What Is a Blog?

An online diary. A place to vent. A chronicle of information. An editorial.

These are the many uses for blogs, Web sites where either an individual or a group of users record opinions or other information on a regular basis.

History

The name "blog" is an abbreviated version of the word 'weblog,' a term coined by Jorn Barger in late 1997. The term was shortened to blog in 1999.

Barger is considered to be one of the first bloggers, having started his blog, Robot Wisdom, in 1995. The blog format arose from Barger's use of Usenet, an Internet discussion system used in the 1980s. He hoped he could attract an audience for his musings.

Since that time, the concept of blogging has exploded, and anyone with access to a computer and the Internet can become a blogger.

Blog layout

Blogs have fairly standard layouts, in that there is a main content area where the most recent post, or article, is listed. The posts are chronological and can also be separated into categories.

Older posts are archived, but are usually still available via a link on the Web site. Posts also frequently leave areas where readers can leave comments. Most often these areas are edited and the person commenting is at the mercy of the blogger. If he or she doesn't like your post, it may not appear on the site.

The blogger may also have links to other sites related to his or her topic, which is sometimes called a blogroll. You can also subscribe to a blog, which means you will get an email each time there is a new post. The email frequently will have a synopsis of the post and a link to it.

Promoting your blog

There are other ways people can comment on a blog and promote their own blog at the same time. TrackBack is used by bloggers when they see something on another blog and they want to comment. The blogger posts on the other blog, then sends a trackback to the other blog. That blogger displays it as a comment to the original post and includes a link to it.

Another way to comment and promote is through pingback. A pingback is when a blogger writes or comments on their site about another blog and includes a link to the blog. If both use pingback, the other blogger is notified and verifies the ping, displaying the mention on their blog.

Bloggers today use search engine optimization (SEO) for promotion. Using SEO keywords helps a blog land higher on the a search engine list when those words are used.

Blog from your phone

Many Web site creation sites offer a blog feature as part of a template. Often these features can be used on a smart phone, so the blogger doesn't have to drag his or her laptop all over the place.

News media uses

News organization opinion pages have grown substantially with the onset of blogging. Not only do opinion columnists blog on news sites, but reporters are also known to have their own blog pages, and they often blog in addition to reporting.

The blog has become a huge communication tool around the world. Its popularity has grown and shows no signs of stopping.

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