What is blogging?
The word “blog” is a contraction of the words “web” and “log.” According to the WordPress Codex, blog is a “term used to describe web sites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information.” In other words, blogs are updated regularly with current material, relevant to the site’s main topic.
Blogs started gaining popularity in the 1990s, but became widespread throughout the web around 2003. Most blogs are produced using an online interface, enabling the blogger to access and update his or her blog from any device with Internet connectivity. The most popular blogging platforms are Blogger and WordPress.
How does blogging work?
Blogging platforms use a combination of coding languages, such as PHP, HTML, and CSS, to display templates or themes. Most blog themes include a header, a footer, a navigation system, sidebars, and an area to display the blog entries. Depending upon the theme, posts can be displayed in a variety of ways, but the most common is to list posts on the blog’s home page, with the most recent entry shown first.
A typical blog entry, called a “post,” consists of a title, the post body, post date, tags, and comments. Effective blog posts include a catchy title, a compelling lead, a relevant image, the post body, and a call to action. Posts are categorized into subtopics and “tagged” with keywords to help readers readily find the information they are looking for.The comments are added by readers who visit the blog site.
In addition to posts, blogs include various pages. Unlike the dynamic or constantly changing content of the blog posts, blog pages are typically static. Pages are used to display “evergreen” information, which doesn’t require frequent updates. Each page fills a specific purpose, such as providing the blogger’s contact information, more details about the blogger and the site, and whatever else the blogger wishes to include.
Many popular bloggers create opinionated and controversial content. Some blogs are used as a tool to make money for the blogger. Methods of blog monetization include selling advertising, promoting affiliate products, or providing premium content through a members-only area.
Advantages of blogs
Blogs offer a means of developing relationships with the blogger’s audience, often referred to as the blog’s “readership,” “community” or “tribe.” Bloggers interact with their communities through post comments and can even add a community forum to their blog, if desired. Many small business owners and corporation staff members have begun using blogs to maintain good customer relationships by providing answers to frequently asked questions and addressing issues as they arise.
Another advantage of blogs is their innate ability to be noticed by search engine “spiders” that crawl the web, seeking out new content. Since blogs are typically updated regularly, the frequently indexed content gives blogs a boost in the search engine rankings. Most blogs rank better than static websites which aren’t updated often.
The ability to access one’s blog from any Internet connection is another advantage of blogging. Most static website files are stored on a computer hard drive, which means the site manager may only access and update the site from that particular computer.
Most blogging platforms are open source, meaning there is no cost to use them. Bloggers often purchase their own domain names and/or premium themes, but if desired, a new blogger can set up a blog for free.