A practical definition of a blog could be stated as:

Noun – A blog is an Internet-based communications tool that exists as a website function, which enables people to communicate their thoughts or relay news to a target audience by publishing web content such as text, images, video or audio in reverse chronological order.

What Is A Blog? The Complete Definition Of A Blog & Blogging - GordonWridgway.com

Why Blog Definitions Matter

Despite the fact that there are so many blogs and bloggers around the world there are many people who continue to ask, “What is a blog?“, “What is the definition of a blog?“, “What is a blogger?“.

So before you embark on your journey to learn about blogging, it is important that we first define and find out what a blog actually is.

Additionally, it is well worth exploring some other related terms which are commonly associated with blogs and blogging.

The reason for understanding the terminology of a subject is best explained with an example…

“It is important that bloggers adjust their permalink settings when they first set up their blog.

Changing your permalinks, later on, can make it hard for visitors and search engines to find your pages and posts and will result in missing page errors.”

Now if you have just started learning about blogging you may not have come across the term permalink before.

If the term permalink made you feel just a little confused about the full meaning of the sentences above then you’ve just experienced the reason for understanding a subject’s terminology.

So to give you a simple explanation and definition of a permalink:

A permalink is the permanent web address of your pages, blog posts, categories, and tags. Adjusting your permalinks allows you to customize the structure of your blog’s links.”

Once you understand the term permalink, it becomes easier to understand the meaning of the example sentences.

Take a more in-depth journey into blogs, blogging, and bloggers below...

A Brief History of the Blog

In answering the question, “What is a blog?”, it is important that you should understand something about the history of the blog.

Jornbarger coined the term weblog
Jorn Barger coined the term weblog

Before the term blog became popular another term was in use. The term 'Weblog' was first coined by Jorn Barger in 1997. The term was shortened to "blog" by Peter Merholz in 1999. source

So the term ‘blog’ is a shortening of the term ‘weblog’. Weblog being composed of the terms ‘web’ and ‘log’.

‘Web’ is a reference to the World Wide Web, which is an information space made up of web resources including web pages, images, videos, audio and more.

These web resources are linked together through the use of hyperlinks (also known as a link – a reference to data that can be accessed by clicking). Thus, we have a ‘web’ of information.

A ‘log’ is simply a record of something.

So a blog can be defined, in its simplest form, is a record kept on the World Wide Web (www), which is accessed over the Internet.

The Internet is an interconnected computer network which stores the World Wide Web’s web resources.

The www is accessed via the Internet. The Internet, of course, is accessed by using a web browser. Web browsers are found on both computers and all modern mobile devices.

Lastly, a data connection to the Internet is needed to upload and download information.

 

What is the Purpose of a Blog - How are Blogs Typically Used?

Blogs are generally used by people to create discussion or provide information. They are used to convey the ideas, opinions, teachings, and viewpoints of their authors to others.

For many bloggers, the key reason for blogging is to make money online. For some, it is simply an additional income on the side and for others, it is a full-time income.

While many blogs are started as a hobby there are just as many that are started for profit. Indeed, even those started as hobbies tend to be monetized to some degree if only to help cover the blog’s running costs

The vast majority of blogs are publically accessible. Thus, it can be concluded that the purpose of a blog and a blogger's intention, is to communicate with people who form the blogger’s audience.

A typical blog presents its content or logs in reverse chronological order so that its most recently published or posted content can be read first.

Blogs can be authored by a single individual author, multiple authors or be owned and managed by a company. Many media companies, newspapers, universities, community groups, and other organizations operate blogs.

 

A Practical Definition of a Blog, To Blog & Blogger

To fully understand how to start a blog and use it, we have looked at both the history and typical usage of a blog. This then allows us to finally create a workable definition of a blog.

So the definition of a blog could be stated as:

Noun – A blog is an Internet-based communications tool that exists as a website function, which enables people to communicate their thoughts or relay news to a target audience by publishing web content such as text, images, video or audio in reverse chronological order.

Verb – To blog – also blogging–  is to publish, edit and manage the information stored on a blog for communication with one’s audience.

Thus:

Noun – A Blogger is someone who owns, manages and/or edits the content on a blog.

