An Overview of the Term Blog
A blog (also called a weblog or web log) is a website consisting of entries (also called posts) appearing in reverse chronological order with the most recent entry appearing first (similar in format to a daily journal). Blogs typically include features such as comments and links to increase user interactivity. Blogs are created using specific publishing software.
Variations of the term blog:
Blogging: The act of writing a post for a blog
Blogger: A person who writes content for a blog
Blogosphere: The online community of blogs and bloggers
The World Before Blogging
There was a time when the Internet was just an informational tool. In the early life of the World Wide Web some 20 years ago, websites were simple and provided a one-sided conversation. As time went on, the Internet became more interactive with the introduction of transaction-based websites and online shopping, but the online world remained one-sided.
That all changed with the evolution of Web 2.0 (the social web) wherein user-generated content became an integral part of the online world. Today, users expect websites to provide a two-way conversation and web logs (or blogs) were born.
The Birth of Blogs
The earliest blogs started in the late 1990s as online diaries. Individuals posted information on a daily basis about their lives and opinions. The daily posts were listed in reverse date order, so readers viewed the most recent post first and scrolled through previous posts.
The format provided an ongoing inner monologue from the writer.
As blogs evolved, interactive features were added to create a two-way conversation. Readers took advantage of features that allowed them to leave comments on blog posts or link to posts on other blogs and websites to further the dialogue.
As the Internet has become more social, blogs have gained in popularity. Today, there are over 100 million blogs with more entering the blogosphere every day. Blogs have become more than online diaries. In fact, blogging has become an important part of the online and offline worlds with popular bloggers impacting the worlds of politics, business, and society with their words.
The Future of Blogs
It seems inevitable that blogging will become even more powerful in the future with more people and businesses recognizing the power of bloggers as online influencers. Anyone can start a blog thanks to the simple (and often free) tools readily available online. The question will likely become not, “Why should I start a blog?” but rather, “Why shouldn’t I start a blog?”
Why You Should Start a Blog, Become a Blogger And Start Blogging (Even If You’re Not a Writer)
It’s a wonderful age that we live in, this era when we can publish ourselves and share our best thoughts with the world.
It really is an amazing time — at least, it is for those brave souls who take a chance and choose to speak up. The question, I suppose, is will that be you?
Here’s why I think anyone can and should start a blog:
Blogging teaches you discipline. Having to sit down once a day or once week (or at whatever frequency you do it) and write is an important skill. It forces you to learn the difficult lesson that some of the best things in life happen as a result of delayed gratification. Writing is one of those things, but there are others.
Blogging teaches you introspection. blogging helped me understand myself and my place in the world. But I’m not the only one. One of my friend told me he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he started a blog. Sitting down to write made him realize what was important. Now, he leads a global community of people who are rethinking the way they approach work — all because he started a blog.
Blogging gives you a voice. We all have something to say, even if we don’t think of ourselves as writers or speakers. A blog gives you a place, free from censorship and criticism, to say what’s on your heart and find other people who connect with what you believe.
Blogging helps you learn new thing’s. Blogging is about sharing what you see, or want to see, in the world. It’s about teaching or sharing what you know and what you, too, are learning. When you start a blog, you’ll find yourself always learning new things about your areas of interest so you can keep sharing without running dry of ideas.
Think of it this way: when you set out to wash clothes, your objective is to clean the clothes, not your hands, but it’s your hands which become clean first.
Blogging makes you think clearer. The ability to think clearly and generate ideas is one of life’s most critical skills, yet one of the things you don’t get taught in school. Blogging fills that void, helping you grow your thinking muscles exponentially.
You’ll learn to reflect deeply on your life, your relationships and your society; engage with others intellectually, appreciate the strengths in arguments and point out the flaws in them; appreciate the tiny distinctions between what, why and how; the nexus and disparity between excuses and justifications, and so on.
Blogging builds your confidence. Blogging helps you learn to voice your opinions, dare to be wrong and stop being so scared to make mistakes. With blogging, you learn to recognize and build your strength, and also admit and improve on your weaknesses. With conversations happening on your blog, you learn to hear flattery without being carried away and take criticisms without losing your cool.
Blogging helps you speak more coherently. A great speech starts with a sound script. The more you learn and share ideas about your areas of interests on your blog, the more comfortable you get discussing them verbally.
