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What is a Blog?

So what is a Blog anyway? I am asked every week via emails, conversation and Instant Messaging chats to define: ‘what is a blog’. If you’re reading this you may well be asking the same question.

There are a number of ways I could answer this question ranging from the broad to the highly technical.

Before I define the ‘what is a blog’ question – here are a few definitions from other much wiser people to get us started:

‘A weblog is a hierarchy of text, images, media objects and data, arranged chronologically, that can be viewed in an HTML browser.’ Source

‘A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links.’ Source

‘From “Web log.” A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.”‘ Source

‘A weblog is kind of a continual tour, with a human guide who you get to know. There are many guides to choose from, each develops an audience, and there’s also comraderie and politics between the people who run weblogs, they point to each other, in all kinds of structures, graphs, loops, etc.’ Source

‘A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.” Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in cronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominantly.’ Source

‘A blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”. A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”. A blog comprises text, hypertext, images, and links (to other web pages and to video, audio and other files). Blogs use a conversational style of documentation. Often blogs focus on a particular “area of interest”, such as Washington, D.C.’s political goings-on. Some blogs discuss personal experiences.’ Source.

So What is a Blog???

Confused yet? Don’t be – its really quite simple. To put it as simply as possible – a blog is a type of website that is usually arranged in chronological order from the most recent ‘post’ (or entry) at the top of the main page to the older entries towards the bottom.

Have a look at the main page of my blog at here for an example. for a different example you might like to look at this one (another of mine).

Ok – now you are a seasoned blog reader – you’ve seen two already at least.

Blogs are usually (but not always) written by one person and are updated pretty regularly. Blogs are often (but not always) written on a particular topic – there are blogs on virtually any topic you can think of. From photography, to spirituality, to recipes, to personal diaries to hobbies – blogging has as many applications and varieties as you can imagine. Whole blog communities have sprung up around some of these topics putting people into contact with each other in relationships where they can learn, share ideas, make friends with and even do business with people with similar interests from around the world.

Blogs usually have a few features that are useful to know about if you want to get the most out of them as a reader. Lets examine a couple briefly.

Archives – You might look at the front page of a blog and think that there is not much to them. A few recent entries, some links to other sites and not much else. However its worth knowing that there is a lot more going on under the surface that might initially meet the eye. For example in addition to the main page of this blog – at the time of writing this post there are over 520 other pages or posts below the surface that I’ve written over the past few months.

When I write a post like this one it goes to the top of the front page. As it gets older and as I add more current posts it begins its journey down the page until it disappears from it. This is not the end of its life however, because it goes into the ‘Archives’ of my blog. It sounds like a dusty dark place but its really just like a filing cabinet that is easily accessible in a couple of ways. You can read my ‘archives’ simply by looking on the ‘sidebar’ (over on the left of this blog) at the ‘archives’ or ‘categories’ section. There you will see links to all my old posts which you can access either by category. You’ll see a category for ‘Advertising’ – click that link and you’ll see all my old posts on the topic of Advertising with the most recent at the top and the oldest at the bottom.

Comments – Not all blogs use comments – but most do. This blog is not a monologue but a conversation. You can give me feedback on almost everything I write simply by clicking the ‘comments’ link at the bottom of each one of my posts. This will take you to a little form where you leave your name, email and a link to your own blog if you have one as well as your feedback, comment, critique, question, essay on why you love my blog, promise of money…. etc). Try it now. Scroll to the bottom of this page, click ‘comments’ and fill in the blanks with a little introduction to yourself.

A great way to learn about blogs is to read a few. Leave some comments, ask questions and bookmark your favourites. An even better way to learn about blogs is to start your own. Ok – you might be laughing at me now – you think you are not web savy enough to have your own site? You wouldn’t know where to start? You don’t know how?

