What are Blogs?
Over a decade ago two words, web and log were combined to form the now familiar term blog. It's easy to remember easy to spell and once you finish reading this page, easy to understand and create. It's become common for people to ask What Are Blogs? You hear the question on TV, in feature films and in the supermarket aisles. Truth is most people across the globe still are not quite sure what a blog is or how it may be relevant to their lives.
Thanks goodness web wasn't combined with others terms being used at the time, like journal, diary or notes. Blog as it turns out is perfect for the job and, using anything else could have led to confusion with many names jockeying to become the main term for posting stories, news and info onto the web.
[pullquote align="left"] There are over 165 million public blogs at the moment[/pullquote] Simply put, a blog is a series of entries or posts written onto a web page, generally within a theme. Most blogs fall into the personal, business or news categories with what seems like an infinite number of themes making up the rest.
An example of a business blog could be a Widget company posts (writes) in their blog 3 or 4 times a week about things they are doing with new products, customer service or new and exciting info within their industry. You as a fan of the Widget company would be able to keep up with all the latest industry news along with what's happening within the Widget company.
Further complicating the question What Are Blogs is how blogs have specialized into sub-types that include niche blogs and microblogs, with Twitter being the most well known example of a microblog. More info on specialized blogs is available below.
Gathering a Basket of Content
It's common to feel overwhelmed when you first start out as a blogger. You may have years of experience working with your product or service and, know the subject cold. Now you have to put your knowledge into words, explaining the what, why and how of it all to your customers and, do it in a friendly and helpful way.
- Search Competitor Blogs
Find 4 or 5 blogs in your field that seem to do a good job with communicating their message. Here is a where a hiring someone to manage your content strategy comes in handy, they can do deep keyword research and competitive analysis to find out just what your customers are asking to know.
- Subscribe to 4 or 5 News/Info Sources
Within your niche find 4 or 5 web sources that you can refer to for current news and information within your industry and subscribe to their RSS feed using Google Reader. These information sources are great for story ideas and for checking out facts.
- Signup With A Bookmaking Service
A great way to develop ideas to write about is to capture web pages with interesting info to your business. I use a service called Instapaper. Whenever I come across story ideas I click read-later and boom Instapaper saves the page for me. It like build a library for future reference.
Jumping into Blogging
First you'll want to setup a frame work for your blog that will help you create something that people want to read more than once. Ask yourself the following questions and don't worry if you don't have an answer to everyone of them right now.
- Is My Blog For Business Or To Express Myself?
If your going to write to promote you business you'll want to do lots of research as well as make sure the blog looks great right out of the box. After all people will judge your business by how your blog looks as well as the content you create. If you are starting a blog to express yourself then I suggest you head over to WordPress.com and open a free account to start blogging today.
- When And Where Will I Be Writing?
Plan to write at 2 or 3 times a week in the beginning and much more as your become proficient. A blog that is not updated with fresh content frequently will do poorly in the search engines and new people just won't find it. People look for engagement with you and your blog, this means you'll be updating and adding unique stuff many times a week.
- Blog Coach Or Learn As I Go?
Hiring someone to help you understand the depth of what blogs are may be just the way to go. Successful blogging isn't the same as writing for a newspaper or creating a term paper in college. Blogging is conversation and a blog coach can help you to tune your blogging voice.
- Will Blogging Be My Profession?
It's a good idea if you're sure you want to hit the web as a professional blogger that you get a web host and host your own blog. Hosting your own blog gives you more power and flexibility in design and formatting at the start of your endeavor. Hosting also lets you get a descriptive URL. It is more work but what you create will be all your own.
I hope you've found this short article answers the question What Are Blogs and gives you the confidence you need to jump in the wonderful world of blogging. Keep your focus on creating unique and useful content and you'll find success at blogging before you know it.
In answering the question what are blogs I thought it might be helpful if I added a few helpful links at the bottom of the page.
Free Blogs: These are blog services you can just signup at and start blogging right away.
Commenting Within Blogs
Commenting is part of the life blood within a blog, especially blogs on the commercial side of the stream. "What Are Blogs" could easily sit side by side with the question, What Are Comments. It's hard to imagine one without the other.