What is a blog or blogging
Blogging: A Comprehensive Guide
47 percent of consumers say they consult three to five related “content pieces” before buying an average item. The importance of strong, relevant content for companies is correspondingly great. One channel in particular stands out: 53 percent of marketers state that Blogging the top priority in their content marketing portfolio. No wonder, after all, blogs offer a particularly diverse and extensive way of conveying content.
Here we explain the specific advantages of blogging, how you can earn money with a blog and how you can set up and develop a new blog.
What is a "blog"?
At a Blog (originally Web Log) in its original form it is a kind of publicly accessible diary. The operators periodically publish entries about their own life or certain topics that concern them. In the corporate context, a blog is part of the communication strategy and provides information about the company, products or industry-related issues.
Blogging: A Definition
The first blogs of the 1990s were mainly called "Online diaries" designated. The term is derived from this: Originally was from Web logs talk about what shortened to “blog” over time. The principle is simple: Authors (bloggers) publish articles on a more or less regular basis individual experiences, but also personal interests or hobbies can turn. As a rule, readers can leave questions or comments using a comment function.
The incredible success of the blog format led to a real paradigm shift in the media world. Now it was no longer reserved for large publishing houses and media producers to publicly disseminate information and opinions, but in principle for all Internet users. The starting shot for that Web 2.0 had fallen. This development was also supported by the fact that the bloggers were well networked, supported each other through guest posts, quoted and commented. This so-called "Blogosphere”Can be seen as a first forerunner of today's social networks.
In the meantime, however, it is no longer just private individuals who use blogs as a means of communication. Companies also enter via so-called "Corporate blogs“(Company blogs) in the exchange with interested parties and customers - the blog functions here as a marketing channel. Accordingly, the focus is mostly on general information about one's own products, their use or related problems. In some cases, company blogs are also used as a platform to introduce your own team and present yourself in a more approachable way.
A corporate blog therefore not only has a more complex function as part of marketing, but also tends to have more diverse facets than private blogs. There are own News blogs, service and customer relationship blogs, blogs on specific collections or product ranges as well as special topic blogs.
This can also be the case with the latter Online magazine are counted, which is partly also classified in the category “blog”. Here, however, the focus is usually less on two-way communication with users and more on the matter-of-fact communication of industry information.
That's why a corporate blog is worthwhile
Content channel: The most obvious advantage: There is no other channel that enables a company to provide content so easily and comprehensively. In contrast to social media, a topic can be dealt with in detail and without a word limit. At the same time, there is the option of including graphics, videos or sound recordings in addition to text.
Passive value creation: In contrast to social media posts, which sometimes disappear into the shallows of the newsfeeds after minutes, but at the latest after a few hours, blog articles have a lasting effect. Once a solid Google ranking has been achieved, companies can often after years Benefit from an informative (and possibly updated in the meantime) blog article - without having to invest resources in the creation again. One in ten blog articles is designed for successive, sustainable growth and generates on average as much traffic as six short-lived blog articles with a news character.
Traffic: Often blog articles are the first point of contact between potential customers and companies. Because blog articles are classically oriented of long-tail keywordsthat suggest that users are just getting the first information on a particular topic. If you become aware of a blog article through a Google search, you will also get to know the company from which it came. Ideally, the information in the article will convince the readers of the company's expertise, which in turn leads to a large number of users also visited the other pages of the company's websitewhich increases the traffic there.
Leads: A well thought out blog article a call-to-action followsthat offers readers additional information in exchange for contact details. Either as a download (an e-book, white paper, etc.) or by registering in a newsletter that provides subscribers with company-related news. Ideally a blog article takes up a reader's problem so comprehensively and offers appropriate solutions that they will willingly convert to leads to learn more.
Google Ranking: Blogs have a particularly good chance to land high in the Google rankings. For one thing, they attack High search volume topics on, on the other hand, thanks to newly published articles updated regularlywhat Google evaluates as a positive ranking factor. That too Link building is easier when dealing with general topics than when describing specific products. Avid readers share a blog article in social media, this also increases the reach, generates more clicks and thus also improves the ranking.
Two-way communication: Readers have the option of commenting on the Rate the content of blog articles, share their experiences, or ask questions. In this way, communication here (similar to social media) is not one-way, but two-way, which in turn strengthens the bond between readers and the company. If an author appears by name and reacts to comments, the company gets a face and more personal relationships can be built with the readers. At the same time, companies receive important feedback from (potential) customers.
Corporate communication hub: On a blog Ideally, the contents of all communication channels flow together. You can include your own YouTube videos in blog articles, as well as Twitter posts or podcast episodes. Readers are thus also referred to other content and, if necessary, follow social media accounts, which further increases the loyalty to the company.