And over time, you grow confidence to face an audience and manage your nervousness on your subjects of interest. Soon, this diffuses to other verbal conversations.
Blogging sharpens your observation. Blogging challenges you to look beyond the obvious, to ask questions where everyone else simply nods, and to set the status quo on its head. The more you blog, the better you see and appreciate tiny details others take for granted. This translates to a better memory and improved performance in other stuff you do.
For instance, I’ve had excellent grades in my academic works without burning out, and I can honestly attribute this feat to my now keen observation skills, thanks to blogging.
Blogging boosts your creativity. Blogging pushes you to be resourceful, to envision and try to create the beautiful things you want to see in the world. You imagine better, create ideas that challenge norms and share your genius with others.
That’s how to become an idea machine. And you can go ahead to give the world something essential it doesn’t know it lacks.
Blogging makes you stand out. I believe only 1 percent of Internet users produce the content online. The remaining 99 percent? They just consume. They’re just onlookers watching as humanity progresses and history unfolds.
Don’t just consume, or you might consume anything. Also produce valuable content. By blogging, you stand out from the pack of content consumers who live on others’ ideas online without contributing theirs.
Reasons You Should Not Start a Blog
Money. You should not start a blog to make money. We need to get that out of the way first. If your primary objective is to replace your full-time income from blogging, forget about it. It doesn’t work that way.
Notoriety. Don’t plan on getting “Internet famous” right away. Not every site grows as fast my did, but that’s totally OK. I didn’t start this Blog to become “famous” though. That’d be ridiculous. Notoriety and quick rise to “fame” may come as a surprise to us, Because of little luck and a lot of hard, passionate work.
Traffic. Not all traffic is good traffic (as we explained here), so don’t worry about getting thousands of readers right away.
The funny thing is that all these things can happen. You could make a full-time income from building a blog.
How To Start A Blog, Start Blogging And Become A Successful Blogger
Tips To Start A Successful Blog:
Find Your Niche. You needn’t have a niche, but it helps. When learning how to be a blogger, it’s important to ask yourself what you’re passionate about. Running? Cooking? Being a parent? Have you found your passion? If so, whatever it is, write about that. If not, then you must first find your passion.
Define Your Ideal Readers. Once you’ve found your niche, you need to know who will be reading your blog.
For Example: If you want to write about your newborn baby growing up, that’s wonderful: your ideal readers are probably your friends and family.
Add Value. Your blog must add value to its readers’ lives. This is the only way you will get Great Quality Readers to your site (and keep them coming back).
Be Original. Yes, there are other blogs out there about the same thing you want to write about. Question: So why is your blog different? Answer: Because of you. You are what makes your blog different. It’s about your perspective, your creativity, the value that you add.
Be Interesting. Write epic, awesome content. Especially if you want people to share it with others.
Be Yourself. Part of being interesting is telling your story. Every person is unique, and your story is an important one. The important part of storytelling, however, is removing the superfluous details that make the story uninteresting. A great storyteller removes 99% of what really happens—the absorptive details—and leaves the interesting 1% for the reader.
Be Honest. Your blog needs to be authentic—it needs to feel real—if you want people to read it. You can be your blog, or your blog can be you. That is, do you really embody the stuff you write about? If not, people will see through you. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” is the famous Gandhi quote. Perhaps bloggers should build the blog they want to write for the world.
Transparency. Being transparent is different from being honest. You needn’t share every detail about your life just for the sake of being honest. Always be honest, and be transparent when it adds value to what you’re writing. (You won’t ever see pictures of us using the restroom on our site, because that’s just not relevant.)
Time. Once you’ve learned how to start a blog, you’ll learn that blogging takes a lot of time, especially if you’re as neurotic as I Am. That said, once you have your design set up, don’t tweak it too much. Instead, spend the time on your writing.
Vision. The reason our site design looks good is because we have a great host, we have a great theme, and most important, we had a vision of how we wanted our blog to look. Once we had the vision, we worked hard to make that vision a reality. It’s hard to create a beautiful blog if you don’t know what you want it to look like.
Basic Steps To Start A Blog:
Find a good name and domain name.
Your domain name is what you type into the address bar to go to a website. In my case it’s for example: https://jalvisquotes.wordpress.com/
But how do you find a good domain name and name for your website?
- Figured out a topic for my blog.
- Brainstormed names.
- Discarded a handful of names.
- Finally Short Out The Best Suited One
Get web hosting.
