What Is a Blog, & Why Should You Create One

SEO involves many different tactics and techniques. As a blogger, you will have to get familiar with these. I won’t be talking about any advanced processes here. As a bare minimum, you will have to do the following for every blog post or page you publish on your blog: perform keyword optimization and add SEO meta tags on all pages.

bluehost package extras

Blogging

First, let’s go over a brief history — in 1994, Swarthmore College student Justin Hall is credited with the creation of the first blog, Links.net. At the time, however, it wasn’t considered a blog … just a personal homepage.

In 1997, Jorn Barger, blogger for Robot Wisdom, coined the term "weblog", which was meant to describe his process for "logging the web" as he surfed the internet. The term "weblog" was shortened to "blog" in 1999, by programmer Peter Merholz.

In the early stages, a blog was a personal web log or journal in which someone could share information or their opinion on a variety of topics. The information was posted reverse chronologically, so the most recent post would appear first.

For instance, HubSpot blogs about various topics concerning marketing, sales, and service because HubSpot sells products related to those three subjects — so, more than likely, the type of readers HubSpot’s blog attracts are going to be similar to HubSpot’s core buyer persona.

Alternatively, a woman named Kiki started a personal travel blog, called The Blonde Abroad, to document her travel experiences and provide readers with helpful tips and travel recommendations. Her blog doesn’t serve a larger company, but it does help her create a personal brand.

What is a blog post?

For instance, let’s say you start a fashion blog on your retail website. One blog post might be titled, "The Best Fall Shoes for 2019". The post ties back to your overall blog topic as a whole (fashion), but it also addresses a very particular sub-topic (fall shoes).

Blog posts allow you to rank on search engines for a variety of keywords. In the above example, your blog post could enable your business to rank on Google for "fall shoes". When someone searches for fall shoes and comes across your blog post, they have access to the rest of your company’s website. They might click "Products" after they read your post, and take a look at the clothing items your company sells.

A blog post links back to your overall blog site. For instance, right now, you’re on blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-a-blog. The "what-is-a-blog" section of the URL is tied back to /marketing/, which is the blog as a whole.

Blog vs. Website

A blog is typically a section of your business’s website — but, unlike the rest of your website, you need to update the blog section frequently by adding new posts. Additionally, your blog is a tool that allows you to engage more with an audience, either by analyzing how many readers share your blog posts on social, or by allowing readers to comment on your individual posts. In this way, a blog is more like a two-way conversation than the rest of your website. However, a blog can also be an entire website, and often is, if the blog is for personal use alone — for instance, a travel blog.

A lifestyle blog is a digital compilation of an author’s personal interests, daily activities, or opinions on a subject. A lifestyle blog typically covers multiple hobbies or talents of the writer, rather than focusing on one subject alone. For instance, a lifestyle blog might include a section for fashion, health and wellness, travel, and relationships. A lifestyle blog is often highly personalized, so it can often feel like you’re reading a friend’s curated journal entries.

There are plenty of benefits to blogging — it helps drive traffic to your website, it enables you to better convert that traffic into leads, it allows your business to establish authority in an industry, and it continues to help your business grow and attract new customers months and even years after publication.

Step #3: Choose a domain name and get blog hosting

Domain name

The general rule is to get a “.com” domain, but some of the other extensions can be used too. For example, “.net” or “.blog”. In the end, it’s about being memorable, so if a different extension helps you to stand out, then break the rules!

If you can’t find a domain name you like, don’t worry. Bluehost lets you choose a free custom domain later before your blog goes live. That will give you time to do some thinking and research.

Web hosting

To a great extent, the functionality and performance of your blog will depend on your hosting provider. The host makes sure that your blog is available 24/7 to potential readers and it’s where your content is stored online.

  • Ease-of-use: With Bluehost, you will be able to set up your blog with a few clicks of a button.
  • Good value: You get reliable service with excellent customer support at an affordable price.
  • Room to grow: They offer a great set of features that you need to start, run, and grow your blog.
  • Security: Free SSL certificate included and pre-installed to keep your blog visitors data safe.
  • Verified provider: Bluehost is a recommended hosting provider on the official WordPress.org website.
  • Used by many: I personally use their services, and so do many blogger friends and family members.
  • Survey winner: Based on our research, Bluehost is a top choice in the opinion of many blogging experts.

Bluehost website

How much does it cost to start a blog?

Below are the costs of a 1-year Bluehost basic hosting plan and what extras you get with it. I was able to negotiate a special deal only for our visitors. Use this link to get an exclusive 67% discount.

