What is a ‘blog’?


(Note: Some of the following information under “Blogger Terminology” and “Tips” is from WordPress.org. No copyright has been intended, this is merely just to provide information and nothing further. )


The terms “blog” and “blogging” still brings a lot of confusion to people’s minds. Many people are still confused by the difference between a “website” and a “blog” so let me break them both down in an attempt to explain the differences between the two better…

Firstly let me explain to you the major difference between a Website and a Blog…
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When you look at a website you need to think of it in business terminology. Think of a website as an electronic business catalog or brochure for a company, or artist or movie or band. The whole purpose of the ‘website’ is to market information about that company, what that company does, what services they provide etc. It’s the 21st century version of a flyer or brochure, but instead of wasting paper and materials in developing, producing and printing out thousands of flyers that will most probably see the bottom of a bin, you have a stapled piece of marketing ‘real-estate’ on the World Wide Web. And like most brochures, a website is often static and very rarely changes or is updated unless the company is updated or in the case of musicians and artists, whether or not they are touring and when their latest masterpiece is out.  The only ‘non-blog’ websites that are frequently updated are news and tv related websites because they need to constantly be updated to coincide with what is going on in the world and with the television market because there is a demand for that. Here are some examples of some good websites:

  • AdMob (Winner of the 2009 Web Award for Advertising Excellence) http://www.admob.com/
  • BBC.co.uk – Comprehensive news website from the UK
  • Kidshealth.org – Produced by The Nemours Foundation, KidsHealth is really three sites in one, with each section written and designed differently to appeal to its target audience.
  • The Lovely Bones – This is an example of a film based website used to advertise the film, The Lovely Bones by Peter Jackson.
  • District 9 – This is another example of a film-based website used to advertise the film, District 9

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What makes up a website?

A lot of work goes into making websites, but basically they are all about the company or group or entity that they represent and the target audience they are marketing to. It’s all about the successful delivery of information to a ‘client’ in the most efficient and effective way to get across a short succinct message about who you are, what you do, what information you provide and how to users can make contact with you or book a service. For websites about films and televisions shows its all about how to market the film and let people know about the characters, the cast, the synopsis, watch the trailers etc. News websites are reflective of the news in which they deliver etc.

A standard website for a company sometimes can contain the following elements or pages:

  • Home Page – This page introduces the company and tells it’s users what this company is about.
  • About Us – Information about the company, it’s history, its goals and ambitions
  • Services – What does the company do and how can that company help it’s clients
  • Project / Portfolio / Menu etc – What the company has done, what is has delivered in the past or in the case of restaurants what is serves.
  • News and Updates – Some companies provide a section that keeps their clients up to date with the latest things that are happening in the company, this is sometimes created as a blog.
  • Contact – Every website needs to have a contact page. Users want to be able to contact you.

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So what is a blog?

A blog is an abbreviation of two words, ‘website’ and ‘weblog’ and is used to describe websites that are frequently updated and maintained with an ongoing chronicle of information. Think of a blog as your very own online newspaper or newsletter, your very own magazine or your own personal diary online. Blog’s are the digital diaries of the digital age that you display to the world so that people can visit and comment on what you are writing about. Blogs can be about anything, they can be about travelling, cooking, news, politics, religion, movies and television, research, technology, etc. They have endless possibilities and they are so easy to use and update especially with programs such as Blogger.com and WordPress.com.

Here are some examples of some online blogs:

  • Lifehacker Australia – A technology based blog that is in TIME magazine’s top 25 blog’s for 2009.
  • Zen Habits – A blog offering tips and advice on how to live an effective life
  • Slashfood – A foodie blog for people who are serious about eating healthy

Generally speaking (although there are exceptions), blogs tend to have a few things in common (Ref. WordPress.org Codex):

  • A main content area with articles listed chronologically, newest on top. Often, the articles are organized into categories.
  • An archive of older articles.
  • A way for people to leave comments about the articles.
  • A list of links to other related sites, sometimes called a “blogroll”.
  • One or more “feeds” like RSS, Atom or RDF files.

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Here is a video that will explain to you just exactly what is meant by the term “blogging”….

A video for people who wonder why blogs are such a big deal by CommonCraft [http://www.commoncraft.com/store-item/blogs]

