NOTE: This content was updated October 13, 2017.
Once upon a time, blogging was a way to create an online journal where you could digitally write your thoughts, ideas, opinions and practically anything that you want people to read. However, they’ve become fairly robust content management systems (CMSs) in their own right. Blog software comes in different styles, formats, and settings, depending on the preference of the creator. Many hosted blog sites, offer built-in features such as straight texts, pictures and more. Some even allow you to put video and mp3s on your blogs. If you chose to go with a self-hosted blog, such as the one this blog uses, you get even more features and benefits, include greater flexibility and functionality.
Instead of writing with words, some bloggers choose to make their blog posts more audio friendly, using spoken word entries or audio blogging. This is related to podcasting but slightly different. Here’s an example:
Basically, a blog contains these features:
- title — which allows you to label your post
- body — this is the content of your post
- trackback — other sites can be linked back to your blog
- permanent link (also called “permalink”) — every article that you write has a unique URL
- comments — this allow readers to post comments on your blog and this feature can be turned on or off depending on the preferences of the blog’s creator
One of the advantages of a blog is that it is made of only a few templates. Unlike other websites that are made up of numerous individual pages. This makes it easier for blog users to create new pages because it already has a fixed setting that includes slots for the title, body, category, etc.
This is especially useful for first-time users since they can start to blog right away. They can choose from a number of templates that blogging websites provide.
Anyone who wants to start a blog can do so by becoming a member of a blogging website of their choice, such as Tumblr, or creating their own hosted blog using something like WordPress (which I use), Drupal or Joomla.
Once you’ve become a blogging site’s member, you automatically become a part of that particular blogging community. You can browse through other blogger’s pages and link them back to your own blog. You can also make comments on other members’ blogs.
Blogging is not just limited to personal usage. There are a lot of blogs that follow a theme such as sports, politics, philosophy, social commentary, and more. This way blogging becomes a medium in which people can share their knowledge and opinions about a variety of themes and topics.
Blogging has also evolved into a powerful marketing tool for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Some authors advertise their books on their blogs. While other bloggers use their blogs to shed light on current issues, events, news, and catastrophes.
Nowadays in education, blogs also play an important role. Professors use blogs to document the lessons that they have discussed and taught. This way, students who have missed a class can easily catch up with their assignments.
With millions and millions of people logging onto the Internet every day, blogging has become a lucrative enterprise. Some bloggers who run online businesses promote their merchandise online. While others profit through advertisements or promoting affiliate products.
Blogs, varying in topics, themes, and set-ups, can be found in blog directories. First-time users who want to get an idea of what the blogging world (or “blogosphere”) is all about can browse through a number of blogs using these directories. This way they get an idea of what these blogging communities are like.
What makes blogs so freeing, and sometimes confusing, is that there are no rules when it comes to blogging. Bloggers have the freedom to express themselves however way they want, and the best thing about blogging is that most blogging sites are free. That said, depending on your blogging goals, there are best practices, which I cover in other posts on this site.