Get Rolling on the Blogging Bandwagon
With over 164 million blogs now in existence, many of them personal, you can be sure that people have a lot to write about on a wide variety of topics. Blogging can be as simple as a hobby you take part in every so often, or as serious as a full-time profession. Either way, blogging is a unique way to communicate and share ideas with others.
Casual bloggers can have a working blog up and running in minutes, while a more complex blog might take months, even years, to build and refine. Some blogs are meant for a limited purpose and readership (such as to keep family in friends informed on the progress of a pregnancy), while others are ongoing and meant for a wider audience. The topic, complexity,
purpose, and level of involvement for a blog are as unique as its author.
The blogging community is alive and well, and there are many tools and resources available for bloggers such as websites, programs, tutorials, and — of course — blogs. On the following pages, you'll find a wealth of information on blogging including what blogging is, blog writing tips, and how to start, promote, and manage a blog. By the end, you'll be well prepared to start a blog of your own.
Blogging started in the late 1990s, and has been gaining popularity ever since. There are many types of blogs, ranging from news to political to business to personal. Anyone can start a blog on any topic. Read on to see if blogging is something you might want to try.
What is Blogging?
A blog is a website set up to display a series of posts, with the most recent post appearing at the top of the site. Posts are typically on a single topic, but can be written by one or more authors, and can appear in text, image, video, or audio format.
Blog entries are often divided into categories so readers can easily find the types of posts they're most interested in. For example, a food blog might be divided into "recipes," "cooking tips," and "kitchen tools."
Blogs feature the ability for readers to comment on posts. Many observers believe this is where the magic of blogging happens, and that the collaborative nature of blogging is what makes it a unique form of online communication. Another unique blog feature is the blogroll, which is a list of other blogs readers might be interested in.
Readers view posts by entering the blog's URL on their browser, or by subscribing to the blog via RSS feeder (an online tool designed for organizing and viewing blogs) or email.
How Did Blogging Start?
The word "blog," which was first used in 1997, is a fusion of the two-word noun, "web log." Blog can also be used as a verb to describe the activity of updating or maintaining a blog. Blogging developed out of online communities and bulletin boards, which also allowed people to have online conversations on a single topic.
There are as many reasons to blog as there are people who blog, but here are a few common ones:
- To record your own thoughts
- To share thoughts with others
- To have a creative outlet
- To share hobbies (such as gardening, books, or cooking)
- To publicize your activities with a cause or political candidate or party
DID YOU KNOW? The popular 2009 movie, Julie & Julia , is about a young woman (Julie) who blogs about whipping up 524 recipes from Julia Child's cookbook in 365 days.
Blog Topics to Consider
Maybe you're intrigued with the idea of starting a blog but aren't sure what you would write about. Remember, if you can think of it, you can blog about it. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Past experiences
- Personal development
- Video games
Right Ways to Write a Blog
Let's say you've decided to start a blog and you've picked an exciting topic to write about. Great! To make sure your readers stay interested, follow the advice of experienced bloggers and keep these writing tips in mind.
Be creative. Use a variety of blog formats, such as the following:
- Interview with your favorite restaurant chef
- Movie review
- Record of your baby's first 100 days
- Travel log
- Question of the day
- List of things you'd like to do, be, or see
- Progress on your home rebuilding project
Write simply. Don't try to impress readers with your large vocabulary. Instead, use plain language and get to the point quickly.
Focus on reader needs and interests. Consider what your readers want to know about your topic and target your posts accordingly. Try to address your topic in a way that hasn't been used by other bloggers.
Write informally. Banish your internal English teacher and write the way you speak. Let your personality come through, as though you are having a conversation with a friend. Don't be afraid to be controversial; topics that express a strong opinion are often the most successful.
Draw readers in. Write a title that describes what readers will gain from reading the post. Use the first sentence to further pique readers' interest and compel them to read the rest of the post.
Keep length in mind. Online readers want to get information quickly, so unless you are discussing a complex topic, keep each post under 500 words.
Be your own editor. Review each post before you publish it to ensure you have adequately expressed your ideas and to catch any errors. The more time you can leave between when you write and when you review, the better.
BLOGGING TREND: Blogging is becoming more intertwined with social media.1
How and Why to Use Curation
Sometimes the information you want to share in your blog already exists elsewhere on the Web. In this case, you can use curation to share this great content. Curation is the process of sorting through existing content and offering it to your own audience in an organized way.
You could use this method for a single post (for example, "10 best knitting sites online"), or for your entire blog (each week, list five favorite online recipes). The benefit of curation is that you are finding "best of" information for your readers so they don't have to go searching for it themselves. This method can also be helpful if you are busy, since writing blog posts can take a lot of time.
DID YOU KNOW? The majority of bloggers are between the ages of 25 and 44.2