Everyone talks about blogging. There are some 600 million blogs online. But what is a blog? And how does blogging work? Have you ever stopped and given it some thought?
Wondered what they really are? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Get set to explore everything about blogging in this 101 guide, such as what is a blog post and what is blogging used for. And no it’s not just for rabbiting on about your personal life…
Plus there’s that one BIG question. How do beginner bloggers make money…
What Is A Blog?
The low-down on everything blogging related. All the questions you’re dying to ask. Why, how, want’s the point, and is it worth it? Honest answers without the BS:
- What Exactly Is A Blog?
- How Did Blogging Start?
- How Does Blogging Work?
- What Is The Purpose Of A Blog?
- What Is A Blogging Platform?
- How Do You Start A Blog For Beginners?
- How Do Beginner Blogs Make Money?
- How Do Bloggers Get Paid?
- Other Ways Bloggers Make Money.
What Exactly Is A Blog?
Simply put it’s a version of a website. A type of website that organizes content in the form of categories and posts. The posts are presented in reverse chronological order. That means your latest post goes to the top of the pile.
A blog (just like a website), also has pages, so you have two different systems for organizing your information.
Pages are used for static information that the owner expects you to reference frequently, such as the “About” or “Contact” pages.
In contrast, posts may have a shorter life span. Posts written several months or years ago may no longer be topical. The content evolves over time. It’s like producing a magazine in daily or weekly installments.
The boundaries between blogging and websites are murky… although all blogs are a type of website, not all websites will have one.
How Did Blogging Start?
It all started as online journals or personal diaries. It was a way for individuals to share information. The first ever was Links.net created by Justin Hall in 1994.
At the time it wasn’t called a blog, just a personal homepage.
It was 1997 when the term “weblog” started to be used and this was shortened to blog a couple of years later. The platform Blogger arrived in 1999 and it started to take off big time.
Blogging was rapidly adopted by journalists, politicians… anyone who wanted to share their views with a wider audience.
Fast forward to the present day and almost 50% of all sites are still run as hobbies. Yet there’s an increasing number of people posting to make money online or businesses who use them to drive traffic to their websites.
How Does Blogging Work?
Compared with a typical website, blogging works as a better way to present and organize large amounts of content. A blogger will regularly create posts, just like this one.
Ideally, posts are published regularly and the archive is a record of all the latest posts. The most recent one is at the top of the pile.
Posts are organized into categories to make it easier for readers to find them.
Tags can be used to sub-divided content.
My header and footer menus, (at the top and bottom of the page), are mainly links to my static pages such as About, Privacy, and Tools. These pages contain information I expect most visitors to keep referring to. Information that needs to be highly visible and easy to access.
What Is The Purpose Of A Blog?
With some 600 million online, I doubt you’ll be surprised to learn that not all have the same purpose.
Why Do People Write Blogs?
In general, they exist for marketing and self-promotion. Yet the purpose can vary greatly.
These are people who write passionately about their hobby and what they got up to at the weekend. They’re personal blogs written mainly for enjoyment.
Many are purely self-promoting; the writer is possibly seeking fame or believes posting will benefit their career. (For example, these styles can be popular with athletes).
But the purpose of a lot of hobby bloggers is purely to connect with like-minded people. They focus on their particular niche interests and are devoid of any interest in making money.
For Making Money
These tend to be built around a topic with the aim of providing information. In my case, it’s about helping people start blogging and finding financial freedom.
My last 7 figure business used blogging purely for marketing. By covering topics that interested my customers, I drove substantial traffic to an eCommerce store.
What Is A Blogging Platform?
The platform is the name given to software used to publish your content on the internet. It’s also called a Content Management System (CMS) which makes a lot of sense because it basically edits and organizes your posts.
The best CMS is WordPress. WordPress powers around 35% of all websites. Yes, that’s a lot. When people talk about WordPress they mean the WordPress.org version.
It’s a platform that’s designed for blogging. You get complete control, which is just how you want it for customization and making money.
WordPress is an open-source platform. This means it’s free to use and there are thousands of plugins (software add-ons) you can use to adapt and enhance the platform.
Basically, whatever you want to do on your site, someone somewhere will have designed a plugin to do it. A lot of these plugins are free. Great when you’re starting out!