Bypass journalistic goalkeepers: With a blog, companies no longer have to rely on what traditional media consider newsworthy. You can freely and without any restriction publish your own messages and content.
Expenditure: The Time and resources that go into keeping a blog flow are not to be underestimated. Strategic and operational planning, creation, distribution and evaluation are time-consuming and tie up staff. This must also be trained in order to acquire the necessary know-how in terms of research and tonality.
Costs: In addition to the indirect costs that the additional need for staff means, a blog can also cause direct costs. If necessary, the dated Hosting provider rented web space for a fee or investments in Paid advertising (like eta ad campaigns in social media) are necessary to give the blog the necessary presence.
Make money blogging
If you want to monetize a blog, you also have various options as a private person:
Advertising banners are one classic optionto make money from websites. You can do this either Google AdSense use or sell banner spaces directly.
To benefit from AdSense, all you have to do is embed a code snippet in the blog to mark the places where advertisements should appear. According to the principle of the highest bidder, these advertising spaces are then allocated in auctions. In addition, Google offers different ad formats, so that there should be something suitable for every blog design. You will then make money as soon as someone clicks the ads on your blog.
But this approach has its downsides too: you need one high number of visitors on your blog to generate significant income here. Additionally the ads tend to worsen the loading times and you must be in your Data protection explicitly indicate this.
Alternatively, you can Also market advertising space directly. Once a permanent advertising partner has been found, it can be more lucrative than AdSense.
Finding an advertising partner on your own, however, can turn out to be difficult turn out to be especially for newbies. Unlike AdSense, the ads are also not on the preferences of the specific user tailored. This reduces the likelihood that users will click on it.
Overall, the disadvantage of banner advertising is that users are increasingly using the so-called Banner blindness adjusts. So you no longer actively perceive the banners, but simply hide them. Also, prevent the widespread AdBlocker often that the advertisement is displayed at all.
Affiliate programs are also a popular way to monetize a blog. All you have to do is include a corresponding link in your blog article. As soon as a reader clicks on it and buys something or registers, you receive a certain amount as commission. The amount can vary greatly depending on the product and the specific partnership program.
Probably the most famous affiliate program is that Amazon partnership program. Registration is very easy and the online retailer's wide range of products makes it easy to integrate naturally. At the same time, the commissions are rather low. Alternatively, you can contact a Affiliate network register, which combines and mediates numerous individual affiliate programs. Probably the best known is AWIN, which in the meantime also includes the originally own network affilinet.
Make sure, however, that appropriate links to be explicitly identified as advertising are. Also, understand that some programs have a canditature require and do not accept every website as an affiliate. In addition, you are dependent on the fact that the readers of your blog already have a certain Purchase intent because you do not benefit from simply visiting the partner shop.
This form of blog article (often supplemented by social media posts) is Cooperations with companieswhere you get paid directly for the blog articles. Requirement: You write about the respective cooperation partner or one of its products. This can be in the form of a simple mention as well as a test report or competition.
How much you get for a sponsored post ultimately depends on Number of followers and visitors as well as personal negotiating skills from. But especially as a well-known blogger and with long-term collaborations, you can earn good money here.
However, you must not forget to mark relevant contributions as advertising here either. In addition, you will basically per post paid only onceregardless of how often it is called. Too many sponsored posts can also damage the Scare off readership and cost you your credibility.
Create your own products and sell them on the blog
Anyone who has already earned a certain reputation can also think about the Blog as a sales channel for your own products to use. Articles that are directly related to the respective topic of the blog are of course available. Anyone who runs a cooking or baking blog could, for example, think about a cookbook. Anyone blogging about fashion and handicraft could bring cutting templates to consumers. The profitable use of your own expertise, for example in the form of seminars, can also be useful.
In the ideal case, significantly higher profits can be achieved here than with other methods. However, the whole thing (depending on the product) is also included more risk and investment connected. In addition, the IT infrastructure for an ordering system must be in place and you may need to be able to spare time for shipping the goods.
As a blogger, ask for tips
Alternatively, you can also ask your readers directly for an obolus. Especially when you in return, forego other advertising and communicating this neutrality and transparency, that can certainly fall on fertile ground. Such an approach tends to be interpreted positively, particularly in the context of journalistic work. Even in situations where financial means make the creation of the content possible in the first place (for example with travel bloggers), readers are often willing to donate.
Various platforms also help to make donations more attractive. For example, those who use the crowdfunding platform Patreon can provide their financial supporters special content or earlier access to content Offer.
However, it does take one relatively large and very loyal fan basethat is extremely loyal to both bloggers and content.
