Let's start with the Wikipedia definition of a blog and blogging:
A weblog (usually shortened to blog, but occasionally spelled web log) is a web-based publication consisting primarily of periodic articles (normally in reverse chronological order). Although most early weblogs were manually updated, tools to automate the maintenance of such sites made them accessible to a much larger population, and the use of some sort of browser-based software is now a typical aspect of "blogging".
The largest blog site on the Internet is Blogger.com. This site started in 1999 and was purchased by Google in 2002. Blogger.com usually ranks in the top ten websites on the Internet by traffic volume.
Blogger is a good location to start a blog since Google spiders check out the new content on Google very quickly after it is posted. This can help your ranking on the search engines. Remember back to the Internet basics about the importance of ranking high on the search engines to bring you volumes of free traffic.
Traffic to your blog is the major factor for the success or failure of your blog. The page rank of your blog on Google, Yahoo, or MSN (Live.com) search engines for your key words will make or break you.
If you create an interesting blog that attracts a large readership, you can make money from it by putting Google Adsense ads on it, recommending affiliate products, etc. We will cover these topics later in your education.
Setting up a blog is very easy. You can have one set up in 30 minutes if you do not agonize over the format for your template during the setup process.
You can have multiple blogs on your account so create an experimental blog. If it works for you, expand it. If not, you can delete it and start another one. This will give you experience on how to maintain a blog, and you will find out if blogging is for you. Just remember that all the world sees the information in your blog.
Before you launch off on a blogging career, examine the advantages and disadvantages of blogging versus building a content website:
Advantages of Blogging
It is easy to start. Just open an account on one of blog sites and you can start posting your blog for the world to see.
It is free if you use one of the free blog sites. A word of caution - evaluate the time you spend building a blog with the time you would spend building a good content website to see which gives you the best return for your time.
Blogs are easy to publish. Once you have established your blog, sign on and in a few minutes, your new entry can be posted live on the Net.
Disadvantages of Blogging
It is time sensitive. To keep your blog traffic up, you must blog on a fairly frequent schedule. This makes you a slave to your blog and does not give you time off since when you stop blogging, your traffic drops. Consider that a content website draws traffic all the time. You must keep it fresh, but this can be done by updating it less frequently than a blog.
It does not build a long term website. Surfers read the most current posts and do not dig down to old posts. (Nothing is older than old news). You do not get any leverage from the hard work you did to create that blog post a few weeks ago since no one ever goes back to it. On a content website, good site navigation will lead the reader back to the old content.
Blog navigation is based on date/time entry and not on the multi-tier structure of a good website. This makes it difficult for the viewer to effectively find any previous information.
According to Google, blogs deliver a poor quality visitor to your blog. The following is a direct quote from Google Analytics 101, written by Google in April 2008...
"Blogs usually have high Bounce Rates no matter what since normal visitor behavior is to read the newest post and then leave."
I am prejudice since I have had more success with websites than with blogs. Also, the competition in blogs is growing at an amazing rate. I recently read that there are 112.8 million blogs. 175,000 new blogs are launched every day. 1.5 million blog posts are made everyday.
I highly recommend that you compare building a blog versus building a content website. In my opinion, if you channel the effort required for a blog into building a content based website, you will leverage your effort many times over.
Do not get the impression that there are never applications when you might blog. If you are providing news and current tips, blogging may be the answer. Also, you can have a blog to complement your website and help drive traffic to your site.