Blogs are a mainstream method of communication found all over the internet. There are platforms dedicated to blogging. There are famous blogs and infamous blogs. Some blogs show up on the news while others languish many pages into search engines for their entire lifespan. There’s no way to deny that blogs are popular. Yet, many people aren’t entirely sure what a blog is. More, people wonder why they exist, and why they ever got so popular.
To understand the nature of blogging, you have to look at its history: Modern blogs appeared in the late 1990’s. They were mostly online diaries filled with personal events and opinions. Around 2001, political blogs appeared regularly along with how-to blogs that offered manual-type information to readers. Blogs became an area of study in journalism courses during that same time period. Their popularity grew quickly, leading to blogs becoming mainstream by 2004. A decade later, blogs are still going strong, the practice blogging even attaining it’s own vocabulary and alternative forms.
So What Is A Blog Exactly?
A blog (or a weblog) is a formatted a bit like a diary. Each entry has a date and the entries are ongoing. Recent additions to the blog begin on the first page and older material is on later pages. Generally, the entries take up most of the page. Archives, blogrolls and feeds exist along the sides of the blog and a comment area is at the bottom of each entry.That tells you how to identify a blog when you see it, but what is it? This question is a bit difficult because a blog can be anything. It can be a diary. It can also be an interactive marketing campaign, a business blog or a call-to-action for activists. That’s what has made blogging so popular with the general population. A blog is what you make of it. People blog with different goals in mind.
- Income – There are people who live off the income generated from ads and product reviews placed on their blog. Google ad-sense and Amazon Affiliates are two programs that provide ads for blogs. These programs typically provide money for pay-per-click ads, where the blog owner is paid when someone clicks on an ad campaign from their blog.
- Personal information – For some, blogs still are an online diary. They post pictures of their families or pets. Vacations, new jobs and new homes all have a place on this type of blog.
- Opinions – These can focus on political opinions, sports opinions, or any other type of opinion. They range from serious musings to sarcastic diatribes. Depending on the subject and style, these blogs can have ads, too.
- Hobbies (Niche Interests) – Some bloggers like to repurpose old clothes, share gardening tips, or train pets on video. Hobbies often result in how-to or showcase blogs. These type of blogs can also generate income.
- Activism – Blogs are created as calls-to-action, to raise awareness for a cause and as activist campaigns. These might display updates, polls or a call for donations.
- Marketing – Blogs are a form of interactive advertising for businesses. They’re marketing tools that use comment sections and polls to get feedback from consumers. Many businesses have a blog linked to their traditional website.
- Journalism – Ironically, while journalists in the early 2000’s researched the difference between blogs and journalism, blogs became an outlet for journalists.
Everyone blogs or, at least, everyone can. You’ve already been told that blogs can be anything. Each blog that has a different purpose and different focus is created by bloggers of different ages, backgrounds, ethnicity, localities and professions. Some have referred to blogging as the ultimate democratic expression on the web. Blogs are a spot where anyone can get their voice heard.
Why do Bloggers Blog?
- To teach.
- To inspire.
- To motivate.
- To be funny.
- To make people aware.
- To market a business
- To market yourself.
- To have fun
This list only touches on a handful of reasons people will create any of the blogs mentioned above.
What Does a Blogger Need?
If you’re thinking about blogging but are afraid it might require too many special tools or technical knowledge, you shouldn’t worry. Yes, you must have a basic understanding of a computer and the internet and preferably average writing skills. However, there are a number of blogging platforms that allow you to set up your blog using WYSIWYG editors. These include sites like Blogger, Livejournal and WordPress. Other materials are dependent on your blog type and subject.
- Video Blogs are going to need video software and hardware. Some bloggers use professional software and hardware. Others make do with a webcam, microphone and a preinstalled video editor.
- Tumbloggers have found a home on Tumblr, a service that allows quick and easy posting for bloggers who prefer short entries.
- People who only want to make journalistic entries into their blog can start quickly after they determine the focus (personal experiences, business marketing, political activism, etc.) and maybe obtaining a basic word processor.
Blogs are a place for expression. Businesses use this expression to build up their brands. Writers use it to promote their work. Everyday people use it to share their expertise or just share their life. People blog because they can. Everyone can for whatever reason.