What is a Blog and How Do You Start Blogging?

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What is a blog?

You’ve probably heard about it. Heck, your friends probably have them.

But did you know that you can make a full-time living, or even a 6-figure yearly income blogging?

That’s true.

In recent years, blogging has become big business. To the point where big brands are now working with all sorts of bloggers to promote their products.

So, if you’re thinking of starting a blog but aren’t sure what’s all this “blogging” thing about, this article’s for you.

By the end, you’ll know:

  • What is a blog
  • Who can become a blogger
  • How to start your own blog
  • How blogs make money
  • How bloggers actually get paid

Sounds good? Let’s go.

What is a Blog?

In its original form, a blog is an online journal or diary. This is why entries are dates and are arranged in reverse chronological order. 

That’s because people were using blogs to record or account what they were doing on a regular basics, much like you would on a journal or diary.

The only difference is that these entries can be seen by the public via the internet.

While web blogs still function in the same way today, they’re mostly used to display information instead of someone’s personal experience. Although some people still use it for the latter.

Additionally, blogs have become much more sophisticated. They now contain a lot of images, social media buttons and all sorts of widgets, including those to collect visitors’ email addresses.

Blogs vs. Websites: What’s the Difference?

One of the most common questions I’m asked is: what’s the difference between a blog and website?

Simply put, a blogs is a type of website. As such, a website can be a blog or come in some other form.

To make it easier to understand, here’s a list of some of the more popular types of websites.

  • Blog – as defined above, blogs contain information that is arranged in reverse chronological order. That is, the latest published blog post being the first one you see.
  • E-commerce website – These are online stores. They’re main purpose is to sell you products. A few examples include Amazon and Walmart.
  • Magazine website – These websites feature lots of articles containing information on all sorts of topics. In many cases, these sites have print versions as well. A few examples include Forbes and Better Homes & Gardens. That said some magazine websites don’t have print versions, like the Huffington Post.
  • Landing Pages – These are one-page websites. They serve only only one purpose. That’s to make you do something, which in blogspeak is a Call to Action (CTA). Often it’s to collect emails. But, there are some that are designed to sell product, sign up for a free trial or test run their product.
  • Social Media websites – These are among the most popular today. These platforms are geared to allow people to connect with other people online. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest are just a few of the many social media sites around.
  • Directory websites – When you want to find a brick and mortar store or shop online, you go to directory websites. Like the Yellow Pages, they contain listings of businesses. This lets you find the service you need whether it’s food delivery, plumbing or auto repair. One example of a director website is Yelp!
  • Dating websites – If you’re looking for love or trying to find someone special online, you’ll want to try visiting a dating website. These sites run on algorithms that match two people that it feels are compatible. Often dating sites come with phone apps to make them more accessible. A few examples include Match.com, Christian Mingle and Tinder.  

That said, blogs and website are similar in many ways. For one, they put content online for their visitors to see.

The main difference between them, as you can see from above, is how they’re structured, what they write about and what they’re meant to do.

Who is a Blogger?

A blogger is someone who operates a blog.

It doesn’t matter what kind of blog. As long as you run one, you’re a blogger.

That said, people often associate the term blogger with someone who’s famous or well-known. But that’s not necessarily the case.

Why?

Because there are many bloggers who run small blogs. As such, they’re not the “big-time” bloggers you seen on the news or mentioned in YouTube videos.

The bloggers you see on TV or mentioned by media outlets are often the big, well-known bloggers.

In blogspeak, they’re “influencers”.

Influencers are bloggers who have hundred of thousands or millions of followers (fans) who are loyal to them. As such, they have clout because their fans will listen to their recommendations. Thus, the moniker “influencer”.

The latter is the reason they get media attention. Brands are willing to pay influencers to get access to their huge fan base. In doing so, the influencer promotes their products.

In a way, it’s very similar to how brands use celebrity endorsers to convince people to buy their products.

How Do You Become a Blogger?

This is by far the simplest of all. All you need to do is to start your own blog.

The best part about it is that blogging is one of the least expensive businesses to start. In the first 6 months, you only spend between $250 to $500 to get your blog off the ground.

Compare that to traditional businesses when you initial capital easily runs into the tens of thousands of dollars at least.

How Do You Start a Blog?

