What's a Blog & Why You Need One 1

Even if you’re unfamiliar with blogs, it’s likely you’ve encountered one before. Maybe you’ve discovered a blog when searching for “healthy dinner recipes”. In fact, if you’re reading this, congratulations! You’re currently on a blog post, discussing blogs themselves. How meta!marketer writing a blog post

If your business doesn’t have a blog, it’s time to reconsider. B2B marketers who utilize blogs experience a remarkable 67% increase in leads compared to those who don’t. Furthermore, blogs are ranked as the 5th most reliable source for accurate online information. Blogs can help you establish a strong online presence, showcase your expertise in the industry, and attract high-quality leads to all pages of your website. If you’re considering starting a blog for your business or simply seeking more information, keep reading and discover the countless benefits it offers.

In 1994, the first blog, Links.net, was created by Justin Hall, a student at Swarthmore College. At that time, it was simply a personal homepage rather than what we now consider as a blog. This brief history sheds light on the origins of blogging and the evolution of personal websites.

In 1997, Jorn Barger, a renowned blogger for Robot Wisdom, introduced the term “weblog” to describe his practice of “logging the web” as he surfed the internet. This term was later abbreviated to “blog” in 1999 by programmer Peter Merholz. The history of blogging and its evolution from the term “weblog” to the widely used “blog” has had a significant impact on the online landscape.

In the initial phases, a blog served as a personal web log or journal for sharing thoughts and information on various topics. The content was chronologically posted in reverse, prioritizing the latest updates. Discover more about the history and evolution of blogs on the internet.

Nowadays, a blog is a frequently updated website or web page that serves various purposes – personal expression or meeting business requirements. Regularly updating your blog not only helps establish an online presence but also enhances SEO rankings, attracting more readers and potential customers. Whether it’s your personal journal or a business tool, a well-maintained blog is crucial in today’s digital landscape.

HubSpot blogs about a range of topics encompassing marketing, sales, and service. As HubSpot sells products associated with these subjects, it’s highly probable that the readers attracted to HubSpot’s blog share similarities with HubSpot’s core buyer persona. Discover valuable insights and stay updated with the latest trends in marketing, sales, and service at HubSpot’s blog.

Kiki, a woman with a passion for travel, embarked on a personal journey by launching her travel blog, The Blonde Abroad. This captivating platform serves as a hub of travel experiences, offering valuable tips and recommendations to readers. Despite being an independent venture, Kiki’s blog plays a crucial role in establishing her distinctive personal brand. Get inspired with The Blonde Abroad for unforgettable adventures and expert travel insights.

If a personal blog achieves success, the writer can monetize it through sponsorships or advertisements. Explore these 5 effective strategies to generate income from your blog. Learn more about monetizing a blog to boost your earnings.

What is a blog post?

A blog post is a dedicated webpage on your website that delves into a specific sub-topic of your blog, providing in-depth insights.

Consider this example: imagine you launch a fashion blog on your retail website. Among the various blog posts, you come up with a catchy title like “Top Picks for Fall Shoes in 2023”. This specific post not only aligns with your overall fashion theme but also delves into a specific sub-topic: fall shoes.

Blog posts allow you to rank on search engines for a variety of keywords. In the above example, your blog post could enable your business to rank on Google for “fall shoes”. When someone searches for fall shoes and comes across your blog post, they have access to the rest of your company’s website. They might click “Products” after they read your post and take a look at the clothing items your company sells.

A blog post serves as a hyperlink to your entire blog site. As an example, at this moment, you are on blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-a-blog. The section “what-is-a-blog” in the URL signifies its association with the broader /marketing/ blog.

Blog vs. Website

A blog is typically a section of your business’s website — but, unlike the rest of your website, you need to update the blog section frequently by adding new posts. Additionally, your blog is a tool that allows you to engage more with an audience, either by analyzing how many readers share your blog posts on social, or by allowing readers to comment on your individual posts. In this way, a blog is more like a two-way conversation than the rest of your website. However, a blog can also be an entire website, and often is, if the blog is for personal use alone — for instance, a travel blog.

There are plenty of benefits to blogging — it helps drive traffic to your website, it enables you to better convert that traffic into leads, it allows your business to establish authority in an industry, and it continues to help your business grow and attract new customers months and even years after publication.

To learn more about the benefits of blogging, check out Why Blog? The Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing. Alternatively, if you’re starting at the beginning and anxious about your first post, read How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step Guide [+ Free Blog Post Templates].

What is the difference between a wiki and a blog?

A wiki is a collaborative platform where visitors can freely edit, share, and publish content. This concept is exemplified by Wikipedia, one of the most renowned examples. In contrast, a blog typically permits only authorized individuals or teams to update, share, or publish. Although visitors may leave comments on blog posts, they lack the ability to modify or directly contribute to the published content on the website.

1. To help your company rank on search engines.

Businesses often leverage blogs to enhance their website’s visibility on search engines. While strategies like SEO tactics and paid ads can help boost a company’s homepage ranking on Google’s page one, blogging offers a more effective and sustainable solution. Let’s take an example to understand how your web design start-up, with limited online presence, can improve its search engine rankings through blogging.

