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English

Have you ever found a recipe online, but you first have to read a long article? Or have you ever been to a business’s website to see company updates or descriptions of a company's products? Chances are you’re looking at a blog.

You might wonder why recipes often contain articles with them, or why a company needs to post weekly articles about their new software. This is because blogs can be an important factor when it comes to growing a business, brand, or a personal audience.

Blog Definition

A blog is an online platform where one or multiple people can contribute content related to a particular topic.

Blogs serve many purposes now, but they started out as an online journal format to share ideas.

Blog, Blog with the most recent post visible, StudySmarter Blog with the most recent post visible, StudySmarter Originals

Blogs evolved from being online diaries to being a platform to post any type of content you want. There are no restrictions on topics to write about, so it’s no wonder blogs are incredibly popular.

Where did the idea for a blog come from? Blog is shortened from the word “weblog”, a term that was coined in 1997 by a programmer and blogger named Jorn Barger.1 Barger called his websites “weblogs” to describe his process of logging the web as he surfed the internet. He created his weblog page to make posts about his interests and pursuits, hoping he would gain followers.

How is a Blog different from an essay?

An essay is created with the intent to inform. You would usually gather information on a certain topic and then offer a structured analysis and conclusion on that information. The audience for an essay is usually someone in an academic role – because of this, an essay could be used as a legitimate resource for information if it is well-researched. An essay would be published in a classroom setting or in an academic journal.

A blog is quite different. A blog tends to be more casual than an essay because there are no set rules. Some blogs may be informative, and some can be more personal. A blog is going to be published online by the author – or blogger.

How is a Blog different from a website?

A blog can be an entire website on its own. This means that the website is dedicated primarily to any blog content being posted. The focus of the website is uploading and maintaining blog posts as opposed to offering services for a business or just information on a static site.

So how can you tell the difference between a website and a blog? Here are a few scenarios:

  1. The whole website is a blog

    • It’s important to note that you can still call your blog your “website” because technically, it IS a website!

  1. The website has a blog within the website

    • For example – on this business’s website, there are services you can buy, but they also keep a regular blog so customers can read various information the company wants to share. The main focus of the website is selling services, not maintaining the blog. This website features a blog but the blog is just a page created within the website.

      Blog, Business website that has a blog, StudySmarterBusiness website that has a blog, StudySmarter Originals

3. A website is just a website – There is no blog. There might just be services listed or information about a company.

Blog, Website without a blog, StudySmarterWebsite without a blog, Pixabay

Notice the difference between the two examples above. A website that has a blog doesn't show the blog posts on the front page, but as a tab that you can select. A website without a blog describes the company’s products and services and nothing else.

Types of Blogs

Since moving past the idea that blogs were just journal entries, more types of blogs have evolved. Some of the most popular types of blogs are business and personal blogs.

Business Blogs

This type of blog serves the purpose of informing readers about the company’s products or services. Businesses will hire writers that write in a way that reflects a company’s tone, values, or identity.

Blog, Business Blog Post, StudySmarterBusiness Blog Post, StudySmarter Originals

Personal Blogs

A personal blog can be started for any reason. Maybe you need a creative outlet and want a place to share your thoughts, pictures, videos, or art. Maybe you want to meet like-minded people so you create a blog that is similar to other ones you follow. You could create posts that talk about your life experiences, opinions, or ideas you have. It's not required, but it can be helpful to come up with a niche for your blog if you're stuck on what to write about.

Niche writing is writing that focuses on a specific topic

Ideas for Personal Blog Niches

  • Health and Fitness

  • Travel

  • Food

  • Music

  • Crafts

  • Art

Importance of a Blog

The importance of a blog depends on the intent of the blog. Why was it created in the first place? Are there business objectives such as selling more products? Are there certain topics that an individual or company wants readers to know about?

Importance of business Blogs

As we saw before, not every website or business has a blog. But a lot of businesses choose to have a blog because blogs tend to be good for business – there are a few reasons why.

  • A blog can direct customers to a business’s website. This in turn helps businesses sell more products and services.

  • Blogs can create trust among clients by sharing valuable or helpful information

  • Businesses can reshape a blog post for a social media post. This can be beneficial for reaching more customers.

Importance of personal Blogs

The importance of a personal blog can be a little harder to pinpoint. This is because the purpose of this type of blog is entirely up to the creator. A personal blog can be as important as someone makes it. Here are some reasons why it could be important to the creator:

  • It gives the writer a platform to find other people with similar interests

  • To be expressive or creative in some way

  • Creating a personal blog helps you learn new technology

  • To some, making money is important when starting a personal blog

Blog example

What would a blog look like if it had a healthy food niche?

Blog, Food Blog Example, StudySmarterFood Blog Example, StudySmarter Originals

Starting a Blog

First things first, why would someone want to start a blog? Reasons can vary, but the first step to starting a blog is determining what the intent of the blog is. A company might start a blog in order to funnel traffic to their website and products. Someone might start a personal blog to share life stories, or because they want to earn an income by blogging.

