Blogging is storytelling, sharing your thoughts and experiences; an invitation for readers into what interests you. In the Internet’s early years, blogs were called personal home pages, places where writers could keep a daily journal of their own experiences. It was essentially an online diary documenting your daily activities. In 1994, one of the world’s first bloggers, Justin Hall, who was an undergrad at Swarthmore college, created a website called links.net. Hall not only used it as a source of information to help consumers navigate the Internet, but also to share his story, which we’d think of now as social media. In 1997, Jorn Barger, best known as the editor of Robot Wisdom, coined the term, “weblog,” described as a journal of logs recorded each day on websites. This would become known as the blog. Eventually, blogging became more successful leading into the late 1990’s and early 2000’s as more people began to consume and distribute information digitally. Many writers and authors started blogging about their upcoming projects and events. Journalists, even those unexpected sources, used blogging as a platform to cover breaking stories and update readers.
As the Internet escalated into millions of websites, readers’ expectations began to challenge what content creators would write about. There was a stronger focus on blogging about hobbies rather than detailing each day of one’s life. One of the reasons for this shift was because the Internet was becoming intensely crowded; readers were more interested in content that offered something innovative and original. What if there were blogs that were immersive and detailed and created more relevant discussion? A new way of blogging arrived to make a writer’s life more convenient. The release of WordPress, which launched in 2003, marked a significant time for the blogger. They no longer had to buy hosting space to write and share their work. They could finally start blogging without having to worry about learning complex HTML and CSS that goes into designing and formatting a website.
The Impact of Social Media
Over the new few years, the blogging community had become massive with political commentators using it as a way to express their opinions in order to reach a broader audience and businesses using it as a marketing tool to promote their products. However, it was the introduction of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube that revolutionized blogging. They offered bloggers a variety of resources to promote themselves and network with those who shared similar interests. It was the first time that bloggers could reach readers instantly across the globe with just a tweet or post briefly describing their latest content. Social media became essential for bloggers to become more lucrative. It also had a significant influence on the growth of the bloggers. In 2006, Statistica recorded that about 35.8 million blogs existed on the web. Five years later in 2011, the number had grown astronomically to 173 million blogs.
Creating a Successful Blog
While the evolution of the blog had a tremendous impact on the mass media industry, it can also be quite an adventure to develop a successful one. Deciding to start your own blog can always be a tough decision as it’s not only a challenge to gain an audience, but also staying consistent with what readers want. Having an extreme passion for what you’re writing about as well as the ability to accept feedback and constructive criticism can play a crucial role in its development. As discussed in my previous post about audience engagement, it’s important to experiment with various types of content for your blog. Whether it be a personal experience, an overview of your trip to Europe, or a multi-media package, you want something that will attract readers from your specific industry. It will help you get to know your audience and who’s more likely to click on the link to your site that you’ve just posted on your Twitter page.
Considering that blogging is essentially taking your readers on a journey of your passions and interests, engaging with them is also beneficial in the long-term. It’s the ability to share your knowledge and what you’ve learned with those who are aspiring writers and journalists that will help improve your blog’s engagement. They are more likely to return if you create content that they have a genuine interest in, but is also compelling and informative. This strategy could even inspire them to start their own blogs or potentially collaborate with you on content or projects later on.
In the long-term, there are definitely elements that will help make your blog posts more enjoyable to read as well. Graphics can have a major influence on whether your content gains likes and shares. It’s not only a great way to capture your reader’s attention, but also emphasize what you’re writing about. According to social media statistics, posts with images receive a higher number of views, shares, and engagement rates than those with just text. Another benefit of blogging is that it will improve your writing skills so that you can deliver high-quality content to your audience. If you’re consistently writing content, you’re more likely to master your craft. This is important to keep in mind when brainstorming new ideas for your blog because keeping it relevant and updated can require a lot of time and devotion. Readers want to know that there’s someone writing the content that they can connect with and trust. As your audience matures, it’s also important that your blog does too.