During the initial year, you make the decision to focus on creating and publishing regular blog content that strongly relates to web design. With time, your website’s traffic starts to grow, and other companies begin linking to your site as a valuable source for web design information. As a result, Google recognizes your company as an authoritative destination for web design insights. After multiple iterations and refining, your blog posts gradually climb up to the first page of Google search results for high-relevance keywords like “web design,” “website builder,” and “e-commerce website.

One day, while searching for “web design companies in X city,” you’ll be delighted to find that your company has secured a spot on page one of the search results. This achievement can be attributed, in great part, to your diligent and regular blogging efforts. To gain more insight into effective strategies for achieving higher search engine rankings, explore HubSpot’s informative article on How to Rank #1 on Google through Blogging.

2. To share information about a given topic and become an expert in an industry.

In 2006, Matt Kepnes, a Boston-native, took a brave leap and quit his job to begin a life of global exploration. Through his widely known blog, NomadicMatt.com, he meticulously documented his extraordinary adventures.

Through unwavering dedication to blogging and effective SEO strategies for search engine ranking, Matt’s hard work bore fruit. Within a year, he began earning a significant income of $60,000. Matt expanded his success by creating e-books, collaborating with sponsors, and leveraging affiliate marketing to monetize his platform. His accomplishments include a New York Times best-selling book titled “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day.”

Presently, Matt’s blog attracts an impressive monthly readership of 1.5 million visitors and generates an annual revenue of approximately $750,000. With his profound expertise, he has solidified his reputation as a respected authority in the travel industry.

If you aspire to establish yourself as an industry expert in your passion, be it fashion, blogging, or fitness, launching a blog can serve as your vital first step toward achieving your goals.

3. To attract visitors to your site and turn those visitors into leads.

To drive more traffic to your website, it’s important to go beyond relying solely on the homepage or About Us page. While these pages are crucial for capturing leads who are already interested in your products, they may not attract top-of-the-funnel traffic. This is where your blog becomes invaluable.

By offering valuable resources through your blog, you can cater to website visitors even before they are ready to make a purchase. For example, if you specialize in products for e-commerce stores, you might target e-commerce owners who are actively searching online. However, it’s unlikely that these owners will make an immediate purchase.

To attract a wider audience, consider blogging about topics that can help retail owners who are just starting out. Titles such as “How to Start a Retail Website” or “Benefits of E-commerce vs. Physical Store” can gradually build an audience that appreciates and finds value in your content. Subsequently, as these visitors’ e-commerce stores grow (thanks in part to your blog), they will already be familiar with and trust your brand as a reliable source. This familiarity will naturally lead them to explore your product pages.

Remember, effective SEO optimization involves creating readable content and incorporating relevant keywords and phrases where appropriate. By following these strategies, you can increase visibility and attract a wider audience to your website.

4. To cultivate an online community and engage with an audience.

Creating a blog is a great way to engage with an online community that shares your interests. If you’re passionate about food, starting a food blog can connect you with fellow food enthusiasts who can share their recipes with you. Alternatively, if you enjoy DIY projects, consider starting a blog where you showcase the fun and creative DIY projects you’ve done at home, while encouraging your readers to contribute their own DIY tips. By engaging with readers and creating valuable content, your blog will be more discoverable and bring you closer to the audience you seek.

Why You Need a Blog

Blogs are invaluable marketing tools for businesses. They effectively announce your brand, foster connections with your audience, and attract potential customers. Leverage this platform to provide industry-relevant insights, share company updates, and engage through email and social media channels. Neglecting a blog means missed opportunities to promote your brand. Crafting compelling blog content seems daunting but fear not! Free tools like HubSpot’s AI Content Writer can supercharge your content creation process, enabling you to write high-quality content efficiently.

1. Choose your target audience.

When starting your own blog, it’s crucial to consider your target audience. Who is your blog intended for? And who do you want reading your posts? Before you begin, take a moment to think about the niche you will be writing about and the topics you will cover, as well as the reasons behind your choices.

Brainstorming your target audience is similar to creating a buyer persona for your company. Additionally, this exercise will help you determine the type of content you want to produce, optimizing your blog for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.

2. Brainstorm content ideas frequently based on your market segment.

Once you start a blog, it’s important to consistently produce high-quality content that appeals to your readers and boosts your SEO. Generating content requires time, but it’s worth it. To brainstorm ideas, analyze your competitors’ content for any gaps you can fill. Additionally, conduct SEO research to ensure there’s demand for the topic you plan to write about. Tools like SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner, and Answer the Public can assist you. By brainstorming regularly, you’ll always have actionable ideas at your disposal.

3. Research and review a content management system (CMS).

To create your blog, you’ll likely need a Content Management System (CMS). A CMS is a tool that helps you design, manage, and publish content on your website. You may be familiar with popular examples like WordPress or Wix.

