How Do Blogs Work?

Mychelle Blake
blog letters on a board

As blogs become more relevant and popular online, you may be asking yourself, "How do blogs work?" Blogs are basically simplified websites that just about anyone can create and publish.

What Is a Blog?

The term "blog" is short for "weblog," which refers to an online journal. Blogs began as personal mini sites that people used to record their opinions, stories, and other writings as well as photos and videos.

As the web has grown and changed, blogs have gained more recognition and merit. Nowadays, blogs can be for businesses, news, networking, and other professional means. There are still plenty of personal blogs out there, but overall blogs are being taken much more seriously.

Blogs Versus Websites

Websites are generally made up of many pages linked together through a home page. They are divided into logical sections, and visitors can navigate through the site in a systematic manner.

Blogs, on the other hand, are based on frequent and timely updates. Visitors often don't move through the blog past the main page, since subsequent pages become outdated quickly.

How Do Blogs Work?

Blogs consist of a series of posts made by one or more bloggers. The posts appear in reverse chronological order, with the most recent post at the top of the main page. All posts are archived, and are usually sorted into categories. Readers can browse these categories or page back through the blog to read older entries.

Blogs can focus on a single topic or contain a wide range of themes and ideas. Some of the most common blogs focus on things like:

  • Small businesses and their products
  • Various aspects of parenting
  • Food and cooking
  • Celebrity sightings and gossip
  • Professional sports and specific teams
  • Product reviews
  • Career advice

This is just a small sampling of blog topics. For almost every niche subject you can think of, there are likely several related blogs in existence.

Blogging for Fun

Most blogs are started by people who want to share their ideas and thoughts. They post updates about themselves, their jobs, their families, and any hobbies or interests they might have. These blogs usually have limited readership, since most people aren't interested in the day-to-day lives of strangers.

Niche blogs that focus on one specific topic have a wider range, and these can become very popular. Like-minded people with similar interests become regular readers, and sometimes small communities are formed this way.

Blogging for Profit

On the other hand, many blogs start up with the hope of making money. Advertisements are placed on the sidebars and posts, and bloggers are paid per page view or per click. While there are many successful bloggers out there making a hefty profit through blogging, the vast majority make mere pennies.

Some businesses also start blogs to promote their products. These companies generally try to make things lighthearted and fun, holding contests or getting potential customers involved.

Modern Popular Blogs

Popular blogging topics tend to come and go as audience taste changes. Currently some of the most popular blogs you'll find on the internet are:

  • Fashion blogs that not only talk about current styles but also provide tips on dressing up, using makeup and styling hair. Currently some of the most popular fashion blogs are Wait, You Need This, Hello Fashion and Girls With Curves.
  • Political blogs have become increasingly popular and cover a variety of views across the political spectrum. Some of these blogs have become quite influential and are a primary source of news for many Americans. Some popular political blogs covering a variety of viewpoints include Power Line, ThinkProgress and FiveThirtyEight.
  • Another popular blog subject are food blogs, which contain creative recipes, food shopping tips and specialty topics like vegan, gluten-free and Keto meals. A taste of highly trafficked food blogs include Serious Eats, Tasty and Food52.
  • "Mommy" blogs and parenting are a big part of the "blogosphere" and these are often very personal with advice for parents on all things related to raising kids. Some also specialize in home-schooling tips. Top parenting blogs include options like Family Focus Blog, Scary Mommy and Free Range Kids.
  • Home improvement and DIY blogs have a large audience and these cover everything from how to do woodworking, specialty painting, and gardening. Most contain detailed instructions and photos or video on how you can recreate the blogger's work. Some common DIY blogs are Young House Love, Remdoelaholic, and DIY Playbook.
  • Travel blogs are highly trafficked by readers and some focus on tips on traveling to specific places while others are more journal-style blogs detailing people's adventures in exotic locations. If reading about far flung places is your passion, you'll enjoy the blogs A Broken Backpack, Drew Binsky and Nomadic Boys.
  • Pets are a big business in the U.S. and it's no surprise that blogs focused on companion animals are hugely popular. Some feature a variety of subjects related to pets such as care, feeding, training and the latest animal news. Others narrow in on specific subjects such as behavior, alternate medicine and home-cooked pet food. Some much read blogs about pets are Two French Bulldogs, Catladyland, and I Can Has Cheezeburger?.

Getting Started Blogging

It's quite simple to start a blog and there are many free sites you can join and get blogging right away. All you need is a topic you'd like to write about and having an overall topic strategy before you start can help you with enhancing your chosen theme. Some common sites that people use to blog are Medium, Tumblr, Blogger, and LinkedIn. If you prefer to blog on your own website, you can easily set up a site using WordPress software, which while the software is free and many themes are as well, you will have to buy a domain name and purchase hosting. Finally you will want to research keywords and add search engine optimization if self-hosted in order to drive readers to your blog.

Why People Blog

In answering the question "how do blogs work?" it's important to consider the reason why so many people are blogging now. The appeal of blogging is that anyone can do it. Anyone who is interested in sharing their words with the world can do so with a few clicks of a mouse and a keyboard. Another common reason people blog is to establish themselves as subject matter experts in their chosen field which can lead to more sales or customers. Blogs can also be monetized to earn extra or even full-time income. Finally guest blogs are on authoritative and sites with high traffic are often employed to bolster the SEO and links for other websites.

Sending a Message

Whether people have a message that they want to convey, a professional service that they're looking to sell, or a simple desire to have their words published for others to read, blogs can accomplish these goals simply and easily. Hundreds of new blogs are started each day, and while many of them are quickly abandoned, others persevere.

Promoting Expertise

It's true that blogs don't yet carry the perceived authority of traditional news or literature services, but they are becoming more respected as more people embrace their simplicity and effectiveness.

Blogs Are Here to Stay

Blogs have gone from a simple journal-style way of expressing people's thoughts and opinions to sites with thousands and even millions of visitors. They are often considered authorities in their chosen topic focus and many bloggers can make a substantial income through partnering with businesses to influence buyers. Blogs will no doubt continue to grow and develop as both a personal and business form of communication online.

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How Do Blogs Work?