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Blogger Terminology

A blog is also a good way to keep track of articles on a site. A lot of blogs feature an archive based on dates (like a monthly or yearly archive). The front page of a blog may feature a calendar of dates linked to daily archives. Archives can also be based on categories featuring all the articles related to a specific category.
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A Feed is a function of special software that allows “Feedreaders” to access a site automatically looking for new content and then post updates about that new content to another site. This provides a way for users to keep up with the latest and hottest information posted on different blogging sites. Some Feeds include RSS (alternately defined as “Rich Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication”), Atom or RDF files. Dave Shea, author of the web design weblog Mezzoblue has written a comprehensive summary of feeds.
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A blogroll is a list, sometimes categorized, of links to webpages the author of a blog finds worthwhile or interesting. The links in a blogroll are usually to other blogs with similar interests. The blogroll is often in a “sidebar” on the page or featured as a dedicated separate web page. 
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A feed is a machine readable (usually XML) content publication that is updated regularly. Many weblogs publish a feed (usually RSS, but also possibly Atom and RDF and so on, as described above). There are tools out there that call themselves “feedreaders”. What they do is they keep checking specified blogs to see if they have been updated, and when the blogs are updated, they display the new post, and a link to it, with an excerpt (or the whole contents) of the post. Each feed contains items that are published over time. When checking a feed, the feedreader is actually looking for new items. New items are automatically discovered and downloaded for you to read.
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Managing Comments
One of the most exciting features of blogging tools are the comments. This highly interactive feature allows users to comment upon article posts and link to your posts and comment on and recommend them. These are known as trackbacks and pingbacks . We’ll also discuss how to moderate and manage comments and how to deal with the annoying trend in “comment spam”, when unwanted comments are posted to your blog.
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  • Person A writes something on their blog.
  • Person B wants to comment on Person A’s blog, but wants her own readers to see what she had to say, and be able to comment on her own blog
  • Person B posts on her own blog and sends a trackback to Person A’s blog
  • Person A’s blog receives the trackback, and displays it as a comment to the original post. This comment contains a link to Person B’s post

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Pingbacks were designed to solve some of the problems that people saw with trackbacks. There are three significant differences between pingbacks and trackbacks, though. Therefore the best way to think about pingbacks is as remote comments:

  • Person A posts something on his blog.
  • Person B posts on her own blog, linking to Person A’s post. This automatically sends a pingback to Person A when both have pingback enabled blogs.
  • Person A’s blog receives the pingback, then automatically goes to Person B’s post to confirm that the pingback did, in fact, originate there.

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Verifying Pingbacks and Trackbacks
Comments on blogs are often criticized as lacking authority, since anyone can post anything using any name they like: there’s no verification process to ensure that the person is who they claim to be. Trackbacks and Pingbacks both aim to provide some verification to blog commenting.
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Comment Moderation
Comment Moderation is a feature which allows the website owner and author to monitor and control the comments on the different article posts, and can help in tackling comment spam. It lets you moderate comments, & you can delete unwanted comments, approve cool comments and make other decisions about the comments.
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Comment Spam
Comment Spam refers to useless comments (or trackbacks, or pingbacks) to posts on a blog. These are often irrelevant to the context value of the post. They can contain one or more links to other websites or domains.
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Pretty Permalinks
Permalinks are the permanent URLs to your individual weblog posts, as well as categories and other lists of weblog postings. A permalink is what another weblogger will use to refer to your article (or section), or how you might send a link to your story in an e-mail message. Because others may link to your individual postings, the URL to that article shouldn’t change. Permalinks are intended to be permanent (valid for a long time). For more information on possible Permalink patterns in WordPress, see Using Permalinks.
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Blog by email
Some blogging tools offer the ability to email your posts directly to your blog, all without direct interaction through the blogging tool interface. WordPress offers this cool feature. Using email, you can now send in your post content to a pre-determined email address & voila! Your post is published!
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Post Slugs
If you’re using Pretty Permalinks, the Post Slug is the title of your article post within the link. The blogging tool software may simplify or truncate your title into a more appropriate form for using as a link. A title such as “I’ll Make A Wish” might be truncated to “ill-make-a-wish”. In WordPress, you can change the Post Slug to something else, like “make-a-wish”, which sounds better than a wish made when sick.
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Excerpts are condensed summaries of your blog posts, with blogging tools being able to handle these in various ways. In WordPress, Excerpts can be specifically written to summarize the post, or generated automatically by using the first few paragraphs of a post or using the post up to a specific point, assigned by you.
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Plugins are cool bits of programming scripts that add additional functionality to your blog. These are often features which either enhance already available features or add them to your site. WordPress offers simple and easy ways of adding Plugins to your blog. From the Administraton Panel, there is a Plugin Page. Once you have uploaded a Plugin to your WordPress plugin directory, activate it from the Plugins Management SubPanel, and sit back and watch your Plugin work. Not all Plugins are so easily installed, but WordPress Plugin authors and developers make the process as easy as possible.
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Basics-A Few Blogging Tips

Starting a new blog is difficult and this can put many people off, there are then other people who have blogs with no comments or visits. You want to stand out from this crowd of millions of bloggers, you want to be one of the few hundred thousand blogs that are actually visited. So here are some simple tips to help you on your way to blogging mastery:

  1. Post regularly, but don’t post if you have nothing worth posting about.
  2. Stick with only a few specific genres to talk about.
  3. Don’t put ‘subscribe’ and ‘vote me’ links all over the front page until you have people that like your blog enough to ignore them (they’re usually just in the way).
  4. Use a clean and simple theme if at all possible.
  5. Enjoy, blog for fun, comment on other peoples’ blogs (as they normally visit back).

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