Do you want to start blogging for personal or professional reasons, but you’re not sure what blogging means these days? Well, you’re not the only one! The blogging definition has changed dramatically since blogs were first launched back in the 1990s. Now a blog can serve many different functions, depending on the content you produce and the angle you take.
Ultimately blogging comes down to what you want it to be. The more focused you are from the beginning, the better the chance that you’ll have success with it.
Why the Blogging Definition in the Dictionary Needs to Be Revamped
If you go to dictionary.com, you’ll see that the blogging definition contains a both a noun and a verb.
As a noun the word “blog” means “a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc. and often having images and links to other websites.” Or, it can be “a single entry or post on such a website.”
As a verb the word “blog” means “to maintain or add new entries to a blog.”
I think this is a blogging definition that’s limited to the way that all blogs used to be. But as soon as you start adding journalistic-style research, white papers, ecommerce, and more, a “blog” becomes a full-blown website that does much more than just express “experiences, observations, and opinions.”
There are three general types of blogs you’ll find on the Internet. They are:
The Personal Blog
A personal blog can be anything from Mommy blogs, where mothers write about their family lives, to travel blogs where people write about their travels.
Like all blogs, personal blogs can be monetized. Three popular ways to make money from a personal blog are:
- By placing ads on it, such as Google ads or private ads (from advertisers or placed there by an ad network)
- By producing sponsored content (when advertisers pay you to write a post and include their brand or products in it)
- By adding affiliate advertising links (when you’re paid money if someone clicks on the link and then buys something from the advertiser’s website or online shop).
- What doesn’t change, even with these monetization features, is the blog’s focus.
With personal blogs the focus is always on you, the blogger, even if you write content that’s useful to your readers. What do you like or dislike? How do you see the world? How did you do that thing?
Let's say you're an interior designer. A personal blog could tell readers the colors you love.
A personal blog is more like a journal that you choose to share with the world. You’re sharing what you use and what you know. If you like taking selfies and telling your stories, personal blogging may be your passion!
The Editorial Blog
I create editorial blogs, such as this blog The Decorated Way and the Travis Neighbor Ward Blog. On a much larger scale, you can find editorial blogs at the core of The Huffington Post.
Editorial blogs are often written by professional writers who have a commitment to researching and reporting on topics that extend beyond their own lives. The tone can still be personal (you can write using “I” or “we”), and editorial blogs can cover any topic you want.
Sometimes editorial blogs are niche-specific (see my list below)… There are so many types – pretty much one type for every niche out there.
I’ve been a professional magazine writer and editor for decades, so editorial blogging comes naturally to me. I love researching topics and I love helping people. An editorial-style blog makes sense for me.
Editorial blogs require that you get your facts right. You need to make sure you’re drawing on credible sources, just like magazines and newspapers do (or should!). You also may choose topics that are trending or buzz-worthy.
You may craft things like listicles that tell readers the Top 10 whatevers. The difference is that a personal blog may tell readers the top things that the blogger likes best.
The editorial blog, in comparison, will tell readers what the best things are based on research like surveys, ratings, many people’s reviews, etc.
You don’t need to be a professional writer to produce an editorial blog. You just need to commit to doing high-quality research and factchecking.
Personal blogs may be more work for you because they require you to dig deeper into your life, your opinions, and your feelings. Editorial blogs allow you to connect with readers just as much over topics, but you don’t need to expose your personal life or feelings so much.
Sometimes bloggers start off writing personal blogs, then gain so much popularity that they turn their blogs into a hybrid of personal-editorial blog. A good example is The Pioneer Woman blog.
The Company Blog
By “company blog” I mean blogs that companies produce on their websites. These tend to be produced with content marketing in mind. That means content that ultimately tells readers about your brand, company, or products.
Company blogs often follow the same post type formats as editorial blogs. It can even be hard to understand at first if they’re editorial or company blogs. But they don’t usually have the same level of research and factchecking as editorial blogs.
Plus, editorial blogs often have the goal of reporting on facts in a more neutral way by presenting many sides of a topic. Company blogs are interested in giving the company’s perspective, to encourage readers’ interest in it.
A great example of a company blog is Whole Story, the blog by Whole Foods.
Another popular company blog is Richard Branson’s blog. He’s the CEO of Virgin Airlines. His blog includes personal stories, but it’s housed on the Virgin website and ultimately he’s always connected to his company when he writes.
As you can see, blog topics can cross over between all three of these blog types. After you choose the type of blog you want to create, you need to pick your niche.
Here are major blog niches you’ll find when you do searches on search engines like Google:
- Lifestyle blogs
- Interior design blogs
- News blogs
- Fashion blogs
- Travel blogs
- Food blogs
- Technology blogs
- Car blogs
- Gaming blogs
- Movie blogs
- Book blogs
- Health and Fitness blogs
- Sports blogs
- DIY blogs
- Relationship blogs
- Parenting blogs
- Pet blogs
- Finance blogs
- Real estate blogs
- Political blogs
How to Choose the Blogging Definition that Works for You
Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re trying to settle on the best type of blog for your goals:
- Do I want my perspective to be personal; neutral; or specific to my company?
- What topics do I want to cover on my blog?
- Do I want to do lots of research and reporting for my blog?
- Am I willing to do factchecking for my blog?
- How much of myself and my life do I want to share on my blog?
- Can my blog include lots of sources, such as other people’s brands or links to their websites?
- Is my ultimate goal with my blog to get people interested in my company or product?
Hopefully that helps you understand the blogging definition and how you can redefine it for your needs!