WordPress.org + Bluehost
Blog hosting service 5000.75 per month (billed for 1 year)
Domain registration First-year free (after $17.99 per year)
Custom email Free Web-Based E-mails/ Forwarding
SSL Certificate Free SSL certificates
Storage space * 50 GB
Bandwidth * Unlimited
Total price $33.00 (for a 1-year plan)

* Storage space shows you how much space you can use for your blog and media files. Bandwidth is the amount of data your blog can transfer to visitors. These two parameters are important when your blog starts to grow and get more traffic.

Get a blog hosting account (+ free domain name)

Step 1. Visit the Bluehost homepage

bluehost home page

Step 2. Select your hosting plan

You will start by picking a hosting plan. If this is your very first blog, you can go with the Basic plan. Later, you can easily upgrade to a Plus or Choice Plus plan once your blog starts growing. Explore what each plan offers, e.g. Choice Plus plan comes with Domain Privacy and some extras.

bluehost hosting plans

Step 3. Set up your domain name

Your domain will be your blog’s address, so you should take your time to come up with something unique and memorable. Just type your desired name into the “new domain” box and Bluehost will show you whether it’s available or not. If not, it will provide you with a list of similar names to choose from.

bluehost blackfriday domain

Step 4. Register with Bluehost

After you choose your domain, Bluehost will take you to the registration page where you can fill in your personal info manually, or you can Sign in with your Google account to make the process even easier!

Add your account information

bluehost account info

Select your hosting package

bluehost hosting plans

Step #4: Start a blog by setting up WordPress

  • Step 1. You will start this process by answering 3 questions: What kind of site? What type is it? And who is it for? In my example, I selected: Blog, Personal, Myself. You can select the same choices or pick what fits your individual case.
  • Step 2. With this step, you can pick what else you would like to add to your site. Bluehost gives you a few options to choose from.
  • Step 3. In this step, you need to answer a few questions such as the name of your blog, tagline, and how comfortable you are with creating websites. Note: you can always change this later.
  • Step 4. Check out the suggested themes from Bluehost and see if you like any of them (if you don’t see a theme you like, skip this step). You can always change your theme and use a different one later. More information on this further on.

Launch your blog

Inside your Bluehost account, you will see options to further customize your WordPress blog site based on Bluehost’s recommendations. These options are here for you to do some pre-launch customization to your blog.

bluehost hosting account panel

If you open your website in a web browser, don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t look quite right. This is just the first draft. Inside the WordPress dashboard, you will have to apply a few changes and add some content to make it look polished and complete. I will show you how to do this later!

3 Reasons You Should Not Start a Blog

But after giving you those detailed instructions, which could save you hundreds of hours of wasted time, we also want to give you some good reasons why you should not start a blog. (Keep in mind that these reasons are just our opinions, and we do not pretend to offer them up as a collection of empirical blogging maxims.)

    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.

The funny thing is that all these things can happen. You could make a full-time income from building a blog. We do it, Corbett Barr does it, and so do many others. And you could become an Internet famous blogger like Leo Babauta or Chris Brogan.

But if these are the sole reasons you start blogging, you’ll be miserable because it will seem like a job. And if it feels like a job, you won’t be passionate about it, so you’ll either hate it or fall flat on your face (or both).

4 Blogging Resources

How do you make money blogging? How much do bloggers make? Can I make money blogging? Are blogs still profitable in 2022?

  1. Creations. By building an audience who finds value in our message, we’ve been able to offer our three books and our documentary, Minimalism, to an audience who is willing to support our creative work. Consequently, all three books have been bestsellers and are now translated into more than a dozen languages; and thanks to Netflix, our documentary is available in 190 countries. (For more information about our book-publishing process, read this blog post series: How to Publish an Indie Book.)
  2. Audience Contributions. Since we refuse to clutter our blog or popular podcast with ads, we depend on audience support to fund production of our podcast. With more than 5,000 supporters on Patreon and many others via PayPal, The Minimalists Podcast is fully funded with audience support, which means we’re able to pay for our podcast producer, filmmaker, and studio space without advertisements on our platforms.
  3. Speaking. As we built our audience, many organizations, universities, and conferences began contacting us about speaking at their events. At first, we starting speaking for free just to build a name for ourselves. Then, we started charging a few hundred dollars per event. Now, we’re able to charge significantly more money because the demand for our talks is high.

