What Is A Blog?
There are over 500 posts here on the GBW Blog and many of them discuss blogging.
After some thought I realized I don’t think I ever took the time to go back and answer the simple question:
What is a blog?
As a marketer I know I get caught up in all the marketing discussion online. I may be a freak about the stuff and sometimes I think everyone else has the same obsession even though there are more important things happening in the world.
If you have a good grasp on what a blog is and what a business blog is you can probably skip this post.
Otherwise, here is my explanation.
Characteristics Of A Blog
Blogs have some basic characteristics that most blogs share.
The main feature of a blog is a blog post. I sometimes see people call a blog post simply a blog. This can get confusing, but everybody pretty much knows what you’re talking about when you discuss a blog or blog post.
Most blog posts are in text form like the one you’re reading now. The post contains text information that people find entertaining, educational or enlightening. That’s the goal anyway. There are plenty of posts that make people feel other emotions I’m sure.
While text has been a big part of the content in a blog post there are many other forms of posts including photos, images, videos and all kinds of things.
Tumblr is an example of a posting format that gives people freedom to post and repost all kinds of things. It seems people love reposting photos and images on Tumblr.
Blogs are published in chronological order. If you stumble on a website online and see content published in order by dates with the most recent at the top top of the page or as the first item you see on the page you’re looking at a variation of a blog.
Blogs can be ordered in different ways too. There are categories and tags for each post. I use these two items to help people find information. You can provide links so people can find information for specific categories and tags. These are still listed in chronological order, but are filtered depending on the category or tag selected.
Blogs As Entire Websites
On my blogs I use WordPress. We mentioned Tumblr, which is another blogging format. There are others as well including some interesting new ones popping up, but my current favorite is WordPress.
WordPress seemed to start out simply as a blogging platform, but today it’s become much more. Entire websites use WordPress including GBW. WordPress is now a full management system that allows you to easily manage the content on your website including your blog.
Even if you have a different admin system for your website you can still usually install WordPress on your domain and use it to manage your blog. That’s common.
I’m not sure if they were the first ones to use blogs, but people that liked to keep online, public journals seem to be the ones that gave off the first impressions of what a blog was.
Even today people still hear the word “blog” and think of people sitting at home in the dark writing their most personal thoughts just as they would if they were writing in a journal or diary.
Blogs have morphed to become much more than that, but I guess that chronological nature of blogging does fit well with journal entries.
But today blogs go beyond posting ones thoughts. There are lots of blogs that still do that, but today it’s more about providing information people like news content.
Blogging And Journalists
There has been and still is a little rift between traditional media and bloggers and those in between.
Journalists hold themselves to high standards usually. The perception is that bloggers can write or record anything they want without checking the actual facts.
This belief is pretty difficult to undo and will probably be around for a while.
What I see, however, is the public demanding a certain kind of information on the web. They want speed and accuracy. You can’t get away with reporting false news all the time and expect to build and maintain an audience. The best rise to the top.
The line is blurring between bloggers and journalists and I don’t think there was ever really a huge difference.
Online media shares the same traits as a blogs posting information in chronological order. Most media sites today even use WordPress.
The other side of blogging and one that I truly love is business blogging.
This has a few different variations, but the goal of a business blog is to provide more value to a target reader with the goal of earning more customers while growing the business.
One variation is kind of a cross between media and business although I guess media companies are businesses.
Anyway, I see sites that offer great information like Mercola, Copyblogger and Mark’s Daily Apple has business blogs. They provide great information that helps people. There are huge communities around these sites and the site sell items to the audience.
There is a trust there. The information shared in each blog post is part of the product even though it’s provided ahead of time for free.
The other variation is like the blog you’re reading now although I guess the line is pretty small or maybe there is no difference at all.
The GBW Blog aims to provide information about how business owners and managers can use online marketing to earn more customers. We mostly talk about blogging, but also discuss social media, search engine optimization, sales and marketing.
We view the blog as being part of the service we provide, which is blog writing.
The information we know about blogging and marketing from the work we do each day is part of what we sell, but we provide it for free to attract potential clients. It helps us earn their trust ahead of time. They might get a good idea that they can use to grow their business.
Our goal is to earn trust and earn their business to write for their blog where our goal is to grow their business.
That’s how business blogging works in general terms although I guess the concept is pretty simple.
What Is A Blog?
So what is a blog?
I guess it could be anything that has regularly published content.
There are different reasons to publish content online and a blog fits the goal for most people that want to publish content.
Sometimes people think blogging is going to die.
I think we’re actually only in the early stages of blogging.
Look at what the Internet has provided humans…
Today, we have access to more information than ever before. Much of that information is published on blogs.
People have a huge craving to learn and to grow. That thirst for information is only going to increase. It was always there, but we never had access to it until the Internet came around.
The only way to feed that thirst is to publish online content.
Those that do it earn attention, trust and in some cases they earn business.
The way to publish content is with a blog.
Image: Milos Milosevic