To start blogging you need a host. This is the home of your website. You rent space for your website on a server, a device that manages a network of computers.
These are the hosting providers I recommend at different stages of your blogging business.
How Do You Start A Blog For Beginners?
Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place if you want to learn about everything blogging-related:
The key steps for how to start a blog for beginners are:
- Choose your topic
- Select a platform
- Pick a domain name
- Signup for hosting
- Choose a theme
- Write your first post
- Generate traffic
- Make Money Blogging
How to get started blogging if you’re a complete beginner:
I have a completely up-to-date FREE guide for starting a blog aimed at beginner bloggers. Find out how to get started blogging quickly and easily:
How Do Beginner Blogs Make Money?
A scary thought! Most beginners don’t make any money at all!
So why do so many people start?
The answer… that they start up as a “hobby” because they follow a “quick and easy start guide” and think that’s all they need to do. Just post! About anything…
Starting is easy enough, but if you want to make money there’s a whole lot more you need to know. You need a clear focus: where’s your traffic going to come from and how are you going to convert that traffic into money?
It’s so easy for beginner bloggers to fall for the hype “How I made $103,000 blogging in less than a year”. Maybe some of these headlines are true. But unless you really know what you’re doing, that type of money will be way out of your reach!
I like to think my lifestyle blog is a typical example of the type of money you can make by blogging in your evenings and weekends. It’s a blog I’ve worked on sporadically since the summer of 2019 and in less than 18 months grew to an income of $3000+. You can follow the exact steps I used to grow my blog in my FREE 12-Month Plan.
When it comes to blogging, you need to start with a clear end game in mind. How much do you really want to make? What are other people in your niche doing and how can you make your site just as good, if not better?
A sensible approach if you’re starting as a beginner is to aim for $500 to $1000 a month as your first goal and start blogging as a side income.
Beginners mainly make money from affiliate marketing. This is where the real money is for beginners. You promote a product through your site and earn a commission on any sales.
You may not have heard of affiliate marketing but you will definitely have come across it. (In the UK we have all those annoying TV ads – GoCompare, CheckaTrade… these are all affiliate marketing sites.)
The best bit is, that you don’t have to have a big website to make money from affiliate marketing provided you pick the right products. If you promote products you genuinely use, with good commissions, that interest your visitors – you have a model for affiliate marketing.
It’s a very low-cost business model and you only need a small amount of traffic to get started. Simply Hatch is a low-traffic blog, (I get way more visits to my lifestyle blog), yet I still make a good income from affiliate marketing.
Adverts are the first money-making idea that beginners latch onto. Why? Because it sounds easy.
Set up Google AdSense on your blog and make money from your visitors. Google pays out on a Cost per Click basis: when someone visits your site and clicks on an advert, you receive a share of the AdSense revenue.
Sounds easy, right?
The only problem is, that revenue from AdSense is tiny and if you fall foul of their regulations, you’ll be prevented from joining a good ad network such as Mediavine in the future.
You need a high-traffic blog to make good money from adverts. It’s just not worth it as a beginner. Instead, concentrate on growing your blog to a level where you can apply to Mediavine and in the meantime make some money from affiliate marketing.
(Mediavine currently has an entry requirement of 50,000 sessions a month, but they are planning on rolling out a service for smaller blogs.)
How Do Bloggers Get Paid?
If you’re thinking about “How Do I Get Paid To Blog?” consider that there is a huge market for professional content writers. Just think of all those 600 million sites. Many of these are professional sites.
These professional sites are constantly looking for good content writers. Most sites find it hard to source bloggers with decent writing skills. So if you have what it takes, writing online content can be a well-paid freelance career.
If you’re looking for a freelance post, these sites are a good place to start:
It’s also a good idea to search for copywriting jobs on Google. (Just make sure you select Tools > Any Time > Past Week to avoid spending hours looking through old posts.
Other Ways Bloggers Make Money
Making money from blogging works but it’s by no means limited to adverts, affiliate marketing, and freelancing. Some of these different methods take a little more skill or at least a willingness to learn.
- Sponsored Products
- Digital Products
- Online Courses and Information Products
Find out more about making money in my post:
Conclusion – What Is A Blog?
A blog is an efficient way to drive traffic to an existing website. If you have your own business, whether it’s an online eCommerce store, or an Etsy shop, seriously consider setting one up as an essential part of your business marketing.