If you make money along the way, that’s great. In fact, if you help people solve their problems, you’re all but guaranteed to make money from your blog—eventually. Let’s just remember there are at least four resources that are more important than money: skills, time, energy, and attention.

That said, let’s not kid ourselves by acting as if making money is irrelevant—it’s not. Making money from our blog is simply not the primary driver for our creativity or why we became bloggers. Although people often think of money as the ultimate resource, it is the least important of the five mentioned above.

Money won’t necessarily improve your life, but it will amplify your existing behaviors. If you have bad habits, then more money will make your life considerably worse. And if you’re already a generous person, then more money can help you be more loving, caring, and considerate.

What does blog stand for? What does blog mean?

According to Wikipedia, a blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of “discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts).” The term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger on December 17, 1997. The short form, “blog,” was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog in 1999.

There are blogs that cover nearly every topic, ideology, and interest—from sports and politics to religion and travel and everything in between. Even the world’s largest news organizations—ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, and MSNBC—all have their own blogs.

Squarespace vs WordPress: Why should I use WordPress instead of Squarespace?

    Design (Themes). Squarespace provides some beautiful templates, but they’re limited by the number of designs that are available. Since WordPress is a free, open-source blogging platform, there’s an ecosystem of tens of thousands of themes ready to satisfy every want and need.

Plugins aside, one key feature that’s built in to WordPress, but not Squarespace, is version control. Version control tracks your changes and allows you to compare revisions and revert back to a version of your Page or Post from any point in time.

How do I become a blogger?

The answer is in the question: the only way to become a blogger is to start a blog. This might sound overly simplistic, but that’s because it’s not that complicated. If you follow these steps you’ll become a blogger and start blogging today.

There’s an old truism, “Writers don’t like writing; they like having written.” I think the opposite is true for bloggers: because of the instant gratification of the WordPress “Publish” button, I find that bloggers enjoy writing because they’re constantly sharing that writing with the world.

What’s the difference between a blog and a website?

While the lines have blurred over the years, the simplest way to put it is that a blog is a type of website, one that catalogues, over time, the personal or professional thoughts and beliefs of a person or organization.

Are blogs dead?

Does anyone read blogs anymore? Is blogging a waste of time?

Millions of people read our blog every year-and our audience continues to grow because, thanks to our blog, new people find our work every day. But it’s not just The Minimalists who are successful. Blogs are popular all over the world, and they are the simplest way to publish content without middlemen or gatekeepers.

Authorship:

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-a-blog
https://firstsiteguide.com/start-blog/
https://www.theminimalists.com/blog/
What Is a Blog, & Why Should You Create One

For instance, HubSpot blogs about various topics concerning marketing, sales, and service because HubSpot sells products related to those three subjects — so, more than likely, the type of readers HubSpot’s blog attracts are going to be similar to HubSpot’s core buyer persona.

Creating a WordPress blog

Creating a blog: step by step guide

For most people, a blog represents the chance to share thoughts, ideas, and interests with the rest of the (online) world. What started with the idea of a weblog – an online logbook, like an internet diary – has now become one of the most successful and widespread forms of publishing. Bloggers are often more than just private writers. They are advertisers, influencers, and experts on specific topics. In our series on blogging, we’ll be accompanying newcomers on their way to starting their own blog.

If you want to create a fashion blog, food blog, or a travel blog, you’ve come to the right place. In our blogger series, we accompany beginners as they create their own blogs. Here, you will find the answers to questions such as: What is needed to create a blog? Where can I create a good free blog? Why should you create a blog at all? How can I create my own blog? In this step-by-step guide/tutorial, you will learn how to create your first blog and later hopefully make money with it.

Blog vs. Website

A blog is typically a section of your business’s website — but, unlike the rest of your website, you need to update the blog section frequently by adding new posts. Additionally, your blog is a tool that allows you to engage more with an audience, either by analyzing how many readers share your blog posts on social, or by allowing readers to comment on your individual posts. In this way, a blog is more like a two-way conversation than the rest of your website. However, a blog can also be an entire website, and often is, if the blog is for personal use alone — for instance, a travel blog.

A lifestyle blog is a digital compilation of an author’s personal interests, daily activities, or opinions on a subject. A lifestyle blog typically covers multiple hobbies or talents of the writer, rather than focusing on one subject alone. For instance, a lifestyle blog might include a section for fashion, health and wellness, travel, and relationships. A lifestyle blog is often highly personalized, so it can often feel like you’re reading a friend’s curated journal entries.