Here’s how to start a blog step by step.

Step 1: Sign Up for Web Hosting

Every blogger needs a web host. That’s the set of servers that allow your website to be seen online. For this, I recommend BlueHost.

bluehost web hosting signup discount

BlueHost is my #1 choice for starting a blog for beginners because it offers a combination of affordability and performance.

More importantly, it has all the features you need to get started blogging.

And, almost everything is done with one click of a button, including installing your blog.

Step 2: Choose the Hosting Plan

BlueHost offers a few plans. Here, the biggest decision to figure out whether you want to create 1 website or more.

Ideally, you ought to start with one. This lets you focus your energy there first.

The good news is, if you decide you want to create another website you can easily upgrade. All it takes is emailing BlueHost or chatting with their 24/7 support team.

So in this case, choose the Basic Plan.

bluehost hosting plans

Step 3: Choose a Domain Name

This is be your blog’s name.

For example, Google’s domain name is Google.com. Facebook’s is Facebook.com

The good news is BlueHost comes with a free domain name. So, you don’t have to pay for your domain in the first year.

Step 4: Install WordPress

You want to install WordPress as your blogging platform.

This eliminates the need to know or do any coding.

WordPress is a content management system (CMS). That means it’s designed to let you write, edit and publish blog posts like you would on Microsoft Word.

In addition, it easily lets you design the look of your blog, the fonts, colors and sidebar content.

All without doing any programming.

That’s why majority of bloggers use WordPress. It lets you focus on blogging, not the tech.

The good news is, with BlueHost, you’ll be able to install WordPress by simply clicking a button.

Step 5: Choose a WordPress Theme

This is the last step you need to get your blog up and running.

When you install WordPress, it will set up a default theme.

Unfortunately, that theme isn’t pretty.

By installing your own WordPress theme, you’ll be able to choose among the many designs available.

The one I highly suggest is Divi Theme. This lets you personalize the theme using drag and drop.

Divi Theme for WordPress

That way, you can design your blog’s look without having to spend money on a designer or programmer.

Do Bloggers Make Money?

Today, many people make a full-time income from blogging. This wasn’t the case about a decade ago when only a handful of influencers could pull in enough money to make blogging a full-time job.

Better yet, bloggers many bloggers make 6-figures a year. And a handful, are 7-figure bloggers.

  • That’s why blogging has become so enticing.
  • You get to make a full-time income from it
  • You’re the boss
  • You make your own time and work whenever you want
  • You can work anywhere you want
  • You’re writing about what you’re interested in

So how do blogger make money?

If you want to be meticulous about it and count them one by one, you’ll likely end up with over 30 ways. And that number keeps increasing as time goes on.

The reality is, you’re only limited by your creativity.

That said, there are 8 most common ways bloggers make money. They’re the most common because they’re the most effective.

More importantly, they work with most audiences. This makes them easy to adapt to your blog no matter what topic you talk about.

Here they are:
  • Display ads. You place ads on sections of your blog. When people click on them, you make money. To do so, you’ll need to sign up with an ad network like Google Adsense, Mediavine or AdThrive. These companies supply the ads that show up on your blog.
  • Affiliate marketing. This is referral marketing. That is, you promote, refer or recommend products to your blog’s visitors. If they buy something through your blog, the product owner pays you a commission.
  • Sell digital products. Ebooks and courses are among the most popular products bloggers sell. These are often informational based that help their readers solve specific problems.
  • Sell your services. This is similar to the previous one. But instead of selling products, you’re selling things you can do. This includes freelance services like writing, proofreading, copywriting or graphics design just to name a few. You can likewise offer consulting and coaching services as well.
  • Sell physical products. If you have items you create or already have a brick and mortar shop that sells something, you can offer those products online as well. Sites like Shopify make it easy to integrate an online store with your blog. This lets you sell anything. The difference between physical and digital products is you’ll need a warehouse and inventory physical products.
  • Get blog sponsors. If you have a big enough reader base, brands will be willing to make sponsorship deals with you. Often it involves writing an article that mentions their brand or specific product. In return, you get paid for the exposure.
  • Sell memberships. You can likewise offer a monthly membership fee for premium or private access. This allows readers to content or other things that the public can’t access.
  • Sell tools. If you’re good at programming, you can create apps, software tools, WordPress themes or plugins and sell them to other bloggers.

