Humans have a natural inclination to share tips and insights on subjects they feel passionate about. Writing has long provided an excellent way for us to express our thoughts and emotions. Nowadays, there are literally hundreds of millions of people actively writing their hearts out and sharing a piece of their mind with the world on personal websites they call “blogs”.
From reptile enthusiasts to technology geeks, there seems to be a special place for everyone in the magical world of blogging. Two decades after its outset, in the era of hyper-communication, people from all walks of life are googling “what is a blog?” and, with it, entering the wonderful world of blogging. Welcome!
- 1 So...what's a blog then?
- 2 Learn How to Build, Grow, and Monetize a Blog
- 3 The History of Blogs
- 4 Definition of Blog (and a few related terms)
- 5 Structure of a Blog
- 6 How is a blog different from a website?
- 7 Reasons Why People Decide to Start a Blog
- 8 Conclusion
So...what's a blog then?
A blog is basically an interactive online journal where an archive of entries, or “blog posts”, is presented to readers in reverse-chronological order; that is, from newest to oldest. They’re interactive in that the audience can (normally) comment on any given entry and start discussions with other readers as well as the author.
While blogs can be personal or private, most of them are public. They are frequently updated with content on different topics related to a central subject of the blog, although there are also blogs that are focus on several main topics as well.
Blog content can be presented in different formats: videos, podcasts, images, bullet-point lists, etc. This content can then be shared on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on.
Here’s how Wikipedia puts it:
“A blog (a truncation of the expression “weblog”) a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (“posts”). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page.”
Back in the day (the 90s), blogs were small personal sites where people could write about anything they wanted and share it with the internet and anyone one it (more on this later); today, some blogs are highly authoritative sources of information and bloggers can quickly become important social influencers. Strong online communities of like-minded people are commonly formed around popular blogs and their social media channels.
Because of this, a blog can also become an important source of income as well. Yep. You read it right. The rumors were true: you can make money with these things. What’s even better, with this guide, you can learn how to start your blog in under 20 minutes!
The History of Blogs
A lot of people often approach me to ask “what does blog mean?”, “where does the word blog come from?”, or “what does blog stand for?”, and I’m betting you’re probably wondering the same thing. Let’s visit the BOB Time Machine to answer these questions.
Back in 1994, a guy called Justin Hall decided to share his writing and favorite web links with the world through his site, Links.net (you can still check out the original site here). Others soon followed suit and began sharing their personal lives on the Web through what they termed personal sites or online diaries, but it wasn’t until 1997 that Jorn Barger decided to give birth to the term “weblog” to define his online activity. The term weblog stuck around for about a year.
However, the term “blog” was coined when Peter Merholz, someone who loved word games, decided to post a joke on the sidebar of his homepage:
“I’ve decided to pronounce the word “weblog” as wee’- blog. Or “blog” for short.”
The term seemed to stick quite nicely and then became widely known when Pyra Labs launched their platform for personal blogs called Blogger, and with it, promoted the use of “blog” as both a noun and a verb.
Blog sites were growing slowly but surely in popularity, but the world of blogging really boomed in 2003. That year, Pyra Labs sold a popular web service of theirs called Blogger to Google. Also that year, the world’s most popular blogging platform, WordPress, released its first official open-source blogging software for download. This changed the game forever and opened thousands of doors for bloggers and regular internet users alike. To understand why this was important, check out this article.
WordPress was especially a game changer because it offered (and still does) a FREE blogging platform that was easy to install and use. Now, more than 75% of all blogs are powered by WordPress, including the blogs of giants like Harvard, Yahoo, eBay, Wall Street, and Ford, among others. As a matter of fact, Blog Oh! Blog! is a WordPress blog, too. 🙂
Today, a blog can be a huge website with an important international following, a powerful magnet to bring potential customers closer to product and service providers, an important source of information for a particular industry (or several), or an excellent networking tool. There are many blogs live today making millions of dollars every month through advertisements.
Like Amy Lynn Andrews says:
“Blogs are the new resume, the new business card, the new marketing brochure or advertising billboard and they’re quickly becoming a source of excellent income for many.”
Now that you know a bit about the history of blogs, let’s look at a few important definitions:
Structure of a Blog
Blogs have evolved a lot over the past couple of decades; and although the best blogs are unique in more than one way, they all share a similar structure.
These are the standard features you’ll find in a typical blog:
How is a blog different from a website?
Many people ask me if there’s a difference between a blog and a website. The first thing I reply is “technically, every blog is a website; however, not every website is a blog”.
To better explain what I mean, let’s first take a look at the definition of a website:
As you can see, any blog that’s live on the internet is a website by definition. Nonetheless, the concept of a website goes way beyond the scope of a blog; a website can be anything you make code it to be. The main difference resides in the format that the content is presented in.
Let’s take a look at the features that define what a blog and a website are so you can see the differences between them more clearly:
Features of a Blog
Features of a Website
Reasons Why People Decide to Start a Blog
There are many reasons why people may want to start a blog. As stated above, companies use blogs to attract potential customers, service providers use them to build authority and popularity, professionals use them as business cards to showcase their expertise, etc. However, I’ve made a simple list to help you get a better idea of why people may want to create a blog:
So, now you know what a blog is and what it isn’t. Are you considering starting a blog? As mentioned above, I can help you start yours in under 20 minutes.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments and share this post if you found it useful!