For everyone else, it’s a terrific way to make money online. I’m not going to suggest that you can build a 6 figure income in less than a year. That takes a lot of hard work and a real knowledge of what you’re doing.
But blogging is an excellent side income and you never know when the extra money will come in handy. Ready to start yours now?
Frequently Asked Questions
Simply put a blog is a version of a website. A type of website that organizes content in the form of categories and posts. The posts are presented in reverse chronological order. That means your latest post goes to the top of the pile. Blogs started out as online journals but these days the distinction between blogs and websites is blurred as blogs are increasingly used to make money online.
A blog post is an article written for a blog – just like this one. It differs from a website page because blog posts appear in date order with the latest at the top of the pile.
Blogs started in the 90s as online journals and were originally termed weblogs. With the arrival of the platform Blogger in 1999, the term was shortened to blog.
There are some 500 million blogs online and not all have the same purpose. The majority are personal blogs – hobby bloggers talking about their interests or self-promoting. Some are used to make money online, mainly from advertising or affiliate marketing, and the rest are used to promote businesses.
Around 80% of blogs make very little money and their owners are hobbyists who blog for the love of writing. Of the remainder, a few make considerable sums of money from advertising or promoting products. The rest use blogs to drive traffic to their own businesses. Bloggers can also freelance, getting paid to write content for the considerable number of professional blogs and websites.
A blog is simply a better way to organize large amounts of content on a website. Blog posts are arranged in reverse chronological order with the most recent post at the top of the archive page. Blogging works in many different ways depending on the specific purpose – for influence, to inform about hobbies, to make money or promote a business.
Sunday 10th of October 2021
I don't have a blog site but have many posts written. Is there any money in personal blogs that have tried recipes, crafts, furniture makeovers, kind of a jack of all trade type blog?
Monday 11th of October 2021
Hi Lisa, there are plenty of successful examples of these types of blogs writing about crafts, furniture makeovers... but the ones that make money are focused on their audience and writing posts that will rank in Google search results or be shared on social media. To me, a personal blog implies writing posts that interest you rather than researching the type of posts people are searching for.
Jared dela Cruz
Sunday 28th of March 2021
Hi Alison. First of all, thank you for this amazing post. I myself have been hard at work blogging, but I haven't had any success yet. I've earned only a few dollars so far. I'm not quitting though. I'm in this for the long run. I've been blogging for months already, but it's only now that I'm getting "serious", at least I think so. I'm doubling, tripling my efforts now, and continuously learning from people who already made it big in the blogging world, people like you. So I'm out here reading everything I can about blogging, even if I have read them before or have known them already, just because I know I will always learn something new. Thank you.
Sunday 28th of March 2021
Hi Jared For a first blog it looks like you're making really good progress. I've had a look and I have a few comments which may help. You describe your blog as a travel blog but the topics you cover are all over the place. Decide what your blog is about and stick to it. I know it's been a difficult year for travel bloggers but this should start to change plus a lot of travel bloggers have done well out of writing about their home areas such as travel in the US. Some of the keywords you're trying to rank for are completely out of your league. As a new blogger, you have to be realistic. You have no chance of ranking for "cottagecore". "How to live cottagecore" would have been a better target keyword. You're a good writer but I suggest you make your writing a little more punchy and make use of subheadings. People flick through blog posts on their phones and few will stick around to read anything in great detail. Think about what your audience is looking for and give it to them in an easily accessible format. I also had a quick look at your pagespeed on Google pagespeedinsights. There's huge room for improvement. Think about changing your theme to Generate Press. Simple themes are best!
Wednesday 21st of October 2020
This is really great. Like step by step guiding.
I really want to start blogging How do I begin now please
Tuesday 27th of October 2020
Hi Wisdom - you can get started right now by following my start a blog guide https://simplyhatch.com/start-blog/
Thursday 18th of June 2020
Love the amazing post, keep up the good work.
Thursday 18th of June 2020
Good example of a niche blog you have there Louis. A little repetitive but one way to get visitors!
Wednesday 14th of August 2019
Thank you for your reflections and kind words Vensi. I quite agree life is an exciting journey and integrity is so important when you're a blogger. When people are reading your posts there's a duty to be honest and informative.