It was about seven years ago, I came to know the terminology “blog”. It is totally a new term to me. I heard about it very often but I bother to find out what it is. Until one day, I saw an article about how people making money by blogging. This article opened my curiosity to find out more about blog. I begin to search the internet to find out what is blogging and how does it work.
There are a lot of information about blog on the internet. Even though I am a IT person by professional, but learning blogging is another story. I was overwhelming by the information I found online.
However, it was a very fruitful experience. I came to know about WordPress and Blogger. Terms like internet marketing, SEO, Google Adwords and so forth were introduced to me. At that early stage, I was very confused about all that terms. After all, I was just a newbie to the blogging world.
Today, I have two personal blogs, cooknbakediary.com which I created to share my cooking and baking recipes. The second blog, KwahChoonHiong.com, which I created few months ago to share about my learning experience on internet marketing, blogging and about health.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not an expert in internet marketing and blogging but I have a passion on it. There are many things to learn and I am still learning.
In this article, I will be sharing with you what is blogging and how does it work. The sharing is based on my personal learning experience and research that I did in my blogging journey.
What is A Blog?
So, what is a blog? A blog is actually an online personal journal or diary. It is a place for you to share your opinions, thoughts or experiences. A place for you to share your ideals and passions. In fact, it is more than just an ordinary journal and diary. You can put your photo, you can put a picture you like, you can also share a video in a blog. In other words, you can publish any content you like online. It is like an online magazine.
Blog is originally from its full name weblog. Before we move on to the next section, let’s see some related definition of blog.
Blog (noun) – a regular record of your thoughts, opinions, or experiences that you put on the internet for other people to read:
She writes a food blog in which she shares recipes, tips, and restaurant reviews.
Blogger (noun) – someone who writes a blog:
Malkin is an author and political blogger for the Washington Post.
Blogging (noun) – the activity of writing blogs:
Some analysts believe the impact of blogging on corporate life may be harmful.
SOURCE: Cambridge Dictionary
Who Blogs and Why Do People Blog?
I would categorize two groups of people who blogs: Personal and Business.
I believe that human in nature likes to share and wishes that their voice to be heard. Internet becomes the platform for people to share their ideas, opinions, thoughts and experiences to the world.
Some people like to share about their views and opinions on political topic. They want to give suggestion or even voice out their disagreement to the government.
Some people like to share about their interest and things that they passionate about. For example, cooking, gardening, sport and so forth.
Even some people share about their expertise by providing solutions to help people. For example, I am a programmer and I always found solution from the internet. There are many programming experts sharing their experiences and tips for solving a specific problem on their personal blog.
Of course there many more other types of blog and some are really strange blogs.
Today, blogging is not limited to personal only. Business organization also aware the importance of getting online presence. Blogging is one of the best way to engage with their potential customers.
Blog is a very good platform to create customers awareness. For corporate, blogging is usually on providing products information, good practices or news update.
Besides gaining online presence, blogging helps corporate build authority in the business they are in too. This indirectly help the corporate attract more business opportunity and sales leads.
Basic Components of A Blog
How to start a blog or what do I need to start a blog are the questions you would ask. In this section, I will explain to you the basic components of a blog.
For you to understand better, I would illustrate building a blog as building a house. Then I will follow with explanation of each term I used in the illustration.
Let’s imagine that you are going to build a house. The first thing you need is a piece of land (web hosting). Once you have a land, you would start building your house (WordPress). You need to buy furniture and decorate (theme and content) your house. Lastly, you would need an address (Domain name) so that people can find you.
OK. Awesome. Next, I will explain the defination of each term.
Web hosting is a service that makes your website available so that it is viewable by others on the Internet. In our case, the website is referring to your blog. There are two ways to host your blog: free blogging platform or self-hosted blogging platform. We will talk about this later on.
A domain name is basically the address of your blog where Internet users can access your blog. You can buy a domain name from the web hosting service provider you are subscribed to. Personally, I would recommend you to buy your domain name from GoDaddy.com to get a better deal.
WordPress is blogging software for you to manage your blog contents. In other words, wordpress is a content management system (CMS) software. It is very powerful and easy to use. If you like to learn more about wordpress, you may refer to wordpress.org.
Theme and Content
When setting up a blog website, one of the step is to design your website. In wordpress, this is achieved by installing a Theme and there are many free WordPress themes you can choose from. Content is the most important element of your website. Your content is going to serve as your medium to connect with your audience (traffic). If you can master content creation, you are going to be very successful online.
Free Blogging Platform Vs Self-Hosted Blogging Platform
After understand the basic components of a blog, next I will talk about how you can host your blog. There are two ways you can host your blog:
- Free blogging Platform
- Self-hosted blogging platform
#1 Free Blogging Platform
It is a service that allow you to publish your blog for free. WordPress.com and Blogger.com are the two most popular free blogging platforms.
Pros of a free blogging platform:
- It’s FREE! Zero cost to start a blog.
- What you need to do is to sign up an account at WordPress.com or Blogger.com.
- Easy to set up and maintain without prior website design knowledge.
- No hassle of setting up and configuring blogging software like WordPress.
Cons of a free blogging platform:
- You don’t own the domain name unless you pay for it. Your blog website address would look like myblog.wordpress.com or myblog.blogspot.com.
- Your blog appear less professional.
- You have less control over you blog. For example, you cannot install external plugin to expand your blog’s capabilities.
- You cannot further customize your blog’s looks and feels.
#2 Self-Hosted Blog
Self-hosted blog is one that which you pay for a web hosting services to host your blog. Which mean, you rent a storage space to host your blog. You may check out the following web hosting service providers to get one.
Pros of a self-hosted blog:
- You owned your own domain name.
- You have full control over your blog. Which mean, you can install external plugin to expand your blog’s capabilities.
- You can further customize and design your blog’s looks and feels.
- You have full access to your back end files and your database.
Cons of a self-hosted blog:
- You need to invest money to start a blog and you may incur monthly recurring subscription for the web hosting services and domain name.
- Your learning curve can be very steep if you do not have any prior technical experience and knowledge.
- You need to setting up and configure the blogging software (WordPress) at your own.
Blogging is a very fun thing to do. It basically let you share your personal opinions and experiences online. There are two ways to start your blog, you can either start with a free blogging platform or you start with self-hosted blog platform.
If you are new to blogging and would like to try it out, my suggestion to you is to start with the free blogging platform like WordPress.com or Blogger.com. The initial cost is zero. You can move to self-hosted platform when you have gained more experience.
However, if your plan is to have a long run blog or you are blogging for your business, my suggestion to you is to go for self-hosted blog. Self-hosted blog would give you more control over your blog and your blog would appear more professional.
Lastly, I hope my sharing would help you understand more on what is blogging and how does it work. If you have any question or feedback, do feel free to leave me a comment below.
To Your Success,
Kwah Choon Hiong