In this lesson, we'll give you an Introduction to Blogging - what blogging is and why affiliates should use it.
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.
There are a number of very good reasons why affiliates should start a blog:
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!
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
In this lesson we've looked at a basic introduction to Blogging. We've looked at reasons for an affiliate to blog, including:
We also made mention of some popular blogging platforms, including: