It seems like everywhere we turn these days there is someone talking about blogging, blogs, the blogosphere, bloggers, and so on. Have you ever wondered what all the fuss is about?
And if so, have you ever thought about trying your hand at blogging?
Blogging is an internet phenomenon that can be described as a blend of personal diary, op ed commentary, and practical journalism. The word "blog" comes from "web log" which is a reference to the origins of blogging. In the early days, blogs were no more than online journals where people wrote about anything they wanted (what they had for dinner, how their mood was that day, etc.), much like the pen and paper journals that people have kept for centuries. However, with the growing ease of access to and familiarity with the internet, people realized they could now share their feelings with the entire world!
Blogging has since exploded into an inescapable new medium. You`ve probably heard people on TV talk about the huge effect that blogging has on popular culture. Some bloggers pride themselves on exposing everyone`s dirty little secrets (from politicians, to celebrities, and even other bloggers), while others have less caustic agendas and stick to simple commentary and discussion about an infinite array of subjects (from gardening to video games).
Keep in mind, though, blogs don`t always have to be frivolous. Some of the best and most accurate information about the Iraq War, for example, comes from people who embed themselves in the Middle East and use their blogs to instantly share their first-hand reports with the world.
Now that we`ve concluded our crash course in the history and definition of blogging, it`s time to get back to the original question.
Why should you blog?
I’m sure you’ve heard about some bloggers who command audiences that number in the millions, and others who have parlayed their blogs into multi-mullion dollar businesses. You probably want a piece of that luxury, and who wouldn`t? All you have to do is start up a free blog, write a few posts, and you`ll be sipping margaritas on a beach in no time. Right?
Well, not so fast.
It`s true that some people have found great success with their blogs, and there`s no reason to say that you won`t too, but the odds aren`t really in your favor. Estimates put the number of blogs at about 50 million (and growing every day) and without A LOT of effort and dedication (and a bit of luck) chances are good that your blog will never reach that superstar level of success.
I`m not telling you this to discourage you from starting a blog, I`m just trying to warn you that it`s not a one-way-ticket to the good life. Blogging can be a very fulfilling and exciting adventure whether or not you hit it big.
The most appealing part of blogging is that anyone can do it! The rules of blogging are not set down on unchanging stone tablets. Basic writing skills and a general appreciation for courtesy are recommended, but not required. You can write about anything you want, however you want; that’s the entire beauty of blogging.
So now that you`ve determined that you want to start a blog, the next step is to decide why. Let’s take a look at a few basic reasons why people blog.
People blog to make money.
It`s true, blogs can be a source of income, and there are a number of ways to make money blogging. Pay-per-click advertising services are a good way to start, or perhaps product review services that will pay a certain amount of money per review. If you`re ambitious enough you could even go so far as to write an e-book or set up an online shop and promote/distribute it on your blog.
People blog to find new career opportunities.
Blogging is a great way to practice your writing skills and host your writing samples (if you aspire to be a professional writer) or to showcase your art and design skills (if you want to be a professional artist or designer). A blog combined with an online photo-sharing website can be a simple and free photography portfolio that is instantly available to any prospective client anywhere in the world. In this age of e-mail and instant gratification there is no better way to connect with an employer than through a blog (just be sure to keep it professional).
People blog to share their passion with the world.
Whether you are a die hard sports fan or a model train fanatic, if you have any sort of passion or hobby you have an instant idea for a blog. You can try to provide the latest news and information about your "niche," or you can aspire to be an expert resource to others who share your interests.
People blog to document their life. The trusty online diary hasn`t gone out of style, and they certainly don`t have to be only for telling the world what you ate for breakfast. People can use blogs as a scrapbook of their children`s lives and instantly share photos and memories with the whole family, or they can blog to keep track of their diet and exercise regimen.
Now you have a good idea about what a blog is and why you should have one. The next step is to get out there and start blogging! Whatever you decide to blog about, just remember that the possibilities are truly endless.
By: Michael Landry Edited By: Bruce A. Tucker