What is a blog? A blog is an "online journal" or "web log". It's a place online where you can post whatever you want using an easy content management system such as WordPress. In the days before Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat, blogs were one of the best ways that a person could share personal stuff online with many people. Nowadays blogging seems antiquated and probably unnecessary. Just put it on Facebook! Or Instagram!
But do you need a blog? It depends on whether you have a lot going on that you want to communicate about, and a reason for communicating it. These days you may be better served with Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
Why Make a Blog?
There are many valid reasons for creating a blog. Here are some of the reasons I would recommend creating a blog for yourself:
- You already have a website and want to publish updates, news and such to your site on a regular basis. In which case, you can add a blog as part of your website. Post your news, pressreleases, and such things on your blog; it will help keep your website more current. Keeping a site current helps with Google rankings. A blog also provides a permanent record online, whereas posts on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram (or whatever the latest thing is in 2023) can seem fleetingly ephemeral. Also, you control whatever is said on your blog. That's not true about your Facebook page.
- You're a writer or photographer or musician (or almost any other kind of artist) and want to keep up an online journal, keep your fans updated, and solicit feedback from them. (Even then, a good Facebook page might work better for you.)
- You need a cheap and easy-to-set up business website. Your blog could be your entire website and that might be all you need for your website. In which case, you can use WordPress (the free blogging software) and get a fast-and-dirty website set up on Godaddy or Enom or some other cheap hosting company, within an hour, for very little cost. Cheap hosting companies usually have a "one click" button to set Up WordPress, making it super easy for someone without website design skills to set up a website right now, today. The problem with these is they look exactly like every other brand new WordPress website. So take a bit of time and customize your new blog with a theme and some plugins so your blog is not quite so plain. (Just please don't use WIX. Really not recommended, for many reasons.)
If you're going to create a blog, be sure to put content into it on a regular basis. That's the problem with most blogs (including my own blog!). The content on them gets old fast. Personally, I just don't have time to update my blog every day or every week, so sometimes I'll find, to my chagrin, that months have gone by since I posted anything. And you'll need to update the basic WordPress software periodically, or the site will get hacked. They make it easy to update it, just don't forget to do it! I know of one guy who hasn't updated his blog since 2005. Yeah, really.
And when you do post things to your blog, make sure that you have a plugin in place (such as "WP2Social Auto Publish") to post your blog post over on your Facebook and Instagram pages, so people who check their FB or Instagram incessantly will realize you've posted something more permanent over on your blog and will click over to your blog to find out what it is.
To see why you shouldn't use WordPress to build a business website that you need to rank well in Google, here's an article I wrote on my blog about "Why I don't use WordPress to build commercial websites."
Note: This page you are reading used to contain detailed instructions on writing a blog in .xml -- there's no need for that nowadays. Just use WordPress. Or if you like a real technical challenge, try building a blog using Joomla. Both provide adequate "content management software" for creating a basic website; they are not only for blogs. Of the two, WordPress is way easier, although there's still a steep learning curve to become proficient with WordPress.