The term blog gets banded around quite a bit, and to this day, I still get asked the question: "what is a blog?"
The funny thing is that once I respond to this question, the person asking me already tends to be reading blogs - they just didn't realise that's what it was.
For anyone reading this that is still unsure, the term blog is a contraction of the words 'web log' which, in simple terms, is a personal website for recording opinions, sharing information and linking to other sites on a regular basis.
It stores each entry (blog post) in an archive for visitors to browse through the catalogue of entries as and when they like.
When you think about it, anyone can become a blogger, as long as they have something worth blogging about.
It can range from an a multi-national corporation setting up a company blog on their website to provide quick reaction and opinion pieces on industry developments, to a young student taking a gap year from uni and creating a personal blog to post updates and photographs of their travels for friends and family to access.
From a quick search online, there seems to be a blog for just about anything these days, from weddings and mummy blogs, to golf, gardening and growing old gracefully.
It's quickly becoming a cliché in the world of social media, but content really is king when it comes to blogging.
A blog is the perfect platform for you to share and store a stream of updates which can include endless amounts of images and video content, which can quickly evolve into an online journal for people to read, comment on, 'Like', share and subscribe.
Blog posts can also be as long or as short as you like. There's also no right or wrong answer on how often you should post updates. I follow some blogs that are updated as often as 2-3 times daily - and then at the other end of the blogging spectrum there's (ahem) my HeraldScotland digital blog which hasn't been updated since the end of July *slapping my wrists as I type*.
It's a cobblers weans situation. I oversee the management of blogs for various clients everyday but I can sometimes struggle to find the time to get round to my own. Anyway, enough about me.
When it comes to a blog, you decide how frequently you want to update it and I suggest having a rough guideline in place, whether it be once a week, once a fortnight or once a month, to allow you to plan your posts accordingly.
If you're thinking of setting up a blog, there are numerous blogging platforms to choose from.
Wordpress is the most common blogging platform and I'd recommend this one especially for company blogs to ensure your blog design and navigation is consistent with your website. Oh, and there's a never-ending list of features and plug-ins that you can install to improve the look and usability of your blog. Some of the world's biggest sites have built their blogs on WordPress which gives you more of an idea of the themes and features available, including social sharing buttons, trending topics and a listing of upcoming events.
Tumblr is another blogging platform which is creeping its way into the growing list of mainstream social media channels, and it could be argued that Tumblr is more suitable for visually impactful blogs e.g. if you plan to have a portfolio style blog or if you have plenty of images and video content up your sleeve. You can customise Tumblr blogs and adapt themes so you're not too restricted on design.
Google-owned Blogger is another blogging platform worth mentioning. Its intuitive interface makes it the more popular choice among less tech-savvy individuals for quickly setting up basic personal blogs which are easy to update.
If you're thinking of creating a blog, whether business or personal, I recommend you start by searching blogs, subscribing to them, consider which blogging platform is right for you and have a think about how you plan to feed and water your blog once it's live.
Then all that's left is for you to start creating your blog by playing around with templates, themes and features. Keep in mind that the good thing about a blog is that you can save all your posts in draft format until you're happy to place your cursor on the 'publish' button, look away, take a deep breath and reveal your blog to the World Wide Web.
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