Blogs are now mainstream. You’re most probably reading blog posts every day even though you may not realize you are on a blog.
Features that blogs introduced to the web are now integrated into pretty much every website that you visit.
But what is a blog? You are reading a blog post right now. This post is an example of a blog. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the blog definition and the history of blogging.
What exactly is a blog definition?
Here’s the current definition of the word blog by Merriam-Webster:
Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for the year 2004 was “blog”. The word blog was awarded because it was the most requested word for a definition or an explanation. The original definition of a blog by Merriam-Webster was:
“Online journal where the writer presents a record of activities, thoughts, or beliefs.”
Blog history: Who came up with the term blog and what are the oldest blogs?
The oldest blogs still running
A couple of the earliest, oldest and longest-running blogs are Justin’s links by Justin Hall (launched January 1994), Disquiet by Marc Weidenbaum (launched in December 1996), and Scripting News by Dave Winer (launched in February 1997).
Neither of them used the term weblog despite them posting blogging-like content.
The first uses of the words weblog and blog
John Barger started a personal site in 1997 posting “a day-to-day log of his reading and intellectual pursuits”. That’s how he coined the term weblog as he named his site “Robot Wisdom Weblog“.
In May 1998, Peter Merholz started his site and he split the term weblog term the phrase “we blog” on his sidebar and made history. Peter is still actively posting on that very same blog at peterme.com.
Blogger and the mainstream arrival
Evan Williams launched one of the first blog publishing tools in August 1999 by coining the term Blogger. Google later acquired Blogger. Evan went on to launch Medium where he is still active. You can read more details on Blogger in my WordPress or Blogger guide.
What are blogs and how do they work?
A blog is a website. Blogs emerged as very informal online diaries where a single individual would post their opinions and thoughts about a specific topic or talk about their life.
Traditionally these articles were displayed in the reverse chronological order with the latest one being shown first on the top of the front page.
Blogs were interactive and they kickstarted the web 2.0 with their arrival and the ability they gave to visitors to respond and discuss using blog comments.
Blogging makes it easy for beginners too. Blogs and blogging platforms made it easy even for non-technical people to start their own sites and publish content on the web.
There are multitudes of blogging platforms you can choose to set up your blog within minutes.
Before blogs, you needed to know things such as HTML and FTP to have a website and post content online.
Why do people blog? What is the purpose and what is a blog used for?
There are many reasons why people start a blog. The purpose of writing a blog is what you make of it. There’s no right or wrong way or purpose to go about it.
Running a blog is a very productive, creative and rewarding hobby and can even be a good career move. It can be about creativity, purpose or money-making. It’s a great and gratifying way to spend some of your free time.
Here are some of the reasons why people start blogs:
- Starting a successful blog opens the doors to the world for you. It’s your opportunity to set yourself apart and get noticed
- Some want to have a creative outlet to share their writing and their ideas with the real world, get feedback and improve. It’s a platform on which you can build your business and make money
- Some want to share their hobbies or passion and make new friends and build relationships within the community
- Some want to improve their CV and career opportunities. Blogging gives you experience in marketing, writing, copywriting, editing, design, web development and sales
- You may be about to graduate and eager to start your professional life. You may be unemployed and on a hunt for a job. You may not be too happy with your current role and want something better
- Some want to establish themselves as an authority, build their own audience, and teach what they know
- Some want to become self-employed and make money blogging by selling products and services
- Some want to promote their business or startup. Blogging is one of the best ways to build an online reputation, rank in search engines and drive traffic to your businesses
There are many examples of successful and fulfilled bloggers within any of these categories.
What types of blogs are there?
Blogs come in many shapes and forms.
What’s a personal blog?
You have typical personal blogs where an individual posts his or her thoughts on a specific topic. This can be as simple as casually posting about your own life for your family and friends to read.
What’s a multi-authored blog?
