It is hard not to at least notice the word “blog” or “blogging”, with the frequency it seems to pop up in subjects ranging from politics to pornstars. Odds are that you have noticed it unless you have been living in a cave for the last four years. But even with that kind of familiarity of the word, few can say exactly what a blog is.
To understand the blog, first of all a little history is in order. The word “blog” is short for the word “weblog”. A weblog is a word coined early in the internet age to designate a journal or diary type page mainly consisting of personal thoughts and reflections. Most of the time it is updated frequently and can range in topic from the mundane to the profound. Sound familiar? It should. What it really is when you get rid of the hype is the good old fashioned diary which has been with us almost as long as language itself.
How long have “blogs” been with us? Well, one of the first instances could easily be ascribed to a work called “Kakheperresenb’s Complaint”, written by none other than the egyptian scribe Kakheperresenb himself. (Please don’t try to pronounce the name. You WILL get a headache. We will call him “K” from this point forward.) “K” made one of the first recordable blog entries in history circa 2000 BC. Of course “K” didn’t have the resources and technology we did today and his audience was probably limited considering the fact that most of the population was illiterate.
“K” left with us the memorable phrase, “’Would I had phrases that are not known, utterances that are strange, in new language that has not been used, free from repetition, not an utterance which men of old have spoken.” Obviously even then people with a blog were STILL trying to figure out what to write!
But no seriously, the blog IS the way to reach fame and fortune and make a little money on the side. Just ask Darren Rowse, whose most recent (August 2005) income total from Adsense was a little over $16,000! Yeah, that WAS three zeroes behind that 6. Not bad for a guy writing his own comments and ramblings about everything from sports shoes to bad movies. Of course Darren went so far as to even take a course in college on “Entrepeunerial Blogging”. Needless to say he must have paid attention.
But you need not take a course to have a good blog that generates hits. Blogger extroidinairre Chris Wright started his by simply posting job openings for engineers which he came across during his own job search. Word got around and before long he realized his hit count was going up and up and up… You get the picture. If you write something interesting that people need to know they WILL come to you – invited or not. As Chris’s own story perfectly illustrates.
So run this by me again, you say? You mean ALL I have to do is just start writing stuff about – NOTHING?
No, not exactly. As always, in the internet world and in the real world, content is king. Your writing must be somehow funnier, sharper, wittier, smarter, more bizzare or just plain weird in order for people to link to you and as a result drive up the hits to your blog and hence fatten your pocketbook.
But notice how many options you have. You don’t have to depend on your education. Nor do you need a rich and lavish lifestyle that you can blog about while others read with envy. If you can make the boring, dreary life of the average nobody funny and interesting people will come regardless. As mentioned earlier – CONTENT is king.
Good content = more visitors = more banner hits = more money.
So you want to know how to get started with this blogging thing?
It’s really pretty easy. There are a number of places that will allow you to host your own blog and most of them do it for free. Blogger is probably the most popular. But there are others. Try some of these on for size if you had rather go the more individual route:
Livejournal – This is the “kinda” cool and hip virtual location for the blogger crowd. You can link to other people by topic and it has some other cool features like the ability to allow posts from only certain people.
Diaryland – Diaryland doesn’t hids it’s origins. In fact it does it’s best to try and make your weblog look as close as possible to the good old fashioned diary/journal that we all know and love. They have a smaller and more intimate community than some of the other locations.
What if you are not sure you want to get started but instead want to just read blogs of others for a while until you get a better idea of what you want to say?
Well there are PLENTY of sites that do nothing but list and aggregate blogs of other people. Here are just a few to get you started:
Globeofblogs – Globe of blogs has a real international flavor. You will find blogs from literally everywhere here.
Blogarama – Another compendium of various blogs on subjects ranging from weird to wonderful.
Blogsearchengine – This site cut’s to the chase. If you want to search for blogs they will do it for you. Just enter in the subject of your interest.
Top-blogs.com – Okay so you want to know other success stories? Check out those near the top of the listings here. You will then see what it takes to reach the top.
Well, hopefully you know enough to get started on your own blog by now. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and BLOG!