Whatever the reason, there are a few steps you’ll need to take before you can start sharing content.

  • Find a website builder such as Wordpress

  • Pick a name for your blog

  • Design your blog

  • Pick a theme or niche (optional)

  • Start creating content!

How Blogs earn money

How much money can you really make from a blog? That depends, but it can be anywhere from a few hundred to thousands per month. With that in mind, do bloggers earn money as soon as they make their first few posts? Usually, no – but there are a few things that can be done to start seeing a larger stream of money from a blog.

  • Build an audience.

    • The more traffic you get to your blog, the more potential there is to earn money.

  • Find a profitable niche. Here are some common ones:

    • Finance

    • Marketing

    • Health

    • Lifestyle

    • Food

  • Post regularly

  • Integrate SEO tactics into your blog

    • This means that a writer is creating content that ranks onto the first page of a Google search

  • Newsletters

    • Since a blog needs more views to make more money, the author might ask for readers’ emails so the readers can be notified each time there’s a new post. There are several email marketing platforms that can be used, such as Convertkit and Mailchimp

  • Run ads

    • You will earn money if readers click on the ads on your page

  • Affiliate marketing

    • You make money by promoting other businesses' products

You might be wondering what type of content is needed in order to start a blog. This of course varies depending on the type of blog created, but the structure might be similar.

Basic structure of a Blog

There is no required structure for a blog. However, following the basic guidelines below can help your blog's readability. Blogs are sometimes formatted in reverse chronological order, meaning you'd see the most recent post first when going to a site, but that isn't required. Here is a guide to how each individual post can be structured:

  • Title

    • Grabs the reader’s attention and signifies what the topic is about

  • Introduction

    • Uses a hook to draw the reader in and gives the reader a reason to keep reading

  • Body paragraphs

    • Shorter and more frequent paragraphs to hold the reader’s attention

    • Logical progression of ideas

  • Conclusion

    • Ties back to the introduction and makes a decisive point

Blogging has created endless opportunities for both businesses and individuals. Next time you visit a blog, think of the ways that particular blog is helping the individual or company. Can you think of ways the blog could be different or improved? Or maybe you'll be inspired to create one of your own.

Blog - Key takeaways

  • A blog is an online platform where one or more individuals post content related to a particular topic.

  • Popular types of blogs are personal and business blogs.

  • Blogs are important because they have the potential to drive traffic to a business’s website and have the potential to earn money.

  • Starting a blog requires finding a website builder, picking a blog name, and figuring out what the intent of the blog is.

  • Making money from a blog can be done through running ads and affiliate marketing


1. Caroline Forsey, What is a Blog, and Why Should You Create One, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions about Blog

A blog is an online platform where one or more individuals shares content that's informative or personal. 

Some popular blogs are personal or business blogs. A personal blog is run by one person and a business blog may be run by multiple people. A personal blog may be used to share personal stories, opinions, or ideas. A business blog will usually makes posts that update readers on the business, talk about some of the business's products or technology, or talk about content that relates to the business in general. 

To start a blog you'll need a website builder, a blog name, and to determine the intent of your blog. 

It can help drive online traffic to your business and increases the potential for earning money.

A blogger can start earning money by running ads and affiliate marketing on their website.

Final Blog Quiz

Question

What is a blog?

Show answer

Answer

A blog is an online platform where one or multiple people post content. 

Show question

Question

True or False

A blog must be published in an online literature journal

Show answer

Answer

False -- a blog can be posted on any website

Show question

Question

Does a blog need to have a structured analysis?

Show answer

Answer

No -- a blog can be written however you'd like. 

Show question

Question

A business blog can be created to

Show answer

Answer

All of the above

Show question

Question

A personal blog can share

Show answer

Answer

all of the above

Show question

Question

What is a niche?

Show answer

Answer

Writing that focuses on a specific topic

Show question

Question

True or False

Learning SEO can help a blog earn money

Show answer

Answer

True -- SEO can mean more people find your blog

Show question

Question

True or False

Ads and Affiliate marketing can only be used on business blogs

Show answer

Answer

False -- they can be used on personal and business blogs

Show question

Question

How does a business blog need to be written?

Show answer

Answer

To reflect the company's tone, value, or identity

Show question

Question

What was the original word for blog?

Show answer

Answer

Weblog

Show question

Question

Are blogs only for journaling?

Show answer

Answer

No -- blogs can be used for a business, or anything else you want.

Show question

Question

True or False

Blogs never list the date they were posted

Show answer

Answer

False -- blogs usually have the most recent post showing first

Show question

Question

Does a website always have a blog on it?

Show answer

Answer

No -- a website can exist without a blog. An individual or business may wish to only list their services online. And on those websites that feature a blog the blog is just a page created within the website. 

Show question

Question

Which of these is not a blog post?

Show answer

Answer

A research paper for an academic journal

Show question

Question

Is it useful to share a blog to social media?

Show answer

Answer

Yes -- Reposting blogs on a social media platform can increase traffic to your blog

Show question

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