Now that we have defined the term ‘blog’ and so answered the question of, “what is a blog?”, it is time to find out why you should start a blog.

Blog Definition

 

What is the Difference Between a Blog & a Website?

The difference between a blog and a website is just in functionality.

A blog gives you the ability to display your latest blog posts in reverse chronological order. Typically, a blog will display these posts in a feed layout and use categories and tags to allow blog posts to be filtered.

That said, the term website is an overall name with sub-categories.

For example:

  • A blog is still a website but one that is focused on blog-style content which means the content is added regularly and displayed according to the latest article.
  • An e-commerce store is also a website. It simply has a focus on selling products.
  • A website is a website. This one gets confusing... but what people mean when they say a website is a brochure style website which gives info about a company and its products and services.
  • You could also have a website that has a blog and even an e-commerce store all rolled into one. The site simply has different functions.

So to sum it up...

A blog is a website with the function that allows for the regular posting of content that is displayed from newest to oldest and uses categories and tags to enable sorting of articles.

 

Typical Blog Structure, Design & Layout

Most blogs have similar layouts. The most common layout is a feed layout where the latest blog posts show first and you simply scroll to see earlier posts. (see infographic)

This is a simple and very functional layout. This does not mean it cannot be prettied up.

Most blogs these days display a featured blog post image along with the post's title in the feed.

This is also functional in that it allows you to visually get an idea about the subject of the blog posts.

Other layouts that are popular today include grid-based layouts and masonry grids.

A typical grid layout will display blog posts in a grid of equal spaces. This neat layout works well if all your images and titles are roughly the same size. If they are not the same size then a masonry layout is better.

A masonry layout is what you see on Pinterest. Here the length of the image determines how each image fits with the next image. A masonry layout is like a brick wall turned 90 degrees.

So a typical blog structure or layout will include the following:

  • A header which displays a logo and menu links.
  • A blog feed displaying the latest blogs first.
  • A sidebar which often includes an image and name of the blog's author as well as their social page links and a mini-bio.
  • A footer displaying links, privacy policy and a variety of other items.
  • Most blogs typically also include an email opt-in of some sort. These sometimes appear in the sidebar or in-between sections. Sometimes they appear as popups or slide-ins too. An email opt-in is one of the most important functions linked to a blog.

What is a Blog? The Complete Definition of a Blog & Blogging 1

 

What is a Blogger & What Do They Do?

A Blogger is someone who edits, manages or contributes to one or more blogs.

They are creators of content.

Being a blogger has typically been associated with writing content but blogging has evolved and will continue to do so.

  • Today, you can be a blogger who writes.
  • You could be a Blogger (Vlogger) who creates video blogs (Vlogs).
  • You could be a Blogger who creates Podcasts (audio blogs).
  • If you post on social media you could be said to be microblogging.

Perhaps in the not too distant future bloggers will be creating holographic blogs. Who knows.

The key takeaway here is that being a blogger means creating content, publishing it for the world to find and then promoting it to make sure they do find it.

 

Blogging Trends According To Google

Here are a few 'Live' graphs showing people's interest in 'what is a blog', 'how to start a blog', and 'should I start a blog'.

Why Do Blogging Topics Continue to Be So Popular in Searches?

Blogging continues to grow in popularity. Why?

Well, there are probably as many reasons to blog as there are bloggers. Every blogger experiences blogging in a different way.

I think the main reasons people start blogs are as follows:

  • To help them build a side income or a business.
  • To share their hobbies and passions.
  • To express themselves and deal with life's ups and downs.
  • To help promote an existing business.

I've put together another article covering more reasons to blog here.

 

How To Start a Blog

Starting a blog is not actually that difficult.

All you need to do is get a blog hosting account and install blogging software such as WordPress.

WordPress is the easiest and most powerful blogging platform around. It gives you total control over your blog and how it looks.

I've put together a complete beginner bloggers guide on how to start a blog here.

 

Where to Learn More About Blogging

There is a lot to learn about blogging. This can seem daunting if you are a beginner blogger. It does not have to be hard though.

I have put together many blogging articles for beginners and continue to add new articles and resources. To read more click here to read The Art of Blogging - A Beginner Blogger's Guide.

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