My Secret

Let me share a secret with you – three years ago I knew nothing about blogs, I had never used the internet for anything more than email, surfing and chatting to friends and I could only barely do any of that! But one day I discovered a blog and after surfing from one to another (blogs tend to link up to other blogs a lot) for a few hours I was hooked and wanted to start my own. I found that there are free blog services that almost anyone could set up in a matter of minutes. Really it is that simple. Literally millions of people blog from around the world. Its not just something for young people, or geeks, or cool folk, or Westerners, or even for people with their own computers – instead its something virtually anyone with access to a computer and the internet once or twice a week can start up.

Are you still confused? Would you like more information? Below are a few helpful articles on the topic – there are many more on the web – just do a search on your favourite search engine. Otherwise shoot me an email using my ‘contact’ button with your question and I’ll do my best to get back to you.

Update: If you’d like to start a blog I’ve written a book – ProBlogger the Book – which is specifically written for new bloggers. I hope you find it helpful.

If you are new to blogging and want some hints on how to get started – keep an eye on my Blogging for Beginners Page for more ways to explore blogging.

One more post you might be interested in – What Is RSS?

Lastly – let me finish with a video that explores the question of what is a blog in a visual form that I’m sure many of you will find helpful.

So now you know WHAT a blog is – learn how to start one and use it to build an online income with ProBlogger the Book.

Also check out Become a Blogger Videos – a free series of videos that talks new bloggers through how to set up a blog.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

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Comments

  1. Glalie707 says:

    Great Help! Im doing work in class, and this site helps alot. thx

  2. Aaron says:

    To me a blog is a place to share your passion with others.

    It facilitates the exchange of Ideas with other interested parties.

    Perhaps my definition is a little more abstract than others’ but that’s how I see it.

  3. John Sabia says:

    I think a blog should be treated as a conversation you would have face-to-face with someone. It should be respectful, content worthy and open minded.

  4. steve Oston says:

    You have left me a lot clearer.Tell me something? How do Bloggers earn through blogging? I mean by the end of the day is it just sharing and airing your views or there is money matters involved also? Seriously.

  5. Paul Moore says:

    Hey Steve,

    I just put my first blog up on Dec 13 ’08. It is my journal of my online income success. I am at this site to learn more about blogging too. My current mentor says the way to earn with a blog is to build an opt-in mailing list and provide them valuable content.

  6. dont have a site yet looking for help in making one, for my films I make

  7. david tay says:

    glad to have found your blog.It helps a lot on topics regarding blogging etc. Plan to craete one blog web but just not sure where to start.
    Anyway,keep on writing .I’m sure i wanna follow your guides and advice in time to come.
    Cheers!!!!!

  8. sylvia says:

    thank you very much for this great blog. your post about the explanation of blog was very useful, to me. you explained the blog world in such a good and easy language that i as a german understood the meaning of blogs better then in any other german article i read. thanx

  9. Yep, agree with all of that! I’m just getting into blogging and using WordPress – can’t believe I’m so far behind with it all. It’s just such a wonderful thing that’s happened to the internet

  10. Rebecca Olivarez says:

    I am so glad I found your site; it is well written and easy to understand. The company I used to work for had a blog and I would read the postings but never fully understood what a blog was. After losing my job of 16+years I have time on my hand to learn more and maybe start my own blog. Your information is great and your advice perfect for me because learning and understanding the little things first helps me to not get overwhelmed and give up before I understand what I am learning.

    Thank you,
    Rebecca

  11. amosis says:

    well said darren, you have taken care of many aspects in the defination of blog…

  12. Reginald says:

    I’ve seen a few sites about blogging but yours is the most informative I’ve come across so far. Thank you for providing such a neat service.
    Reg

  13. Billy says:

    Up until yesterday I had no intention of subscribing to or contributing to a blog. Our teenage daughters seem to be pretty proficient at blogging, but I was not that interested in such a thing. Having just found out that some of our family members have blogs and use them as an avenue for personal growth, maybe there is something to this after all. Who knows, maybe one day I will start my own and the fact that we could even make some extra money would just be the icing on the cake. Thanks Darren for letting me see another thread of the blogging experience. I am definitely going to click that RSS thing at the upper right hand corner of your page…

  14. Jaehun Lim says:

    Clear explanation! I more like to manage blog than web. :)