The difference from a personal blog to a multi-authored blog is in words. Multi-authored blogs are blogs where two or more individuals get together to publish content.
The content they publish is, in most cases, no different than the content that is published on a personal blog.
What’s a corporate blog?
A corporate blog is a blog that a business uses to publish content and market itself. It’s a blog created by a business or a corporation.
The goal of a corporate blog is to help the business reach its goals and the blog functions as their online advertising.
What’s a vlog?
A vlog is a blog that contains video content. One of the main places to post vlogs is YouTube. How did we come up with the word vlog? It’s “video blog” or “video log” truncated to vlog. Here’s my guide on how to start a vlog.
Blog vs. website: What is the difference?
The difference between a blog and a website is pretty blurred these days. Websites have integrated some of the features that blogs introduced such as interaction and visitor comments.
The most popular blogging platform, WordPress, hosts more than a third of the web even though many of those sites don’t even mention that they are a blog. Learn more about WordPress in my WordPress.com vs WordPress.org guide.
There are many different designs and features a blog can have:
- A typical feature is the sidebar where elements such as a list of latest posts are placed on.
- So is the comment section at the end of the post where visitors can share comments and interact with the author and each other.
But again a blog can be anything you want it to be now. You are on my blog and my blog doesn’t have a sidebar nor a comments section.
What is blogging and why is it so popular?
Blogging is the act of producing, writing and publishing content on a blog. I’m blogging by writing this post for you now.
Blogs and blogging made it possible for anyone to create their website, publish their thoughts and grow an audience. This was something that was not as easy to do before the arrival of the blogging platforms.
In the years since the introduction of blogging, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have made barriers to entry even lower.
It’s no longer necessary to have a blog in order to share a few pics, what you’re up to and info on what you watch on TV with your friends. You can do that on Instagram or Twitter.
Blogging today is a great way of sharing your expertise and getting better at writing, communicating and marketing.
It also makes it possible to build an audience and authority within a field, and even make money or improve your career. Take a look at more of the key blogging statistics.
Who are bloggers?
Bloggers are people that create, write, maintain and run blogs. It’s me, and it can easily be you too.
Being a blogger is one of those no experience required jobs. It’s easy to set up a blog and then it’s all up to you in what you do and what you achieve with it.
What’s a blog post?
A blog post is an article on a blog. It’s a single piece of content be it writing, imagery and any other media. You are reading a blog post right now.
Some people use the word blog interchangeably with the word blog post but that is incorrect. A blog is a whole website that hosts multiple individual blog posts.
Blog post vs. page: What’s the difference?
When you work within WordPress and other blogging platforms, you have the option to publish a blog post or a blog page.
- A blog post is what you use for your typical posts. They typically feature a date published and are listed in the list of posts on your blog. Blog posts are used for the majority of your content.
Do bloggers get paid and how do they make money blogging?
As a blogger, you may attract attention from an audience which allows you to monetize your content too.
This means that it is possible to get paid and to make money by being a blogger and having a blog.
- Some bloggers feature advertising within their blog posts and they make money if you as a visitor view or click on those ads.
- Some bloggers may feature product recommendations within their posts and earn money if you click and purchase the recommended product.
You can learn more about getting paid as a blogger in my how to make money blogging guide.
Should I blog too? And what should I blog about?
I love having a blog and publishing content online. It’s a way for me to express myself, my experience, my skills and to help people.
It helps me learn and improve my skills as a content producer, communicator, and a digital marketer.
Should you blog is a question only you can answer. At least, it’s not difficult to start one and give it a shot to see if it’s something that excites you.
What you should blog about is another very personal question. I recommend you find a middle ground between a topic that you are passionate about, a topic that you are experienced in and know a lot about, and a topic that is popular too.
Here’s my guide on choosing your blog topic.
How do I start my own blog?
Has all this made you interested in becoming a blogger yourself? Visit my how to start a blog guide for my quick-start instructions.