As I’ve mentioned, these are the most popular. And between them, you’ll be able to find more than enough opportunities to make money with your blog. The key is to find which ones work best for you.

How Do Bloggers Get Paid?

Okay, so you can make money using the different methods above. So the question now is, how do bloggers get paid?

Well, that depends on what method of monetization you use.

But, in almost all cases you get paid in one of two ways:

  • Check. Check are the cheapest way to receive your payment. But, they’re also the slowest. Depending on where you live this often takes a few weeks. Plus, there’s the risk of the check getting lost somewhere in transit as well.
  • Paypal. This is the fastest way to receive your payment. But, Paypal charges you a small percentage when you withdraw your money. If you live outside the U.S. Paypal will convert the dollar value to your home currency’s equivalent. In doing so, they’ll tack on a good-sized conversion margin on the F/X rate.

So in summary,

  • Checks don’t cost you anything. But, they take more time. Although rare, you may also lose a check. Should that happen, just ask the payer to resend a check. It’s often a hassle to do this and somethings embarrassing as well. But, it’s still your hard earned money. Do note that some firms will charge you anywhere from $20 to $50 to have a check resent.
  • Paypal is the quickest. But, you will often have to pay a few extra fees. These fees come in percentage (%) form (in contrast to fixed rates). That means the bigger the amount, the bigger the fee gets.

Besides the actual funds payment itself, there’s also how you’re paid. This is where the kind of monetization method you use affects the way you’re paid.

Display Ads

You get paid by RPM. RPM is basically your revenue per thousand of impressions. That means for every 1,000 times an ad shows up on your site, you get a certain amount of dollars.

Here’s where your ad network comes into play.

  • Google Adsensewill probably pay you around $2 to $3 RPM.  That means you earn $2 to $3 per 1,000 page views. So, if your site gets 100,000 page views a month, you get between $200 to $300 monthly.
  • Medivine and AdThrive are higher-end ad networks. That is, they pay much better RPMs. Often, you can average anywhere between $10 to over $20 RPM, depending on your blog’s niche. So, with the same 100,000 page views per month, you could be earning between $1,000 to $2,000 a month.

Affiliate Marketing

Payouts for selling affiliate products are done via commission.

Here, you can get paid via fixed or percentage commissions.

  • Fixed commissions. You’re paid a certain amount of dollars per sale. This number is fixed and absolute. For example, $20 per sale of Products A. And, $5 per sale for Product B.
  • Percentage commission. You’re paid a percentage of the total price. This is better if the product’s price is high. Percentages can range from as low of 1% to over 60%. Bigger companies like Walmart, Target and Amazon will pay very low commissions. Individual bloggers often pay between 20% to 50% or so.

Things You Sell

I’ll group everything you can sell together here. This includes digital and physical products. It also includes memberships, services and tools.

When it comes to these items, you decide on the pricing.

You price you eBook , courses and freelance services. Similarly, you decide how much your monthly service is worth.

Sponsorships

This one’s different. That’s because there’s negotiation involved.

  • With display ads and affiliate marketing, the supplier dictates pricing
  • With your own products and services, you dictate the pricing

 With sponsorships, you need to negotiate.

You and the sponsor will decide on a price that’s right for both of you.

This is often based on how large an audience you have. As such, they’ll often ask for your

  • Social media stats, including visitors and followers.
  • Website stats (visitors per month)
  • Email list (how many subscribers you have)
  • And a few other things.

Their goal is to make sure that your readers fits their target audience. Otherwise, what’s the point.

From there, you’ll both decide on a price.

However, there are exceptions. Huge bloggers and influencers get to dictate their prices. This is much like how big-time Hollywood stars can dictate their talent fee.

Conclusion

Blogging is one of the fastest rising industries on- and offline.

In fact, it’s gotten to the point where you can make a very good living as a blogger. This allows you to quit your 9-to-5 job and work from anywhere you want, anytime you want.

The best part is, it takes just 15 minutes to set up a new blog. All without having to know any coding.

The steps above show you how to get started for $2.75 a month. That’s as low as you get in terms of starting capital for your business.

What kind of blog do you want to start? Let me know in the comments below.

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