  15. raaj kumar says:

    thanks, for the inspiration and the guidance u have given in ur blog. i think i still need to do enough study on perfect presentation

  16. Scott Sutton says:

    I found this to be very educating. Like you I surf the net and do the email thing but that was about it. Everyday there always seems to be something going on that strikes a nerve and leaves me to want to express my opinion but wasn’t sure how to do that. From what I hear “blogging seems to be the way to go but I have one question. It seems like most keep to a handfull of subjects on there blogs, I do not necessarily have any one subject or subjects but would rather vent on numerous items. Is that ok or popular or does blogging only work if you concentrate on a few.

    Thank You,
    Scott

  17. David says:

    I have been writing blog posts for almost two years now. And I finally wrote one that pretty much says what I think a blog “is”. I try not to be radical when blogging for obvious reasons. But when I wrote this post I just couldn’t resist taking a shot at newspapers. Because I think blogs and newspapers are the yin and the yang of the news collecting world.
    They are rivals certainly and they are trying to coexist in some fashion. I guess the question that comes to my mind is “If your sanity depended on reading blogs instead of newspapers would you give up your newspaper?”
    http://davidnotes.com/2009/03/11/riding-richmond-darkness-settles/

  18. Bryan says:

    I am trying to learn as much as I can about blogging. My brother, suggested your site if I wanted to blog as more than just a hobby using Blogger. I am really fascinated with the whole Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Podcast, thing. The flow of knowledge and ideas has changed so much in just a very short period of time, as well as the audience one can reach.

  19. John says:

    Very good article. Gives a clear definition and what not. :D

  20. linda says:

    I’m new to this world and I’m so happy to find someone that can explain it so clearly. thanks

  21. Hexum says:

    I saw the title to this post and although you posted it several years ago, I thought I would see what your take on this question was because surprisingly enough, I still see this question a lot. Especially on Yahoo Answers.

    When I give an answer to this question, I quickly realize that it’s pretty hard to narrow the answer down to some key basics. Of course, as always, you provide a great answer here.

  22. Elise says:

    Thanks for this great video–it was “blogging for dummies” like me! My husband is a geek and understands it and is trying to get our blog up at the moment, but this was very helpful so thank you for posting it on your webpage. And I found you through Google and enjoyed watching your videos.

  23. i found this site, cause blogcatalog just rejected my listing, and said it is not a blog…
    so i’m surfing around, and found your site.
    i have to re-think what should i do now..
    thanks for sharing.

  24. A Dawn says:

    Three years ago, a lot of people were asking what a blog is. Now, they know the answer and want to earn from it.

  25. SEO India says:

    Great Post! Thanks for giving detailed description about blog.

  26. baljit says:

    How does a blog advertise itself? And how can it be used by businesses instead of junk mail (adverts through email). I was reading one of the articles explaining the virtues of blogs but this part didn’t really make sense to me.

    Will an answer be sent to me or would I have to find this site and keep waiting to see if there is an answer. I’m not likely to do the latter.

  27. Michael says:

    Hello, Darren! I just found you through a link from another page (AccentuateWritersforum.com; a member named Raiscara Avalon…). Great stuff here, I must say. I’ve been meaning to start SOMEthing, and it looks like a good blog may be the way to kick it off (or around). Like a soccer ball.

    Thanks for all the meaningful info!

    Michael

  28. Its a nice post and every article on problogger is very in interesting.
    Cool to have people who share knowledge like that, this really helps.

  29. TireKingdom says:

    This is definitely great information. I’m doing some social media optimization myself and this was very helpful. However, can you possible explain to me how posting commets to blogging article boosts the pr. I’m pretty new at this. Thanks

  30. Gabby says:

    I’ve been looking at this feature on WordPress blogs for ages and wishing Blogger would implement it. Followed your instructions and it works a treat!

  31. Eric Uhlir says:

    I think the actual definition of a what constitutes a blog is becoming more and more hard to define with all the latest social networking platforms modeling themselves in similar fashions.

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