If you don’t have a website yet, it’s important to choose a CMS that supports blogging. In case you already have a website, check if it has built-in blogging options. If not, you might consider finding a CMS that integrates with your site or even selecting a new CMS entirely.

There are numerous options available in the CMS world, including HubSpot. You can explore HubSpot’s CMS, which offers a free blog maker with features like free hosting and security tools. It’s user-friendly, providing a wide selection of free themes and a simple visual editor to help you get started.

4. Create a blog strategy and editorial calendar.

Just like creating a business, you can’t create a blog without a strategy in mind. Your strategy should answer questions like:

  • Who are you targeting?
  • What type of content will you produce?
  • When will you post?
  • Where will you promote your content?

To optimize your blog for success, it’s crucial to establish a clear mission, vision, and goals. Additionally, organization is key, so create an editorial calendar to stay on track. This calendar will not only help you plan upcoming posts but also ensure timely submissions from writers. By implementing these strategies, you’ll have a steady stream of quality content and solid SEO performance.

5. Pay attention to article structure.

When writing blog posts, it’s crucial to prioritize the article structure. Consider utilizing subheadings to break up the content for easier consumption. Incorporate bullet points and relevant images to enhance the post’s scannability. These factors greatly contribute to engaging your readers and keeping them on the page.

Additionally, ensure the inclusion of compelling calls-to-action (CTAs) that guide readers towards desired actions. Implementing these strategies not only enhances user engagement but also generates leads and drives monetization through your blog. Start optimizing your content for improved search engine visibility and better reader experience.

6. Become an expert in marketing and promoting your blog.

Promoting and marketing your blog posts is a crucial element of blogging. Just like the age-old question—“If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a sound?” The same applies to your blog posts. Without readers, they won’t have a positive impact on your company or brand. That’s why effective promotion is vital. Utilize social media, SEO, your website, or email newsletter to connect with current and potential customers. Enhance your online presence and maximize your blog’s reach!

7. Learn about SEO.

Like I mentioned above, you want people to read your blog posts. One way to do that is to get organic traffic through SEO. If you want your blog to be successful, learn how to research keywords, how to rank in search engines, and how to build an SEO strategy.

8. Use a variety of blog post styles.

Your blog posts should be interesting to everyone who reads them, and especially for customers who read every single post. For those that are active followers and ambassadors of your blog, you should use a variety of blog post styles so your blog doesn’t get stale. Consider using how-to posts, list-based posts, or thought leadership.

9. Repurpose old content.

Producing blog content consistently can be hard. But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you write a blog post. You can update old blog posts to keep them accurate and comprehensive. Additionally, you can use other content of yours, perhaps a YouTube video or a podcast, and repurpose the content into a blog post.

10. Perform a competitive analysis.

To understand your audience, run a competitive analysis on your top blog competitors. This will help you identify trends, uncover gaps in the content in your industry, and give you ideas on topics and ways to promote your blog.

Running a competitive analysis will help you build and iterate on your own blog strategy.

How to Promote Your Blog

As mentioned earlier, a blog is an excellent channel to build awareness and promote your brand.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Link from Your Website

This may seem obvious, but you should make your blog easy to find on your website. Consider using an attention-grabbing CTA or making it easily accessible from a dedicated spot on your homepage.

2. Repurpose Blog Content

As previously mentioned, repurposing content will save you loads of time when creating content, but it also allows you to promote your brand across multiple channels whether through video, podcasts, email, or social.

3. Utilize Interlinking

Once you’ve started generating a significant number of posts on your blog, it can be helpful to link to other posts or related topic pages within your blog. This is good for SEO, but it will also help your readers find pertinent information on a topic they are interested in.

4. Promote on social media

With the help of eye-catching video or images, you can also leverage your social media channels to drive traffic to your blog. Additionally, consider placing a link to your blog on all of your social accounts. *Stat about social media users*

5. Consider Guest Blogging

Guest posting on another industry-related blog gives your brand the opportunity to introduce itself to new customers who may not have heard of you. It’s also a great opportunity to network with other industry professionals and provide cross-promotion opportunities.

6. Leverage Influencers

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool you can use to give your brand some social proof credibility. Similar to guest blogging, you’ll be able to tap into that person’s audience and introduce your brand to a new audience. Be sure to work on cultivating a relationship first before reaching out for a favor.

7. Explore Paid Options

If you have the budget to do so, paid content promotion is another route you can take to get eyes on your content. Running ads or a boosted post on Facebook is a good entry point to paid promotion.

If you’re officially ready to get started with your own blog, take a look at How to Create a Successful Blog Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide.

Blogging is Beneficial for Business

With a blog, the sky‘s the limit — and so are the benefits for your business. When new content is published regularly, engaging, and helpful to your audience, it’s an invaluable tool to have in your marketing kit.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

By Olivia Wilde

Passionate Blogger, Web Developer, Search Engine Optimizer, Online Marketer and Advertiser. Passionate about SEOs and Digital Marketing. Helping Bloggers to learn "How to Blog".