I have held lots of classes, workshops and seminars on blogging. When you teach the same thing over and over, you start hearing attendees asking the same questions over and over. For that reason, I compiled a list of frequently asked questions that newbies usually have about blogging.
BLOGS AND WEB SITES
What is a blog?
A blog is a chronological journal available on the internet. Think of it as an online diary. The term ‘blog’ is a combination of the words ‘web log’. The term blog was originally coined by Jorn Barger in 1997. A blog post is similar to a journal entry and it has several components: a title, a date and your actual blog post or journal entry. It can also include photos, video and other media. The cool thing about this online journal entry is that readers can comment or post a reply to your blog post, email it to others or post it on their social media accounts. A blog can also be referred to as an “authoring system that allows a person to create a webpage without knowing HMTL or other web technologies and without needing special software.”
Updating a blog is called “blogging”. The person that keeps and updates a blog is a “blogger”. Blogging started in the late 1990’s. Here is an excerpt from my dissertation (Wilson, 2008) about blogs:
Is a blog a webpage?
Yes, it is. However, every web page is not a blog. A web site contains your blog but a web site does not have to be a blog. Let me give you an example. You could have a web site without a blog. Think about google.com. Google.com is a immensely popular search engine. You enter in key words and it returns images, videos, websites, links, news articles and other media related to that topic. Google.com is a web site but it does not contain a blog. Now, take a look at MLB.com. MLB.com is a web site but it also contains a blog. Every day, numerous stories are posted about major league baseball and all things related to that sport. If you type “Pete Rose” into the search section of MLB.com, it will return all the articles written about Pete Rose for the past several years. Or if you search “World Series”, it will return all the blog posts on that topic. MLB.com is a web site and it is a blog. So to be clear, every blog is a web site, but not every web site is a blog.
How are blogs different?
A user makes a post instead of a page. The blog posts are ordered by date in reverse chronological order. That means, when you visit a blog, usually the most recent posts appear first. Blog posts can be ordered and searched by other criteria. For example, go to People.com and search for all the articles written about your favorite celebrity. If you type “Tom Hanks” into the search section, it will return all the articles written about Tom Hanks for the past several years.
Why use a blog?
Reason #1: To keep your web site current.
A blog is perceived as current when it has up-to-date blog posts. That sends a signal to reader that this blog has the latest information and is continuously updated. Your reader will think, I will check back tomorrow or next week to see what new information this blog shares. Don’t be fooled into thinking that people will just keep coming back to your blog if you don’t update it or the blog posts are old. A blog that hasn’t been updated sends out a signal to the reader:
- You don’t care about this topic
- You are not serious about this topic
- You are not a professional in this industry
Perception is reality and to be perceived in the best light possible, blog consistently.
Reason #2: Your Blog will rank higher in search engines
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about getting your web site ranked high in search results. Let’s imagine for a minute that you run a company that sell soccer balls. In today’s economy, each business should have a web presence and customers should be able to find a business online. Therefore, your goal is to have your business web site pop up on the first page of Google when someone is searching for “soccer balls”. Well, how do you do that? Most companies hire SEO consultants to get their company ranked higher on search engines.
Since you’re reading this, I’m assuming that you’re just starting out and might not have the budget to hire a SEO consultant. Well, I’m here to tell you don’t need to hire a fancy consultant to get your web site ranked higher on search engines. The purpose of this book is not to go into details about SEO. But I will tell you one important SEO trick. You must keep your site updated. In other words, if you haven’t updated your web site in a year, you business web site probably won’t come up on the first page of Google if a customer is searching “soccer balls”. However, if you have a blog that is updated consistently on a regular basis, you are going to rank higher in search engines.
Reason #3: Build your Brand, become a expert
Did you know that only 40% of small businesses have a blog? Just think about that for a second. Having blog levels the playing field. You can appear to be as professional and as an experienced as the next business man. Anyone can start a blog on any topic of their choosing. From that blog, one can build a huge following which enables more opportunities and prospects. Building a following is very important. Once you have an audience and can show that people come to your blog to read what you have to say, you can sell to them, get hired by other companies and get sponsors. All this means more credibility and income for you.
Reason #4: Create income
This is the one thing I get asked about the most. How do I make money off of a blog? There are numerous ways you can make money from your blog. I am not going in depth on that subject now because that is not the purpose of this book. But know that you can sell your products from your blog, sell space on your blog (allow other businesses to advertise on your web site) and a whole host of other ways to bring in income from your blog. I speak about this topic a lot in my workshops, seminars, etc. So, if you are interested, visit marcellawilson.com to find out the next time I’m speaking on that topic. Or let’s set up a time when I can teach you others more about generating income from a Blog.
Why should I invest my time (and money) in blogging?
Blogging is here to stay. If you want to make an impact, become a thought leader or expert in your industry, you have to have an internet presence. A blog (especially if you have little to no background in the industry you are trying to break into) is the best way to do it.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is a unique web address on the internet. For example, my domain name or web address is www.marcellawilson.com. It is unique because no two people can have the same domain name. When you type in marcellawilson.com on the computer, it takes you to my main web site. A domain name is like the address of a home. There are millions of houses, apartments, condos and townhouses in every city. But each one has a unique address that identifies it from all the others. Essentially, a domain name is the location of a web site.
Now, let’s be clear about one thing. You do not own your domain name. It does not belong to you. You can pay a fee to use your selected domain name for several months or up to several years. But in all actuality, a domain name is rented. Your domain name is yours for as long as your payments are current. If you let your domain name expire or don’t keep up the payments, your domain name can be resold to another party. The longer you pay up front to use the domain name, the bigger the discount usually is.
What is a web host?
A web host gives you space on the internet to house your web site. So, if you we go back to the example of having a place to live. The domain name is the address or location of where you live. But you need to find a web host provider to buy your internet space. The web host provider is the landlord who rents out a certain amount of space for you to live in. To sum it all up, the web host makes space available to house your blog on the internet and the web host provider leases or rents that space to you.
Like a domain name, your web host rents out the space to you. You cannot permanently own this space on the internet. Your job is to find a web host provider that offers rates you find affordable. You can buy this service on a monthly or yearly basis. The longer you pay up front for web space, the cheaper the rate will be. I normally pay for my space a year at a time.
What is Disk Space?
Disk space is the actual amount of space your web site will have on the internet. So if we go back to our house example, we measure the size of a home in terms of square feet. That number alone will tell us the size of a home, if it’s big or if it’s tiny. If you think about your computer, it has a hard drive. The size of that hard drive determines the space available on your computer. So, a web host provider gives you space on their hard drive for your web site. Hence the term, disk space.
For a blog, a good starting point is 3 to 5 gigbytes of disk space (3-5GB). Don’t fear. Most (at least the good ones!) web host providers will notify you when you’re running low on disk space.
What is Bandwidth Transfer?
Transferring data on the Web is measured by something called transfer bandwidth. Similar to your electric meter or water bill, transfer bandwidth measures how much data you have transferred. For example, if you have a 10 MB file and it is downloaded once, 10 GB of bandwidth is used. If that same 10 MB file is downloaded seven times, 70 MB of transfer bandwidth is used. Most internet providers and cell phone companies will limit your bandwidth transfer each month or billing period. Whatever plan or package you are paying for is tied to a bandwidth transfer amount. More specifically, your internet provider will allow you to download a certain amount of data each month or billing period. They won’t stop you from downloading something, but you’ll be charged extra fees if you exceed your bandwidth transfer limit.
- There are a lot of people out there teaching people how to blog and get more traffic to your web site. Why should I take eCourse from Dr. Wilson?
Dr. Wilson is a rare combination. She has the experience and education that most people teaching about blogging don’t have.
Education: Dr. Wilson has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. So she can teach you what to blog about. She also has a master’s and doctorate degrees in computer science.
Experience: Dr. Wilson is a computer science professor and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses. She understands the inner workings of computers and understands how the Internet works. She can teach you how to blog and harness the power of the Internet to get more traffic to your web site.
Dr. Wilson has been creating web sites for government agencies, small business and individuals for over a decade. We challenge you to find someone more qualified and trusted to teach you how to blog.
- What eCourses are available?
List ecourses with short description. For more information, take to sales page for that eCourse.
- I’m interested but I’m not a good student. Why should I take an eCourse?
Dr. Wilson is a professor who has been teaching undergraduate and graduate students for over 5 years. She deals with students every, single day. Dr. Wilson understands the importance of motivating and encouraging students to bring out the best in them.
- I learn differently. How can I know I’ll come out of this course having learned something?
Dr. Wilson employs various teaching methods to keep the course material interesting and fun. Dr. Wilson uses different instructional techniques that appeal to all types of learners. She specializes in taking complex topics and ideas and presenting them in a way that is easy to understand.