Write guest posts
Partly employ too Online magazines again and again bloggers as editors. Your own blog serves as a Portfolio: It shows that you are proficient in writing, that you have your own community and that you can communicate authentically. Such an arrangement will, in the best case, become Win-win situation for both sides: Not only does the magazine benefit from your established readership, but you can also increase your acquaintance through articles in the magazine.
However, you should keep in mind that while you are writing articles for "foreign" platforms, Your own blog tends to have to neglect. also you often assign all rights to the content to the respective magazineSo you cannot reuse the content.
Set up a paywall
Like established online newspapers, you can place parts of your offer behind a so-called "paywall". This means: Monthly paying readers have access to a kind of members area, where you can access exclusive content such as e-books, videos or white papers. Participation in specially organized events can also be part of this.
So you have a regular, predictable income and are not dependent on advertising partners. However, this model will only work if you already have a clear idea about it Expert status have worked out. In addition, the creation of the premium content is possibly time consuming and resource consuming.
The “Verwertungsgesellschaft Wort” is comparable to GEMA. Instead of music rights, this organization controls them Preservation of intellectual property in the editorial area. If your (sufficiently long) blog articles are viewed frequently enough, you will a fixed sum paid out to compensate for illegal copies.
The main disadvantage here is the bureaucratic effort. You have to register explicitly and conclude a management agreement as well as submit an annual report about all blog articles. This is usually only worthwhile for blogs of a certain size with a correspondingly large number of blog articles.
The process: step by step to your own blog
Starting your own blog can quickly become a major hurdle. After all, a wide variety of questions have to be clarified, both technically and in terms of content, in order to arrive at a coherent result that is appealing to the reader and for which you will then also be happy to write.
Therefore, in the following, we want to go into step by step how you can create a blog without forgetting important points or being overwhelmed by individual decisions.
Where can you create a blog: blog provider vs. blog software
Basically you have two different optionsto run a blog.
Blog provider with full hosting
For one, you can click classic blog provider To fall back on. In this case, you rent the platform for a blog from the relevant provider. In most cases, all you have to do is register and you can get started. For this variant, you can, for example, fall back on the following providers (but also many more):
WordPress is probably the best known and most popular blog platform. However, a distinction must be made here: Only for WordPress.com it is a fully hosted variant. WordPress.org however, it only provides you with the open source software with which you can then host your blog yourself.
Tumblr belongs to Yahoo and is currently used by private bloggers, sometimes on a small scale. Since it was founded in 2007, the platform has primarily been used for publishing Pictures, videos and quotes as well as the particularly easy re-logging of other Tumblr content. Due to the strong networking opportunities Tumblr is sometimes also counted among the social networks (or their predecessors).
Blogger.com has been around since it was acquired in 2003 Part of the Google group. This is the Linking with other Google tools (such as AdSense) is particularly easy. It is also possible to publish articles via email.
The essential advantages Such blogging platforms lie in their simplicity: A blog can be set up quickly and easily, you as a user do not have to worry about technical maintenance. In addition, the offers are mostly free (at least for the beginning).
However, lurk here too Disadvantage: So you have no guarantee that a blog will exist in the long term: If the provider goes offline, your blog is gone too. To compensate for the free usage, you also often have to live with a lot of unpleasant advertising. And if you want to switch to another blog provider, the move will in most cases turn out to be quite time-consuming.
One of the most significant disadvantages, however, is the lack of modification options. For example, you can only choose from the designs and layouts made available; you often cannot add your own. The installation of additional plug-ins is also often not supported.
Host it yourself via blog software
The alternative to the all-inclusive blog provider is to host the blog on your own server using blog software. Said WordPress software offers one possibility for this. The advantage: All data are under your complete control, you can use your own domain for the blog and features can be installed as required.
To do this, however, you also have to be prepared for more IT maintenance, as the entire technical infrastructure is your responsibility. In addition, there are costs for the web space on the servers of the respective hosting provider.
Set the blog topic
Determining the general direction of a blog is not always easy. Therefore, here are some questions that you should ask yourself in order to find your personal focus:
- In which subject are you an expert / do you have a special competence? After all, you can only write on topics that you are comfortable with.
- How interested are you in the topic you are considering? To be successful with your blog, you will need to write articles on a regular basis. Often there is only enough inspiration for topics that are really important to you.
- What reader problems can you solve on this subject? After all, you're not just writing a blog as an end in itself; you want to attract regular / returning readers.
- Can the topic be implemented? Running a travel blog, for example, requires that you travel regularly, ideally to unconventional travel destinations. Is that actually feasible?
- How many blogs are there already on the topic? Some subject areas are simply oversaturated. Ideally, you will find a topic that serves a niche and that doesn't have too much content available yet. Alternatively, you can come up with an innovative approach to a more conventional topic.
