What is a Blog?
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By Susan Gunelius, Blogging Expert
Blog Definition:

A blog (also called a weblog or web log) is a website consisting of entries (also called posts) appearing in reverse chronological order with the most recent entry appearing first (similar in format to a daily journal). Blogs typically include features such as comments and links to increase user interactivity. Blogs are created using specific publishing software.

Variations of the term blog:
Blogging: The act of writing a post for a blog
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Blogger: A person who writes content for a blog
Blogosphere: The online community of blogs and bloggers
The World Before Blogging:

There was a time when the Internet was just an informational tool. In the early life of the World Wide Web some 20 years ago, websites were simple and provided a one-sided conversation. As time went on, the Internet became more interactive with the introduction of transaction-based websites and online shopping, but the online world remained one-sided.

That all changed with the evolution of Web 2.0 (the social web) wherein user-generated content became an integral part of the online world.

See Also: How to Determine if Blogging is Right for You

Today, users expect websites to provide a two-way conversation and web logs (or blogs) were born.

The Birth of Blogs:

The earliest blogs started in the late 1990s as online diaries. Individuals posted information on a daily basis about their lives and opinions. The daily posts were listed in reverse date order, so readers viewed the most recent post first and scrolled through previous posts. The format provided an ongoing inner monologue from the writer.

As blogs evolved, interactive features were added to create a two-way conversation.

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Readers took advantage of features that allowed them to leave comments on blog posts or link to posts on other blogs and websites to further the dialogue.

Blogs Today:

As the Internet has become more social, blogs have gained in popularity. Today, there are over 100 million blogs with more entering the blogosphere everyday. Blogs have become more than online diaries. In fact, blogging has become an important part of the online and offline worlds with popular bloggers impacting the worlds of politics, business and society with their words.

The Future of Blogs:

It seems inevitable that blogging will become even more powerful in the future with more people and businesses recognizing the power of bloggers as online influencers. Anyone can start a blog thanks to the simple (and often free) tools readily available online. The question will likely become not, "Why should I start a blog?" but rather, "Why shouldn't I start a blog?"

Learn More About Blogs and Blogging from About.com's Guide to Web Logs:

About.com's Guide to Web Logs will help you navigate the blogosphere from starting a blog to marketing and monetizing it. Don't be intimidated. Take a look around this site to learn how to publish your own blog and be a part of the blogging community.
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