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Introduction to Blogging


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Introduction to Blogging

Blogging is an easy way to publish content on the web, and can be one of the affiliate marketer's most powerful tools.

In this lesson, we'll give you an Introduction to Blogging - what blogging is and why affiliates should use it.

What is a blog?

Blogging is often described as an online diary, but this is a bit of an inadequate definition, as it’s become much more than that. We prefer to describe it simply as an easy interface to publish content on the web.

Blogs can be used to publish news and reviews and to discuss products and ideas. They are easy to update and an excellent way to communicate online with customers and people interested in a particular industry or topic. From the readers' perspective, a good blog provides useful, free information and helps them to stay informed on the subject of their interest.

The internet contains blogs on almost every issue imaginable – in fact, it is estimated that there are currently over 150 million blogs floating around on the Internet! Some blogs focus on just one topic, while others talk about a variety of different things. Some blogs are maintained by one person, and others feature a host of different writers.

Why Should Affiliates Blog?

There are a number of very good reasons why affiliates should start a blog:

  • Blogging is extremely simple. They are much easier to use and maintain than a website. At their most basic, blogs don’t require any specialist knowledge whatsoever. You login to your account, you write, and you click the ‘publish’ button. That’s about all there is to it! It’s partly because of the low barrier to entry, and partly because of their diary-like nature, that blogs are also less formal than other web content alternatives and that, in itself, is another reason why they are great for affiliates – blogging is a lot easier than writing articles!
  • Create a following and build a reputation as an expert. While not all of us can hope to become a blogging superstar, and consequently be asked to publish a book or appear in a movie, we can hope to build something of a reputation as an expert. Acquiring a readership of 5,000+ is entirely within the realms of possibility.
  • Syndicate via RSS feed. RSS is a technology that enables people to receive constantly updated information from multiple sources through one reader. Readers work by continually checking pre-specified blogs to see if they have been updated. When a new post appears, the Reader alerts the user to the new post and displays the link along with a small excerpt. It’s easy to enable RSS on your blog and if you reliably publish valuable content, you’ll gradually build up dozens, if not hundreds, of subscribers who visit on a regular basis.
  • Interaction with readers. Almost all blogs have a ‘comment’ function that can be enabled to allow readers to reply to your post and share their thoughts. Commenting lets your readers interact with you and other readers, helping to create a community feel around your blog. And, for you, comments are an extremely useful way of keeping your finger on the pulse and receiving feedback.

Downsides to Blogging

Regular Updates

For blogs to be effective they must be updated regularly otherwise readers lose interest – and so do the search engines! Some people find this a challenge; the good news is that we will be giving you some ideas for content in our 'Content Creation' lessons!

Spam

Perhaps the biggest problem for blog owners is spam. While the comment function is the life-blood of any good blog, it is also frequently misused by spammers to advertise other websites and products; fortunately, a lot of blog-software writers have cottoned on to this, and most blogs now contain sophisticated features to help reduce spam significantly.

How Do I Blog?

You can either set up a stand-alone blog or a blog on your own domain. A stand-alone blog can be set up in just a few minutes via a weblog hosting service.

There are three weblog services worth a mention. They are:

Blogger.com

Blogger is a free service and possibly the simplest to use. However, scalability options are limited and we are not going to be spending time on this service in future lessons.

Typepad.com

Typepad claims to be the world’s most advanced weblog service – but it’s also the most expensive, with subscription plans ranging from $4.95-$89.95 per month.

Wordpress.org

Wordpress is also free but contains many state-of-the-art publishing features. Wordpress is the service we recommend and will be our focus in subsequent Affilorama lessons on blogging.

Hosting Your Blog on Your Own Domain Name

A lot of people simply set up a blog account with the weblog hosting service and leave it at that. However, this means that your URL is tied to the hosting website, and that can negatively impact your SEO. Additionally, it doesn’t look that professional sending traffic to a Wordpress domain name.

For these reasons, we think it’s a much better idea to buy a domain name and host your Wordpress blog on that.

If you haven’t already, we recommend watching our videos on setting up a basic website so that you can get your own blog site going. Head to the lesson, "Setting up a Word Press Blog", and you'll find help there, including links at the top to the best lessons for setting up a website for blogging.

Once you're up and running, the lessons "How to Write a Blog Post" and "But I'm Not a Writer! Easy ways to get content for your site" will help you with creating your posts.

Lesson Summary

In this lesson we've looked at a basic introduction to Blogging. We've looked at reasons for an affiliate to blog, including:

  • Blogging is extremely simple
  • Blogs let you create a following and build a reputation as an expert
  • Blogs let you easily syndicate content via RSS feed, making it easier for your audience to find and follow  you
  • Blogs provide a way to interact with the reader, through the use of comments

We also made mention of some popular blogging platforms, including:

  • Blogger
  • Typepad
  • Wordpress

 

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Questions & Comments + Add a comment

Reply popmati emebu369 days ago
am creating blog for business tips must i buy domain for the blog
Melissa Johnson365 days ago
Hi there!

You don't /have/ to buy a domain for your blog. You can use a site like WordPress or BlogSpot. However, it will help create a greater image of professionalism if you buy your own domain and hosting.
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