Most people I feel are confused about how to define what a blog is in the year 2020. Blogging has indeed evolved over the years with the rest of the internet. However, at its core, it has remained the same; a blog is a personal diary it always has been.
Blogs have always been personal diaries, especially during the early days of the internet, when people first began writing about themselves online. Before blogs, in the era of my grandmother, a diary was the best way for you to jot down your thoughts on paper.
The official definition of a diary is just a book in which one keeps a daily record of events and experiences. Your diary doesn’t necessarily have to be private; they only happen to have been in the past.
People have published diaries before; in fact, many famous individuals have published their diary for the world to see. The diary of Marco Polo, for example, is published and contains his experiences traveling to Asia.
The modern-day equivalent of Marco Polo’s diary is a travel blog. If the internet was around in Marco Polo’s time, I’d be willing to bet that he would have been publishing his tours of Asia online.
In 2020 blogs are no longer seen as viable instruments of writing and expressing your thoughts. The popular opinion is that they are great for getting sales and helping with SEO. Some even try to make the argument that blogging is dead.
Well, I am here to tell you that no, blogging is not dead and that yes, writing a blog is very similar to writing in a personal diary.
If a Blog Is a Personal Diary, Why Call It a Blog?
So how did blogging get its name? Well, a “blog” is a prefix of the word “weblog”, which was coined by a blogger named Jorn Barger in 1997.
The word was created during the late 1990s tech boom when the dot-com companies were starting to pick up steam. Today, the term blog refers to a website that is being consistently updated and written in an informal or conversational style.
The main difference between a diary and a blog is that one is online and public while the other is private.
Nonetheless, there are many diaries written by famous people who had intended on publishing their work eventually. So it’s not entirely accurate to say that a diary has to be this private top-secret document, rather it’s up to the writer whether it is or not.
The terms diary and blog are just used to distinguish the content from one another. Although, this does not mean that the two can’t overlap and share correspondences. The same can be said between a diary and a journal.
A journal is a form of a diary and shares many similarities, but it can also be quite different like in the case of academic journals.
Writers can also choose specific topics when writing in their diaries; like blogs, a diary can have a niche. For example, someone can write a food diary where they record what they eat throughout the day.
Likewise, they may decide to write about certain diets that have and haven’t worked for them. You can see how similar this is to the type of content that food bloggers create on the internet.
Business Blogs Vs Personal Blogs
The two most popular types of blogs are business blogs and personal blogs. These terms can get a little confusing since they’re sometimes used interchangeably on the internet.
Many entrepreneurs look towards blogging to boost their conversions and generate sales. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as there are many great opportunities for someone to monetize a blog. However, it may cause some confusion with new bloggers as to what kind of content they need to be writing.
Therefore, it is crucial to understand the difference between a business blog and a personal blog.
First, you must ask yourself why you want to start a blog in the first place. Is it to organize your thoughts on a particular subject? Or is it to promote a product or service for your existing business? Establishing this from the start will make a blog’s content clearer.
Diaries have many things in common with both personal blogs and business blogs. Personal blogs have the most similarities since they are focused on the blogger.
Diaries are compositions of an individual’s innermost thoughts, but it doesn’t have to translate in that way on your blog. You can fit in what you want to talk about while at the same time, making it relevant to your readers.
Your blog is a personal diary when you write about your experiences, daily life, opinions, and feelings, all while marketing your brand.
Nat Eliason is a blogger who writes for his blog and personal brand. His blog doesn’t have a specific niche in the traditional sense, but his content does seem to target young men.
Nevertheless, Nat writes articles about pretty much anything he wants, and his blog has achieved immense success. He has written posts before about why a blog doesn’t need a niche.
Nat’s blog is an example of not only how similar a personal blog is to a diary, but also how different it is from a business blog.
Of course, there are exceptions to this. Creativefinancialhelp, for example, is a personal finance blog, but that doesn’t mean that I only write about finance. If you analyze my articles, you will see that most of them have my personal experiences and beliefs sprinkled in.
Plus, if I didn’t have my blog, I would be writing about personal finance in a physical diary; either way, my writing needs an outlet.
Another popular argument is that writing about yourself is not valuable to readers. First of all, try and think about why people search for blogs to read. Is it only about the content, or is it also about the person who is writing that content?
People are interested in both the blogger’s life and the type of long, rich content that Google loves. For instance, I like reading Nat’s blog, I think he is a good writer and I’m interested in what he has to say about his life.
But Nat also writes articles about personal finance, men’s health, college, and much more. This diversity in content is what makes personal blogs so great in that they provide the best of both worlds.
