What is a Blog?

November 17, 2011

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We’ve been talking about all the different aspects of blogging. Let’s get back to basics and remember, what is a blog and what’s it all about.

The term “blog” was derived from the word weblog, which was used to define websites that provide a continuous stream of content. Over the years, blogs have evolved from personal online journals to cover a wide range of topics including politics, sports, religion, technology, sand health, among many others. Some people get a blog to advertise online and offline businesses.

Various blogging styles and techniques have eventually been developed. Blogging is now seen as both as an art that take talent, creativity, diligence, foresight, and technical skills. At present, there are several tools and resources available to assist bloggers in content development, online visibility, usability, and blog management. Virtually anyone who has something to say can get a blog and be heard.

Websites vs. Blogs

Basically, a blog differs from a website in such a way that it thrives upon personal relationships online between blog author and his readers and fellow bloggers. Websites, especially if business-owned, are more formal and they contain fixed content. Technically, a company may have a website that features a blog page or get a blog separate from the corporate site.

The most common features of a blog include a home page where the latest posts are immediately displayed. Blog entries are posted in chronological order and arranged under different categories. An archive section is where older articles are moved. Each post allows for a comment box where readers can share their thoughts about the topic discussed. It is also common to see a links list in blogs, which displays URLs leading to other blogs or websites. Feeds like RSS and Atom are also a common blog feature.

The Anatomy of a Blog

Content. A blog author can basically post anything he wants and present information or multi-media anyway he likes. Blog articles, also called posts or entries, can vary in length depending on the blog owner’s preferences. Content can be personal observations, reviews, tips, videos, photos, commentaries, and so on. A blog may have one or more authors.

Comments. After each blog entry, readers can drop their comments via a comment box. Comments are the lifeblood of a blog. The volume and quality of comments received by a blog can determine how successful the blog is. Blog authors can protect the quality of comments they receive by subjecting them to approval before being posted.

Archives. Archives make it easy for readers to access older entries posted on a blog. Blog posts can be archived according to month and year posted, category, tags used, authors, and so on.

Feeds. Feed readers enable blog visitors to subscribe get updated whenever new content is updated on the blogs they subscribed to. New content is literally “fed” to subscribers and they no longer have to go to different places to check out the blogs they follow.

Blog roll. Also referred to as the link list, it contains links to sites or blogs the blog owner finds interesting. The blog roll, usually displayed on the sidebar, features blogs in related niches.

Trackbacks. Trackbacks serves notifications between bloggers. For instance, when one blogger wants another blogger to know about a new content he posted or another one posts a comment on another blog and wants readers of his own blog to know about it, he can enable trackbacks.

Plug-ins. Plug-ins can be installed by a blog author to enhance his blog’s functionality. Plug-ins can improve features already offered by a blogging platform like WordPress or may have entirely new functions.  If you decide to get a blog and wish to install plug-ins that are not so easy to install, seek the help of a web developer.

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