, formerly known as Blogspot, is Google’s blogging platform and is probably the most simple blog site on the web. It’s quick and easy to open a blog, and if you’ve got a Google account it’s even easier. Just head over to Blogger.com and off you go.
The other option is WordPress, which is by far the most popular blog hosting platform on the internet. You can actually host your own WordPress site, but I’ve used the link for the direct WordPress.com platform, which is simple and easy to use.
On WordPress, there’s more scope to alter features and really tailor the design to your needs so if you’re somebody more interested in the layout and aesthetic appearance of your site, go WordPress.
If you’re totally new and want the simplest experience possible, go Blogger.
Blogging for Beginners.
Blogging is many things to many people.
It’s a cathartic form of expression to some people, who simply want to get their thoughts and feelings on paper.
It’s a professional platform for others, who want to write detailed articles about their niche areas of expertise.
And it’s a key method of driving web traffic to businesses and websites and ranking high in the search engines.
It really doesn’t matter what your motivation for blogging is. If your site is good enough, and it generates enough traffic, it can be monetised, meaning it can start to bring in an income.
In the first instance however, I would personally focus on content. Write about what you love or what you know.
Build up your writing skills or experience with quality content that either drives readers to your site, or hones your skills that you can then showcase to other people.
If your site isn’t gaining much traffic in the first instance, who cares!
You can always worry about fine tuning it and promoting it later down the line, and that’s something I’ll be talking about a lot on this particular blog.
However I’m very much of the impression that if you’re passionate about a subject, rather than finding it a chore, it will shine through in your writing.
So that’s blogging for beginners. The next step is to get on over to WordPress or Blogger, get set up, and start sharing your thoughts with the world.
And the very best of luck, my fellow writers.