Everyone talks about blogs. According to SoftwareFindr, there are some 500 million online. But what is a blog? 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, what is a blog post and what is a blog 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 blogs 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 Do Blogs 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.
- Conclusion – Why Having A Blog Is Important And Why You Should Create A Blog.
What Exactly Is A Blog?
A blog is a version of a website. It’s a type of website that organises 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 organising your information.
Pages are used for static information that the blog 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 blogs and websites are murky… although all blogs are a type of website, not all websites have blogs… But it’s always possible to add a blog to a website.
How Did Blogging Start?
Blogs started out 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 blogging started to take off big time.
Blogs were 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 blogs are still run as hobbies. Yet there’s an increasing number of people who use a blog to make money online, or businesses who blog to drive traffic to their websites.
How Do Blogs Work?
Compared with a typical website, a blog is just a better way to present and organise large amounts of content. A blogger will regularly create posts, just like this one.
#1 Blog posts
Simply Hatch is a blog. If you click on my Blog page you’ll see that its an archive of all my posts. The latest post is at the top of the pile.
Ideally these posts would be published regularly. (In practice there’s a big gap where I was creating my Hatch A Blog course).
I’ve sub-divided my content using tags. You can read more about the difference between categories and tags in my post Permalinks And WordPress Settings (The Stuff You Need To Know).
My header and footer menus, (at the top and bottom of the page), are mainly links to my static pages such as About, Blog and Resources. 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 500 million blogs 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 of a blog will vary greatly.
A blogger could be someone talking passionately about their hobby and what they got up to at the weekend. These are personal blogs.
What is the purpose of a personal blog? Many are purely self promoting; the blogger is possibly seeking fame or thinking the blog will benefit their career. (For example, many athletes keep personal blogs).
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.
Blogs for making money
A blog like this one, is built around a topic with the aim of providing information. In this case it’s about helping people make money online by blogging.
My last 7 figure business used a blog purely for marketing. By blogging about topics that interested my customers, I drove substantial traffic to my eCommerce store.
What Is A Blogging Platform?
A blogging platform is the 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 organises your blog posts.
The best CMS is WordPress. WordPress powers around 28% 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 over your blog 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 a blog 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.
This post explores the different types of hosting:
How Do You Start A Blog For Beginners?
Fortunately you’ve come to the right place if you want to learn about “What is a blog?” and “How do you start a blog for beginners?”.
The key steps for how to start a blog for beginners are:
- Choose your blog topic
- Select a blog platform
- Pick a domain name
- Signup for hosting
- Choose a theme
- Write your first post
- Generate traffic to your blog
- Make Money Blogging
How to get started blogging if you’re a complete beginner:
Just to be super helpful, here’s a selection of posts the will help you get started if you’re a complete beginner:
The Hatch A Blog ebook covers everything I wish I’d known when I started using WordPress and will help you set up a blog that’s focused on making money right from Day 1.
How Do Beginner Blogs Make Money?
A scary thought! Most beginner blogs don’t make any money at all!
So why do so many people start blogging?
The answer… because they start their blog as a “hobby” and because they follow a “quick and easy start a blog guide” and think that’s all they need to do. Just blog! About anything…
Starting a blog 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!
You need to start with a clear end game in mind. How much do you really want to make from your blog? What are other people in your niche doing and how can you make your blog just as good, if not better?
My last online business which I promoted through a blog had a 7 figure turnover. It takes a lot of time and hard work to get to that level.
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 your blog as a side income.
Beginner blogs 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. Think of all those annoying TV ads – GoCompare, CheckaTrade… these are all affiliate marketing sites.
The best bit is, you don’t have to have a big website to make money from affiliate marketing. If you promote products you genuinely use, that interest your visitors, you have a model for affiliate marketing.
It’s a very low cost business model, you only need a small amount of traffic to get started and, if you pick the right products, there are good profit margins.
Adverts are the first money making idea that beginners latch onto. Why? Because it’s 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, you need a tonne of traffic to make good money from adverts. As a beginner blogger it takes time to build your site visitors to a level where you’re making decent money.
Plus everyone hates adverts! Starting out, adverts are a good way to scare people off your blog. It’s best to wait until you have a good following before signing up for adverts (or better still, find a better way to make money blogging).
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 500 million blogs. A big chunk of them are money making or business blogs.
These blogs 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, blogging 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 blog writers or copy writers 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 is 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.
Online Courses and Information Products
Find out more more about making money online through blogging by signing up for my FREE course to discover the 8 Ways To Make Money Online . Here’s a clue, the best ways all involve blogging…
Conclusion – Why Having A Blog Is Important And Why You Should Create 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, an Etsy or eBay shop , seriously consider setting up a blog as an essential part of your business marketing.
Read my post: Blogging For Business, Why Everyone Is Doing It.
For everyone-else, blogging is a terrific way of making money online. I’m not going to suggest that you can turn 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. If you want to start a blog and make sure it’s setup correctly, ready to start making money online, signup for my Hatch A Blog ebook now!