Get the answers to frequently asked questions about blogging
Question 1: What is a Blog?
A blog (also called a weblog or web log) is a website consisting of entries (also called posts) appearing in reverse chronological order with the most recent entry appearing first (similar in format to a daily journal). Blogs typically include features such as comments and links to increase user interactivity. Blogs are created using specific publishing software.
Top 10 Reasons to Start a Blog:
To Express Your Thoughts and Opinions
You have something to say, and blogs provide a place to say it and be heard.
To Market or Promote Something
Blogging is a great way to help market or promote yourself or your business, product or service.
To Help People
Many blogs are written to help people who may be going through similar situations that the blogger has experienced. Many parenting and health-related blogs are written for this purpose.
To Establish Yourself as an Expert
Blogs are wonderful tools to help bloggers establish themselves as experts in a field or topic. For example, if you’re trying to get a job in a specific field or hoping to publish a book on a specific topic, blogging can help legitimize your expertise and expand your online presence and platform.
To Connect with People Like You
Blogging brings like-minded people together. Starting a blog can help you find those people and share your opinions and thoughts.
To Make a Difference
Many blogs are issue-based meaning the blogger is trying to provide information to sway people’s thinking in a certain direction. Many political blogs and social issues blogs are written by bloggers who are trying to make a difference in their own ways.
To Stay Active or Knowledgeable in a Field or Topic
Since successful blogging is partially dependent on posting frequency and providing updated, fresh information, it’s a perfect way to help a blogger stay abreast of the events in a specific field or topic.
To Stay Connected with Friends and Family
The world has shrunk since the Internet has become more accessible. Blogs provide a simple way for family and friends to stay connected from different parts of the world by sharing stories, photos, videos and more.
To Make Money
It’s important to point out that most bloggers don’t make a lot of money blogging, but the potential does exist to generate revenue from your blog with hard work and commitment. There are many bloggers who bring in big bucks. With patience and practice, you can make money through advertising and other income-generating activities on your blog.
To Have Fun and Be Creative
Many people start a blog simply for fun. Perhaps a blogger is a fan of a particular actor or loves knitting and wants to share that passion through a blog. One of the most important keys to successful blogging is having a passion about your blog’s topic, so you can write prolifically about it. Some of the best and most interesting blogs started out as blogs that were written just for fun and to give the blogger a creative outlet.
Question 2: How Do I Start a Blog?
To start a blog you first need to select the topic you want to write about. Next, choose ablogging software and decide how you want your blog to be hosted. Open an account with your chosen blogging software and blog host. Obtain a domain name, and you’re ready to go!
Question 3: How are Blogs Used?
Traditionally, blogs were used as something like an online diary. They included links that the author had found interesting that day as well as life stories.
But as blogs became more and more popular, businesses started to use them. The first industry to really embrace blogs was the news media. Journalists post their stories to the blog and readers subscribe to the blog news feeds to receive up-to-the-minute information on a variety of topics. Now, blogs are used for many different purposes, like:
- Personal diaries;
- News feeds;
- Hourly, daily, weekly updates of websites;
- New information on a topic;
- Product updates: reviews, new versions, new products;
- This day in history;
- Birthdays and other special events;
- Almost anything you can think of.
Question 4: What do I need to set up a blog?
Since blogs are just web pages, all you really need to set up a blog is a computer, space on a web hosting server for your pages, and time to create the blog. But there is an easier way to go.
There are numerous applications created to help you build a blog. One of the easiest is Blogger.com. This site allows you to set up a weblog in about 10 minutes. LiveJournal is another popular hosted option.
Question 5: I have my own web server, are there blog tools for me?
Yes, there are a number of blog tools that work with the server you already have. My favorite is WordPress.org. WordPress.org is the same software as found on WordPress.com, but it is open source and available for you to install on your own servers. Most of the blogs that I run run on WordPress.
Question 6: How can I post to my blog?
There are many different tools to use to post to your blog. Many of the applications allow things like posting from an offline editors, email posting, and even posting by phone. I have used a cell phone with web access to post to my weblog.
Question 7: Are there other tools I can use to post?
There are many tools you can use to post to your weblog. Most blog applications these days offer support for the Blogger API which allows desktop and mobile client tools to connect to the blog for posting and management.
Question 8: Why would I want to use a client tool other than the blog application?
Blog client tools or assistants are used for a variety of reasons.
- They are easier to use than the blog application, as they have fewer features.
- Because they are desktop and not server tools, they allow you to work offline and publish once you’re ready.
- Some provide better WYSIWYG support, for those who don’t like HTML.
- Some integrate directly into your browser.
- Some are available on your mobile device so you can post from anywhere.
- Some offer management tools that are easier to understand.
Question 9: What is RSS?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it is a way to tell other people about your new blog entries. You post your weblog entries in the XML specification RSS. Then readers all over the world can view your blog entries on content aggregators. Or you can post content from other blogs on your site using RSS tools.
Question 10: I run a business, what good is a blog to me?
Weblogs are a great traffic generator, but only if they are honest, and not just marketing hype. There are many uses for a business weblog—not just for personal diaries.
You can use a blog to keep your customers up-to-date on your products, as a way to highlight your press releases, or even just to make your company seem more friendly. Blogs are a great way to find out what your customers think of your site, products, or company as they comment and participate in the blog itself.
Question 11: I’m a Web Designer/Developer, should I have a blog?
Ultimately, you are the only one who can answer this question. Doing a blog well means that you have to be willing to write for it fairly regularly. One of the saddest things to see is a blog that hasn’t been updated in months or years. And if you have it linked prominently from your home page, this can be even more embarassing. But the benefits to you and your design business are the same as for any other business. You make your company seem more personable, you can highlight new features or PR information, and keep your services up-to-date and in mind for your clients.
Question 12: What is a permalink?
Permalink is short for “permanent link.” It is a link that readers can use to bookmark the current blog post. This is important, as most blogs change regularly, and without a permanent link, the posts would be impossible to find later.
Permalinks are usually indicated by a linked pound-sign (#) or the permalink at the end of the post.
Question 13: What is Trackback?
Trackback is a tool to allow you to notify other blog authors of your blog posts. Most blog software uses it to comment on a blog post as an entry on their site, rather than as comments on the other blog. It is done automatically in most blog software, and some bloggers show these links along with the comments made directly on the blog. It’s similar to linking to a permalink (permananent link) but it adds the functionality where you actually tell the original blogger that you’ve linked to them. This is called “sending a ping.”
Hope you liked this FAQ article and see you next time with other lessons!
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