There are plenty of benefits to blogging — it helps drive traffic to your website, it enables you to better convert that traffic into leads, it allows your business to establish authority in an industry, and it continues to help your business grow and attract new customers months and even years after publication.

What is the difference between a wiki and a blog?

A wiki is a collaborative space where anyone who visits the site can edit, share, or publish content — Wikipedia is one of the most popular examples of this. On the other hand, there is typically only one person, or a team of people, with admin permissions to edit, share, or publish to a blog. Website visitors who come across the blog can potentially leave comments at the bottom of the blog post, but they cannot publish to the site or edit the posted material.

1. To help your company rank on search engines.

Typically, a business will use a blog to help the business’s website rank on search engines. You can absolutely employ SEO tactics, or use paid ads, to help your company homepage rank on page one of Google — but a more effective, long-term solution is blogging.

You decide to spend the first year writing and posting regular blog content that strongly relates to web design. Over time, your traffic increases and other companies link to your site for information regarding web design. When this happens, Google recognizes your company as a legitimate source for web design information. Eventually (with a lot of trial and error), your blog posts begin ranking on page one of Google for terms like "web design", "website builder", and "e-commerce website".

2. To share information about a given topic and become an expert in an industry.

After about a year, thanks to tireless blogging efforts and SEO strategies that enabled him to rank on Google, he began pulling in $60,000. Matt also created e-books, and used sponsorships and affiliate marketing to make money. Additionally, he wrote a New York Times best-seller, "How to Travel the World on $50 a Day."

3. To attract visitors to your site, and turn those visitors into leads.

There’s only so much traffic you can get from the homepage or About Us page of your company’s website. Of course, those pages are critical for leads who are already interested in your products — but they often won’t attract traffic from top-of-the-funnel. That’s where your blog comes into play.

Your blog can be a general resource to help your website visitors even before those visitors are ready to purchase from you. For instance, let’s say you sell products for e-commerce stores. You might attract some e-commerce owners who are already searching online for your products, but in most cases, the e-commerce owner isn’t going to be ready to buy right out of the gate.

Alternatively, if you begin blogging about tips to help the retail owner who is just starting out — like "How to start a retail website", or "Benefits of e-commerce vs. physical store" — you’ll slowly attract an audience who enjoys your content and finds it useful. Then, when those site visitors’ e-commerce stores begin growing (thanks, in part, to your blog), they’ll already know about your brand and already trust it as a helpful source. That’s when they’ll check out your product pages.

4. To cultivate an online community and engage with an audience.

Blog Post Examples

1. List-Based Blog Post

List-Based Post Example: 17 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid in 2021, According to HubSpot Bloggers

List-based posts are sometimes called "listicles," a mix of the words "list" and "article." These are articles that deliver information in the form of a list. A listicle uses sub-headers to break down the blog post into individual pieces, helping readers skim and digest your content more easily.

2. Thought Leadership Post

Example: How HubSpot’s Customers Are Shaping the Next Normal

Thought-leadership-blog-example

3. Curated Collection Post

Example: 8 Examples of Evolution in Action

An example blog post featuring a curated collection

Curated collections are a special type of listicle blog post. Rather than sharing tips or methods for doing something, this type of blog post shares a list of real examples that all have something in common in order to prove a larger point.

4. Slide Presentation

Example: The HubSpot Culture Code

Example slides presentation, HubSpot Culture Code

HubSpot Slides is a presentation tool that helps publishers package a lot of information into easily shareable slides. Think of it like a PowerPoint, but for the web. With this in mind, SlideShare blog posts help you promote your SlideShare so that it can generate a steady stream of visitors.

Unlike blogs, slide decks don’t often rank well on search engines, so they need a platform for getting their message out there to the people who are looking for it. By embedding and summarizing your SlideShare on a blog post, you can share a great deal of information and give it a chance to rank on Google at the same time.

5. Newsjacking Post

Example: Ivy Goes Mobile With New App for Designers

An example of a newsjacking blog post

"Newsjacking" is a nickname for "hijacking" your blog to break important news related to your industry. Therefore, the newsjack post is a type of article whose sole purpose is to garner consumers’ attention and, while offering them timeless professional advice, prove your blog is a trusted resource for learning about the big things that happen in your industry.

The newsjack example above was published by Houzz, a home decor merchant and interior design resource, about a new mobile app that was launched just for interior designers. Houzz didn’t launch the app, but the news of its launching is no less important to Houzz’s audience.