A company blog, or business blog, is a section of an existing business dedicated to writing about that company’s product or service. Company blogs will typically have a specific niche marketed towards their customers.
Disney Parks has a great blog in which they discuss all the amusement parks they have around the world.
In one post, they reference their new Gusteau Restaurant located in Paris, France. Some people don’t even know that Disney has a theme park in Paris.
In this case, these blog posts are a fun and creative way to get people’s attention towards their theme parks, without spending millions on advertising.
However, Disney is a large company with a big name; everybody knows who they are. There already is an existing trust between them and their audience.
A company blog is as niche as you can get without running out of topics to write. The person or company should know enough about their business to write various long detailed content.
In 2020 there is this idea that a blog must niche down to distinguish it from the competition. But how far down can a niche go? And what type of blog are we talking about here?
If it’s for a company blog, then I can understand why it’s necessary to have a specific niche. However, I think a personal blog can still do fine even with a broad niche. Plus, a personal blogger risks running out of ideas if their blog is too specific.
Therefore, some bloggers will integrate their personal blogs into their businesses; while at the same time promoting their product or service. That proves just how flexible you can be with your blog
Blogging’s Similarities To Other Platforms
In 2020 starting a blog is influenced by two ideas: Whether to sell something or write and eventually sell something. Both personal and business blogs can sell products, but they will differ in the type of content they produce.
The truth is that most people who are looking to start a blog need an outlet to share their ideas and thoughts with other people online.
You may never see a post from me about what I ate for breakfast, but you may see something like how I look to save money throughout my day. Today, many bloggers feel that they can’t focus on themselves in their posts without losing the interest of their audience.
Contrarily, most of your content does not have to be purely professional and impersonal. It’s entirely possible to have a successful blog (that is your business) while at the same time writing fun and compelling stuff about yourself.
Starting a Blog VS Vlogging
For the most part, what people are looking for in a blog is informative and entertaining written content on the internet.
It is no different from how a YouTuber will vlog about his or her life, while at the same time providing informative content. Fun fact: The word vlog is a shortened version of “video blog”, meaning vlogs are just blogs in video format.
Before YouTube was around, most bloggers did write about their daily lives and did well on search rankings. However, what changed over the years was the ease of consuming visual content.
As time went by, people started abandoning cable TV and began watching more YouTube. Eventually, the content that people wrote about on their blogs moved onto YouTube in video format.
The best way to get around this problem is to vlog and blog at the same time. I know it sounds scary to be on camera, but it’s 2020, video content can help your blog rank higher and stick out from the crowd.
So yes, it is possible to blog about your daily life and still be successful with SEO; you only have to be a little creative with how you do it.
The Truth About Blogging
When most people start a blog, they are using it as an outlet for their thoughts. The truth is that your blog is a personal diary that you can monetize online.
The exaggerated perception of writing about yourself in the blogging community is referenced with the classic “don’t blog about what you had for breakfast” advice.
For the most part, nobody writes about that kind of stuff in a diary, unless it’s a specific food diary. The reality is that you can write about what happens in your daily life as long as it’s engrossing and pertains to the theme of your blog.
I remember hearing another blogger advise against writing about yourself by saying, “nobody cares about you on the internet”.
If that’s true, how would you explain all of the YouTubers, Instagrammers, and Tik Tokers, who vlog about their daily lives nonstop?
If nobody cares about them, why do so many people tune in to watch them doing such rudimentary tasks?
Well, it’s because they can entertain, inspire, and inform their audiences. Yet, internet fame can also have a lot to do with luck as well.
There is also a big difference in viewership demographics when comparing blogging to those platforms. The bottom line is that people who watch YouTube are very young, much younger than those who read blogs.
Furthermore, Google searches also tend to be more how-to based than YouTube searches; so it’s true that people search differently on Google than they do on YouTube
But then again, think about what makes you subscribe to a blog you like. I’ve read many how-to posts that have helped me immensely but rarely do I stay and read the rest of the person’s content.
A Blog Is a Personal Diary That Reader’s Can Connect With
I know it sounds messed up, but it’s true. When you solve someone’s problem with your long detailed blog post, after reading the post, they’ll likely bounce and never come back.
That is the reason why some blogs have no problem getting traffic, but keeping that traffic is what’s difficult. When you put yourself in the shoes of the reader, think about how much more interested you’d be to stay if you felt a connection with a blogger.
In all honesty, most personal finance bloggers make very similar content. Yet, what makes them different is the uniqueness of the individual writing the material.