After you have found your own name or best candidate you need to go and register it online. You can do that at a web host where you’ll also get hosting space so you can store the blog posts, files, images, videos etc. that all together is your website.
Find a good look for your website.
After you have registered your domain name, setup your hosting account and created your website by using the one-click install of WordPress it’s time to find a look for it.
You do that by choosing a theme. There many free ones to choose from in your WordPress control panel.
Now What Type Of Theme To Choose From:
- Create a clean and quick loading look of a website/website.
- Make it easy to publish articles with great and easy-to-read typography.
- Select a theme with Built in responsive design so it looks good no matter if someone reads it on a laptop, tablet or smart phone. This is also important to rank high in Google mobile search results.
Start creating the content you are passionate about and share it with the world.
Now, after you have set up the basic technical stuff it is time to ask yourself: what do people want from a website?
If you ask me the answer is simply value.
From a humor website they might want the funniest videos or comic strips. From a history website they probably want history told in an engrossing and entertaining way.
So value can come in many forms based on what niche your website is in.
The key to creating a lot of value no matter what your website is about is to write, podcast or record videos around one of your passions or biggest interests in life.
By doing so you’ll automatically do a better job and you’ll keep creating better and better content over time. And you won’t get tired or bored and quit so easily before your website takes off.
Find powerful topics to write about.
No matter if you write, podcast or create videos you want to do it around topics that are important not only to you but to other people too.
But how do you create content that is more likely to help a lot of people and take off on social media for example?
Go the extra mile.
Write a longer blog post than most people may do. Or do a more in-depth podcast.
Spread the word about your website.
OK, so you got your website up. You got some valuable content published. Some readers may start to trickle in.
But how do you spread the word about your website to really start building your audience?
I Used Social Sharing On Regular Bases By Creating A Blog Page On Facebook. One of the best way I have found to get readers that very likely to enjoy your content and stick with you for quite a while is to guest post on other blogs in your niche.
Engage by using social media.
Setting up profiles for your website on the biggest social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. and sharing your content there and engaging with your readers can also bring in many new visitors to your website.
If you don’t have much time to spare each week choose just one social media website to focus on. You may get bigger returns from doing that than trying to cover all the big social sites and getting stressed out and spending too much time on this instead of creating new content.
Use the buttons you get by installing Easy Social Share Buttons to make it easy for your audience to share your content with friends and followers on social media or via email.
Set up a Start Page And Keep Menus Clear
When people arrive at your blog via the homepage or an article that they found via Google or Facebook for example they are just thrown in there. They may be confused about where to go next. So its important to keep your start page and menus clear.
Here’s What You can Do:
- A quick summary of what this website is about.
- A quick summary of who I am.
- A list of some of my best and most popular articles.
- An introduction my premium courses.
- A few sign up forms for my email newsletter sprinkled throughout the page.
Add the best plugins to quickly build an even better website.
When you use WordPress then you can customize the functions and look of your website even more to make it a better experience both for you and for your audience.
You do that by adding small programs called plugins to your website. Most of them are free.
Here are my 3 most valuable plugins:
- Akismet – the more popular your website becomes the more spam comments your articles or posts will receive. This one keeps the spammers filtered away.
- Fast Secure Contact Form – I use this on my contact page so people can email me but at the same time it prevents automatic spam emails from being sent to my inbox (you can in my experience get a lot of that if you don’t have a filter like this).
- W3 Total Cache – Absolutely essential. This is a plugin that will make your website load faster and put less stress on your hosting account. It’s very important to have it to prevent your website from crashing when one of your articles or other content goes viral on social media or is mentioned on a popular website and many thousands of visitors may pour in quickly.
Keep the number of plugins you use down. The more you have the slower your website will load for your visitors.
And if a website is too sluggish then Google will not like it. And many new readers will just impatiently click the back button in their browser and go somewhere else online.
Think about security before you get hacked.
Here are 3 steps you can use to make your WordPress website more secure:
- A better password + username. Do a bit of googling to find out how you can use a safer username and password for WordPress (and other logins you may have in your life).
- Security plugins. You can find many free and highly rated plugins in your WordPress plugin panel that will help you to beef up the security.
- Always keep your WordPress installation updated to the latest version. You only have to press a button and it just takes a few minutes. By doing so you avoid someone sneaking in through a security hole in an older version of the software.
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