What Is A Blog?
You may have heard the term "blog" thrown about and wondered "What is a blog?". You may have even visited a blog or two in your time without really knowing that it was a blog. Or maybe you are very familiar with blogs - heck, perhaps you run your own blog - but decided to search for a definition of the term "blog" anyway.
Here I aim to define "blog". I'll provide a definition for the term and explain some of the features that define a blog from a typical website.
The term Blog is a shortened version of the term Web Log (sometimes written as Weblog).
Therefore, here is my definition of a Blog:
(Reverse chronological order meaning latest posts at the top).
I could expand on this definition, but this defines the fundamentals of what a blog actually is. Blogs typically have one or more features that provide that familiar blog feel and functionality. These are included below.
Today's blogs have many features. Some of these are designed to help the reader find information, other features assist the publisher in providing content.
The homepage of most blogs provide a list of the latest entries (or "posts") listed in reverse chronological order. There are typically around ten posts followed by a link to older entries.
Some bloggers post hundreds (or even thousands) of posts each year. With such a high volume of posts being published, an archive feature provides an easy way for visitors to view older posts.
Archives are usually accessed via a link in the blog's navigation. The links are usually date-based (eg, March 2008, April 2008, May 2008,...).
Categories allow visitors to browse the blog based on... categories! Each blog post is usually assigned one or more categories at the time it is published. This allows the visitor to view all posts on a particular category.
As with archives, categories are usually accessed via a link in the blog's navigation. The links are usually the name of the category. Here are some examples of categories from the Natural Environment Blog: Sustainability, Climate Change, News.
Some blogs contain a tag cloud. This is a list of tags - or keywords - that the blogger has applied to each post. A tag cloud is simply another navigation mechanism to help visitors in finding posts they're interested in.
Most blogs include a comments section. These are usually located at the bottom of each post and allow visitors to post their own thoughts on the post (or their thoughts on someone else's comment!).
Comments may not appear immediately after you submit it. Oftentimes, the author will want to approve (or reject) comments before they're displayed to the world.
Blog navigation sometimes includes links to the five or so most recent posts.
Blog navigation sometimes includes links to the five or so most recent comments.
Similar to traditional websites, most blogs have a search box that allows the visitor to search through all posts.
A blogroll is a list of links to other blogs that the blogger likes. Usually they will be related to the current blog but not always.
Some articles aren't included in the list of day to day posts. An example is an "About this blog" page. Pages like these are usually accessed differently to the posts (eg, as a link from the navigation).
Most blogs allow visitors to subscribe to its RSS feed. An RSS feed allows the visitor to keep track of every update to the blog. The visitor uses a feedreader to keep track of all RSS feeds he/she subscribes to.
Example Of A Blog
You can see some of the above features by checking out the Natural Environment Blog.
Create Your Own Blog
If you're thinking about starting up your own blog, check out this article on creating a blog.
Alternatively, you could go straight to ZappyHost's WordPress hosting and have your blog up and running within minutes.