It’s not always about who can write the most helpful post, but rather who can do it in a way that seems unrepeated and genuine.
Anybody can write a blog post on How To Make a Million Dollars in Your 20s, but only you can write it in your own unique way.
What’s Actually Going To Make Readers Love Your Blog
Over time, readers will be more inclined to check out your blog and learn more about you. Recording the successes you’ve had in your life and even some personal stories will inspire your readers.
It is still important to write those long how-to posts filled with rich and helpful information. Still, it’s imperative to discuss yourself from time to time and express how you’ve changed as a person over the years.
Yes, blogging has become a big business for many, but your blog is a personal diary, even if you monetize it.
A blogger is an influencer, as much as I hate the word, it’s true. Bloggers are influencers who share their lives with other people on the internet. Eventually, those thoughts will develop into blog posts that readers will be dying to read.
People can find solutions for their problems anywhere; we live in an age where millions of sources are available to us 24/7. Yet, bloggers attract readers by expressing their expertise in a particular subject, while also demonstrating their unique personality.
That’s why people are still reading personal finance blogs. Instead of listening to some billionaire talk about their successes, they can hear it from someone like them, perhaps a person in a similar situation as they are.
A Personal Finance Blog Is a Personal Diary
One thing I love about personal finance blogs is how personal they get. If you look at some of the top personal finance bloggers, you will see that many of them share aspects of their lives all the time.
Michelle, with Making Sense of Cents, runs one of the biggest personal finance blogs on the internet. Her posts usually contain direct personal finance advice but its not unusual to see her discussing herself, especially in her older posts.
For example, in her post 12 Ways To Stay Motivated So You Can Reach Your Goals, she is informative to the reader while simultaneously discussing her life and past experiences.
In this post, Michelle discusses how she stayed motivated paying off $40,000 of student loans; while teaching her readers how they can do the same.
Her website even lists this post under the category “my life.” Michelle perfectly exemplifies how to integrate a diary-like memoir in the context of a list post.
The only difference here is that you could say her personal posts are written to help the reader and not just to share her thoughts. However, we know that diaries in the past helped solve people’s problems as well.
Marco Polo wrote his diary so that other people would get a glimpse of what it was like to travel in Asia. You can say the same about how travel blogs can help you see the world through the web.
Likewise, a personal finance blog can give you insights on great strategies from another person’s personal experience.
In the case of Making Sense of Cents, her audience loves her. They don’t go to her blog only for her financial advice; they go to her blog because they’ve made a connection with her and want to hear what she has to say.
In The End, a Blog Is an Online Diary, But It Can Also Be Much More
Trying to classify blogs under one group is pointless since they share so many attributes with other kinds of writing. The main two types of blogs are company blogs and personal blogs, but even those can sometimes overlap.
Nobody can tell you not to write about specific topics because many bloggers have successfully written about all kinds of things, no problem.
Yes, blogging still needs a strategy, and yea writing certain content is necessary to rank on Google. However, that does not mean personal content is entirely off-limits. Pick the type of blog you want to start, then begin writing good content, and the readers will come.
Even for corporate blogs, to a certain degree, they must use some elements of personal blogging. Audiences want to feel connected with whichever blog they’re reading.
The truth is that yes, your blog is a personal diary: But it can also be an online journal, an article, and a how-to guide all in one. You can write a blog that shares characteristics with other types of writing pieces.
Thinking of your blog as a diary is a great way to let out all your thoughts and emotions. Then, once your blog evolves you will naturally start writing other types of articles.
Blogs are such a flexible and creative way to start writing online in 2020. You can literally do anything with them; what is the point of neglecting their creative flexibility by writing content that doesn’t appeal to you?
For corporate blogs, the product or service is the main selling point. The readers are familiar with it, creating an existing trust with the company.
However, a personal blogger has to earn the trust of their audience before they can build a following or even monetize. So then it makes sense for a blogger to write about themselves because it helps the reader understand them better.
For a personal blog, a product or service is not the selling point; you are. The blogger is the reason why people will subscribe, not because of the content, but because of the one writing the content.
Yes, it’s true long, rich content is also vital for any blog, yet, it’s important not to lose sight of being personal with your readers. It’s also imperative to note that all blogs are different; what works for one blog might not work for another.
It’s even okay to start multiple blogs if you feel that you have many interests. Some blogs will succeed while others will fail, it is all trial and error.
If you want to start a blog in 2020, start by choosing which kind of blog you think will appeal to your circumstances. Once you have done that begin writing engaging content that you and your readers can enjoy.