What is a blog?
I am sure that question still gets asked many times and not that long ago I too was wondering what a blog was. This article will briefly outline, for the novice, what a blog is. It is written in layman’s terms so that it can be understood by those who want to learn this basic concept of blogging.
The definition from Wikipedia can be found here
In a nutshell a blog is a web site or a discussion forum where articles are posted or published, written by one or more authors normally on a specific topic. So you may be in the shoe industry and you will write articles on shoes and post them to your blog. These articles can carry pictures, text, videos, all of which are referred to as content. A blog will normally allow you to categorise each article for future easy reference, similar to the contents section of a book. The blog will also allow you to assign tags to each article and this acts in a similar way to the index of a book. So for an article on shoes one might tag it with tags such as; shoes, soles, leather as well as other tags such as the region in which you are marketing them, New York, London, Johannesburg etc.
There are a few popular blogging platforms such as WordPress and Blogger to name a few and most of them work in a very similar way. They are normally free to use and they host your blog on their servers, assigning a certain amount of storage space to you. Advanced features such as your own domain name may come at a fee. Most blogging platforms provide themes, normally designed by third parties that can change the appearance and layout of your blog. These are sometimes free and sometimes you need to pay for them.
There are also then a host of other features that blogs include such as allowing you to insert Facebook Like buttons and other social media buttons so as to allow the readers of your blog to share your articles or content with their networks if they find it interesting and worth sharing. Readers can follow your blog so that each time you post an article they get notified via e-mail.
Normally a blog will allow readers to make comments of their own on your articles so as to start a discussion on the topic and others can read these comments and make their own comment. You can set your blog up so that you as the blog owner, or someone else you appoint can moderate comments so as to avoid spam comments and unwanted comments.
One can invite users to the blog either as followers, contributors or administrators, assigning different levels of access and control to each category of user. This will of course allow many authors to contribute to the same blog and will increase the number of articles posted or published which will in turn probably increase the number of followers or readers and result in more discussion on the topic.
Links can be placed on a blog article to re-direct the reader to a web site or another blog and blogs are often used as platforms by companies writing articles on their niche industry in an attempt to educate their customers and hopefully drive traffic to the main web site for the purpose of converting that traffic to customers.
Search engines love blogs because they normally contain lots of juicy content which is what search engines need to satisfy their users. They are also normally structured in such a way that search engines can crawl them easily and therefore index them quickly and easily so that they appear in search engine results pages.