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There is a lot of misguided and overwhelming information in this area, and it wouldn’t be surprising if you have a distorted idea of what a blog really is. Here, let us try and understand the features that make up a blog and how it differs from a regular website.
A blog, or weblog, is a popular, regularly-updated and democratic platform for individuals and entities to engage with an online audience about a particular subject. Blogs are a unique type of website, viewed as a collection of ‘posts’ (or pages) like in a diary or journal. A blog can be set up by anyone who has access to the internet and is managed by an individual or an entity, for both business and non-business purposes.
Ever since they gained popularity in the early 2000s, blogs have become a crucial element of the online world. Every day, millions of readers access millions of blogs dedicated to fashion, travel, politics, music, literature, arts, technology, entertainment, health, lifestyle, food, and so much more. While blogs tend to be more informal and direct in their tone, that isn’t necessarily the case anymore. They have firmly established themselves as an alternative source of information, and provide flexible employment to writers and publishers.
Now that we have a broader definition for context, let us try to understand some unique features of a blog:
Blogs tend to cater to a smaller audience with a niche interest, and generate posts that appeal to these preferences specifically. Today, there are a few new-age blogs that successfully incorporate a variety of topics and themes. However, as a rule of thumb, most bloggers stick to one or two subjects and explore them in detail.
Unless specifically changed, posts on a blog appear in reverse chronological order; in other words, the latest posts appear at the top. As newer posts are added, older ones keep going further down and onto the next pages. While bloggers can sort posts according to categories as well, there are tools that also allow for segregation based on other parameters: popularity, length of the post, number of comments, etc.
Over a period of time, when there is a substantial number of posts on a blog, the blogger can choose to ‘archive’ older posts. Archiving is a better and more efficient way of categorizing posts. In addition, it reduces the number of elements on the blog, which in turn reduces the time taken to load the page.
One of the biggest reasons why blogs become popular and continue to hold the attention of their audience is their ability to engage effectively. By allowing external users to leave comments, blogs offer a way for the reader to agree, disagree, appreciate or criticize the contents of a blog post. This feature gives the reader the feeling of being more involved in the narrative.
Here are some of the more important ways in which a blog differs from a website:
The biggest distinguisher between a blog and a website is the frequency with which they are updated. While blogs tend to updated periodically (weekly, daily or even hourly), websites are updated much more sparsely. For instance, bloggers are more likely to update their blog more frequently, even if randomly, no matter their niche. Static websites, especially those explaining a product or service, undergo a change only when the business changes or goes in for a brand overhaul. In order to keep a blog up and running, updating it regularly is the most important factor. However, many websites remain exactly the same for years.
Blogs have the option of eliciting readers’ comments (although this can be disabled) on posts, whereas website pages do not have this feature. While this might seem like a trivial difference, it changes the very nature of the two entities. Blogs offer a two-way communication path, which means there is a free flow of ideas, thoughts. and opinions. A website, however, has a one-sided transfer of information with no room for feedback. Websites which include a blog might offer this functionality only in the blog section, but not otherwise.
A blog is made up of several posts, each with its own URL, and hence, individual pages. Each post also mentions, in all likelihood, the date of publication, the name of the author and the category of the post. A website, on the other hand, has different static pages, and technically speaking, can have just one page as well. In addition, there is no mention of dates, author name or category of the content.
In essence, a blog is a kind of website that is frequently updated and usually focused on a niche subject. Today, many companies allocate a portion of their website to blogging and post regularly to keep customers up-to-date on company news. Regular blogging also drives more traffic to the website. In this case, the blog becomes a part of the larger company website.
Simply put, all blogs are websites, but all websites need not be blogs. This distinction is what enables many websites to include a blog.
To sum up, blogs are popular and easily-accessible platforms which tend to focus on a special area of interest. Over the course of the last decade, their relevance has been questioned several times, but they continue to remain popular as ever. As a matter of fact, blogging can generate enough of an income to be its own full-time career option. Many bloggers across different subject areas earn a great living this way. As long as blogging connects people and helps them share their ideas with each other, it is safe to assume it won’t go anywhere.