6. Infographic Post

Example: The Key Benefits of Studying Online [Infographic]

An example from an infographic blog post

The infographic post serves a similar purpose as the SlideShare post — the fourth example, explained above — in that it conveys information for which plain blog copy might not be the best format.

For example, when you’re looking to share a lot of statistical information (without boring or confusing your readers), building this data into a well-designed, even engaging infographic can keep your readers engaged with your content. It also helps readers remember the information long after they leave your website.

7. How-to Post

Example: How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step Guide

For this example, you need not look any further than the blog post you’re reading right now! How-to guides like this one help solve a problem for your readers. They’re like a cookbook for your industry, walking your audience through a project step by step to improve their literacy on the subject.

8. Guest Post

Example: Your Bookmarkable Guide to Social Media Image Sizes in 2021 [Infographic]

Example of a guest blog post

Guest posts are a type of blog post that you can use to include other voices on your blog. For example, if you want to get an outside expert’s opinion on a topic, a guest post is perfect for that.

How to Write a Blog Post Graphic

How to Write a Blog Post

  1. Draw from your buyer personas and what you know about your audience.
  2. Pull from your content strategy and/or brainstormed topics.
  3. Identify what’s missing from the existing discourse.
  4. Choose what type of blog post you’re writing.
  5. Generate a few different titles and choose the best one.
  6. Create your outline and designate keyword-rich H2s and H3s.
  7. Write your blog post!
  8. Proofread your post.
  9. Add images and other media elements to support your ideas.
  10. Upload your post into your CMS.
  11. Determine a conversion path (what you want your audience to do next).
  12. Add calls to action to guide your audience to take action.
  13. Link to other relevant blog posts within your content.
  14. Optimize for on-page SEO.
  15. Publish and promote the blog post.
  16. Track the performance of the blog post over time.

1. Draw from your buyer personas and what you know about your audience.

For instance, if your readers are millennials looking to start a business, you probably don’t need to provide them with information about getting started in social media — most of them already have that down.

You might, however, want to give them information about how to adjust their social media approach (for example — from what may be a casual, personal approach to a more business-savvy, networking-focused approach). That kind of tweak is what helps you publish content about the topics your audience really wants and needs.

2. Pull from your content strategy and/or brainstormed topics.

3. Identify what’s missing from the existing discourse.

You want to meet a need that hasn’t already been met in your topic cluster. Otherwise, you run the risk of writing content for topics that are already over-saturated. It’s hard to beat saturated search queries when you’re trying to rank against high authority publications — but not impossible if your content is answering the queries the competition hasn’t.

4. Choose what type of blog post you’re writing.

5. Generate a few different titles and choose the best one.

6. Create your outline and designate keyword-rich H2s and H3s.

When outlining, you need to center your main ideas with keyword-rich H2s and H3s. These are going to be your headers and subheaders that readers typically search for, and the information that Google crawls when indexing and ranking content.

7. Write your blog post!

Write about what you already know, and if necessary, conduct additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points, while providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources. When you do, always try to find accurate and compelling data to use in your post.

This is also your opportunity to show personality in your writing. Blog posts don’t have to be strictly informational, they can be filled with interesting anecdotes and even humor if it serves a purpose in expressing your ideas. It also factors into creating and maintaining your blog’s brand voice.

8. Proofread your post.

9. Add images and other media elements to support your ideas.

When you’re finished checking for grammar, shift your focus to adding other elements to the blog post than text. There’s much more to making a good blog post than copy, here’s some following elements to add in support of your ideas:

Featured Image

An example of a featured image on a blog post

Visual Appearance

Visual appearance example in a blog post

Topics and Tags

Tags are specific, public-facing keywords that describe a post. They also allow readers to browse for more content in the same category on your blog. Refrain from adding a laundry list of tags to each post. Instead, put some thought into a blog tagging strategy.

10. Upload your post into your CMS.

11. Determine a conversion path (what you want your audience to do next).

A conversion path is a process by which an anonymous website visitor becomes a known lead. It sounds simple enough, but creating an effective conversion path requires a clear understanding of your target audience and their needs.

HubSpot Flywheel Model

12. Add calls to action to guide your audience to take action.

Call to action (CTA) are a part of a webpage, advertisement, or piece of content that encourages the audience to do something. You can add them to your blog post to guide your reader with “next steps” or a conversion path.

Authorship:

https://www.ionos.com/digitalguide/hosting/blogs/creating-a-blog/
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-a-blog
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-start-a-blog

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