There is still confusion on and off the internet about the definition and purpose of a blog. Even though several explanations and definitions of a blog exist, many people still don’t have a very good understanding of its purpose and its nature.
This weeks article will shed some light on this topic so that non-bloggers and new bloggers alike, will have a better understanding of what a blog is. The definition given below is based on my own understanding of what a blog is presently. I used the word “presently” because with time it is also quite possible that a blog might even evolve into something much better and powerful than what it is presently. There are approximately over 60 millions blogs according to BlogHerald. What ever that figure is now, there are still millions of non-bloggers who will join the rest of us and become bloggers in the near future. This article is by no means comprehensive in its entirety due to time constraints. However, I sincerely do hope it will achieve its purpose.
What is a Blog?
A blog is personal site, an online log (also called weblog) containing publication of content sorted in chronological order, with the most recent entry (newest post) at the top of the page. Individual entries (logs) are usually always dated and time-stamped and generates an archive of all previous post including the recent post at the top of the page. The archive is usually found in the sidebar but can be found in some blog at the bottom of the site or by a link in the top navigation bar of the site. Older entries are archived by month and year or by week and year with a static webpage address (url address) for each individual entry (posts).
Blogs usually facilitate communication between the reader and the owner of the site. The author (s) can write about whatever is interesting to him/her in any writing style that suits him/her. There are usually comment sections for all readers or for selected readers to leave comments and/or start up a discussion thread similar to that of a forum. All comments and discussions are usually instantly made accessible to the public for all visitors to read through the World Wide Web (internet) that visit that site or post. Comments and discussions are archived with the entries that they come under.
A typical blog is primarily textual in nature it can contain images and links but may also take different forms. It may take the form of mainly content that show images (photographs) called photoblog; audio called podcasting and videos called vlog. A typical blog also contain links to web sites and blogs that the site (blog) owner/author may want to remember, review, share with its readers or just to provide relevant information that is related to its subject topic or the category nature of the blog. As a result of this, blogs are also seen as a interconnected community where blog owners read and comment on each others blogs while linking to those of their choosing or through discussion or review in their content entries. These interconnected social blogging communities is known as the blogosphere. The author of a blog is often referred to as a blogger (or blogmaster - this term not commonly used ).
Blogs fall in different subject categories based on their content or niche. Blog content varies greatly and can cover a large subject area too numerous to mention here. Any blog only directory will attest to this. However, blogs can take a personal or professional approach. Blogs can represent the personality of the author; their personal experiences, views and hobbies. Topics can include politics, pets, comics, celebrity gossip, personal diary etc. etc. On a professional approach it can include blogs that offer informative information, products and services. For example, this can include blogs that are run by educators that are strictly educational in nature, political consultants, lawyers, news services, businesses that sell and offer services and cover topics such as ; Finances, products, and so on. In business blogs can be used as a business tool to accomplish their company interests both internally and publicly. It can be used as a communication platform to interact with both their clients, prospective or potential clients.
Most blogs syndicate their content to subscribers using what is called an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, a very popular content distribution tool that is able to read by an aggregator (RSS reader). For example, , , , , etc. Subscribers to the site’s content are then able to use an aggregator to keep up with all their favorite blogs by checking their RSS feeds which displays the latest entries from each of them without visiting each sites. Blogs and websites feeds (RSS or Atom) are typically shown and linked to an orange rectangle icon, or icon with the letters or . The word "Subscribe" or "Subscirbe to this site feed", is sometimes shown beside or above the icon.
Lastly, blogs are most times written by an individual or a small group of authors (bloggers) that may be accessible by the general public to read (most common) or if of a private nature (password protected), by the blogger (s) only or a group of selected people/members. Thus, blogs can therefore be public or private in nature.
Note: The definition given above is the meaning of a blog as a noun. The word blog can also be used as a verb and also mean “to edit or maintain” or “add entries (content) to a blog”. For example, I notice you did not blog yesterday or You blogged almost everyday last week.
Some Uses of Blogs
Use as a shared on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences, views and hobbies.
Can be used to provide informative information to its readers. A tool for e-learning and knowledge management.
Used to provide the latest breaking news, commentary and discussion on any news topic.
videos (vlog), or audio (podcasting). Used by individuals and some companies to focus on distributing multimedia over the Internet using syndication feeds. This can be downloaded and/or play on communication devices such as personal computers and on mobile phones etc.
It provides a communication platform that allow businesses to communicate with their clients and potential ones.
They are used to control what is published about their company out in the public. They are also used within companies as tool of internal communication which is accessible by the use of password or through the Intranet of the company.
Business and some individuals with affiliate businesses use them as a way to promote their products and/or services.
Some differences between a blog and a website
There are several reasons why a blog is different and have some great advantages than that of a website. However, I will be touching just a few of these reasons that come to mind as I write.
What sets blogs apart from website:
Static vs. dynamic webpages
Blogs are dynamic in nature. They are updated periodically while websites webpages are static - almost never updated once written. There is always something new to read. Thus blogs are current.
Blogs are frequently updated which means a constant flow of traffic from regular readers and those visitors that visit a site from other blogs, forums, blog comments, reviews etc. as a result of this, blogs help entrepreneurs as a cheap, easy and fast way to begin building an online audience.
Ease of starting a site
It is easy to start up a blog in comparison to a website where you have to pay a web designer to create a site for you. There are lots of company that offer free blog with hosting that allows any one to start publishing their content to the internet instantly by the click of a button - you just write, post and publish. Also, there are many blog software available that you can buy if needed and host it with a hosting company in no time. There is no need for you to wait on a web designer to create a blog for you. Secondly, you have the option always to change the default template of your blog to a customized one if needed.
Interaction with Visitors
Unlike websites, blogs are open to comment and discussion on the topic subject on hand by all or a specific group of people.
Communication Approach Format
Blogs can take a personal or professional approach. Blogs can represent the personality of the author; their personal experiences, views and hobbies. It also allow businesses to communicate with their clients and potential ones.
Date and Time-Stamped
Individual weblog entries are almost always dated and time-stamped, with the newest post at the top of the page. A website does not do this.
Social Community Site
Blogs allow the owner or owners to interact with their readers and visitors thus cultivating a social community environment.
Thought Provoking Reading
Blogs can offer personal views, comments, discussions and debates on a given topic.
More Knowledge about Web Design
You will always be able to experiment with your blog templates. For example, the free blog and hosting provided by Google’s blogger.com allows you to customize your blog according to your own liking. You can create a test blogs and do your hands-on experiments with codes etc. One will definitely learn a lot about web design, HTML etc. that was not possible otherwise since you will have to manually add links, images and other add-ons to your blog from time to time.