So, Am I Now A Blogger?

With all this talk about writing and content marketing, coupled with the fact we’re using WordPress, which is commonly thought of as “blogging software”, some might think I’ve carefully steered you down a path that turns you into a blogger.

No, not really.

The distinction is at once interesting and irrelevant. “Blogger” is nothing more than a label. It has negative connotations for some, which is why I want to address it here.

While we’re at it, I’ll also point you at some excellent resources on content creation. By the end of this article, the fact that they have the word “blogger” in their titles shouldn’t bother you in the least.

What is blogging, anyway?

A “blog”, short for “web log”, originally began as a kind of online diary or journal. When people found how easily they could publish online, that was one class of content that developed quickly.

Today the term is significantly less descriptive, and refers to just about any periodic online publishing.

Consider what you’re reading right now. I typically publish two articles a week, online. Is it a blog? Yes and no. Yes, in that it follows, somewhat, the form and function of what many consider to be a blog. Yes, in that in many ways it’s just me talking about something of interest in each post.

And yet … no, not really. It’s more of a series of educational articles adhering to a theme and form, rather than some kind of introspective random relation of personal experience or opinion, which so many consider a “true” blog to be.

Yes. No. Both. Neither.

Bottom line: it doesn’t matter. (If it helps, I don’t think of this as a blog. My personal blog, on the other hand, I most certainly do.)

Blogging software

Part of the confusion, of course, is that WordPress is considered blogging software.

I don’t think of it that way. The more proper term for WordPress and other tools like it today is “Content Management System”, or CMS. It’s software that lets you focus on your content, rather than having to learn code and deal with all the minutia and administrivia of how it’s presented each time you want to publish something.

One of the things that reinforces WordPress’s perception as blogging software is its default configuration, and the way it’s optimized to display an actual blog. Characteristics include:

  • A front page that contains some number of recent posts or post excerpts.
  • Posts are presented in reverse-chronological order, most recent first.
  • The ability to comment on posts.
  • The concept of “trackback”, which allow blogs to automatically link to one another.

There’s probably more, but you get the idea. WordPress started out optimized for blogging, and many of those characteristics persist even as it has grown to encompass vastly differing types of web sites that would certainly not be considered “blogs”.

It’s all about the content

At the risk of annoying you by continuing to hammer home a point: it’s all about adding value.

Whether you think of it as a blog or not, whether you use a default blog-like configuration, or tweak and twiddle things so that your site has no resemblance to what one might call a blog – none of that matters.

What matters is that you’re giving your visitors and readers value for visiting your site.

You’ve shared information, solved problems, and perhaps entertained them. Exactly what that looks like or how it’s implemented, while important, is secondary to the goal of adding value.

Maybe that is an actual honest-to-goodness blog. Fantastic.

Maybe it’s a question-and-answer site that just happens to be implemented using “blogging software”. That’s cool, too.

Maybe it’s a reference site of some sort that doesn’t even have a concept of “most recently posted” (For example, The Ask Leo! Glossary.) Again, that’s great.

As long as you’re adding value – as long as people walk away appreciating their visit to your site – you’re on the right path.

Resources

So, now that you’re comfortable with the word “blogger” and know you needn’t shy away from it, I want to point you to a couple of resources to help you take your content creation strategy further.

Copyblogger and Problogger. Both are excellent resources.

Both have products to sell, but that’s not the point. Both are excellent examples of exactly what I’ve been recommending: they add value by publishing regularly articles and information, for free, for anyone to come by and read. Both also offer ebooks, podcasts, online training, and probably more.

I recommend you start reading both.

Over time you may find that one or the other speaks more to the way you think, or the way you intend to operate, but honestly, it’d be difficult to go wrong with either.

4 comments on “So, Am I Now A Blogger?”

  1. Hi Leo,
    Thanks for adding your new On Business emails to the great information you generate. A quick question – your Ask Leo! on Business emails come with the lines of text hugging the left margin of (Thunderbird’s) message display window, which is makes it little bit awkward to read. Other text emails have a space between the leftmost border and the first character of the text, so I suspect the format control in on your end rather than mine. Just a tiny “for what it’s worth” observation!
    Thanks again,

    • I actually don’t do anything specific to make that happen, so I’m not sure WHY tbird is treating it that way. Looks find in Gmail, for example. When I get a chance I’ll look into it.

      As always (and as you’ve obviously noticed) everything it formatted properly here on the web page where you can read the same thing. 🙂

  2. Leo:

    I have so many good things to say about this series, that I don’t know where to start. The question about being a blogger, thru me off by several weeks. I wish I had seen these comments right from the start of your wordpress series.

    Thanks for it all.
    Randy