Keyword and target group analysis for your blog
So that you hit the right note for your intended readership, you should first analyze your target group. Who do your blog articles address? Whose problems are you solving? If you have already defined a buyer persona, you should of course adapt the blog articles to this in terms of content and tonality. In this case, your target audience also has a face and a name, making it easier to create content tailored to this persona.
You should also carry out a keyword analysis. That not only helps you find the respective one Formulate blog articles SEO-friendly, but also give you an indication of the topics that concern your target group. You can choose the individual titles of the blog articles accordingly.
Maintain an editorial plan
An editorial plan can now be created on the basis of the keyword and target group analysis. Determine specific articles you want to write, assign them to an author if necessary, and schedule completion. If the keyword research did not provide enough ideas for specific blog articles, there are also other tools that you can use to give creativity a little boost.
That is a neatly managed editorial plan Backbone of your blog. Only with careful planning can you ensure that articles are finished on time, appropriately edited and published on time. This ensures a regular frequency in the publication (for example one article per week) and gives you the opportunity to plan without time pressure and clearly define responsibilities.
Writing articles for the blog: this is how it works
Once your blog has been set up, the main task to be mastered is to write great articles. To make this happen, here are some important tips:
How to Write Good Blog Articles
- Customize the overall style, structure and content of your blog articles Content strategy so that all content elements on different channels result in a coherent picture.
- Formulate a gripping one headingthat motivates readers to click your articles.
- Focus on a specific topic and don't deviate too much to the left and right - this confuses the reader and makes it difficult to understand.
- Take care of one clear structure. The division into introduction - main part - conclusion makes it easier for readers to grasp content quickly.
- Good blog articles should do the communication promote with readers. Ask explicitly to ask questions in the comments or to report on your own experiences.
- The Length of a blog article must be tailored to the topic. Don't blow up compact topics, but allow more complex topics the number of words they need.
- Let different authors develop their own writing styles. This makes the blog articles more personal and gives them character.
- Bring Calls-to-Action below to convert interested readers into leads.
Make sure you use the tonality, structure and content of the individual blog articles as a guide overarching content strategy. Because a contribution does not stand on its own, but is a piece of the puzzle in the entire content offering, which it should complement as sensibly as possible.
A gripping headline is worth gold. Because it essentially decides whether a post is clicked or not. It should already announce what added value an article offers and what format it uses. For this reason, listicles and step-by-step instructions are particularly useful. 36 percent of users say they prefer number-based headings.
Image: Conductor Study, Moz.com
Cut your articles approach a specific topic and deal with it comprehensively. But don't succumb to the temptation to deviate from the actual topic and cover up sideshow. this will only confuse readers.
Give your articles a clear idea structure. This makes it easier for readers to grasp a topic in its entirety and to read an article on the side. So introduce the topic by putting it in a larger context, then explain the actual topic step by step and summarize the whole thing in a compact way at the end.
Should be a great post stimulate dialogue with the readership. After all, two-way communication is one of the most important strengths of blogging. So ask questions and invite your readers to share their own experiences in the comments.
The optimal length of blog articles is always a hotly debated topic. The point here is the Balancing act between the most compressed, reader-friendly presentation and the comprehensive description of a complex topic to accomplish. As a rule of thumb, do not unnecessarily exaggerate topics. If an article can be written in 500 words, don't try to artificially lengthen it. However, if you are dealing with a topic that requires explanation, you should also allow it the scope that it requires.
If different authors write for your blog, you can They highlight their individual writing style and their main topics. Make it clear who is the author of an article and let the person bring their personality to the text. This gives the texts a face and makes it easier for readers to develop a relationship with the authors.
Be sure to remember Calls-to-Action to be included in the blog articles. After all, blog articles are often the first contact between potential customers and companies, which of course shouldn't stay that way. For example, you can offer your readers the opportunity to sign up for a newsletter or to download an e-book in exchange for their contact details in order to receive more detailed information on a specific topic. Blog articles become a lead generation tool.
Make the blog known: distribution strategies
Once the blog has started, it is important to expand its visibility and reach. This can be done on the one hand by putting all of them within the article Aspects of search engine optimization consider. For example, build in meaningful keywords as well as helpful links and meta descriptions and at the same time aim for as many backlinks to your articles as possible. This increases the likelihood that articles will land in the top search results and thus become visible to potential readers.
This Link building does not only make sense from an SEO point of view. They create a kind of information network that increases the likelihood that visitors will not only read an article, but will also find out more about the internally linked blog posts.
Additionally, your articles should be about your Spread social media channels. In 2017, 66 percent of marketers said they also included their blogs in their social media strategies. And that's hardly surprising, because you kill two birds with one stone: You spread the blog articles and give them more reach, while you generate content for Facebook, Twitter and Co. at the same time.
To keep your readers up to date, you should get one Set up newsletters for your blog.
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