What Is A Blog?
Often I’m asked what is a blog. While others might say DUH .. who doesn’t know what a blog is?
Well believe it or not there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of new bloggers signing up every day who don’t really know all that much blogging.
While many have tried to answer this question (and failed miserably in my humble opinion) most of them by now are seriously out of date, too technical in nature or seriously wanting.
So I figured I may as well take a crack at it (and by the way I’ve added a few details here that you might not know so don’t be so smug)
Ok, so what is a blog anyway? First, a few terms for your consideration:
The word Blog is just a shortened version of the term Weblog which is credited to Jorn Barger for coming up with the name. Justin Hall is generally recognized as the earliest blogger who began blogging in 1994.
At it’s most basic sense a Blog is just a type of website. Some Blogs are little more than an online journal/diary, whereas other blogs can be more sophicticated CMS (content management systems) like this one is.
Maintaining a blog site and publishing articles (also called Posting) is known as the act of Blogging, and a person running a blog site is called a Blogger.
Why A Blog?
In a nutshell - the beauty of blogs over old-school websites is it is much easier to add content. You don’t have to mess around with HTML code to write something online.
All you need to do is log into your blog dashboard and use a text editor that is a simpler version of your word precessor that you are probably already familiar with. So if you can write a letter on your computer … blogging will be a snap.
Along with simple text editing features you will also get simple shortcuts for easily adding hyperlinks and images to your posts.
Blogs also have the advantage of getting better ranking with the SERPS (search engine results page) than the old-school websites (which I will discuss later in more detail).
Engaging in the “Conversation”
Blogs are designed to be “conversational” in nature, more so than the old-school websites. Most blog platforms come with a built-in comments section so dialoague is encouraged.
Most blogs link to other blog posts and/or news articles that they find interesting. So when the other blogger notices your Backlinks, they will probably follow the link and visit your blog, and add a comment too.
Thus, the “Blogosphere” becomes engaged in the conversation.
Search Engines Love Blogs
Because Blogs are updated more often than static websites they will get a better pagerank and indexing with the search engines. Leaving comments and your link on another blog is another factor used in determining your pagerank.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
Some blogs (especially Business/Corporate Blogs or those who blog to make money) focus on a specific “Topic” for their blog, also known as a “Niche“. For example my blog niche is “Blog Tips“ OR a “Blog About Blogging” (as far as I know I was the first to come up with the niche).
Whereas most bloggers will just blog to discuss their personal experiences or opinions like an online diary (also known as Personal Bloggers).
Which Type of Blog is Best for You?
Blogger will allow you to customize the look of your blog with HTML and CSS in a single page of code, also known as a Template. Blogger also has Widgets with drag and drop ease to make it easier to customize your blog.
Whereas if you want customize Wordpress (Wordpress uses several pages of code making up what it calls a Theme) you will have to install software on your own computer or pay for a Web Host company to publish your blog.
Wordpress is open source software and encourages users to create plugins (like Blogger’s “widgets”) that will make customizing your theme even easier. Wordpress has literally thousands of free plugins available out there to choose from.
If you want to customize your Wordpress theme you should also have some knowledge of PHP programming, or else hire someone to do it for you.
But don’t worry — if you don’t care to customize, Wordpress and Blogger have thousands of free templates available that you can use right out of the box.
The Bottom Line
In choosing which blog platform is best for you keep in mind Wordpress offers more sophistication for customizing as well as SEO benefits that Blogger doesn’t have. So it is better suited for more serious bloggers or for business bloggers who want to make money from blogging.
If however you don’t care about making money from blogging, or care about your standing with Google then Blogger might be the simpler choice for you.
But let me qualify that last statement with a word of warning. If you think you might outgrow Blogger down the road then you should seriously consider starting with Wordpress now (and save yourself some headaches later on).
Are Social Network Sites also Blogs?
Well … the simple answer to that question is not really. You see, Social Network sites are just hybrid websites that offer some basic blogging features. They are primarily designed for networking purposes and are not full-blown blogs.
More importantly, because your information is on their website — they also own your content. Something more to think about…