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What is a Blog?

written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/7/2009

Blog this, blog that... it seems to be something we hear all the time! So, what is a blog? What's the big deal about them? Read on to find out more about blogging, and why it has taken the internet by storm.

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    A blog, short for web log started out an online diary of sorts. More recently, the word blog has become a verb like Google. To blog about something means that you are writing about it in your blog, the same way that to google something means that you are searching it on Google. Blogs are generally maintained by an individual, or a group of people to provide information to an audience of readers. There are millions of blogs all over the internet today, with millions of readers. Blogs can be updated anywhere from many times a day, to once a month or less.

    The "blogosphere" is a recently coined term that refers to the network of blogs collectively. There is something in the blogosphere for everyone, and plenty of sites are around that will help you find blogs to read. If you are interested in finding a blog to read, check out: BlogCarnival, Blog Catalog, or Technorati. These are not your only options, either. To list them all would take hours of typing, and even more time searching to find them!

    Why are blogs so great? Ask 15 people, and you will likely get 15 different answers. Blogs are great because they are a quick and easy way to update your web site (so it keeps content fresh for the search engine spiders). They allow you to converse with your audience, through the use of comments. Your readers can say something and you can respond to them all on the same screen. Blogs are great because they are are wonderful for relaying different kinds of information. You can blog about your personal life, your job, pretty much anything. You can share your own knowledge by writing in a blog, or enrich your knowledge by reading someone else's. If you add a blog to your exisiting web site, you can use it to keep users informed about what's going on, in terms of site updates, news, etc. Blogs are a great way to introduce yourself to the world of freelance writing, too.

    What does it take to blog? Almost nothing! Get a blog host, like Wordpress or Blogger (for free). Sign up and create your account. Start writing! All you need is that free blogging account, and something to write about! You can take it one step further and get your own domain to setup your blog on, and this only costs you about $10 a year.

    Blogging is so awesome that you can even get paid to do it! Several companies are looking to hire bloggers at any given time. Depending on the company, you can earn money for your posts, or through the advertising on your blogs pages. Companies will pay you (if your blog is well established with lots of readers) to write reviews and post them on your blog. If you are interested in finding out more about paid blogging, check out: ProBlogger.

    Now that you know about blogs and that the possibilities are almost endless, start your own! If you are wondering what this has to do with Web Development, stay tuned. We'll have more articles about blogs and blogging, such as why your business needs a blog, and information on designing your blog.